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Diagnosing the Cause of Yellowing Peanut Fields

It happens every year. You cruise peanut fields and see spots of yellowing in a field.  The million dollar question is, “What is causing this yellowing?”  Unfortunately, there are many answers to this question. Problems that cause yellowing... Read More

Spring is a Good Time to Scout Pastures for Toxic Weeds

Spring is a good time to walk your pastures to scout for toxic weeds. Summer pastures are just greening up, but are still short, and warm season weeds are just beginning to pop up out of the ground. ... Read More

Fungus Keeping Kudzu Bugs below Thresholds on Soybeans

Kudzu bugs are a fairly new pest for our area but are already familiar to residents in Northwest Florida.  Researchers are continuously studying new pests to make research-based control recommendations. One research project (UGA research article) is investigating a fungus, Beauveria bassiana, that infects... Read More

Weed Control During Drought

Herbicide failures are common during extended dry periods. This is frustrating for the pesticide applicator due to wasted time and chemicals.  There are logical reasons why certain herbicides fail during droughts. There are two main reasons why herbicides... Read More

Are Flies Bugging your Horses?

There are many external parasites that effect horses. Some are just annoying but some transmit deadly diseases.  The world’s deadliest creature is also a menace to horses.  These creatures transmit Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis, Western Equine Encephalomyelitis, Venezuelan Equine... Read More

Video: Variable Rate Feeding & a Cow Joke

Growing America’s Chad Ethredge, came over to Marianna to visit with me and made a video about something I have a real passion about.  The summer of 2017, farmers and ranchers were forced to harvest over-mature, low quality... Read More

Improve Your Life with Panhandle E-Extension Newsletters and UF/IFAS EDIS Resources

If you are a regular reader of Gardening in the Panhandle, you know that this e-newsletter covers many topics related to ornamental and vegetable gardening, Florida-friendly landscaping, pest management, and lawn and garden fertility. But did you also... Read More

Weed of the Week: Bracken Fern

Bracken Fern is a common perennial fern that is found across the United States. Its ability to grow well is both dry and moist soils, as well as along tree lines, in wooded areas, and around buildings, make... Read More

Holmes County Fall Cattle Forum – November 28

Please make plans to join us on November 28th, 2017 for the Holmes County Fall Cattle Forum. The meeting will be held at the Ag Center in Bonifay, FL. A steak dinner will be sponsored by Southern Cattle Company.... Read More

Winter Pastures Looking Yellow? It Could be a Sulfur Deficiency

Cheryl Mackowiak, UF/IFAS NFREC Soils Specialist As producers near the end of cover crop and cool-season forage planting in the Southeastern U.S., it is time to focus on fertilization.  Depending upon your state, extension professionals have establish guidelines... Read More

Future Livestock Producers are Developed through Local Livestock Shows

  Santa Rosa County Extension Agents have worked closely with the Santa Rosa County Fair over the last five years to grow the livestock show. The Santa Rosa County Fair (SRC Fair) is held in April each year,... Read More

Controlling Brush & Invasive Species Workshop – November 9

Encroaching brush, whether native or invasive, can be a problem for properties large and small. Fighting woody brush and other hard-to-kill weed species can be challenging for property owners. Many factors affect the effectiveness and efficiency of control... Read More

Weed of the Week: Caesar’s Weed

Caesar’s Weed is a member of the Malvaceae family, which are typically grown for ornamental purpose. Other plants in this family include Hibiscus and Cotton. Caesar’s weed is most commonly is found in disturbed areas, pastures, and perennial... Read More

Three Florida Farms Recognized through the SE Hay Contest

Photo Credit: UF/IFAS Photos The winners of the 2017 Southeast Hay Contest were recognized on Tuesday, October 17 at the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia.  Seldom Rest Farm, Pulaski, TN was the overall winner with their entry of extremely high quality... Read More

Evaluation of Feet and Legs Important for Cattle Longevity

Routine evaluation of the health status of cattle is important to ensure that your animals are comfortable and productive. Visual appraisal of body condition scores (BCS), fly stress, and signs & symptoms of sickness are easily observed as... Read More

Rose Crown Gall Becoming More Prevalent in Florida

Kamil Duman, Susannah Wright, Fanny Iriarte, Barron Riddle, Gary Knox and Mathews Paret, University of Florida – NFREC, Quincy, FL For rose nurseries, and commercial landscapers, each of the many rose diseases are as important as the others.... Read More

UF/IFAS Researchers are Studying Endophytes in Florida Pasture Grasses

Ann Blount, Sunny Liao, Florencia Marcon and Cheryl Mackowiak, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center “What is an Endophyte and why are they in my grass pastures?” may be a question that cattlemen in Florida have never... Read More

Weed of the Week: Blackberry

Across the southeastern United States, there are several different species of Rubus (Blackberry and Dewberry). Blackberry is a common issue for pasture owners, with it also commonly growing in fence rows, and ditch banks. Lack of management will... Read More

Proper Hay Storage Can Save You Money

Evan Anderson, Walton County Agriculture Agent If you grow or purchase hay to feed livestock, you probably know that not all hay is created equal. There are a number of factors that contribute to the quality of the... Read More

Managing Grazing Land to Enhance Bee Habitat

Jose Dubeux and Liza Garcia, University of Florida – North Florida Research and Education Center Improved forages are not only good for livestock, but they can also help feed bees! Managing grasslands to enhance bee habitat requires similar... Read More

Why is Nematode Damage Patchy in Crop Fields? How Does this Affect Management Decisions?

I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of grower fields this summer to assess potential nematode damage and I’ve often been asked this question: “Why is nematode damage worse in one section of a field than another,... Read More

Utilizing the Information on the Tag of a Seed Bag

Fall is here so it is time to prepare for winter grazing. Once you determine the variety(s) you will be planting (2017 Cool-Season Forage Variety Recommendations for Florida), the next step is to order and purchase the seed.... Read More

Weed of the Week: Maypop Passion Flower

Often recognized by its showy pink/purple flowers, Maypop Passion Flower is a native plant, found across the southern US.  Although it is sometimes used as an ornamental plant, it can become a nuisance in pastures and along fence-rows. ... Read More

October Cattle & Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle worked to develop a basic management calendar for cattle producers.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with similar... Read More

Battling Scab in Panhandle Pecan Trees

Pecans are grown throughout the Panhandle of Florida. The western side of the Panhandle tends to be acreage dedicated to home gardeners, while the eastern counties have more commercial acreage. Regardless, many in the agriculture community are interested... Read More

Weed of the Week: Cogongrass

Cogongrass was accidentally introduced into Alabama in the 1900’s, but intentionally brought to Florida in the 1930’s as a potential forage and soil stabilizer. Currently it can be found in 73 countries and on every continent. Since being... Read More

Highlights & Proceedings from the UF/IFAS Beef & Forage Field Day

Over 120 cattle producers, extension agents, research faculty and staff attended the UF/IFAS Beef & Forage Field Day that was held on Friday, September 15, 2017 at the North Florida Research and Education Center’s Beef Unit, near Marianna,... Read More

Protecting Fall Vegetable Crops after the Hurricane

As if the fall season wasn’t challenging enough from a pest and disease perspective, throw in a hurricane and it gets much worse. Luckily, the storm missed most of the Panhandle. Tomato and cucurbit producing areas in Gadsden... Read More

Evaluate Forage Production While the Grass is Still Growing

There has been a delightful coolness in the air these first few “post Irma” days. Don’t be fooled, it’s not fall yet. Mid-September, in Florida, is definitely still summer and pasture grass should not be in short supply... Read More

Weed of the Week: Coffee Senna

Coffee Senna is not only an issue for livestock producers, as seeds are toxic when consumed, it also causes issues for cotton and peanut farmers in the southern states. The scientific name Senna occidentalis comes from Arabic and Latin... Read More

Controlling Prickly Pear after Pasture Establishment

Prickly Pear is one of those tenacious, tough to handle weeds that you hate to find growing in your pastures and hay fields.  It can be very difficult to control and eradicate.  This weed typically spreads and reproduces... Read More

New Insect and Mite Control Guide for Florida Cotton Growers

Joe Funderburk, Professor of Entomology, NFREC Quincy A UF/IFAS EDIS fact sheet is now available entitled “Insect and Mite Integrated Pest Management in Florida Cotton” by Joe Funderburk, Nicole Casuso, Norman Leppla, and Michael Donahue. The guide provides... Read More

Farm Food Safety Workshops – October 5 & 26

Two Farm Food Safety Workshops are scheduled for October in the Panhandle.  A Building Your Own Farm’s Food Safety Manual Workshop is scheduled for October 5th in Crestview and a Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Grower Training is scheduled for October... Read More

Bargain Hay is No Bargain if it is Poor Quality

Everyone likes a good bargain, but when it comes to hay, low price often equates to poorer quality. Because hay is often sold by the bale, the amount of savings from the “good bargain” can be reduced substantially... Read More

Updates to the Florida Cottage Food Law

Under the Cottage Food Law in the state of Florida, individuals can sell certain foods they produce in unlicensed home kitchens, if the food has a low risk of foodborne illness, as outlined in Section 500.80 of the... Read More

Weed of the Week: Sicklepod

Sicklepod is commonly known as Coffeeweed and is a major issue for livestock producers across the Southeast. This semi-woody annual legume is native to the American tropics. Sicklepod is known to be toxic, affecting liver, kidney and muscle... Read More

Weed of the Week: Goatweed

Once just an issue in Central Florida Orange groves, Goatweed (Scoparia dulcis), also referred to as sweet broom and licorice weed, is now an issue for many pasture owners in North Florida. The spread of this prolific weed... Read More

Call 811 Before You Dig or Farm Near Buried Utility and Pipelines

Today, August 11 is “National 811 Day,” so it is only fitting to share an Ag-Safety reminder to “Call or Click Before You Dig.” There are pipelines and utility lines buried all over the place in rural areas. ... Read More

Weed of the Week: Southern Sandbur

Across the Southern United States, Southern Sandbur (aka sandspur) can be found. It is an annual grass that grows in cropland and pastures, thriving in dry sandy soils. Southern Sandbur has a shallow fibrous root system and can easily... Read More

Protecting Pollinators from Pesticides: Everyone Plays a Part

Overview On January 12, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final “Policy to Mitigate the Acute Risk to Bees from Pesticide Products.”  This policy outlines EPA’s label statements designed to mitigate acute risks to bees from... Read More

Weed of the Week: Showy Crotalaria

Commonly known as Showy Rattlebox, Showy Crotalaria is a fast growing summer annual that germinates in early spring and flowers in late summer. As a member of the legume family, it was brought to the United States to... Read More

August Cattle & Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle worked to develop a basic management calendar for cattle producers.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with similar... Read More

On the Lookout for Peanut Diseases

The rainy June and July have been both a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because the crops have not suffered for lack of water and a curse for peanut because wet fields prevented or delayed fungicide application... Read More

Weed of the Week: Tropical Soda Apple

This week’s featured weed is tropical soda apple, a serious weed problem in many pastures and natural areas of Florida.  This invasive weed is very prolific and can infest a pasture in a very short time.  Its fruit... Read More

Potassium Deficiency in Hay Fields can Enhance Disease Issues

The Yellow Bahiagrass Hayfield At the end of June, a Jackson County rancher noticed something strange about his hay field.  The field was gradually turning yellow and was not growing well.  Typically plants turn yellow as the result... Read More

Atypical BSE Cow Confirmed in Alabama

On Tuesday, July 18th, 2017, USDA announced confirmation of an atypical case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in an 11 year-old cow in Alabama.  The case was detected at a livestock market in Alabama where the cow was... Read More

Snails have Invaded the Western Panhandle

Snails have invaded some local areas throughout northern Santa Rosa and Escambia Counties this summer. The snails are tan colored, high and conical, with mature snails about ¾ to 1-inch long. They have been found in extremely high... Read More

A Tiny Wasp to Fight the Asian Citrus Psyllid

The Asian citrus psyllid (Fig 1), the carrier of the causative agent of citrus greening or Huanglongbing (HLB), is certainly the most devastating pest in citrus worldwide. Since it was first spotted in Florida in 1998, the Asian... Read More

Laurel Wilt Fungus (Raffaelea lauricola) Reflects the Spread of Redbay Ambrosia Beetles

Ambrosia beetles are known for attacking various woody plants, causing some limb and stem dieback and sometimes plant death. There are at least 30 species of ambrosia beetles in Florida, several of which are non-native. Typically ambrosia beetles... Read More

The Nature of the Beast – Understanding Horse Behavior

By Saundra TenBroeck, Ph.D. Associate Professor/Extension Horse Specialist Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida Gainesville, Florida If you examined the horse from a design engineering perspective, you would quickly realize they have been created to live in... Read More

Beneficial Parasitic Wasps in Peanuts

Insect management tends to focus on pests that cause damage and reduce yields, but one aspect of integrated pest management (IPM) includes the knowledge of beneficial insects that naturally control those pests.  In peanuts, there are several different... Read More

Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Contact with Live Poultry

Last summer the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 611 people from 45 states got Salmonella infections from contact with their poultry.  This year, through the end of May 2017, 372 people from 47 states have gotten sick... Read More

Mosquito Control Can Be As Close As A Farm Pond

The consistent and ample rains of late over Florida’s Panhandle assure enough moisture is available for row crop production and development, and forage growth. It has also minimized, if not eliminated, the need for irrigation and its associated... Read More

July Cattle and Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle worked to develop a basic management calendar for cattle producers.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with similar... Read More

Time to Start Planning for Heifer Development

Nicolas DiLorenzo, State Beef Specialist, University of Florida NFREC Even in this current, somewhat depressed, cattle market, replacement females for the Florida commercial cow herd are an annual expense of approximately $400 million.  Development and selection of the... Read More

Cogongrass Spreading in the Panhandle

A recent increase in the spread of cogongrass has landowners scrambling to find ways to stop this invasive plant. There are ways to combat cogongrass, with positive identification and persistent treatment being paramount. Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is found... Read More

Tips for Successful Pond Weed Management

Every year as the temperatures get warmer the number of calls related to weed problems in fish ponds increases. That was the case this year also, with one notable difference; the calls started coming in March and April,... Read More

Cassava – A Crop for the Back Forty

Cassava, also called yuca (not to be confused with the ornamental plant Yucca), tapioca, or manioc in other regions of the world, is a tropical root crop native to South America.  Cassava belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family, which is... Read More

June Cattle & Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle worked to develop a basic management calendar for cattle producers.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with similar... Read More

When is the Best Time to Fertilize Your Perennial Pastures?

Cheryl Mackowiak, Soils Specialist It is June and we are fast approaching the longest day of the year (June 21st). You may wonder what day length has to do with timing your fertilizer applications. In general, perennial pasture... Read More

How Do I Legally Sell Beef from My Livestock Operation in Florida?

You have worked hard raising quality beef and demand for locally grown food is increasing.  Perhaps you have considered selling meat from your livestock operation, but have found the regulations to be somewhat daunting.  This article highlights two... Read More

Nominations Open For The Florida Heifer Development Program

The 2017-2018 Florida Heifer Development Program began accepting nominations of heifers on June 1, 2017. Last year the program developed 79 head of commercial and purebred heifers for producers from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. The program was designed to... Read More

What are the Requirements to Sell Eggs and Dressed Poultry from Florida Small Farms?

Many small farms have poultry as part of their operation to supply eggs and meat for their immediate and extended family.  With recent federal and state rule changes, however, it is now possible to sell both eggs and... Read More

Tritcale is Gaining Popularity with Dairy and Beef Cattle Producers

Ann Blount, Cheryl Mackowiak, Nick DiLorenzo and Jose Dubeux, UF/IFAS NFREC Marianna Triticale is a winter forage that is gaining in popularity in the Southeast. The name might sound unfamiliar (pronounced trit-i-kay-lee), but it has become increasingly sought... Read More

Cowpea Curculio Outbreak Anticipated after Mild Winter

Peas are a staple food throughout the South.  Whether you prefer southern peas, cowpeas, or blackeye peas, they are all under threat from the cowpea curculio, also known locally as pea weevils.  With the mild winter this year,... Read More

Ecosystem Services provided by Grass-Legume Pastures

Jose Dubeux, Liza Garcia, David Jaramillo, Erick Santos, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center You might not be familiar with the term “Ecosystem Services,” but putting it simply, these are the benefits obtained from ecosystems (interactions between... Read More

Low Oxygen Fish Kills in Managed Ponds

Fishermen aren’t the only people concerned with keeping ponds healthy, because fish can serve purposes other than adorning the dinner table. Some are kept as pets, and others serve to keep ponds free of aquatic weeds that might... Read More

Natural Service Synchronization for the Cow Herd

The benefits of estrous synchronization to enhance artificial insemination (AI) are well established in the beef industry, however, in the United States, 94.2% of the cows are bred by natural service (bull breeding).  Estrous synchronization can also be... Read More

2016 Cotton Nematicide Trial Results

Plant-parasitic nematodes can drastically suppress cotton yield, often without noticeable above-ground symptoms.  For this reason, nematode management is an important part of a successful operation.  Nematicides, pesticides that target nematodes, can be a useful component of a nematode... Read More

April Weather Summary & May Outlook

April was another dry month for much of the Florida Panhandle.  There were streaks of red where heavy bands of rain came ashore and dropped 5-10″, but much of the region that is shaded beige or tan received... Read More

Friday Feature: Cindale Dairy & Creamery

This week’s featured video was produced by Florida Dairy Farmers to highlight a local dairy farm in Jackson County.  Brad and Meghan Austin of Cindale Farms are continuing the family dairy farming tradition. Instead of simply expanding the... Read More

Where to Start with Marketing Fresh Produce?

