Walt Franke said he, his son and one of the people he grows crops for planted about 700 acres of sesame this year as a primary crop. This is the first year that sesame has been grown as a primary crop in Refugio County.
In the previous couple of years, sesame was a secondary crop.
Franke guessed that a total of about 1,000 acres of sesame was planted in the county this year.
Sesaco Sesame Coordinators contracts with farmers to grow the crop in South Texas, according to Franke.
“It’s been growing in the Coastal Bend for several years,” Franke said.
He said the sesame probably would be harvested the last week of August.
Like grain, sesame is harvested with a combine, collected and taken to an elevator storage facility and weighed.
In this case, the sesame will be taken to Tynan, the collection point for sesame.
Franke said this year is a good market for sesame.
The Sesaco website states that “Sesaco varieties are the only sesame varieties grown in the world that hold seed in the capsule during dry down, enabling full mechanical harvesting.”
The sesame plant also self defoliates as it gets drier and after flowering.
“Sesame is tolerant of drought and heat. In general, wherever cotton is grown, sesame should have a fit,” according to the Sesaco website.
Meanwhile, the corn harvest was good for a year with little rain.
Farmers were getting 4,200 pounds to 4,300 pounds of corn an acre.
“Five thousand pounds per acre is a good crop,” said, Larry Jochetz of the Woodsboro Farmers Co-op.
It was thought at first that corn might not be so good this year, but that’s not the case.
“The crop is excellent,” said Roxann Wiginton, manager of the Woodsboro Farmers Co-op.
And Bayside Richardson Co-op Gin manager David Wyatt said the cotton harvest began around Aug. 5.
“It should wind up next week,” Wyatt said on Monday, Aug. 19.
Farmers are getting three-quarters to two bales an acre, according to Wyatt. Two bales is a good crop.
“We’ve ginned 5,500 bales, and I have another 3,500 on the yard to process,” he said.
The gin takes the seed and trash out, and the cotton ends up refined.
“We ship all cotton to Gulf Compress. It’s main office is in Corpus Christi, but we take it to their Gregory facility,” he said.
All the cotton seed goes to Valley Co-op Oil Mill in Harlingen.
“We will be looking for more rain and a better crop next year,” he said.