Friday, November 16, 2012
ark-persimmon-seeds

Folkways: Weather Forecasting with Persimmon Seeds, Corn Silks

AgFax.Com - Your Online Ag News Source


Long before computer models for forecasting the winter ahead, there were simpler, folksier tools: persimmon seeds, woolly bear caterpillars and squirrels.

“There are long-held traditions about looking to nature for signs of the weather ahead,” said Tamara Walkingstick, associate director of the Arkansas Forest Resources Center, part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

One such tradition is prediction by splitting open persimmon seeds. The “Farmers Almanac” says if the kernel is spoon-shaped, wet snow will fall. If it is fork-shaped, it will be light powdery snow and a mild winter. A knife-shaped kernel indicates icy, cutting winds. The almanac suggests using locally grown fruit to be locally more accurate.

“My Daddy was one of those people who believe in these signs,” said Bette Rae Miller, who works at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View. “For instance, Daddy was talking about corn silks. If you have a corn crop and your silks are very abundant, then you’re going to have a cold winter because they’re protecting things.

“There was another thing Daddy used to talk about — fog on the mountain,” Miller said. “For every fog on the mountain you saw in August, there would be a snow in January.”

Snow itself could be an indicator of things to come – especially snowfall between November and March. “If the snow lays on the ground for a week, then it’s waiting for another snow to happen,” Miller said. “That was true in my mother’s day. We haven’t had enough snow in Stone County.”

Miller said her father was also a believer in the persimmon seeds. So far this fall, “most of the persimmons split here in Stone County have been spoons,” she said.

Those results have been echoed in Benton County, said Extension Staff Chair Robert Seay.  “The calls I’ve had from folks who’ve checked seed up here is they’re all coming up as spoons, which symbolizes ‘shovel’, meaning we’re in for snow,” he said.

In central Arkansas, result of local seed splittings has varied. Three seeds found at the Cooperative Extension Service headquarters in Little Rock, all from the same tree, found one knife, one fork and one spoon. Nearer to Perryville, two of two persimmon seeds showed spoons.

If the almanac is right, taken together, the persimmon prediction leans in favor of lots of heavy, wet snow.

How does this compare with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, for example? The CPC three-month outlook for January-February-March 2013 shows Arkansas with an above-normal percent chance of precipitation statewide.

There are other folk methods for predicting winter’s severity. According to “The Foxfire Book,” look for a bad winter if:

  • Squirrels begin collecting nuts early – in mid- to late-September
  • If there was a heavy crop of berries, acorns and pinecones or
  • Onions grow more layers

Another classic folk method for winter prediction is found in the hair of a woolly bear caterpillar. According to “The Foxfire Book,” winter will be bad if there are a lot of woolly bears around, and if the caterpillars have more black than brown. If the woolly bear is brown at both ends and orange in the middle, winter will be mild.

Whichever way winter goes, being prepared is serious business.

The Cooperative Extension Service has a preparedness fact sheet, “Be Aware and Prepare: Winter Storms,” available for download here.

Tags: , , ,


Leave a Reply

Name and Email Address are required fields. Your email will not be published or shared with third parties.

Sunbelt Ag News

    Grain TV: Corn Hit by Double-Whammy3-31

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Corn Takes Bearish Hit3-31

    AFB Cotton Close: USDA Boosts Prices3-31

    AFB Rice Close: USDA Numbers Bearish3-31

    DTN Livestock Close: Lean Hog Futures See Follow-Through Buying3-31

    Planting Intentions Not a Surprise, Grain Stocks Another Matter – DTN3-31

    Wheat: Know When to Apply Right Herbicide at the Right Time3-31

    DTN Cotton Close: Rebounds Following Post-Report Dip3-31

    Welch on Wheat: Reports Mostly in Line with Expectations3-31

    Welch on Grain: Bearish Reports for Corn3-31

    DTN Grain Close: Reports Support Soybeans, Disappoint Corn, Wheat3-31

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices3-31

    Good on Grain: USDA Has Friendly Surprise for Soybeans; Negative News for Corn3-31