The local food movement has grown tremendously over the past several years. People have become more interested in how their food is produced and where it comes from. New farms have popped up to try to satisfy this... Read More

Pregnancy Testing Cattle to Save Money

2016 was a tough year in the cow-calf business.  Rancher’s incomes were reduced 50% as compared to previous years.  Needless to say, ranchers are looking for methods to reduce costs in 2017.  One proven practice to save money... Read More

May Cattle & Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle developed a basic management calendar for cattle producers in the region.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with... Read More

Friday Feature: White Angus developed at the University of Florida

This week’s featured video highlights the White Angus breed of cattle being developed at the UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center, in Ona, Florida.  These are not purebred Angus, but a line of cattle that are approximately... Read More

Start Preparing Now for Whiteflies this Fall in Vegetable Crops

I realize that most vegetable producers have just settled into their spring crops, everything is well on its way, and you can put it on maintenance mode for a few weeks. But before long, if you haven’t already,... Read More

Converting from Pines to Pastures? Control Weeds before Planting

With the continued expansion of beef cattle in our area, pasture and hay land is becoming scarce for new producers, and others interested in expanding their operation. Most of the counties in the Florida Panhandle have over 60%... Read More

Farms are Dangerous Places for Kids to Work and Play

There are approximately two million farms in the U.S. There are also approximately 900,000 kids who live on farms, and more than half (51%) work on the farms where they live. Farms annually hire an additional 265,000 youth... Read More

Friday Feature: Portable Chainsaw Sawmill

This week’s feature video highlights a handy innovation for farmers and ranchers.  A tool that allows you to uses your ladder and chainsaw as a portable sawmill.  Norwood Sawmills makes the PortaMill that landowners can use to convert... Read More

Controlling Adam’s Needle in Forages

Although not an extremely common weed in established and well managed pastures and hayfields, Adam’s Needle (Yucca filamentosa L.) can be a persistent and unwanted weed, especially in pastures that have been recently established in reclaimed timberland, or... Read More

Oriental Bean Thrips: A Potential Threat to Florida Bean Crops

Joe Funderburk, NFREC-UF/IFAS, Professor of Entomology Megalurothrips is an Old World genus of thrips associated with the flowers of legumes (Fabaceae), with one species in Africa and twelve species in Asia. The Oriental bean thrips, Megalurothrips distalis, was... Read More

March Weather Summary & Planting Season Outlook

Rainfall The National Weather Service rainfall estimates ranged from as little as 0.5″ to 4″ across the Florida Panhandle in March 2017.  The western counties had higher totals with 3-4″ in the tan sections, and 2-3″ in the... Read More

Friday Feature: Remote Control Boat for Pond Herbicide Application

This week’s featured video highlights an innovation for managing pond weeds.  Lake Restoration Incorporated has developed a remote control, miniature air-boat for applying pond herbicides.  Spraying weeds can be a real challenge for pond owners, but this product... Read More

Do the New Food Safety Standards Apply to Your Farm?

If you are a produce farmer, you should have heard about the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, by now. This act, which was passed in 2011, is considered the largest update to food safety regulation in over... Read More

Field Crop Nematode Management Publications Updated

One of my goals since starting as field crop nematologist at the University of Florida last June was to update the nematode management guides for Florida field crops, so that extension agents and growers have access to active... Read More

April Cattle & Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle developed a basic management calendar for cattle producers in the region.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with... Read More

Friday Feature: Baxter Black’s Duck & Run Olympics

For the past few weeks I have shared more serious videos, so I thought it might be good to lighten up the mood a little this week and feature a video of America’s funniest veterinarian, Baxter Black.  Baxter... Read More

Cool Season Forages – What Grew Well this Year

Every fall producers select which cool season forage varieties they want to utilize in their operations and by the following spring some are happy with the choices they made and others are not. In an effort to help... Read More

Quarantine Lifted, Screwworms Eradicated from Florida Keys

In the fall of 2016, USDA’s Animal Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of screwworms in the Florida Keys.  The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) announced on March 18, 2017 that they were winding... Read More

Friday Feature: Video Tour of a Beef Packing Plant with Temple Grandin

This weeks featured video provides an honest look at how cattle are handled at meat packing plants.  Dr Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, widely considered to be the world’s leading expert on humane... Read More

Friday Feature: Destructive Wildfires in the Plains

On Monday March 6, unique weather conditions including a passing cold front, high winds, and low humidity fueled raging wildfires from Texas to Colorado that burned over 1 million acres.  In the wake of these extremely fast moving... Read More

Beavers – Engineering Marvel or Farmer’s Frustration

Even though the “work” beavers do can sometimes cause frustration to land owners, they are truly amazing creatures.  A number of questions have come into the Extension Office lately about managing beavers, so it is a good time... Read More

Friday Feature: Cordless Fence Staple Gun

This week’s featured video is a really cool innovation for building or repairing fences, a cordless fence staple gun made by the STOCKade Company in New Zealand.  Anyone who has ever built or repaired farm fences will want... Read More

Can I Get Some of That? If You Want to try New Peanut Varieties Ask Now

When I was young, Sunday mornings consisted of getting ready for church, eating breakfast together as a family, and making the 30 to 45 minute ride to church, which seemed to take forever.  Breakfast was hot baked cinnamon... Read More

Disease Alert: Citrus Greening and Asian Citrus Psyllids found in the Panhandle

F. Iriarte, X. Martini, M. Paret, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) Quincy, and E. Lovestrand, UF/IFAS Franklin Co. Extension Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as Yellow Shoot or Citrus Greening is a devastating disease of citrus... Read More

March Cattle & Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle developed a basic management calendar for cattle producers in the region.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with... Read More

February Weather Summary and Spring Outlook

February was considerably drier than January across much of the Panhandle.  There were a few areas that received over 5″ (red), while large portions had 4-5″ (light brown), or 3-4″ (tan).  The eastern portion of the Panhandle received... Read More

Friday Feature: Ear Tags that Identify Sick Cattle

This week’s featured videos highlight a new high-tech tool that feedyards, stocker operations, and maybe even cow-calf operations can utilize to aid in quick identification of sick cattle for immediate care.  Quantified Ag has developed a “Smart Ear... Read More

Cotton Variety Selection Based on 2016 Variety Trial Results

Variety selection is one of the most important decisions a cotton grower makes each season. Choosing a variety based on yield potential, for a particular environment, is usually the first selection criteria. However, genetic performance relating to fiber... Read More

Dr. Cliff Lamb Accepts Position at Texas A&M University

This week marks the end of a very successful era at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, FL . Dr. Cliff Lamb, has received the honor of being selected to serve as the Department Head... Read More

Friday Feature: Florida Ranchers Working Together to Supply Local Beef

A new cooperative, Florida Cattle Ranchers LLC is developing a branded beef program to supply Florida born and raised beef to Florida consumers.  Their slogan is “Rare Beef – Well Done.”  This week’s featured video highlights what this... Read More

Reducing Beef Herd Costs in a Deflated Market

There is no question that cattle ranchers will have to make some challenging decisions to reduce expenses in the face of a deflated cattle market.  Chris Prevatt, UF/IFAS Regional Livestock Economist provided the chart above, which tracks the... Read More

The Peanut Burrower Bug – an Emerging Pest in Peanuts

Xavier Martini, David Wright, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center Burrower bugs are small Heteroptera insects with piercing/sucking mouthparts (Figure 1). There are six different species of burrower bugs that have been found to feed on peanuts.... Read More

Pecan Harvest Equipment Demonstration Video

The Texas Pecan Short Course is an annual, four day training offered by Texas A&M University. The short course teaches pecan orchard managers and prospective pecan growers how to plant, grow, harvest, and market pecans. A harvest equipment... Read More

UF/IFAS Evaluating Cold-Hardy Citrus Varieties for the Panhandle

The relatively mild winter temperatures during the last two decades has led to a resurgence of interest in cold hardy citrus in North Florida. Satsumas account for almost all of the new commercial citrus acreage in the Florida... Read More

2017 Beef Conference Presentations and Highlights

The 32nd annual Northwest Florida Beef Conference & Trade Show was held on February 8, 2017 in Marianna, at the Jackson County Extension Office.  Five speakers provided information to help beef cattle ranchers focus on “Crucial Management in... Read More

Friday Feature: Robotic Dairies

This week’s featured video is actually a series of four videos that showcase high-tech robots for dairy farms.  The Lely Corporation has developed several automated robots for specific daily chores on dairies; from automatically milking cows whenever they... Read More

Late Winter Citrus Management Considerations

Both niche market farmers and home gardeners may be uncertain about late winter management of Satsuma trees.  Several questions that have come in to the Extension Office recently include: Should I prune my trees? Why are the leaves... Read More

Preparations for Foaling Season

As we move into February you begin to notice that, little by little, the days are getting longer. Mares bred in the previous spring are beginning to track wider. Anticipation of the upcoming foal crop should prompt you... Read More

February Cattle & Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle developed a basic management calendar for cattle producers in the region.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with... Read More

Friday Feature: Beyond the Fencerows with Zippy Duval

This weeks featured video highlights American Farm Bureau’s President, Zippy Duval and his passion to share the story of agriculture.  The video, called “Beyond the Fencerows:  Agriculture in the Words of Zippy Duval” shares the mission of Farm... Read More

Hair, Hide Color, Heat, and Humidity – Connecting the Four H’s of Florida Cattle Production

Florida is a hot place. Hot places are hard on cattle performance. Those two facts have complicated cattle production in Florida since the first imports were offloaded from the boat nearly five hundred years ago. Since that day,... Read More

Is it Cost-effective to Apply Nematicides to Field Corn?

Zane Grabau, UF/IFAS Entomology & Nematology Department & Patrick Troy, Regional Row Crop Agent Plant-parasitic nematodes, including sting, root-knot (RKN), and stubby-root nematodes among others can cause significant damage to Florida field corn.  Nematicide application is a common... Read More

US Cattle Herd still Expanding

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released their January cattle inventory report on January 31st.  For the beef cattle industry this is the annual supply report card. The total number of cattle and calves rose 2% from 91.9... Read More

January Weather Summary and Spring Outlook

Compared to December, January was pretty mild up until Sunday January 22, 2017, which was a scary, and really stormy day with high winds, tornado warnings and heavy rains as a cold front rumbled across the Panhandle.  The... Read More

Friday Feature: Grain Bin Entrapment

This week’s the featured video is not a pleasant topic, but it is a message that needs to be shared with every farmer, family member, and farm worker who may work with loose grain and feeds stored in... Read More

High-Fiber Cotton and Peanut Byproducts aid Free-Choice Cattle Feeding

Nicolas DiLorenzo, State Beef Specialist, University of Florida NFREC What can you feed in bulk to cattle free-choice? One of the most common questions that county agents and state specialists receive this time of the year is: what... Read More

Check Serpentine Belts this Winter to Prevent Growing Season Breakdowns

Serpentine belts are a critical component in connection of the cooling system, air conditioning system, charging system, and engine. This belt, which snakes around the outside of the engine, serves a crucial role in functional operations of many... Read More

Friday Feature: Way Out West in Florida

The Florida Beef Council shared a neat old movie short on Facebook a while back that was made in the 1950s.  Paramount Pictures produced a 10-minute movie short to show movie goers the rural Florida most people knew... Read More

Winter Management Reminders for Panhandle Beekeepers

January and February are pivotal months for area beekeepers. Although our warm climate is great for beekeeping, there are a few things to keep in mind while managing bee colonies this time of year. For general management, it’s... Read More

Friday Feature: Autonomous (Self-Driving) Tractors

At the end of 2016, Case IH revealed a new concept tractor that could revolutionize farming in the future – Autonomous or self driving tractors.  Imagine the ability to have a programmed tractor that could disk or spray... Read More

Bull Buying – Focus on Value Not Just Price

2017 is shaping up to be another year of tight margins for cattle producers. As much as ranchers would like to limit expenses during market downturns, some expenditures can’t be postponed. Bulls fall into this category.  The necessity... Read More

Friday Feature: The Riding Cow

For the past 18 months we have shared old farm jokes each week on Panhandle Ag e-news, but the well has about run dry.  Starting in 2017 we will be sharing interesting videos and stories related to agriculture. ... Read More

Things You Should Know About Farm Food Safety

It seems like years ago that the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law, but it was actually 2011.  With a new congress convening this week, and the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump on January 20th,... Read More

Tools for Assessing Soil Moisture

The exceptionally dry fall, followed by above average rainfall in December surprised many and it has been problematic for those trying to plant and manage winter cover or forage crops. Many might be wondering if their soils have... Read More

2016 NASS Farm Land Rent and Labor Survey Summary

Some of the most challenging conversations, in almost any relationship, are the ones about money.  This is certainly true as land owners and farmers, or managers and laborers negotiate for the year ahead. It can be pretty challenging... Read More

January Cattle and Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle developed a basic management calendar for cattle producers in the region.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with... Read More

Panhandle Ag e-News 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards

The Panhandle Ag e-news project began in April of 2012.  Over the past five years,  1,131 articles have been published that are searchable by topic area, keyword, author, or by using the search engine box provided on the... Read More

December Weather Summary and January Outlook

December brought quite a change from the previous months of drought.  The National Weather Service estimates for rainfall ranged from isolated locations with over 15″ (purple), large regions with over 10″ (hot pink), to less than 4″ along... Read More

Prebreeding Management for Successful Development of Beef Replacement Heifers

Pedro L. P. Fontes and G. Cliff Lamb, University of Florida – North Florida Research and Education Center, Marianna, FL The efficiency of post-weaning development of heifers has a major impact on the overall profitability of cow-calf operations.... Read More

2016 Corn Variety Trial Summary from Jay, Florida

Santa Rosa County is not a major corn producer, as compared to the Midwest, but farmers there do grow 600-800 acres of field corn each year. These producers plant corn as a summer rotational crop, some for cattle feed, and a... Read More

Late Planting of Cool-Season Forages

Jose Dubeux, A. Blount, C. Mackowiak, E. Santos, D. Jaramillo, L. Garcia, J. Pereira Neto, L. Dantas Things do not always happen according to plan, especially this fall for cool-season forage planting. The recommended planting period of cool-season... Read More

Friday Funny: Cowboy Ropes Bike Thief at Walmart

This is not a joke.  This really happened!  An Oregon cowboy went to Walmart to get some dog food.  He heard a lady scream for help,  jumped on his horse, roped a bike thief in the Walmart parking... Read More

Fooling Mother Nature for January Foals

Horses are seasonal breeders When day length is getting shorter, mares begin to grow winter hair coats, their estrous cycles become erratic, then they stop ovulating for a period of time that is called anestrous.  After December 21st... Read More

November Weather Summary and Winter Outlook

November was a very dry month across the Florida Panhandle.  For a good portion of the region the limited rain that fell came on November 30, the very last day of the month from a single cold front. ... Read More

December Cattle & Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle developed a basic management calendar for cattle producers in the region.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with... Read More

Friday Funny: How Dry is It?

The Florida Panhandle, like a large portion of the Southeast is experiencing serious drought this fall. While drought is hardly a laughing matter, humor does have a way of easing the anxiety.  The following are just a few... Read More

Friday Funny: The Deer Hunters’ Debate

Four true friends from a local church joined together on Saturdays at a local farm during deer season.  There was the farmer who provided the land, a doctor who was skilled at cutting up the meat, a lawyer... Read More

Which Winter Annual Should You Plant for Optimal Cattle Performance?

