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

    John Deere Sells Crop Insurance Arm To Farmers Mutual Hail12-18

    DTN Livestock Midday: Cattle Futures Hold Triple-Digit Gains12-18

    Japan Elections Won’t Soften Trade Issues — DTN12-18

    DTN Grain Midday: Firmer Trade Continues for Corn12-18

    U.S. Grain Transportation: Rail Shipments Make Big Jump12-18

    DuPont Pioneer Rolls Out New Soybean And Corn Selections For 201512-18

    Updated ARC-CO and PLC Payment Indicator for 2014 Crop Year12-18

    Livestock: Sharp Cattle Declines as Inscrutable as the Grinch – DTN12-18

    U.S. Drought Outlook: Improvement Expected Across California12-18

    Ag Trade Should Benefit from Thaw in U.S.-Cuba Relations12-18

    DTN Cotton Open: Futures Start Slightly Lower12-18

    U.S. Energy: Heating Oil Expenditures Expected to Drop This Winter12-18

    Gasoline Prices: Decline in All Regions12-18

    Propane Stocks: Decrease by 0.8M Barrels12-18

    Diesel Prices: Average Drops 12 Cents12-18

    DTN Livestock Open: Futures Set for Further Losses12-18

    DTN Grain Open: As Wheat Rises, Others Follow12-18

    Keith Good: Viptera Corn Ban Lifted by China; Wheat Prices Soaring12-18

    Grain TV: Strong Ethanol Production Continues12-17

    AFB Grain-Soybean Close: Wheat Leads Markets Higher12-17

    AFB Cotton Close: Market Higher in Middle of Consolidation Range12-17

    AFB Rice Close: Higher in Narrow Range12-17

    DTN Livestock Close: Cattle Continue Limit-Down Streak12-17

    Virginia Govt. Joins USDA, EPA in Fighting Nutrient Runoff – DTN12-17

    Doane Cotton Close: Choppy Sideways Trade Continues12-17

    Texas Pecans: Prices Slightly Higher with Good Demand12-17

    Western Region Pecans: Moderate Deliveries with Good Demand12-17

    Louisiana Pecans: Deliveries Very Light, Few Improved Varieties12-17

    Georgia Pecans: Buying Interest Active Despite Light Deliveries12-17

    Tennessee: TAPA Winter Agronomic Workshop and Cotton Focus, Jackson, Feb. 11-1212-17

    DTN Cotton Close: Jumps to Session High on Fed Statement12-17

    Crop Insurance: Supplemental Coverage Option Unavailable When Choosing ARC Programs12-17

    DTN Grain Close: Wheat Soars Higher On Russian Woes12-17

    Crop Insurance: Choosing Between Base Acre Allocation Alternatives12-17

    Senate Passes Tax Extenders Bill with Key Provisions for Ag — DTN12-17

    Brazil: Amazon Deforestation Issues Concern Ag Communities – DTN12-16

    DTN Fertilizer Outlook: Global Phosphorous Demand to Increase12-16

    USDA: Weekly National Peanut Prices12-16

    Buying Local Not Without Risks, Study Finds12-16

    U.S. Ag in Strong Position with High Avian Flu Risks Elsewhere in ’1512-16

    Grain Markets: 50-Day Moving Average Never Out of Style — DTN12-16

    Kentucky Wheat: Winter Workshop Slated Jan. 6 in Hopkinsville12-16

    Cash Rent Rates Key to Cropland Prices 2015 – DTN12-15

    Sorghum Fights Aphid; Assassin Bug Eats BT-Resist Pests; Downy Brome Control – DTN12-15

    Welch on Wheat: Estimated Average Farm Price Raised12-15

    Welch on Grain: Corn Gets Minor USDA Adjustments12-15

    AgFax Cotton Review: Crop Quality Controls Market; India Eases Export Rules12-15

    Kansas Wheat: New Yield Calculator App Available12-15

    Dow’s Yet Released Insect-Resistant Soybean Trait Branded Conkesta12-15

    Drones: FAA Grants Trimble Inc. an Exemption to Use UX5 in Agriculture12-15

    Senate Appropriations Bill Gets Mixed Reviews from Ag Groups — DTN12-15

    Good on Grain: Corn Price Strength Continues12-15

    Flint on Crops: Courage, Optimism Drive the Successful Farmer12-15

    Roberts on Rice: Mexico Announces 20% Import Tariff on Asian Rice12-14

    Rice Market: Libya Buys 28,800 Tons Medium/Short Grain12-14

    Rose on Cotton: Bearish News? We Got Plenty from USDA.12-12

    Coarse Grain Outlook: Sorghum Prices Projected to Match Corn12-12

    Cleveland on Cotton: USDA Surprise – Texas Yields Lowered; World Carryover Raised12-12

    Rice Outlook: U.S. Export Forecast Raised to 103M Cwt12-12

    Cotton Outlook: Global Trade To Decline in 2014-1512-12

    Oil Crops Outlook: Strong Soybean Exports Support Prices12-12

    Wheat Outlook: Higher Imports Raise 2014/15 U.S. Ending Stocks12-12

    DDG Prices Spike on Rumors of China Re-Entering Market – DTN12-12

    Farm Management: 9 Important Lessons Not Taught at Ag Schools – DTN12-12

    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 601-992-3503 Fax

    Owen Taylor Debra L. Ferguson Laurie Courtney

          

    Circulation Questions?

    Contact Laurie Courtney