    Shurley on Cotton: Acreage Intentions Meet High End of Expectations3-31

    Rice Stocks: Rough Rice Up 26%3-31

    Grain Stocks: Corn, Wheat, Soybeans All Increase3-31

    Indiana: Too Cold to Plant; Nebraska: Tillage, Weed Spray Started – DTN3-31

    USDA Conservation Service Has $332M to Give Away – Applications Due May 153-31

    USDA Perspective Plantings: Soybeans Gain. Otherwise, Slippage.3-31

    DTN Fertilizer Trends: Concerns About Dry Weather, Acid Shortage3-31

    DTN Livestock Midday: Lack of Buyer Interest3-31

    DTN Grain Midday: Weather Concerns in Southern Plains3-31

    Soybeans: Climate Change Cost Farmers $11B Over Last 20 Years3-31

    Pecans: 11 Land-Grant Institutions Help Protect Yields3-31

    DTN Cotton Open: Lower Trades Ahead of USDA Report3-31

    Tung Trees: Beautiful, Toxic, and Need to be Taken Out3-31

    DTN Livestock Open: Follow-Through Buying Support3-31

    DTN Grain Open: U.S. Dollar Extends Recent Gains3-31

    Grain TV: Corn Exports Remain Strong3-30

    Almonds and Pistachios: Chinese Tastes for U.S. Nuts Fuel Demand3-30

    Video: 6 Need-To-Know Things About Tree Crops3-30

    Louisiana Rice: 2 New Clearfield Lines Show Some Promise3-30

    Corn, Soybeans: Expected Returns and Acre Shifts – farmdoc3-30

    Ag in Harvard? Spring Break Trip Explores Rural Life – DTN3-30

    DTN Fertilizer Outlook: Spot Shortages to Drive Domestic Prices3-30

    Corn: 3 Tips to Better Manage Cutworms3-30

    Flint on Crops: Best Time to Apply Lime? Whenever It’s Needed3-30

    Texas Rice: Section 18 Requires More Work Than You Might Think – Mo Way3-27

    Farmland Partners Buys 15,000 Row Crop Acres In Carolinas, Virginia3-27

    Rice Market: Export Pace Continues Strong, Still Not Much Planting3-27

    Rose on Cotton: Don’t Miss an Opportunity. Get Short Terms in Place.3-27

    Video: 8 Need-to-know Things About Southern Grain3-27

    Cover Crops: What’s the Cost? Online Tool Helps Figure it Out.3-27

    ARC-PLC Deadline Extension: 77% of Farmers Have Made a Decision – DTN3-27

    Soybeans: What Inputs Can You Cut Back? 5 Main Choices. – DTN3-27

    Cleveland On Cotton: “December has 70-cents-plus written all over it.”3-27

    Texas: Feral Hog, Predator Management Workshop, Rocksprings, April 243-27

    Weekly Cotton Market Review – USDA3-27

    Video: 13 Best Practices to Manage Tarnished Plant Bugs3-27

    Peanut Stocks: Utilization Up 7% Over Last Year3-27

    USDA: Peanut Price Highlights3-27

    Soybeans: How Has Chinese Demand Impacted the Market? – farmdoc3-27

    Oklahoma City Farm Show, April 3-53-27

    Texas: Hale and Swisher Crops Conference, Plainview, April 143-27

    Louisiana: Soybean Board Awards LSU $1.9M for Soy Research3-27

    Base Acres and ARC-PLC Deadline Extended to April 7 – No Surprise Here.3-27

    Mississippi: Students Learn Soil Management, Conservation by Getting Down in the Dirt3-27

    Estate Planning: Farmers Gift the Farm to Their Rural Community – DTN3-27

    Corn Maybe Has More Bullish Potential Than Beans Ahead Of USDA Projections3-27

    Georgia: Wheat Leaf Rust Detected, May Want to Check the Field3-27

    Death Tax: South Dakota Congressman Pushes Repeal, Tells Her Story – Video3-26

    Environmental Group Questions USDA’s Science Integrity – DTN3-26

    Making Money With Manure, Advantages of Composting and Additives – DTN3-26

    Chumrau on Wheat: Where More Rain is Needed to Make the HRW Crop3-26

    Texas Wheat: Concho, McCulloch Counties Wheat Tour, Millersview, April 303-26

    Sorghum: Why It’s South China’s Hottest Import Grain – DTN3-26

    ELS Cotton Competitive Payment Rate Is Zero3-26

    Moving Grain: Ohio River Barge Traffic Improves3-26

    Video: Summary of U.S. Drought Monitor in One Minute3-26

    Sunbelt Ag Events

     

    About Us

    AgFax.Com covers agricultural trends and production topics, with an emphasis on news about cotton, rice, peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat and tree crops, including almonds, pecans, walnuts and pistachios.

      

    This site also serves as the on-line presence of electronic crop and pest reports published by AgFax Media LLC (formerly Looking South Communications).

        

    Click here to subscribe to our free reports.

      

    We provide early warnings and confirmations about pests, diseases and other factors that influence yield. Our goal is to quickly provide farmers and crop advisors with information needed to make better and more profitable decisions.

         

    Our free weekly crop and pest advisories include:

    • AgFax Midsouth Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Missouri.

    • AgFax Southeast Cotton, covering cotton production and news in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southwest Cotton (new for 2013!), covering cotton production and news in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico.

    • AgFax West (formerly MiteFax: SJV Cotton), covering California cotton, alfalfa, tomatoes and other non-permanent crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgFax Rice covering rice production and news in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

    • AgFax Peanuts, covering peanut production in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

    • AgFax Southern Grain: covering soybeans, corn, milo and small grains in Southern states.

    • AgFax Almonds, covering almonds, pistachios, walnuts and other tree crops in California's Central Valley.

    • AgCom 101, providing guidance to ag professionals involved in social media.

    Our newsletters are sponsored by the following companies: FMC Corporation Chemtura Dow AgroSciences.

          

    Mission statement:

    Make it as easy as possible for our community of readers to find and/or receive needed information.

              

    Contact Information:

    AgFax Media. LLC

    142 Westlake Drive Brandon, MS 39047

    601-992-9488 Office

    Owen Taylor Debra L. Ferguson Laurie Courtney

          

    Circulation Questions?

    Contact Laurie Courtney +