Nicolas DiLorenzo, State Beef Specialist, University of Florida NFREC Successful business people will say that one of the keys to maintaining a high level of productivity in a company relies, partially, in making good decisions. The ability to... Read More

A Salute to Rural Veterans

I think we can all agree that political events in the United States over the last few weeks will be remembered in great detail in our history books.  While much of the country remains divided along political party... Read More

Friday Funny: The Nosy Store Manager

Last week a store manager at a local hardware store overheard the clerk saying to a customer, “No, ma’am, we haven’t had any for some weeks now, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll be getting any soon.”... Read More

Integrated Management of Tomato Bacterial Spot Using Bio-control Agents and Conventional Bactericides

Mathews Paret, Laura Ritchie, Drey Clark and Josh Freeman, NFREC Quincy Situation Bacterial spot of tomato continues to be the topmost bacterial disease of economic importance in Florida with the potential of causing >20% yield losses under ideal... Read More

Rice Production in Florida – a Minor, yet Uniquely Valuable Crop

On a recent trip to Arkansas, I was captivated by the beauty of vast fields of flooded rice nearly ready for harvest.  That image is just something you don’t see every day in the Florida Panhandle!  Equally interesting... Read More

Don’t Rush Wildlife Plot Plantings – Wait on Rain

It should be too late in the year for an article about cool season food plots; they should already be up and growing, at the very least planted. It’s November, archery season has begun, the fall food plot... Read More

October Weather Summary and Three Month Outlook

October Summary October is historically one of the driest months of the year in the Florida Panhandle.  Much of the western portion of the Panhandle, however, was “O-for-October,” with little to no rainfall this year.  Northern Jefferson County... Read More

Friday Funny: The Pistol Packin’ Widow

John and Mary were married for 56 years, and lived on the farm they cherished that had been in their family for three generations.  After John died in 2010, Mary decided to keep living on the farm, but... Read More

Next Year’s Bahia Grass Depends on This Year’s Renovation Preparation

In that recent flash of time when cattle prices were the highest in my lifetime, many Florida ranchers seized the opportunity to invest some increased income in capital improvements for the ranch. Some fertilized according to soil test... Read More

When It’s All Said and Done – Lessons Learned from the 2016 Peanut Season

As the saying goes, “hind-sight is 20-20.”   As I’m writing this, peering through my bifocals, I wish my vision was still 20-20.  But that’s another topic.  As peanut harvest comes to a close, it’s often a good time... Read More

Davy and Strange Families Honored as Santa Rosa Farm Families of the Year

On Tuesday, October 4, 2016, the John Davy and Glen Strange families of Panhandle Growers, Inc. were honored as the 2016 Santa Rosa County Farm Families of the Year during the 50th Annual Santa Rosa County Farm Tour.... Read More

November Cattle & Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle worked to develop a basic management calendar for cattle producers.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with similar... Read More

Friday Funny: Respect for Your Elders

A male college student and a much older alumni sitting in front of him had a heated exchange at a recent college football game.  The young man was enjoying heckling the coaches and players and shouting obscenities at... Read More

Improving Ranch Efficiency through Record Analysis

Cattle prices peaked at unprecedented levels in 2014, fell off a cliff in 2015, and took another steep nosedive in 2016.  When you look at Figure 1 above you can see that average prices for weaned steers have... Read More

Oriental Persimmon: For the Specialty Fruit Market

A recent visit to the North Florida Research and Education Center reminded me of the potential of a specialty fruit that is often forgotten about in Northwest Florida, the Oriental persimmon. The Oriental, or Japanese, persimmon (Diospyros kaki) was... Read More

Panhandle Fruit & Vegetable Conference Highlights

The Panhandle Ag Extension Team hosted the inaugural Panhandle Fruit & Vegetable Conference on Tuesday, October 11.  The conference featured three concurrent session tracks for participants to choose from, a keynote address on whole farm business profitability, and... Read More

Three Panhandle Farms Recognized through the 2016 SE Hay Contest

The 2016 Southeastern Hay Contest (SEHC) presented by Massey Ferguson was a fierce competition, with 269 entries vying for the top spot. Three Florida Panhandle Farms were recognized for excellent quality hay:  Bill Conrad, Bascom had the third... Read More

Friday Funny: Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Marriage Right

Harold and Jenny live on a farm in the Florida Panhandle.  Though they have been married for many years, and raised three children to adulthood together, their marriage has been challenging for Jenny.  Harold has worked hard his... Read More

Preliminary Results from the North Florida Olive Variety Trial

There is substantial interest in growing olives (Olea europaea) in northern Florida and southern Georgia.  Thus far, olives have been relatively pest free, and appear to be a sustainable crop for this region. Olives are native to the... Read More

Potential Pests and Diseases of Olives in Florida

Russ Mizell, Peter Andersen and Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman Olives, Olea europaea, are a newly-developing crop in Florida, but much still remains to be learned of the potential pests. Olives are best adapted to dry Mediterranean climates with some winter... Read More

Friday Funny: You Might be a Farmer

Wednesday, October 12th was National Farmer Day, an annual day set aside to pay tribute to the 2% of Americans that feed the other 98% of us. National Fill In Blank Day has been made very popular with... Read More

Fall Sampling for Nematodes in Agronomic Crops

Fall is the best time to take samples for nematodes, since populations often peak near harvest, and while crop roots are still viable.  These samples can be used to help determine if nematodes caused damage in the current... Read More

USDA Confirms Screwworms in the Florida Keys

Screwworms were eradicated from the Southeast back in 1959.  This week USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of New World Screwworms Cochliomyia hominivorax in three deer in the Florida Keys.  At this point, APHIS... Read More

Selecting the Right Lubricant for Your Equipment Saves Time, Money and Frustration

Farming enterprises in the 21st century require many costly inputs to even have a chance of competing successfully. Equipment such as tractors, truck and harvest machinery are necessary, but a major long term expense. Thorough and regular maintenance... Read More

September Weather Summary and Fall Planting Forecast

September rainfall was greatly influenced by Hurricane Hermine.  The eastern Panhandle Counties had significantly more rainfall in the month of September. September totals ranged from over 10″ (pink) in portions of Franklin, Leon, and Jefferson County to a... Read More

Friday Funny: The Donkey’s Revenge

One day a farmer’s jackass fell down into an old abandoned well on the old homestead.  The animal brayed and squealed pitifully for hours.  The farmer was going crazy, because he could not figure out what to do. ... Read More

Enhancing the Market Value of Your Next Calf Crop

According the 2007-2008 USDA Reference of Beef Cow-calf Management Practices in the United States, approximately two-thirds of cattle operations (60.7%) used an auction market as the primary method of sale for weaned steers & bulls. These auction markets... Read More

Zika Virus and Mosquito Control – Recommendations for Beekeepers and Rural Landowners

Judy Biss, UF/IFAS Extension Calhoun County Office, Jace Ford, Calhoun County Mosquito Control, Jeff Pippin, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Apiary Inspection By now you have probably heard about Zika Virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes. ... Read More

Friday Funny: Antique Tractor For Sale

Farm machinery classified adds are normally dull and boring, but do get the point across in just a few words.  Recently a farmer in the Panhandle came up with something really clever to generate income for his farm... Read More

Is Calf Shrink a Big Deal?

Perhaps weaning time has come and gone on your operation, but did you consider how much potential profit was lost because of shrink in the calves you sold? Shrink in beef calves is weight loss due to stress... Read More

Unusual Outbreaks of Sweetpotato Whiteflies in the Panhandle

Xavier Martini, Mathews Paret, Josh Freeman, UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center Outbreaks of sweetpotato whiteflies (also called silverleaf whitefly) Bemisia tabaci (Figure 1 above) have been recorded recently in the Florida Panhandle and South Georgia on... Read More

Perennial Peanut, A Great Choice for Panhandle Pastures and Landscapes

Driving through rural parts of the Panhandle this time of year, one will find pastures with thick green canopies, exploding with the yellow-gold flowers. Perennial peanut is in bloom. This is a highly nutritional forage option for livestock, but... Read More

Friday Funny: Market Reports

Farmers and ranchers always pay close attention to market reports, but are normally discouraged by them.  Perhaps if the market reports were more fun, the bad news might be easier to take. This Week’s Stock Market Summary Helium... Read More

2016 Cool-Season Forage Variety Recommendations for Florida

Ann Blount & Jose Dubeux, North Florida Research and Education Center; Patricio Munoz, Ali Babar, Kevin Kenworthy, and Ken Quesenberry, Department of Agronomy; and Joao Vendramini, Range Cattle Research and Education Center Seed availability this year for most... Read More

Growing Hops in the Panhandle

When one thinks of hops, one most likely thinks first of beer. The brewing of beer, and especially its subsequent consumption, are likely to eclipse thoughts of any other part of the process that brings such a tasty... Read More

Thrips-transmitted Viruses Infect a Number of Florida Crops

Garima Kakkar, UF/IFAS, St Lucie County Extension, Fort Pierce; Joe Funderburk, UF/IFAS, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy; Scott Adkins, USDA-ARS, Horticultural Research Laboratory, Fort Pierce The thrips-transmitted tospoviruses are important economic problems for crops in Florida.... Read More

Florida Farmland Value Holding Fairly Steady

The last few years most of the farm market news has been pretty discouraging, with declining market prices for peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans, and cattle. In August, however, USDA released the 2016 Land Values Summary report that showed... Read More

Friday Funny: Poor Coordination

A country preacher was very frustrated with the level of alcohol abuse in his congregation.  There were several families that were really struggling, so he decide it was time for him to take action. The preacher used every... Read More

Hosting a Farm Tour is an Excellent Marketing Tool

One excellent way to increase farm sales is to host a farm tour. In 2013 the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 1106, protecting farmers and ranchers from liability as long as activities are directly related to agriculture. This... Read More

August Weather Summary, Hurricane Hermine, & September Outlook

For much of the Panhandle August was an improvement over July with more adequate rainfall scattered across the region.  Portions of the coastal counties received over 10″ (hot pink), while there were a number of inland pockets that... Read More

September Cattle & Forage Management Reminders

UF/IFAS Beef Cattle & Forage Specialists, and County Extension Agents serving the Florida Panhandle worked to develop a basic management calendar for cattle producers.  The purpose of this calendar is to provide reminders for management techniques with similar... Read More

Friday Funny: Football Rivalry Insults

In honor of the opening weekend of College Football I thought I would share some of my favorite rivalry insults to share with your friends who root for the wrong team.  Don’t take offense, just change the highlighted... Read More

Using the Linear Bed Foot System for Vegetable Fertilization

Some production systems, particularly vegetables, utilize wide row spacing (anywhere from 4 to 8 foot wide). In these systems it is of economic and environmental importance to fertilize the crop root zones evenly, and not fertilize the row... Read More

The Vegetable Production Handbook of Florida: The Go-to-Guide for Vegetable Farmers

The recently updated Vegetable Production Handbook of Florida (VPH) is the go-to-source of information on vegetable production.  So you need to know how to control leafminers in sweet potato? It is in there! Maybe you have a problem... Read More

High Tunnel Exclusion Systems for Improved Pest Management

Author: Jose Perez, UF/IFAS Small Farms Extension Coordinator Dr. Ayanava Majumdar is an Extension Entomologist for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University. His work focuses on finding practical solutions for managing insect pests that affect peanut... Read More

Friday Funny: 40th Anniversary Reminiscing

A farmer and his wife enjoyed a wonderful celebration with their family on their 40th wedding anniversary.  After everyone left the couple was putting things away and stopped to reminisce about how things were so different when they... Read More

Time to Order Cool-Season Forage Seeds

Jose Dubeux – University of Florida – NFREC Forage Management Specialist Have you booked your seeds for cool-season pastures? Fall is rapidly approaching, so it is time to book your cool-season forage seeds. Cool-season forages represent a great... Read More

Friday Funny: The Cattleman’s Secret for Longevity

From his favorite rocking chair on his front porch, a 95 year old cattleman shared words of wisdom with the grandson he chose to carry on the tradition of managing the family ranch. He told his grandson, “You... Read More

Bermudagrass Stem Maggots Plague Panhandle Hay Producers

Bermudagrass Stem Maggots continue to be a cause of consternation to producers of high quality hay in the Panhandle in 2016. Research in Georgia indicates that, since their first discovery in that state in 2010, stem maggots have... Read More

Ergot: A Fungal Disease in Argentine Bahiagrass Found in Jackson County

Several calls have come in to the Jackson County Extension Office recently from producers regarding something unusual in their “Argentine” bahiagrass fields.  A parasitic fungal disease called ergot (Claviceps paspali) is growing on the seedheads (racemes) of Argentine... Read More

Snakes of the Florida Panhandle: Southern Copperhead

— There are approximately 44 species of snakes found in Florida.  The Southern Copperhead is one of only six venomous snakes that one might encounter while outdoors in the Florida Panhandle.    A uniquely beautiful and secretive snake, they... Read More

Friday Funny: English is a Crazy Language

With school starting this week, I just wanted to remind you why our kids have to spend 12 years of their lives in school.  It takes that long to learn our crazy language!  We take for granted so... Read More

Panhandle Citrus Producers Need to Know Symptoms of Canker and Greening

Florida’s citrus producers, as well as backyard growers have battled detrimental issues like hard freezes and storm damage over the years.  However, in recent years, emergent bacterial diseases known as citrus canker and citrus greening have been devastating... Read More

New Rules for Medicated Feed Go Into Effect in January

On January 1, 2017 medicated feeds for livestock will no longer be sold “over-the-counter” (OTC) through feed dealers. Under the direction of the US Food and Drug Administration, feeds that include antimicrobial drugs will be transitioning to Veterinary... Read More

July Weather Summary and Harvest Weather Outlook

Typically, July in the Florida Panhandle is the wettest month of the year with 6-7″ of rainfall.  In the graphic above, areas that are hot pink or dark red did receive over 6″ in July, but this was... Read More

Friday Funny: The Cow Salesman

When the cattle market peaked back in 2014-15, a Panhandle Rancher decided it was finally time for a new truck.  The 20-year-old truck he had patched and repaired for the past 10 years was so well used that... Read More

Are Your Forages Getting Enough Water?

Cheryl Mackowiak, UF/IFAS NFREC Soils Specialist Forages, as with all plants, require light, water and nutrients. Even if you cannot control water inputs because you are on non-irrigated land, you may find it useful to know the water... Read More

Cute Baby Chicks and Your Chickens Can Make You Sick

Last summer the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported 181 people from 40 states got Salmonella infections from contact with their poultry.  This year, through the end of June 2016, 611 people from 45 states have gotten sick... Read More

Armyworms Wreaking Havoc on North Florida Forages

Ray Bodrey, UF/IFAS Gulf County Extension Director & Kalyn Waters, UF/IFAS Holmes County Extension Director A sudden, fierce attack of armyworms is currently underway on Panhandle forages.  Livestock and hay producers should be on the lookout for this... Read More

Corn Harvest Underway in Jackson County

Harvest is always an exciting time on the farm.  Months of work, investment, and risk pay off when the crop comes in.  This week several farms in Jackson County started harvesting field corn from both dryland and irrigated... Read More

Satsumas Return to North Florida

Author: Jose Perez, UF/IFAS Small Farms Extension Coordinator Tour a Satsuma Grove on October 11 There was a time when citrus production was booming in North Florida. In the 1920’s, Jackson County, Florida, was known as the Satsuma... Read More

Friday Funny: The Eternal Ride

Two ranchers, Bart and Hank, in their late 80’s, were neighbors who been friends all of their lives. When it was clear that Bart’s health was failing, Hank visited him every day.  One day Hank said, “Bart, we both... Read More

Fetal Versus Maternal Contributions of Bos indicus Genetics to Offspring Growth

By Pedro Fontes and Cliff Lamb Researchers at the North Florida Research and Education Center have initiated a five-year experiment that focuses on the relationship between cattle breed and nutritional restriction on subsequent fetal and calf development, feed... Read More

Weed Control Can Also Reduce Insect Damage

Insects, like humans, do not like exerting more effort than is necessary. They are also picky eaters. When an insect lands on a plant that it cannot eat or doesn’t prefer to eat, then it must exert more... Read More

Fungicide Considerations for the Mid-point of the Peanut Growing Season

Mid July is the time of year where, for most of us, we are at the mid-point in our peanut production season. The peanut plants, if not already lapped, are at a point where the canopy traps humidity... Read More

Friday Funny: The Ornery Farmer

Clifford and Daisy were farmers who were married for many years.  Together they raised crops and cattle on some of the poorest land in the Florida Panhandle.  Life for them was never easy and it showed.  Their marriage... Read More

Anhidrosis: When Your Horse Stops Sweating

Horses Should Sweat Like a Horse Unlike cows, pigs and dogs which primarily use respiration to dissipate heat, the primary way horses, and of course humans, stay cool in hot weather is through evaporation of sweat. In environments... Read More

Perennial Peanut Field Day July 23

Perennial Peanut Field Day Saturday, July 23rd, 2016 9:30 AM EST Registration – $10 per person UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy, Florida The Perennial Peanut Producers Association and the University of Florida are teaming up... Read More

June Panhandle Weather Summary

June 2016 was fairly typical for the Florida Panhandle with much warmer temperatures and scattered afternoon thunderstorms with highly variable rainfall.  In the graphic above you can see the hot pink areas that received more than 10″ and... Read More

Friday Funny: Florist Foul-up

A farmer and his wife worked with his son and daughter-in law to develop a business plan that would allow the couple to move back to the family farm.   The young couple developed an agritourism business with... Read More

Friday Funny: Patronizing Nurse

Harold was a farmer, who had stayed healthy and happy out on the farm for over 60 years. As the years slipped by, however, his wife worried about him out in the summer heat for long hours each... Read More

Grazing Weaned Calves on Bahiagrass Pastures – Key Points to Consider

Nicolas DiLorenzo and Darren Henry, UF/IFAS NFREC Beef Research Unit, Marianna Producers across the Southeast are having to make some tough decisions this summer. The calf market has fallen off considerably, so should you sell at weaning, or... Read More

Friday Funny: No Resurrection

A farmer took an extended vacation to Jerusalem with his family, including his mother-in-law. While they were there, the mother-in-law died. With the death certificate in his hand, the farmer went to the American Consulate’s Office to make... Read More

Panhandle Cotton Insect Situation

  Cotton throughout the area is squaring heavily and most of our oldest cotton is probably a week away from first bloom. There are reports of some fields being treated for tarnished plant bugs feeding on pinhead squares.... Read More

Friday Funny: Skin Transplant

A farmer’s wife got in a terrible car wreck on the highway coming back from town one night. In addition to a broken arm, gashes, and numerous bumps and bruises, her face was severely damaged. The doctor told... Read More

National Beekeeper Reports Reveal a Significant Decline in Colonies, Production, and Income

It has been a tough year for beekeepers.  Two recent national reports revealed that beekeepers suffered the triple whammy of colony loss, reduced honey production, and lower prices, all of which ultimately reduced income over this past production... Read More

Spotted Wilt Virus showing up in Jackson County Peanuts

Always unpredictable, spotted wilt disease of peanut in the southeast has ebbed and flowed over the years.  For many years, the disease was moderate to severe at the North Florida Research and Education Center near Mariana, Florida.  Then... Read More

Friday Funny: Unclear Instructions

An older man got a little confused at a sporting goods store recently.  When he was ready to pay for his shotgun shells and 22 bullets, he walked up to the counter and pulled out his credit card... Read More

More Grazing Dishes for the Summer Salad Bar

We’ve heard “North Florida can grow forage 365 days a year!” for ages, and that’s true. However, those of us who’ve carried livestock through more than one winter with our own money, or worse, a bank’s money, know... Read More

Soybean Rust Confirmed in Quincy Soybeans

Soybean rust appeared early this year.  The mild, wet winter has resulted in a higher incidence and severity of soybean rust found on kudzu than in recent years.  Soybean rust was confirmed in early planted soybean sentinel plots... Read More

Summer Hive Management for Panhandle Beekeepers

It’s harvest time for many choice honey crops. That means it’s also time to plan for hive maintenance concerning next year’s harvest. Summer is great time for hive maintenance, as there are limited active pollen producing plants. So,... Read More

May and T.S. Colin Weather Summary and Summer Outlook

May Rainfall May was a more typical rainfall month for the Panhandle with El Niño disappearing.  In the graphic above you can see that only small portions of northern Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties received more than 8″... Read More

Friday Funny: Gender Neutral Restrooms

Farm folks have handled an issue for many years that is causing great debate and concern in society today.  The whole topic of gender and restrooms can be solved by going back to old-school technology that was utilized... Read More

Improving the Efficiency of Your Hay Production

As cattle prices have drastically declined, producers are closely examining every production expense.  It makes perfect sense to closely evaluate the efficiency of the hay produced on an operation, because hay is typically the most expensive feed fed... Read More

Friday Funny: Tractor for Sale

A local farmer got a lot of attention recently when he advertised a used tractor for sale on Craig’s list.  The cleverly written advertisement said:   FOR SALE Used John Deere Tractor Must sell wife’s tractor.  Tractor has... Read More

Control Grasshoppers When They Are Young

The Eastern Lubber Grasshopper, also known colloquially as the “Georgia Thumper,” can be highly destructive to a variety of vegetable crops. This May many growers and vegetable gardeners have reported unusually high numbers of nymphs, the juvenile form... Read More

Friday Funny: Newlywed Tech Support

A young farmer married his high school sweetheart and moved her from the city to live with him out on the family farm.  At first life was good.  She busied herself turning their house into their home.  Overtime... Read More

Federal Reserve Bank’s April Agriculture Report

The Federal Reserve Banks’ Beige Book indicates agricultural conditions were mixed across the country in its April 13, 2016 release.  Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Dallas Federal Reserve Banks reported poor prospects for agricultural profitability because... Read More

Friday Funny: The Ranch Hand Interview

A rancher needed a new hand, so he went to the feed store, the farm supply dealership, and the coffee shop to spread the word that he was looking to hire a cowboy.  A few days later he... Read More

Hay Bale Size Really Does Matter

Now is the time to start planning for the hay making season, so let’s consider the size issue when it comes to hay bales.  In a lot of situations size really does matter, because bale size has the... Read More

Spring Growth Differences in Bahiagrass Varieties

Let me begin with a disclaimer; this article contains no research data and no recommendations, but only some observations that I thought might be useful to those of you thinking about perennial forage options. All of the pictures... Read More

April 2016 Weather Summary and 3 Month Outlook

April was a wetter than average month in most locations across the Panhandle, but nothing like the April rains of 2014 and 15.  There were a few pockets in hot pink that had over 10″ of rainfall for... Read More

Friday Funny: The Lifesaving Lie

A cowboy drove his truck and horse trailer to town to pick up some vaccines and wormer the day he was planning to work his cows.  As he slowed down to turn off of the highway, he was... Read More

Horn Fly Control for Beef Cattle

With a warm winter in the southeast and an early spring, many producers are already noticing the presence of flies in their beef cattle herds. The most common and costly of these flies is the Horn Fly. It... Read More

Resistance of Tobacco Thrips to Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments

Danielle Sprague and Joe Funderburk, North Florida REC, University of Florida, IFAS Tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca, are seedling pests of peanut, soybean, and cotton throughout the southern USA. The adults and larvae feed on the developing leaves, causing... Read More

Do Your Part to Stop the Spread of Mosquito Borne Diseases

Sheila Dunning, Okaloosa Commercial Horticulture Agent With all the news about the Zika virus spread in Florida, now is the time to start thinking about mosquito protection. As the weather warms, they will be hatching.  Check out where... Read More

EPA Announces Revisions to Worker Protection Standard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced revisions to the 1992 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS). This change is intended to improve workers health protections and make them comparable to the standards in other industries. These modifications affect... Read More

Friday Funny: Top 20 Cow One-liners

This is somewhat of a departure from the normal Friday Funny jokes, but after attending the 65th Annual Florida Beef Cattle Short Course where they encouraged ranchers to tell their story I thought I would share these one-liner... Read More

UF/IFAS offers Heifer Development Program for Cattle Producers

The Florida Heifer Development Program  Annually beef cattle producers are faced with the decision of how to replace unproductive females within their herd. For most large commercial ranches, developing their own replacement heifers is a viable option, but... Read More

Friday Funny: Hearing Test

Doris and Ralph had been married and lived on their farm together for over 40 years.  Ralph noticed that his wife seemed to have trouble hearing him lately and became concerned.  He started thinking she might need to... Read More

Beware of the Upcoming Heat – Drought Stress in Vegetables

It happens every year, usually the second week of May, but this year it looks like it may be next week. We are strolling right along, crops are moving beautifully, weather is nearly perfect, and then it happens.... Read More

Arthropod Pests of Strawberries

Evan Anderson, Walton County Agriculture Agent Strawberries are currently in full production, and seeing rows of beautiful berries at a u-pick operation, or flats of flawless fruits in the store makes it easy for the consumer to forget... Read More

The Cheapest Method to Control Pasture Weeds

Doug Mayo, Jackson County Extension Director & Dr. Jay Ferrell, UF/IFAS Extension Weed Specialist From time to time people ask, “What is the cheapest way to control weeds in pastures?”  A healthy, vigorous pasture grass will choke out... Read More

Horse Owners Urged to Vaccinate against Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. EEE most often infects horses but can also infect humans.  There is no vaccine for humans and approximately 1/3 of those infected die of the disease.... Read More

Highlights and Proceedings from the 2016 Beef & Forage Field Day

101 ranchers, UF/IFAS Extension Agents and Specialists, allied industry representatives, and graduate students participated in the 2016 UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center’s Beef & Forage Field Day held on Friday April 15th at the Beef Research... Read More

Friday Funny: Couple Sex

A lifetime farmer got to the stage in life that he was no longer able to physically work the land anymore.  He could not bring himself to sell the farm he loved, so he rented out his land to... Read More

Grazing Management during Spring Transition

Spring is an important time of year to manage grazing of pastures. During the spring, warm-season perennials start to emerge from their cool-season dormancy. If you overseeded your pastures with cool-season forages, you need to manage the competition... Read More

Red Hills Small Farm Alliance Recognized by National Farm Credit for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Announced at the National Ag Day in Washington, D.C., the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance (RHSFA) became one of the Top 100 Honorees recognized by the National Farm Credit System for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The Farm Credit 100... Read More

Friday Funny: Cowboy Math

The foreman of a large cattle ranch in Florida died after 35 years of employment.  The ranch he worked for had supplied his home and a truck to drive, so after he passed his most valuable possessions were... Read More

Leaf Mold Infecting High Tunnel Tomatoes

High tunnels have gained popularity in Florida over the past 10 years.  The USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service EQIP program and others like it have increased high tunnel acreage in Florida from none being reported in 2001, to... Read More

1st Quarter 2016 Weather Summary and Planting Season Outlook

Just when it seemed El Niño had lost it’s grip, the deluges started again at the end of March.  Many farmers were planting watermelons and corn, or preparing land for cotton and peanuts in mid-March, but heavy rains... Read More

Friday Funny: The Marriage Retreat

Frank and Ann had been farming together for over 20 years.  Unfortunately, they spent so much time together they got on each others nerves all of the time. After Church one Sunday they waited around to speak with... Read More

Control Burning Newly Planted Longleaf Pines and Saplings

Controlling competing vegetation and brown spot disease are two of the main reasons prescribe burns are recommended for young longleaf plantations: Longleaf pine seedling do not compete well with vegetation, and will stay in the grass stage for... Read More

Boxwood Blight Update: Disease Confirmed in Leon County

Fanny Iriarte, Mathews Paret, and Gary Knox, University of Florida, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy In April 2015, Boxwood Blight was confirmed in a commercial nursery in North Florida (Pest Alert: Boxwood Blight)  In February 2016,... Read More

Friday Not so Funny

Usually we bring you a corny story each week to try to put a smile on your face and take a break from the stress and tension of every day life, at least for a little while.  Today,... Read More

Salvaging Winter Forage Production this Year

Cheryl Mackowiak, UF/IFAS NFREC Soils Specialist Cool-season forages took a hit this year from challenging growing conditions. Summer extended into winter, so perennial summer grasses remained competitive with the cool-season forage plantings all the way into December and... Read More

Pasture Weed Control Tips for Thistles

Timing is critical for controlling weeds that infest and invade our pastures.  Thistles are an example of a weed in which proper timing of herbicide application can mean the difference between excellent and very poor control of the... Read More

Friday Funny: The Millennial Voter

Those of you who are worried about which candidate will be our next president relax, the following is just one example of a more serious problem in this country. With so much current press coverage on the Presidential... Read More

Understanding Fetal Programming in Cattle

Cliff Lamb, Beef Cattle Specialist, University of Florida – North Florida Research and Education Center, Marianna, FL Fetal programming is a term that many producers may have heard of in recent years, but may not have understood the... Read More

A Hook, Line & Sinker Approach to Pond Management

Florida is home to literally thousands of ponds, some natural, some man made. Most of these ponds are used solely for recreation. However, some ponds are used for farming needs, whether for irrigation or livestock purposes. In either... Read More

Friday Funny: The Cross-eyed Cow Dog

This week’s joke was sent in by Tammy Long, Bascom, FL.  Thanks for sharing Tammy! A Florida Panhandle farmer had the veterinarian out to pregnancy test his cow herd.  Once they were finished working the cow herd, the... Read More

Population Growing but US Farm Acreage Declining

One of the areas of critical concern world-wide is how to meet the food demands for a growing world population while farmland acres continue to shrink.  As you can see from the chart above, the U.S. Census Bureau... Read More

What Happened to Your Pasture?

As an agent I find it somewhat disconcerting when, this time of year, I begin getting questions about replanting perennial grass pastures (bahiagrass, bermudagrass, etc.). By definition, a perennial pasture should last for many years; making replanting a... Read More

East Meets West: Alternative Horse Therapy

Since we call western medicine “conventional” medicine, it follows that Complementary and Alternative Medicine would be considered unconventional medicine. In recent years, more and more doctors and veterinarians are embracing alternative therapies as an adjunct to traditional treatment... Read More

February Weather Summary and Spring Forecast

February 2016 The National Weather Service estimated that rainfall ranged from  10″ to as little as 2″ in February across the Florida Panhandle.  The dark red portions of the map received between 8-10″ and the light tan and... Read More

Friday Funny: The Frozen Carburetor

Back in January, on a bitterly cold winter’s day in North Dakota, a State Trooper out on patrol came upon a motorcyclist who was stalled by the roadside. The biker was swathed in heavy protective clothing and wearing... Read More

Brunswick Grass: a Weed Contaminant in Bahiagrass Seed Production Fields

Ann Blount, Jay Ferrell, Anthony Drew, Jose Dubeux, and Cheryl Mackowiak (in cooperation with Johnny Melton, Jack Melton Family, Inc.) Brunswick grass (Paspalum nicorae Parodi), sometimes referred to as “Brown seeded paspalum,” is becoming a problematic weed in... Read More

The Kiwano and Pepino: Crops for the Back Forty

The USDA defines specialty crops as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).” This definition is very broad and as you will soon find out, some crops are extremely special. Two crops new... Read More

Friday Funny: The Guard Mule

This week’s joke was sent in by Cheryl Vergot, Tallahassee, FL. Thanks for sharing Cheryl!   As is most often the case these days, a young farmer married a cute city-girl who grew up in a nearby town. ... Read More

How Much Winter Forage Do Cattle Consume in a Day?

Nicolas DiLorenzo, State Beef Specialist, University of Florida NFREC You often hear from university cattle specialists, extension agents, nutritionists, your neighbor, and anyone else you may ask about winter supplementation, that planning ahead is one of the keys... Read More

UGA Peanut Update provides Recommendations for 2016 Production

After the 2015 growing season, depressed prices, areas of no rain for 8 weeks and yields ranging from zero to dancing around the 6,000 pound per acre mark, Santa Rosa County producers are looking toward the 2016 season with... Read More

2016 Beef Conference Highlights with Links to Presentations

The 31st annual Northwest Florida Beef Conference was one of the best in the long history of this event.  175 people attended the event this year that featured seven presentations and a trade show of 28 companies and... Read More

Friday Funny: The Shingles

Kevin inherited a 200 acre farm from his father.  He worked very hard for several years, but just could not earn enough to provide for his family.  So, he started working in town driving a delivery truck part-time... Read More

Plant Recommendations to Augment Ecosystems Services

Russ Mizell, Gary Knox and Holly Ober Faculty at the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center have developed a new website giving recommendations on plant species that provide a range of regulatory ecosystems services for... Read More

Friday Funny: Valentine’s Surprise

Last week the joke of the week picked on the menfolk.  This weeks funny is on the women. A group of farmers’ wives regularly met for coffee on Friday mornings in a small Florida Panhandle town.  The conversations... Read More

2016 Peanut Variety Update

Yield Potential While the majority of seed for peanut planting this year will be Georiga-06G, there are several varieties in seed increase that farmers should become familiar with. Table 1 shows the performance of peanut varieties in Florida... Read More

USDA 2016 US Cattle Inventory Report

Much of the agricultural economy in the country is driven by the basic economic principles of supply and demand.  Why are commodity prices for crops grown in the Southeast so low?  For the most part it is related... Read More

Expected Tight Margins in 2016 Call for Careful Evaluation of Peanut Production Practices

The predictions for 2016 crop prices are, let’s just say, less than ideal. In years like this there is a natural tendency for farmers to look for corners to cut, in an attempt to keep production cost lower.... Read More

January Panhandle Weather Summary & February Outlook

January was a more normal month for much of the Florida Panhandle.  Much of the soil is still somewhat saturated from all of the rain at the end of 2015, but from the map above you can see... Read More

In Case You Missed It – Cucurbit & Satsuma Meeting Content is now Online

Thank you to all those who attended the Tri-State Cucurbit and Panhandle Satsuma Meetings held in Jackson County!  We had a great turnout at both meetings, and we even had some folks from as far away as Statesboro, GA. ... Read More

Friday Funny: Marriage Counseling and BBQ Piñatas

A farmer and his wife had a challenging marriage.  They seemed to fight every night, so the farmer just got up earlier and worked later each day until he was only at home long enough to eat, bathe,... Read More

Controlling Rats and Mice around the Farm

The Norway rat, roof rat, and house mouse are destructive rodent pests in and around farm facilities. This can be especially true during the winter months, as they seek food and refuge indoors. Rats and mice consume and... Read More

UGA Decision Aids can Help Farmers Decide What Crops to Plant in 2016

2015 was a very challenging year for Panhandle row crop farmers with the double whammy of low commodity prices and unfavorable weather.  As a result, many farmers are uncertain as to what crops to plant for the coming... Read More

Friday Funny: The Motorcycle Accident Praise Report

A Florida farmer had a very embarrassing moment at the country church where his wife had grown up, in the next county over.  He was recovering from a very serious motorcycle injury.  The farmer had kept his injuries... Read More

Pollination of Vegetable Crops to Maximize Your Crop’s Potential

It won’t be long until row crops and vegetable gardens are planted and thriving once again next spring. A sometimes taken for granted, yet critical element of any prosperous crop is successful pollination. Most of us know what... Read More

Florida Deciduous Fruit and Nut Crop Acreage Estimates by County

USDA Acreage Estimates of Deciduous Fruit and Nut Crops in Florida for 2002 and 2012 Peter C. Andersen and Kevin R. Athearn Every 10 years USDA conducts a survey by county of the acreage of agricultural commodities for... Read More

Friday Funny: The Artistic Cowboy

A cattle rancher in the Florida Panhandle had a natural artistic talent.  He just had a knack for capturing scenery, animals and people in his mind and painting what he envisioned.  After many years of tinkering with painting,... Read More

The Rap on Bale Wrap

Round hay balers have made large strides in packaging the bale since their introduction. First, there was sisal twine. Rats chewed through it, or it rotted from soil contact. Plastic twine replaced sisal. Those problems were addressed, but... Read More

USDA’s Grass-Fed Meat Labeling Regulations Changed in January

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) rescinded the labeling standard for grass-fed meat on January 12, 2016 in a Federal Register notice. The posting states “AMS has determined that certain services do not fit within... Read More

Friday Funny: The Pig with a Wooden Leg

This weeks Friday Funny was sent in by Ed Lewis, Procurement Forester, for WestRock in Cottondale.  Thanks for sharing Ed! A TV reporter became lost on the back roads and stopped at a farm to get directions. As... Read More

Stockpiled Grazing Can Reduce Winter Feeding Costs

Winter feeding is one of the largest expenses for ranchers, and hay production and feeding is one of the major labor requirements in the annual management of a cattle operation. Researchers across the country have long searched for... Read More

Panhandle December 2015 Weather Summary

December was a very wet month for much of the Panhandle, but there was wide variation with eastern counties having much lower totals.  The areas in hot pink show areas that received more than 10″ in December.  Portions... Read More

Friday Funny: The Famous Cardiologist’s Funeral

A very prestigious, and internationally recognized cardiologist who was nearing the end of his career to leave the spotlight and stress of leading the cardiologist staff of the Mayo Clinic, and moved to a small, rural hospital in... Read More

Managing Cow Body Condition has Long-term Impacts

Dr. Matt Hersom, Associate Professor, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida The body condition score of a cow and the herd overall is the best indicator of past nutritional status or success of... Read More

Radish: The Fastest Vegetable to Market

I’ve heard it said there’s no such thing as a vegetable that grows fast, tastes good, and is cheap….well they must not have considered the radish! If a fast growing, quick producing vegetable is desired, nothing is better... Read More

Owls – Florida’s Remarkable Birds of Prey

Some of my favorite creatures are owls, and as you can see by the quotes below, owls have captivated humans across the ages. “And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof:... Read More

Friday Funnies: The DEA Officer & Santa’s Delay

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Officer made an unexpected visit to a ranch in the Florida Panhandle.  He got out of the black, unmarked SUV he was driving, and barked at the rancher, “I need to inspect... Read More

Seasons Greetings

Season’s Greetings from everyone on the Panhandle Agriculture Extension Team.  Make time for family over the holidays and celebrate the accomplishments and blessings of 2015.   Facebook0Twitter0Google plus0

UF/IFAS Researchers Evaluating Flower Thrips Injury to Strawberries

Iris Strzyzewski and Joe Funderburk, North Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida The U.S. supplies 29% of the total production of strawberries, making it the largest producer worldwide. Florida harvests about 10,000 acres annually valued at... Read More

Idle Farm Equipment Makes an Ideal Habitat For Black Widow Spiders

As the growing season concludes, field equipment is parked in the barns and sheds across the Panhandle. After an all too brief rest, farmers and ranchers perform the necessary maintenance on these agricultural assets.  Even still, unpowered and... Read More

2015 November Weather Summary and December Outlook

November was an unusually wet month across the Panhandle with fairly wide variation. According to the National Weather Service estimates, the hot pink portions of Okaloosa, Walton, Washington, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Franklin, Wakulla and Leon Couties had over... Read More

Friday Funny: The Shaving Ball

A weathered, old cowboy walked into a barbershop one day. He told the barber, “I can’t get all these whiskers off anymore.  My face is too wrinkled from years out in the sun.” The barber reached over and... Read More

Winter Preparation for Poultry Flocks

With decreasing temperatures on the way, poultry farmers should implement proper management techniques to insure their animals’ health, safety, and productivity during the winter.  Now is a good time to take into consideration the light, heat, ventilation, food... Read More

Friday Funny: Cold Water Clean

A man went to visit his 90 year old uncle who lived on a very secluded farm in the Florida Panhandle. He had not seen his uncle in over 20 years, because the uncle only left the farm... Read More

Totally Impermeable Film – A New Plastic Mulch Option for 2016 Fumigation

Plastic mulch technology has come a long way in the last 15 years and has made another exponential jump in the last 5 years. Traditionally plastic films used in plasticulture production systems were simple, single layer low density... Read More

Preparing Your Honey Bees for Winter

As temperatures in North Florida grow colder, honey bees will need some special attention. There are a number of management considerations local beekeepers need to be aware of. Weather and Temperature During the winter, honeybees are less able... Read More

Friday Funny: A Terrible Condition

Two medical students and an agriculture student were out on the town one night.  As they were walking along the street they saw an old cowboy walking with his legs spread way apart. He was stiff-legged and walking... Read More

Opportunities and Challenges of Alfalfa Production in North Florida

J. Dubeux, Jr. and A. Blount, University of Florida/IFAS – North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC), 3925 Highway 71, Marianna, FL P. Munoz, University of Florida/IFAS – Agronomy Department, Gainesville, FL. Florida has approximately 119,000 dairy cows... Read More

Cold Protection Tips for North Florida Vegetable Farmers

While many peninsular Florida farmers do not have to worry about cold protection, farmers in the Florida Panhandle are certainly an exception. Most of the Panhandle is in zone 8b, which means average minimum temperatures are between 15... Read More

October Panhandle Weather Summary

The crazy weather year continued in October.  I suspect 2015 will be remembered as the year when it did not rain when we wanted it to in the Panhandle.  There was quite a difference in the rainfall that... Read More

Friday Funny: A New Perspective on Calf Pulling

A rancher always enjoyed having the grand kids spend time with him on the ranch.  It was an opportunity to share with them his love of the land and the cattle under his care.  While he was not... Read More

Cover Crops can Boost the Fertility of Subsequent Cash Crops

Fall crops are the focus of many small farmers in Florida this time of year, but it would be prudent to take a peak forward and start planning for the spring season. Many small farmers that sell directly... Read More

Things to Consider Before Selling Your Timber

A growing number of Panhandle landowners have limited experience when it comes to managing and marketing timber.  In many cases it is an heir, or a next generation land owner who actually manages the timber sales for the... Read More

Douglas & Ronnie Walker Honored as Jefferson County Agricultural Innovators

On Tuesday August 4, 2015, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fifth year these... Read More

Friday Funny: The Widow’s Get-a-way Weekend

After 55 years of married life a farmer passed away and left the farm to his dear wife and sons.  Like many farm couples, there was never much time or money for fancy vacations.   After a few years... Read More

Fertilization Tips for Cool-Season Pastures

Prepare your land for winter grazing by closely grazing or mowing down the existing pasture in the fall, prior to planting. This results in less water, nutrient, and light competition with the emerging cool-season forages. You can also... Read More

Jim Gerrell Honored as Wakulla County Agricultural Innovator

On Tuesday August 4, 2015, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fifth year these... Read More

Broomsedge Infestations are Highly Visible in Fall Pastures

It is common place now to see maturing broomsedge in our pasture and hayfields. Broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus) is not really a sedge at all, but a native grass.  It seems to shoot up overnight after being inconspicuous... Read More

Two Panhandle Farms Recognized through the 2015 Southeast Hay Contest

The Southeastern Hay Contest winners were announced this week.  There were 375 total entries in the contest this year (185 in 2014).  Hay and baleage samples were ranked based on their Relative Forage Quality score (RFQ).  The contest... Read More

Friday Funny: Estate Planning

A farmer and his wife took part in the wedding of a neighbor that had been friends with the couple for years.  Her husband had been a farmer for over 40 years before he passed away, and she... Read More

Tropical Soda Apple – Not Just a Pasture Weed

Every fall, about the time deer hunters begin hanging their tree stands for bow season I get calls wanting to know what this wicked weed is that is growing in the woods.  Many of our North Florida cattlemen... Read More

Preparation for Horse Training Begins in the Mouth

Lame in the mouth Head bob is a widely recognized indicator of lameness as a horse will lift the head in order to shift weight off a lame foreleg as it strikes the ground. A horse with a... Read More

Murphy, Newman, & Cooper Honored as Leon County Agricultural Innovators

On Tuesday August 4, 2015, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fifth year these... Read More

Friday Funny: The Backseat Driver

A farmer and his wife of 39 years had lived and worked on the same farm for their entire married life.  Life had been good to them as a couple, for the most part, but there was one... Read More

What are the Long-Term Impacts of Estrus Synchronization and Artificial Insemination?

Cliff Lamb, University of Florida – North Florida Research and Education Center, Marianna, FL Estrous synchronization (ES) and artificial insemination (AI) are reproductive management tools that have been available to beef producers for over 50 years.  Synchronization of... Read More

Have a Plan for Efficient Winter Feeding

While these recent “cool” snaps have provided a welcome break from the summer heat, they bring with them a reminder that production from perennial pasture grasses are slowing down and will soon be dormant for the winter. Deciding... Read More

Sunshine Returns so Harvest is Underway Again in Jackson County

Our hearts are saddened by the preliminary reports coming from South Carolina after more than a week of constant and heavy rains in the region.  Hugh Weathers, South Carolina Commissioner for Agriculture issued a preliminary report from initial... Read More

Robert Jackson Honored as Gadsden County Agricultural Innovator

On Tuesday August 4, 2015, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fifth year these... Read More

Friday Funny: The New Preacher

The Country Community Church hired a new preacher to replace a well respected preacher, who had retired after 40 years of service.  The church was located in a very rural area with numerous farm families in the congregation. ... Read More

To Breed or Not to Breed? Each Decision Affects an Increasing Horse Population

Saundra TenBroeck, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida One of the indices of the health of the horse industry has been foal registration data. When we study trends over the last 30 years we see a classic... Read More

Conditions are Favorable for Bacterial Spot in Fall Tomatoes

High temperatures and wet weather produce the perfect conditions for the onset of bacterial spot in tomato fields. The disease is caused by various species of Xanthomonas bacteria. Small spots (1/8 inch) form on leaves, stems, and fruit. The leaf... Read More

August and September Panhandle Weather Summary

August was another very dry month for much of the Panhandle. Drought busting rains did come finally at the end of September, but was not at all uniform across the region, and  came too late in the year... Read More

Friday Funny: The Literate Boater

A farmer and his wife got their crops planted on time, and off to a good start, so they decided to take a short vacation.  They rented a cabin on a nearby lake for a few days of... Read More

Weather Played a Major Role on Peanut Yields in 2015

Peanut harvest is in full swing in the Florida Panhandle, but producers have had challenges to crop success in the form of disease and erratic weather this year. White mold has been particularly troublesome this season.  On August... Read More

Friday Funny: Blind Sporting Goods Clerk

A farmer sent his wife to town to the tractor dealership for a new hydraulic hose, and asked her to also stop by Walmart to buy a rod and reel for their grandson’s birthday. Once in the store... Read More

Carinata Meal: A Potential Feed Supplement

Nicolas DiLorenzo and Tessa Schulmeister, University of Florida NFREC, Marianna Florida Around this time of year as days begin to shorten, we are reminded that the time is approaching when we need to think about our beef cattle... Read More

Sugarcane Aphids could make Pearl Millet a Better Option than Forage Sorghums

The sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari, has been very active this summer in Northwest Florida.  Typically, we are talking about grain sorghum when we warn about this pest.  However, the pest was found to be significantly damaging forage sorghum... Read More

Steve & Seth Basford Honored as Jackson County Agricultural Innovators

On Tuesday August 4, 2015, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fifth year these... Read More

Managing Bacterial Wilt in Tomatoes with Grafting and a Plant Defense Inducer

Sanju Kunwar, Mathews Paret, Jeff Jones, Laura Ritchie, Steve Olson, and Josh Freeman, UF/IFAS NFREC Field tomato production in the southeastern United States is highly affected by bacterial wilt disease caused by Ralstonia solanacearum. In Florida, race 1... Read More

Bill & Brenda Maphis Honored as Washington County Agricultural Innovators

On Tuesday August 4, 2015, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fifth year these... Read More

New Federal Food Safety Rules Being Implemented

On September 10, 2015 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its final rules for Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food. The enabling legislation was the FDA Food Safety... Read More

Friday Funny: Putting the Cat Out

A farmer and his wife were invited to a New Year’s Eve Party in town.  Knowing alcohol would be served, they phoned the local cab company and reserved a taxi. The night of the party they showered and... Read More

Late Season Cotton Insect Control

stinkbug damage – Ronald Smith, Auburn University, Bugwood.org Cotton is maturing rapidly across the Panhandle and it’s shaping up to be one of the earliest harvest seasons in recent years. This is due for the most part to... Read More

Raymon Thomas Honored as Holmes County Agricultural Innovator

On Tuesday August 4, 2015, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fifth year these... Read More

Friday Funny: Two Year Old Tea

One Saturday, after the farmer came in from checking the cows, his wife left him in charge of their 2 1/2 year-old daughter, Molly, while she went to town to the store.  One of little Molly’s favorite toys... Read More

Soybean Rust found in Jackson County Sentinel Plot

Soybean rust (SBR) has been found on the sentinel plot in Jackson County at the Extension Office.  Because these plots are scouted for SBR on a regular basis, the SBR was confirmed very early.  SBR has now been... Read More

Honey Bee Colony Numbers: National Trends Mixed, Florida Increasing

The Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), conducted their ninth annual national survey of honey bee colony losses. Over 6,000 beekeepers completed the survey... Read More

Jackson Cattlemen’s Tour Highlights

The Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association hosted their annual tour on August 13, 2015.  This year’s tour went to two farms and the local research station.  More than 80 people attended the tour this year.  MWI Veterinary Supply, Southern... Read More

Mikael L’Andre honored as Walton County Agricultural Innovator

On Tuesday August 4, 2015, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fifth year these... Read More

Friday Funny: Gathering Pecans in the Cemetery

On the outskirts of a small Panhandle town, there was a big, old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out  of... Read More

Toxic Indigo Creeping Into the Panhandle

Creeping Indigo was first noted in South Florida as a toxic plant around 1933. For horses, it is as toxic as it is palatable, and cases of indigo poisoning have been found as far north as Alachua County... Read More

2015 Cool-Season Forage Variety Recommendations for Florida

Ann Blount, Patricio Munoz, Jose Dubeux, Joao Vendramini, Ali Babar, Kevin Kenworthy, and Ken Quesenberry  (North Florida Research and Education Center, Department of Agronomy, and the Range Cattle Research and Education Center) The 2015 cool-season forage line-up is... Read More

Corn Harvest is Winding Down in Jackson County

It is corn harvest time in Jackson County.  While many farmers and ranchers are enjoying the more frequent rainfall lately, it is making corn harvest more challenging.  Agents in Jackson County have performed yield checks on several varieties... Read More

Gary & Susan Holley honored as Okaloosa Agricultural Innovators

On Tuesday August 4, 2015, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fifth year these... Read More

Friday Funny: Farm Funnies

This week we have a collection of cute, farm related cartoons and Facebook funnies sent in by Lola Allard, Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District. Thanks Lola! ********************************************************************************************** One thing is for sure, farm folks always enjoy sharing... Read More

The “Bud Box” and Double Alley Design for Cattle Pens

This past month as a part of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents Conference in South Dakota, I was given the opportunity, along with many other agents from across the country, to tour ranches and feedyards.  Several... Read More

Bermudagrass Stem Maggot Population Building in the Panhandle

Bermudagrass hay farmers need to scout their fields for Bermudagrass Stem Maggots.  I just discovered a big infestation here at the North Florida Research Center (NFREC) which is first one in two years in North Florida that we... Read More

June & July 2015 Weather Summary

June and July were certainly hot and dry across much of the Panhandle.  The above graphic shows the June rainfall totals with isolated areas having less than two inches while along the coast, isolated areas had more than... Read More

Tips For Properly Pruning Muscadines

Last year, I wrote an article for this newsletter about late bearing muscadine cultivars. There are many early, mid, and late bearing cultivars, and a list can be found in the publication: The Muscadine Grape.  August is the very... Read More

Friday Funny: The Pet Store Rabbit

A precious little girl walks into a Pet store and asks, with the sweetest little lisp, from two missing front teeth, “Excuthe me, mithter, do you sell widdle wabbits?” As the shopkeeper’s heart melts, he gets down on... Read More

How Important is Shrink In Beef Calves

Shrink in beef calves constitutes a potential economic loss to both the seller and the buyer if not fully considered. A number of factors cause shrink, but primarily feed and water deprivation or lack of consumption and exposure... Read More

Cattle Numbers Up, But Prices Down From Last Month

In a report dated July 24, 2015, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has stated there are 98.4 million head of cattle on U.S. Farms. This marks the first inventory increase since the pre-recession days of 2006.... Read More

Debunking GMO Myths

I have wanted to write an article on Genetically Modified Organisms for a while now, and have started one many times over the past few years. This is a complex and controversial topic, but it is my job,... Read More

Friday Funny: The Farmer and the Pond Crashers

The Crafty Farmer and the Pond Crashing Skinny-Dippers A well seasoned farmer owned a large farm in the Florida Panhandle.  After years of dedicated hard work on his land, he decided to rent out most of the farm... Read More

Heat Stress Management for Dairy Cattle

All livestock are susceptible to heat stress, especially during periods of high humidity such as we are currently experiencing.  Cattle are at particular risk of overheating due to the production of internal heat from fermentation in the rumen... Read More

Evaluation of Thrip Resistance to Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Monitoring to evaluate continued susceptibility of pests to pesticides is an important part of any pest management program. Thrips are known for their ability to develop resistance to insecticides. The western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis, has developed resistance... Read More

Florida’s Rangeland and the Environment: A Natural Partnership

Most of us living in panhandle Florida recognize that our farmers and ranchers are committed to sustainable production of food, fiber, and fuel for generations to come, but how will farmers continue to be productive while sharing natural... Read More

Consumers Experience Rise In Food Cost

Meat and egg prices are the leading cause of rising food cost in 2015, according the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics news release of June, 22, 2015. The Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers... Read More

Are You Sure You Need That Gypsum? Calcium Induced Deficiencies in Vegetables

By Josh Freeman (University of Florida, IFAS Extension, Assistant Professor, Horticultural Science) and Mark Reiter (Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Virginia Tech) Many growers live with the mindset that vegetable crops need a tremendous amount of calcium to... Read More

Low Tunnels Provide Year-Round Gardening Versatility

As the heat of the summer falls upon us, it may seem strange to start thinking about structures to protect crops from the weather.  A versatile structure, however, can do more than just protect crops from the cold.... Read More

Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Contact with Live Poultry

There are currently four multi-state outbreaks of human Salmonella infections associated with contacting live poultry being investigated by the United States Department of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and Centers for Disease Control and... Read More

Agritourism Can Promote Your Farm and Generate Extra Revenue

The momentum behind the local food movement has meant a huge growth in the number of consumers heading to their local farmers’ markets each week. Not only are they interested in buying produce that is fresh and locally... Read More

Friday Funny: The Crafty Principal & the Lipstick Mirror

Lipstick on the School Bathroom Mirror A rural middle school in Northwest Florida was recently faced with a unique problem. A new fad arose amongst the 8th grade girls with the use of lipstick.  They began bringing, sharing,... Read More

Integrating Perennial Peanut into Grass Pastures

Jose Dubeux, University of Florida/IFAS – North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) Rhizoma peanut (commonly known as perennial peanut) is a warm-season perennial legume well adapted to Florida. It has high digestibility (65-75%) and crude protein concentrations... Read More

High Tunnels Can Exclude Vegetable Pests

High tunnel crop production has steadily increased in Northwest Florida, with many utilizing funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). There are many benefits to high tunnel production with crop earliness being... Read More

Friday Funny: The New Brahman Bull

The New Brahman Bull A rancher had three bulls, an old proven bull, a bull he purchased a few years ago, and a young bull purchased the previous year.  The herd bulls heard a rumor that the rancher... Read More

Reducing Water Demand for Agriculture

Dan Dourte, Ron Bartel, Sheeja George, David Wright, Jim Marois, UF/IFAS NFREC Cotton and peanuts are grown on nearly 2 million irrigated acres in the Southeastern U.S. The consumptive water use for irrigation has significantly impacted groundwater resources,... Read More

Solar Pump Systems for Watering Livestock

It can be cost-prohibitive to run power lines long distances to provide electricity for pumping water to livestock tanks. One alternative is to install a solar water system. Solar water pumps can be used to pump water from... Read More

Rindworms: A “Complex” Pest of Melons

Matt Lollar, Jackson County Horticulture Agent It’s the beginning of melon harvest season in the Panhandle, and rindworms pose a significant threat to fruit quality. Rindworms are an interesting bunch because they are made up of a number of... Read More

Federal Reserve Report Optimistic About Southeast Agriculture

The U.S. Federal Reserve Banks are responsible for the currency used domestically.  They also issues a report eight times annually on the current economic conditions in the collective Federal Reserve Districts. Known as the Beige Book, this publication... Read More

Friday Funny: Chicken Crossing

One thing is for sure, farm folks always enjoy sharing good jokes, photos and stories.  If you have a good, clean joke, particularly one that pertains to agriculture, or a funny photo that you took on the farm,... Read More

Buckeye Rot in Tomatoes

With the recent frequent rains and hot temperatures, the incidence of buckeye rot on field tomatoes has increased in Holmes County, especially on tomatoes that were not planted on plastic mulch. This disease in tomatoes is caused by... Read More

May 2015 Panhandle Weather Summary

As in past years, May was significantly drier than April, with a great deal of variation of rainfall across the Panhandle.  The National Weather Service estimates for May rainfall ranged from less than an inch along the gulf... Read More

Pest Alert: Boxwood Blight

Fanny Iriarte, Mathews Paret, and Gary Knox University of Florida, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy Basic Information Boxwoods (Buxusspp.) are commercially important evergreen ornamental plants with an annual market value of over $103 million in the... Read More

Things to Consider When Moving Honey Bee Hives

If life were simple, one of its advantages would be that an apiary could be established and the beehives would never have to be moved. But life isn’t simple, and beekeepers need to move their bees for various... Read More

UF/IFAS Evaluating Soil Mapping Technology for Variable Rate Applications

The next generation of agriculture Best Management Practices (BMPs) will likely include new soil mapping technologies. Resulting maps are increasingly being used to guide variable applications of irrigation, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides in the field. On-the-go soil sensors... Read More

Check Quality of Late Season Ryegrass Hay

It is widely recognized that cool season annuals, like ryegrass, are the highest quality forages we produce here in NW Florida. Even though we often refer to these forages as “winter grazing” they are actually the most productive... Read More

Pregnancy Diagnosis Options for Beef Cattle Producers

Generally, beef herd pregnancy rates after a 60–120-day breeding season tend to range from 80 to 94 percent. Pregnancy diagnosis identifies the 6–20 percent of open cows in the herd so they can be culled after their calves... Read More

What You Need To Know About Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

You may have heard about avian Influenza, otherwise known as “bird flu” in the news over the past few years. Bird flu is a virus, and is in the same class of viruses (Type A) that cause swine... Read More

The Diamondback Moth: A Major Pest of Cole Crops

Matt Lollar, Jackson County Horticulture Agent Diamondback moths were recently discovered in a greenhouse crop of arugula in Jackson County, and they may soon be moving to a field near you.  Diamondback moths can be detrimental to cole... Read More

A New Website For Selecting Plants to Enhance Ecosystem Services

In a previous Panhandle Ag-e Newsletter article (Tools for Trapping Pests and Attracting Beneficial Insects), I described some new multifunctional tactics to monitor pests and enhance beneficial insects. Here we are publicizing a new website that will be... Read More

Increasing Income from Calves Sold at your Local Livestock Market

While cattle producers have always worked hard to minimize input costs of their operation, there are also management practices that can increase the income from calves sold at your local livestock market. The weight and quality of calves... Read More

Dogfennel: Ugly Pasture Weeds that Reduce Bahia Production

Dogfennel is one of the most commonly occurring pasture weeds in Florida. University of Florida Weed Specialists, Brent. Sellers and Jay. Ferrel developed a publication specifically to address this troublesome pasture weed.  Dogfennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) is an aggressive... Read More

Summer Annual Forage Update

Ann Blount, Forage Breeder, NFREC-Marianna After a very cold and wet winter across much of the south, many of us are still reeling from low hay inventories and delayed winter forage growth. With the last few days of... Read More

Identify Cogongrass Now: Look for the Seedheads

We are well into spring and a wide variety of plants are showing off their colorful blooms. As lovely as most of the blooms are, some springtime colors are an unwelcome sight. Such is the case with the... Read More

Nutrition of the Beef Herd During Transition into Summer

Nicolas DiLorenzo, Beef Specialist, University of Florida NFREC When it comes to beef cattle herd nutrition we often talk about two critical transition periods in Northwest Florida where we need to pay special attention to grazing management., and... Read More

Does Your Pond Need Fertilization?

Recreational farm ponds vary in size and purpose and management goals differ widely from owner to owner. Some pond owners want clear water with only small amounts of vegetation and a few fish to catch. This pond is... Read More

Heavy Rains in April brought Drought Relief but also Planting Delays

If the old adage of “April Showers Bring May Flowers” is true, parts of the Panhandle should be a blooming mess very soon. The National Weather Service provides estimates of rainfall.  The map above shows that there were... Read More

Gummy Stem Blight Spreading in Panhandle Watermelons

Gummy stem blight is a highly destructive, foliar fungal disease of watermelon that can cause yield losses of more than 50%. This disease is currently confirmed in multiple locations in Northwest and Northeast of Florida. Recent weather conditions... Read More

Spring is the Ideal Time for Aquatic Herbicide Application

Similar to Goldilocks’ porridge, water temperature doesn’t need to be too hot or too cold, it needs to be just right for using aquatic herbicides (70o – 80o F). Here in Florida these optimum water temperatures occur in... Read More

Peanut Planting and Variety Decisions

Barry Tillman, UF/IFAS Peanut Breeder Peanut planting time is just around the corner for most of the Florida panhandle, and warm April temperatures across the southeastern peanut belt mean that planting could begin sooner rather than later.  In... Read More

Cotton Planting “Hopefully” to Begin Soon

We have had lots of rain across the region during the past week with over 6 inches recorded at the UF/IFAS West Florida REC, as of Thursday the 16th, with more predicted through Sunday. Cotton planting will get... Read More

Spiderwort Spreading and Could Become a Hay Field Pest

This time each spring you can see purple flowering plants up and down roadsides all across North Florida.  Common Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis), a.k.a. bluejacket, blooms really make the plants standout this time of year.  Typically the blooms are... Read More

Bee Pastures Supplement Hive Nutrition and Enhance Honey Production

Introduction and Background I am willing to bet that a great percentage of people in the US rarely give honeybees and other pollinators a second thought as to their importance to our nation’s food supply. I am also... Read More

1st Quarter Weather Summary Shows How Dry the Panhandle has Become

The promised weak El Niño did not deliver extra rainfall for the Panhandle the past three months .  Much of the region experienced abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions through the first three months of 2015.  The National... Read More

Tung Trees – Historic Crop; Toxic Legacy

The highway from Monticello to Tallahassee (US 90) is famous for its summer blooming crape myrtle trees donated by nurseryman Fred Mahan. This month, there’s another historic tree flowering along that highway, as well as in other parts... Read More

2014 USDA Honey Production Report

USDA released their annual Honey Production Report last Friday, March 20, 2015.  2014 was a good year for US beekeepers with both record high prices and also an increase in total production.  The following is a summary of... Read More

Protect Beef Quality with Proper Cattle Hauling Practices

Since 1991, when the Beef Checkoff funded the first beef quality audit, the U.S. Cattle Industry has made major strides in their efforts to improve the quality of the retail beef sold to consumers.  There were quite a... Read More

New Peach Cultivar Trial at the North Florida Research and Education Center

Prunus species require the accumulation of cold winter temperatures to allow for normal bud development and budbreak in the spring. Traditional temperate zone peach and nectarine cultivars require 800 to 1200 hours of cumulative hourly temperatures of 45oF... Read More

Legume Mites: An Unusual Pest Found Again

Just as clover overcomes the cold temperatures and short days of winter a new problem has arrived – legume mites (Petrobia apicalis). These pests which feed on the underside of clover leaves, can cause quite dramatic symptoms in... Read More

Small Farm Blueberry Production for the Panhandle

In the Florida Panhandle, blueberry jam, blueberry cobbler and fresh blueberries seem to be a staple. This is because there are many local, u-pick, direct-market, and wholesale growers who provide a top quality product. Farmers wanting to add... Read More

The Cow is the First Source of Calf Health

When it comes to the health of newborn calves, it all starts with the cow. The cow’s plain of nutrition and diet during gestation can affect her colostrum (first milk) production, milk yield, and the long-term health of... Read More

FDACS’s Bureau of Compliance Now Handles Ag Dealer’s Licensing

The 74 year old law which protects the financial interest of most of Florida’s agricultural producers is now part of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), Bureau of Compliance’s responsibility. In a recent reorganization, the... Read More

January & February Weather Summary and Spring Forecast

The Western counties in the Panhandle received much lower rainfall totals than the eastern counties in January and February 2015.  Portions of Bay, Franklin, Gulf, Wakulla and Jefferson had more than 10″ in the first two months of... Read More

New Thrips-Transmitted Plant Viruses in Florida Crops

Joe Funderburk, North Florida REC, University of Florida, Quincy and Scott Adkins, USDA-ARS, Fort Pierce, FL Tospoviruses are a group of plant infecting viruses that cause economically significant crop losses worldwide. Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is the... Read More

Highlights and Presentations from the 2015 Beef Conference

More than 160 cattle ranchers, allied industry representatives, extension agents and specialists came together to make the 30th annual Northwest Florida Beef Conference one of the best ever.  The boost in attendance from previous years was, without a... Read More

Why Produce Farmers Should be Concerned about Food Safety

The United States has one of the safest food supplies in the world, and it’s no coincidence. A lot of work has been put into developing rules that producers, processors, and distributors must follow in order to keep... Read More

Are Grafted Vegetables for You?

If you’ve grown fruit trees your likely familiar with the process of grafting. Grafting is the physical combination of a scion, the top of the plant, with a rootstock, bottom of the plant, of two different varieties or... Read More

Living Soils Foster Healthy Farms

For small-scale farmers relying on cover crops and compost to fulfill their garden’s nutritional needs, it is important to remember healthy soil requires “life.”  What is it that separates soil that can support fruit and vegetable production from... Read More

Grazing Management is Key for Profitable Livestock Production

Jose Dubeux, , University of Florida/IFAS – North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) Pastures are different than hay fields or row crops. The final product is not the crop per se, but the animal gain obtained from... Read More

Tomato Variety Selection for the Florida Panhandle

It’s time to order seed and get transplants started for a spring tomato crop.  Which tomato cultivar should a producer select and what criteria should be used for selection?  There are many factors that go into every decision... Read More

Monensin Toxicity in Horses: What to Look For

Several cases of monensin toxicity in horses have been reported in the Southeastern U.S. over that last few months.  Monensin is an ionophore antibiotic that is commonly added to livestock feeds such as poultry and cattle feeds.  This... Read More

Converting Planted Pine to Silvopasture Benefits Cattle & Timber

  Silvopasture is an agroforestry practice where a combination of trees, forage, and livestock are  jointly managed to optimize production of all three. The term “silvopasture” means “forest-pasture,” where “silvo” is derived from a Latin word that means... Read More

Crop Rotation May Determine the Profitability of Peanuts in 2015

Jim Marois and David Wright, UF/IFAS NFREC Agronomy Research It is not a good idea to produce peanuts on the same land for 3-5 years in a row in the Florida Panhandle. This practice can create a serious... Read More

2014 NASS Farm Land Rent & Labor Survey Summary

It is the time of year when land owners and farmers negotiate lease agreements for renting farm land. One of the toughest parts of negotiation is having a handle on what is a fair price.  The USDA National... Read More

2015 Florida Bull Test Sale Summary

The Florida Bull Test Sale was held on January 17, 2015 at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, FL. Of the 102 bulls originally consigned to the test, 56 bulls were auctioned off at the... Read More

Winter Burns Benefit Bermudagrass Hay Fields

Now is an excellent time to begin planning controlled burns of bermudagrass hay fields in north Florida.  Weather conditions in late January and February are typically our best for getting a good controlled burn, especially with the recent... Read More

Fireweed: a Pasture Weed that will Light You Up!

Fireweed is growing well in the Panhandle and I have had a couple of calls this week regarding this plant. This winter annual stinging nettle will definitely light you up! I remember the first time I ever encountered Fireweed... Read More

Choosing the Correct Liming Material

Based upon the recommendations of a reputable soil pH report, this time of year may be a good time to apply lime to your soil. Depending on the crop you are planting, recommended liming requirements are intended to... Read More

Pasture Soil Fertility Essential to Prevent Broomsedge Infestations

Broomsedge bluestem, or Andropogon virginicus L. is quite conspicuous this time of year. Its tall stems are the most noticeable feature in many fields. While these tall stems blowing in the wind may look nice, what they represent in... Read More

2014 UF Peanut Variety Test Results

Peanut planting season is months away, but it’s not too early to begin choosing varieties to plant. The 2014 variety performance data is hot off the press and can provide a tool to compare and contrast peanut varieties.... Read More

2014 Weather Summary and 1st Quarter Outlook

December was another wet month for the Central Panhandle, with more moderate rainfall recorded in the western counties.  Gadsden and Liberty County received heavy rains just prior to Christmas, with a monthly total over 10″. The Florida Automated... Read More

Thank You Farmers and Ranchers for a Wonderful Centennial Year!

As we come to the end of our 100th year of serving the citizens of Florida, the University of Florida/IFAS Extension Faculty located in the 16 county offices of the Florida Panhandle thank you for making 2014 another... Read More

Honeybees are Valuable Pollinators

Cross pollination is carried on mainly by insects, especially by honeybees, bumblebees, and to a very limited extent, other bee-like insects. The honeybee, of all insects, is most peculiarly adapted to the task of cross pollination.  Most insects... Read More

Tools for Trapping Pests and Attracting Beneficial Insects

Russ Mizell, UF/IFAS Professor of Entomology, NFREC Quincy Florida’s climate provides a long and often year-round growing season. Wherever crops are grown they attract insect and disease pests. As a result, growers are confronted with two major problems:... Read More

Tony Strickland Honored as Wakulla County Agricultural Innovator

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these... Read More

Underperforming Food Plots? Three Possible Reasons Why

Deer hunting season has begun in Northwest Florida. As hunters venture into the woods and sit for hours on end they have plenty – sometimes too much – time to contemplate what they could have done, or should... Read More

Compost Community Honored as Leon County Agricultural Innovator

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these... Read More

November 2014 Panhandle Weather Summary

Cold weather came early to the Panhandle this year. Frost around Thanksgiving is not that unusual, but a hard freeze came on November 19th, and set record lows for the area.  Satsuma citrus fruit that had not been... Read More

Liquid Feeds for Winter Cattle Supplementation

Nicolas DiLorenzo, State Beef Specialist, University of Florida NFREC There’s nothing like the cold mornings of the past two days to remind us about the importance of supplementing our cattle herds with high-energy feeds to help them maintain... Read More

Managing Winter Pastures

Winter feeding of the cow herd accounts for 40 to 50% of the total variable cost for producing weaned calves. Because winter nutrition is vital to both the calf’s health and the cows reproductive performance, adequate nutrition is... Read More

Re-emergence of Rose Mosaic Disease in Florida Nurseries and Landscapes

Mathews Paret, Plant Pathologist, NFREC, University of Florida, Gary Knox, Horticulturist, NFREC, University of Florida, & Binoy Babu, Post-Doctoral Fellow, NFREC, University of Florida Roses are one of the most popular flowering shrubs in the U.S with a... Read More

Fertilizer Basics for Pastures and Hay Fields

Soil fertility and plant nutrient management is an important part of agroecosystems. Agroecological approaches to soil fertility and nutrient management begin with soil testing. A soil test will tell you soil pH. Soil pH affects the availability of... Read More

Phillip McMillan Honored as Calhoun County Agricultural Innovator

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these... Read More

October Panhandle Weather Summary

The National Weather Service rainfall estimates for October show the variation in rainfall across the Panhandle.  The areas of red in the graphic received more than 5″ for the month, while the green and gold areas received less... Read More

Cotton Harvest Now in Full Swing

Cotton harvest is in full swing throughout Northwest Florida. With the dry weather and warm temperatures to help mature late set bolls, over half of the crop is now out of the field. In Santa Rosa County, picking... Read More

Cindale Farms Honored as Jackson County Agricultural Innovators

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these... Read More

Understanding Your Forage Test Report

Just as soil testing can provide vital information on how to fertilize crops, forage testing can provide vital information on how to supplement hay fed to livestock.  Feed and fertilizer are simply too valuable these days to simply... Read More

George Fisher Honored as Washington County Agricultural Innovator

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these... Read More

Temporary Pastures Can Hide Ugly Surprises

Using row crop land for cool season grazing is one of the great opportunities for North Florida livestock operations. Early crops come out in time to allow seedbed preparation for planting, and late harvested crops can be aerially... Read More

Mechanical Pruning of Muscadine Grapevines

Muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundifolia Michx.) subgenus Muscadinia are different from European and American bunch grapes (subgenus Euvitis) in chromosome number, vine and berry morphology, and juice characteristics. In contrast to Euvitis grapes, very little data is available concerning... Read More

Agritourism: a Growing Industry in the Panhandle

Agritourism is an industry that provides alternative income opportunities for Panhandle agricultural producers, while providing recreational opportunities for tourists, schools, churches, and other organizations.  Agritourism activities also promote agriculture, and the vital role that agriculture plays in our... Read More

Marvel & Justin Williams Honored as Holmes County Agricultural Innovators

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these... Read More

The Majestic Longleaf: One of the South’s Distinguished Trees

Steeped in history, the majestic longleaf (Pinus palustris) is an economically and ecologically important tree species of the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains. Its species name “palustris” means “of the marsh,” and although it is commonly associated with... Read More

Carbon Credit Markets May Be Making A Return

A newly released UF/IFAS publication, “An Overview of Carbon Markets for Florida Forest Landowners,” reviews options for forest land managers, who are seeking a new source of revenue. It comes on the heels of a June 2, 2014... Read More

September 2014 Weather Summary

Many areas of the Panhandle finally got more normal rainfall again in September, after two months of dry weather.  Like previous months, however, there was considerable variation.  The areas highlighted in yellow or green had less than 3″,... Read More

With Muscadines, It’s Good to Be Late

Mother always said “never be late,” but in the case of certain muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia) cultivars, it’s good to be late.  Although muscadine harvest can begin as early as July, growers with late bearing muscadines are just completing fruit... Read More

Are You Getting Your Money’s Worth from Your Hay?

Hay feeding is a common practice for many beef cattle enterprises in North Florida. The key question is, are you getting all of the value you expected out of that bale of hay? Multiple factors affect the value... Read More

Nolan Adams Honored as Walton County Agricultural Innovator

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these... Read More

Inconsistent Rainfall Makes Pod-Blasting Vitally Important This Year

A cold, wet spring got lots of area peanuts off to a late and slow start. When it warmed up and things really got rolling, the rain quit, or at least became very spotty, especially in the Central... Read More

Evaluating Kaolin as a Natural Vegetable Pesticide

Joe Funderburk, Professor of Entomology, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy Kaolin (a naturally occurring mined mineral) is an aluminosilicate particle film that is applied directly onto crops (Figure 1). The film acts through multiple modes of... Read More

Greg Evers Okaloosa County Agricultural Innovator

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these... Read More

Mehlich 3: Improved Soil Testing for Florida Growers

There has been a change in the testing procedure at the UF/IFAS Lab which analyzes the nutrient profile of Florida’s soils. The Extension Soil Testing Laboratory (ESTL) has replaced the Mehlich 1 (M1) test with the Mehlich 3... Read More

Scout Pastures for Toxic Perilla Mint this Fall

Perilla mint (perilla frutescnes) aka Beefstakeplant is a toxic weed that typically grows in shady, to partially shaded areas, damp spots, woodland edges, and  fence-lines of pastures in the Southeast. Positive identification of this weed has been made... Read More

Ray & Wanda Davis Santa Rosa County Agricultural Innovators

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these... Read More

Got Green Squash? Might be a Virus

  While this might be a good thing if you’re growing zucchini, it’s not a good thing if you’re growing yellow squash. If this is the case, chances are you’ve got a virus disease in your squash. This... Read More

White Sugarcane Aphid Spreading Across North Florida

A new aphid pest of sorghum has rapidly spread throughout north Florida this summer. Last year the white sugarcane aphid was reported causing damage in Texas, Louisiana, and in the western part of Mississippi. It has now moved... Read More

Panhandle Ag e-News Reader Feedback Needed

Panhandle Agriculture e-News celebrated its second anniversary in April of 2014. While the Panhandle Agriculture Extension Team is proud of what we have accomplished, we know it can become better with your feedback. Please take a few minutes... Read More

There Is Still Time To Sign Up For The USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program

There is still time to sign up for the USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). This program was enacted as part of the 2014 Farm Bill and provides retroactive authority to cover eligible livestock losses back to October 1,... Read More

Start Preparing for Winter Pastures

Jose Dubeux – NFREC Forage Management Spcialist  dubeux@ufl.edu Cool-season forages are a viable option for North Florida. They extend the grazing season by providing high quality forage to enhance livestock performance. There are many options available, including annual... Read More

Simpson Nurseries NW FL Agricultural Innovators of the Year

On Thursday August 21, 2014, twelve Innovative Farmers and Ranchers were recognized by University of Florida IFAS Extension and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida at the Jefferson County Opera House, in Monticello.  This is the fourth year these... Read More

August 2014 Weather Summary

The old adage of the “Dog Days of August” certainly held true in 2014. Much of the Panhandle experienced high temperatures and below average rainfall for the month.  Several coastal regions received more than eight inches of rain,... Read More

Consider Investments in Efficiency with Extra Cattle Income

Most cattlemen have a slight grin on their faces these days.  Cattle have been selling for record prices this summer.  What is causing this major increase in prices?  Primarily there are two key factors: fewer cattle, and cheaper... Read More

Goatweed Spreading West: Found in Holmes County Pastures

Recently on a visit to a local cattleman’s pasture, I identified Goatweed (Scoparia dulcis) for the first time in Holmes County.  This weed has been gradually moving west in the Panhandle (Photo 1 below) with recent identifications over... Read More

Soybean Rust Update

Soybean Rust is Around but Not on Soybeans Since its arrival in the United States in 2004, soybean rust has developed into more of a problem in the southeastern U.S, than in other areas of the country.  To... Read More

Pepper Spot Showing Up in Panhandle Peanuts

As we head into the home stretch of  2014 peanut production, most farmers are working diligently to mange and control leaf spot and white mold in their peanuts. Many farmers are familiar with Early and Late leaf spot... Read More

Yellowing in Peanuts Due to Manganese Deficiency

Recently, I have visited several peanut fields in Holmes County that are demonstrating yellowing foliage that is easily observed from a passing vehicle.  There are several possible causes of symptoms like this including nitrogen problems due to wet... Read More

EEF Nitrogen: What is it, and do you Need it?

As fertilizers get more expensive and the need to protect environmentally sensitive areas increases, farmers are looking for more efficient nitrogen (N) fertilizers. The Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO) has defined enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEF)... Read More

Time to Spray Soybeans for Insect Pests and Disease

Recent reports from the field show it’s time to spray soybeans for Asian Soybean Rust, velvetbean, loopers, and other caterpillars. Fall armyworms are still a problem in some fields as well as kudzu bugs. “Fungicides, insecticides and boron... Read More

July 2014 Panhandle Weather Summary

July was another typical summer month with wide variation in rainfall totals across the Panhandle.  The graphic above shows the National Weather Service’s estimates for rainfall totals for July 2014.  Portions of Escambia, Santa Rosa,and Walton Counties received... Read More

Manage Honey Bees Now to Prepare for Next Year’s Nectar Flow

Over everything the beekeeper does hangs the honey producer’s main objective: maximizing bee populations in time for major nectar flows. The next major nectar flows in north Florida will be spring; but beekeepers need to start working now... Read More

Bulls Have Arrived for the 15th Annual Florida Bull Test

For the 15th year, the North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) is hosting the Florida Bull Test. This year, of the 119 bulls nominated, 102 bulls were received on July 30, 2014. After a three-week adaptation period,... Read More

Don’t Let Low Fertility Reduce Bermudagrass Potential

It’s mid-summer, rain fall has been adequate, and hay barns are starting to fill up across the Panhandle. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit several Bermudagrass hayfields that were not producing up to their potential for both... Read More

White Mold Management in Peanuts

The 2014 Panhandle peanut crop is developing at a normal pace. Soilborne disease control programs have begun, mainly targeting white mold.  Some fields are also being treated for foliage feeding caterpillars. As peanut farmers progress further into their... Read More

Summer Insect Report

Vignettes on Summer Insects Russell F. Mizell, III, Professor of Entomology, NFREC-Quincy Planthoppers Mid-summer is upon us and the usual calls and emails are coming in with “What’s this bug?” Usually it is a flatid planthopper (pale green... Read More

Looking Forward: UF/IFAS Forage Breeding Update

It is hot outside and the furthest thing from most cattleman’s minds is what forages to plant this fall. Next week, the University of Georgia, Auburn University, and University of Florida forage workers meet to discuss winter forage... Read More

Tips for Controlling Armyworms in Hay Fields

Every summer, fall armyworm moths fly up from South Florida to lay their eggs in well fertilized hay fields and forage crops in the the tri-state region.  The timing of the first major infestations varies from year to... Read More

Area Ranchers Enjoy Jackson Cattlemen’s Tour

The Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association hosted a farm tour on Thursday, July 17.  There were 75 cattle ranchers from Jackson, Washington, Holmes, and Calhoun Counties, as well as surrounding Alabama and Georgia counties that participated in the tour. ... Read More

Chikungunya Arbovirus – A New Mosquito Borne Illness in Florida

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.   It is also called “contorted fever” or “that which bends up.” The virus is cycled between mosquitoes and humans, and there is no vaccine against Chikungunya virus.  Two... Read More

Considerations for the 2014 Hay Season

Nicolas DiLorenzo, State Beef Specialist, University of Florida NFREC With the hay season in full swing, we are now ready to reap the benefits of the combination of temperature and moisture to be able to (hopefully) lower our... Read More

Stem Maggots Coming to Panhandle Bermudagrass Fields

Bermudagrass Stem Maggot Likely to Increase in North Florida Liza Garcia-Jimenez, UF/IFAS NFREC IPM Program The first high populations of Bermudagrass stem maggot (BSM), Atherigona reversura, are now occurring in Central Florida and likely will be seen in... Read More

Jefferson Grazing Series to Focus on Best Management Practices

Effective grazing management is a dynamic dance between maximizing animal performance and maintaining healthy pastures, preventing erosion and maintaining water quality. Join us on Tuesday, July 15 for the next session of the Jefferson Grazing Series. We’ll learn... Read More

Registration Open for Fall Tomato School

This fall don’t miss the opportunity to learn, while getting your hands dirty, how to grow Tomatoes! Gulf Coast Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises presents Fall Tomato School beginning September 2nd.  This workshop is intended to teach small... Read More

June Panhandle Weather Summary

The National Weather Service rainfall estimates in the graphic above show the wide variation in rainfall that fell in June 2014.  Over 10 inches fell in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties, while portions of Jackson, Washington, Gadsden, and... Read More

Watermelon Novel Bacterial Leaf Spot Research Update

Pseudomonas Syringae Leaf Spot on Watermelon Mathews Paret, Eric Newberry, Nick Dufault, Josh Freeman, Bob Hochmuth, Anthony Drew, David Langston and Jeff Jones Florida and Georgia are the two largest producers of watermelon in the United States with... Read More

Vaseygrass Becoming a Common Sight, Unfortunately

You may have noticed vaseygrass, with its conspicuously tall seed heads, in pastures and hayfields where you have not noticed it before.  Most of the factors explaining the increased occurrence of vaseygrass this summer relate to the relatively... Read More

Slow-Release Fertilizers Gaining Momentum in Agriculture

The ornamental and turfgrass industries have been using granular slow-release fertilizers for decades. The price has been prohibitive for large-scale agricultural use. In recent years, however, the price has become more affordable, making farmers take another look. Granular,... Read More

It is Not Too Early to Start Tracking Peanut Maturity

Barry Tillman, UF/IFAS Peanut Breeder You may think it is too soon to start thinking about peanut maturity. After all, thanks to a cool, wet spring, most farms have only recently finished planting!  However, maturity determination is one... Read More

Southern Blight Found in Holmes County Tomatoes

Southern blight (caused by Sclerotium rolfsii Sacc.) was found at two different tomato farms in Holmes County this week. Southern Blight is a serious fungal disease affecting diverse crops grown around the world, especially in tropical and subtropical regions.... Read More

Timing is Crucial for Successful Dove Fields

We are roughly 100 days away from the beginning of dove season. Planting crops that produce attractive food sources for doves can be an effective way to increase your chances of having successful hunts. If you are considering... Read More

Fall Armyworms Damage Okaloosa Soybeans

Fall armyworms were found this week in a soybean field in Okaloosa County.  This pest can completely defoliate a field in a week as was the case in the field pictured above. Fall Armyworms overwinter in southern Florida... Read More

Time to Start Scouting Cotton for Plant Bugs

Our oldest planted cotton has started squaring and it’s time to start scouting fields for plant bugs. For the past several years the tarnished plant bug has been ranked nationally as the number one cotton insect pest in... Read More

Managing Aquatic Plants in Farm Ponds

Everywhere you look, plants are responding enthusiastically to Florida’s abundant rains, sunshine, and fertile soils; and this includes aquatic plants as well!  Florida’s has hundreds of types of aquatic plants and they are often an overlooked feature of... Read More

Calcium Needs of Peanuts

Peanuts do require good nutrition to obtain high yields and quality. However, fertilization needs of peanuts are less than many crops that are commonly grown in Florida. Rotating peanuts with cotton or corn often leaves enough residual phosphorous... Read More

May 2014 Panhandle Weather Summary

May was a month with a tremendous variation in rainfall across the Florida Panhandle.  The graphic above shows the National Weather Service’s rainfall estimates for May 2014.  Northeastern Santa Rosa County had more than 10″ of rain in... Read More

Making the Best of a Bad Situation – Storing Large Round Hay Bales Outside

When large round hay bales came along, those of us who had cut our agricultural teeth on stacking small square bales thought we’d never need to put hay bales in a stifling hot barn again. Unfortunately, financial reality... Read More

Oriental Persimmons Varieties for North Florida

Oriental persimmon trees are suitable for small scale local production, or for the home gardener. Two species of persimmons are grown in the United States, the American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) and the Oriental persimmon (Diospyros kaki). The American... Read More

Soybean Farmers Keep a Cautious Eye on Expanding Kudzu Bug Populations

University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health – See more at: http://www.kudzubug.org/distribution_map.cfm#sthash.ELGm7QzL.dpuf University of Georgia – Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health – See more at: http://www.kudzubug.org/distribution_map.cfm#sthash.ELGm7QzL.dpuf Last year was the first experience... Read More

Know your Hay, B, C’s!

Hay storage is a little different from the days in the picture above (1913), but two things haven’t changed. Hay is never any better quality than it is when it’s cut, and all kinds of things happen to reduce... Read More

Panhandle Farm Facts from the 2012 Census of Agriculture

Every five years the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) sends out in-depth surveys to farmers called the Census of Agriculture, with numerous questions about specific farming operations.  While most farmers will admit... Read More

It Is Peanut Planting Time In Santa Rosa County

It is mid May, prime peanut planting time, and the planters are finally rolling in Santa Rosa County! The farming community received 21.85 inches of rain between April 1 and May 16, based on data gathered at the weather... Read More

UF/IFAS Seeks Input from Hay Producers on Stem Maggot Damage

Atherigona reversura is the scientific name of the bermudagrass stem maggot, a new invasive fly from south Asia which damages bermudagrass pasture and hay fields.  This pest was first discovered in 2009 in California and in 2010 in... Read More

Bee Colony Collapse Disorder Update

The Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), conducted their eighth annual national survey of honey bee colony losses.  Their preliminary summary report from the... Read More

Does Calf Age at Castration Matter?

Dr. Matt Hersom, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Florida Castration, the process of removal or destruction of the testicles, is a common management practice within beef cattle operations. Approximately 60% of beef cow-calf... Read More

Panhandle Tomatoes Developing Nicely

In areas that were not not been flooded by recent rains, field grown tomatoes are developing nicely. Recent temperatures have been perfect for fruit set, with most nights above 60 ° F and under 75 ° F and... Read More

Western Flower Thrips Develop Insecticide Resistance in North Florida

By: Joe Funderburk and Mrittunjai Srivastava, UF-IFAS Entomology Research and Extension, North Florida REC, and Bob Hochmuth, UF-IFAS Multicounty Extension Agent for Vegetables The western flower thrips and thrips-vectored Tomato spotted wilt virus are key pest threats to... Read More

Panhandle Blueberry Yield Outlook still Positive

Blueberry harvest is less than a month away in the central Panhandle. Although the Florida Panhandle has been hit with excessive rainfall this spring, blueberry yields are on track to be above average. Colder winter temperatures, coupled with... Read More

Rye Cover Crop Holds Saturated Ground

It wasn’t raining on April 1st, when the inaugural Florida Soil Health and Cover Crop tour was held.  Participants heard descriptions of the value of a winter cover crop , such as cereal rye, in the production of... Read More

Preventing and Responding to Flooded Fish Ponds  

Drenching rains brought unwelcome amounts of water to Northwest Florida this week. Many fish ponds received an overabundance of stormwater, pushing levels above drains, dams and levees. If your dam or pond needs repair after the storm, now... Read More

April 2014 Panhandle Weather Summary

If the old adage about April Showers bringing May Flowers holds true, the Florida Panhandle will become a beekeeper’s paradise in 2014.  Intensive, heavy rains set records all across the Panhandle for the month of April.  Terrible flooding... Read More

Santa Rosa County Ag Suffers Loss from Floods this Week

Initial surveys by Extension Agriculture Agents and USDA personnel revealed significant damage to agricultural interests in Santa Rosa County from this week’s flood. Rainfall throughout the county was highly variable ranging from 6 to 20+ inches during the... Read More

April 2014 Storm Damage Report for Okaloosa County

April 2014 had already brought a record amount of rainfall to the Western Panhandle area, and last week’s weather brought North Okaloosa County another 7-19 inches of rain.  The rain event of April 29-30 caused flooding across our... Read More

Rain Impacts Holmes County Agriculture

Farmers in Holmes County are facing some real challenges in getting the 2014 crop planted due to excessive rainfall. Over the last two weeks, more than  21 inches of rain has fallen, bringing field preparation and planting of... Read More

Washington County is Soaked

According to National Weather Service the 7 day rainfall totals for Washington County range from 3 to 10 inches. Totals above 6’’ have been primarily limited to isolated areas in the extreme southern part of the county. The... Read More

Jackson County Agriculture Weather Damage Report

Jackson County received record rainfall in April 2014. The National Weather Service graphic below illustrates the wide variation of rainfall totals for April, with the areas in red receiving between 10-12″, the areas in pink 12-14″, the magenta,... Read More

Governor’s Emergency Declaration Eases Trucking Restrictions

Panhandle farmers and ranchers are battling back against the onslaught of this week’s punishing weather system. Storms have delivered record setting rains measured in feet, not inches, to many counties. Much of the damage to agricultural operations occurred... Read More

Keep Water and Nutrients in the Root Zone

Summer is rapidly approaching and irrigation demands by vegetable crops will be greatly increasing. Many areas of the Panhandle are blessed with well-drained soils, which are great during wet periods, but can be challenging to manage the water... Read More

Cashing In at “Local” Markets

The local foods movement is a trend which has turned into a game changer. In 2012, local food sales in the Florida Panhandle alone have been valued at $543 million. Indicators suggest more consumers are seeking local produce.... Read More

Update on UF/IFAS Winter Biofuel Crop Study

David Wright,  Jim Marois, and Nicholas DeLorenzo, researchers at the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center (UF/IFAS NFREC), are leading an effort with support from the Florida Department of Consumer Services (FDACS), Mustard 21 (Canada),... Read More

USDA Microloans Available for Small Farms

The Microloan Program, available through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), is a relatively new option to help beginning farmers get started, or to assist existing small farms expand their operations. This program offers more flexible access to credit... Read More

Grazing Management Can Improve Pasture Fertility

Jose Dubeux – UF/IFAS NFREC Forage Management Specialist Introduction-How much of the nutrients cattle consume are recycled back to the pasture? Livestock consume nutrients contained in forages and feeds and return most of them to the pasture in... Read More

Wait on the Right Weather to Plant Bahiagrass

If you are thinking about planting a bahiagrass pasture in the next few weeks you may want to “hold your horses” as they say. Just because it’s warming up and the home improvement stores are running commercials featuring... Read More

Panhandle Ag Team hosts Florida Forage Workers Training

The Panhandle Agriculture Extension Team and the North Florida Research and Education Center (NFREC) teamed up to host a training for the UF/IFAS Faculty who work with forages and livestock in Marianna, on April 7th and 8th . ... Read More

1st Quarter Panhandle Weather Summary

Much of the Panhandle has had above average rainfall during the first quarter of 2014.  While most farmers are getting frustrated because the wet ground has delayed planting preparation, ranchers are smiling because they have finally gotten ideal... Read More

Applying Nitrogen during Wet Weather

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Large Carpenter Bee Management and Control

Every year beginning in mid-March to early-April, Extension Agents begin to receive inquiries about managing carpenter bees which are attacking barns, eaves, rafters, and other wooden structures.  The bee most commonly responsible for economic damages is typically the... Read More

The Limited Poultry and Egg Farm Operation Rule Becomes Effective July 1, 2014

The long awaited Limited Poultry and Egg Farm Operation rule has been adopted. The initial efforts to change the regulations began in 2010. This rule establishes the regulatory parameters for a farm based food establishment. It is limited... Read More

What is the Best Grass for Pastures in the Panhandle?

Spring is here, and the number of calls that come in to the local Extension Office increases dramatically with the warmer weather.  One question that often comes this time of year is “What grass I should plant for... Read More

Aquatic and Natural Areas Pesticide Training and Exams

Pesticide Training and License Exams being offered at the University of Florida IFAS Extension Okaloosa County Office. March 31, 2014 8am-11am     Aquatic Pest Control Training 11am              Aquatic Pest Control Exam 1pm-4pm       Natural Areas Weed Management Training 4pm               Natural... Read More

Detecting and Controlling Varroa Mites in Honey Bees

15.00 The varroa mite, Varroa destructor is the world’s most devastating pest of Western honey bees, Apis mellifera.  Although the varroa complex includes multiple species, Varroa destructor is the species responsible or the vast majority of the damage... Read More

Impact of Selection for Feed Efficiency of Heifers on Future Cow Performance

Introduction In Florida, the predominant classes of cattle are females (replacement heifers, young and mature cows) that graze forages.  However, most feed efficiency research has focused on grain-fed, feedlot cattle, with little data collected on mature cows on... Read More

Soil Health and Cover Crop Group to Meet April 1

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Warm Season Deer Nutrition Can Pay Off in the Fall

To the chagrin of hunters across the Panhandle, deer season has drawn to a close. As the days lengthen and temperatures begin to climb many of the area’s outdoorsmen (and women) shift their efforts to pursuits of a... Read More

Defining a Breeding Season is Crucial for Beef Herds

There is a long and ever growing list of management strategies that have the potential to make cow calf operations more profitable. Many of these strategies relate in some way to more efficiently meeting the nutritional needs of... Read More

Panhandle February 14 Weather Summary

February was certainly warmer than January, and in most areas wetter as well.  Once again the Carrabelle station collected the most rainfall with 6.7″ in February.  Monticello was the driest location, with only 4.4″ recorded at the FAWN... Read More

Summer Annual Forage Options for the Panhandle

Summer Annual Forages: Millet, Forage Sorghum, Sudangrass, Sorghum-Sudan and Crabgrass This has been a tough winter season for forage production. Many producers are struggling with little hay left in the barn and slow winter growth of our forages.... Read More

Kudzu Bugs have Emerged in Large Numbers

The kudzu bug has emerged from its overwintering locations with a vengeance! If you saw recently a large number of small greenish and flattened insects on your exterior walls, your vehicles or most any other light colored object,... Read More

Highlights from the 2012 US Ag Census

The USDA National Agriculture Statistic Service (NASS) released the first preliminary report from the 2012 Census of Agriculture.  When the 2007 report first came out the big news was that the number of farms in the US had... Read More

It’s in Florida: Rose Rosette Virus, a Devastating Disease on Roses

Roses are one of the most popular flowering shrubs in U.S. with a total wholesale value of 194 million U.S. Dollars. Among the major states in U.S., Florida is the fourth largest producer of roses with a total... Read More

Beef Replacement Heifer Development Considerations

Nicolas DiLorenzo, State Beef Specialist, University of Florida NFREC Now that we have left behind a few years of severe droughts and hay shortages, there has been renewed talk about beef herd reconstruction in the U.S. fueled by... Read More

Top Reasons Cattle Vaccines Fail

There are several variables in the vaccination equation:  the people, the animals, and the vaccine.  All these variables work together to create immunity to diseases in our livestock.  With so many variables, things can sometimes go wrong and... Read More

Cattle Rations Short on Energy this Winter

2013 was certainly a rough year for hay production in the Southeast; first it was too dry to produce enough hay to cut, then too wet to make a quality cutting of hay.  As a result, most ranchers... Read More

Panhandle Weather Update January 14

January 2014 was a rough month in the Florida Panhandle.  Unusually cold weather kicked off the month and then sleet, ice and even a little snow shut down major highways. For the month of January, the wettest location... Read More

Temperature Extremes Can Affect Pesticides

Temperature extremes, like the unusually cold weather we have been experiencing across North Florida this winter, can have an adverse affect on many pesticide products if they are not stored properly. Exposure to extreme temperatures can decrease the... Read More

History of Snowfall in North Florida

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Make the Most of Your Pond This Year!

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Protect Your Herd from Grass Tetany this Winter

Grass tetany is a potentially deadly condition in cattle and sheep grazing on small grains or ryegrass.  Grass tetany is a condition associated with reduced magnesium levels in the blood, and can be a serious problem for cattle and... Read More

When Should I Thin My Pine Trees?

Pine tree thinning is a key management practice that can increase the long-term productivity and profitability of a timber stand.  Thinning is a partial tree harvest of inferior trees in an immature stand used to accelerate the diameter... Read More

Vaseygrass in your Bermuda hayfield? Start your management now!

When you think of hay in the third week of January, you are probably wondering whether you’ll have enough hay to last until grass greens up in the spring. However, now is the time to develop your plan... Read More

A New Chestnut Trial Planned for NFREC-Quincy

The American chestnut (Casteneae dentata) was once the most dominant hardwood species in North America until the introduction of the Chestnut Blight fungus (Cryphonectria parasitica) which ultimately destroyed over 3 billion trees. The first European settlers found that... Read More

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the US Extension Service

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Satsuma Protection in Cold Weather Extremes

This week, Northwest Florida received some of the coldest weather in recent years, with lows ranging from 14 ºF to 20 ºF two nights in a row. This had the potential to impact local citrus production areas heavily. It is... Read More

2013 Variety Trial Results from UF/IFAS WFREC

Variety selection is critical to achieving high yields, better crop quality, and pest resistance.  Soil and environmental factors vary greatly in our country and even the Southeast region.  This is why universities perform variety trials at numerous locations... Read More

Ranchers Should Prepare Livestock for Hard Freeze January 6th – 8th

[warning]The National Weather Service is forecasting wind chills below freezing for 48 hours from Monday night through Wednesday, with possible single digit wind chills on Monday and Tuesday nights.[/warning] The following is the NWS forecast for Marianna for... Read More

2013 NASS Farm Land Rent Survey Summary

It is the time of year when land owners and farmers negotiate lease agreements for the crop year ahead.  One of the toughest parts of negotiation is having a handle on what is a fair price.  The USDA... Read More

2013 Panhandle FAWN Weather Summary

The rainfall in 2013 was certainly varied across all six Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) Stations located in the Panhandle.  The Carrabelle station collected over 78″ and the driest location was in Jay where a more normal 52... Read More