Tag Archive: County

Forest Stewardship Tour of Sandhill Farm in Jackson County – October 5

Forest Stewardship Tour of Sandhill Farm in Jackson County – October 5

Sandhill Farm in Jackson County. Credit: Billy Boothe

Sandhill Farm – Property of David and Cindi Stewart

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Meet at the property at 9:00 AM CT – Adjourn after lunch

When Cindi and David Stewart first saw the mosaic of sandhills, swamps, flatwoods and loblolly pine forest making up this 222-acre Jackson County property, they knew they would buy it. Avid hikers from the south-central Florida suburbs, they loved being in the forest. That was 14 years ago, and they have come a long way towards their goal of managing their property for wildlife habitat. After beginning their land management education with the Master Tree Farmer and Master Wildlifer short courses offered by Clemson University and University of Florida IFAS Extension, they sought advice and a Forest Stewardship management plan from the Florida Forest Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Following some hard work managing underbrush, they planted 50 acres of longleaf pine.  With diverse wildlife habitat as a primary goal, they burn every two years and have some beautiful groundcover plants like wiregrass and blazing star.  In 2006, they were awarded Jackson County Tree Farmers of the Year. Join us for a walking tour of this property.  This will be a relatively short hike on trails.  Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the field.
Cost is $ 10 per person, lunch and materials included. Register online at https://fsp-tour100517.eventbrite.com/. You can also reserve a space by contacting UF/IFAS Jackson County Extension at (850) 482-9620, and pay at the event with cash or check payable to University of Florida.  Space is limited so register early. Please share this announcement with others who may be interested.

Use the following link for the printer friendly event flyer with directions and a map for driving to the property:

Sandhill Farm Stewardship Tour

Driving Directions

David and Cindi Stewart’s Sandhills Farm – 357 Pittman Hill Road – Marianna, FL 32448 – (850) 579-8848
From I-10, Marianna:
  • Exit at the western-most Marianna exit (Exit #136), SR 276.
  • Turn left on SR 276 West and go less than 1 mile to CR 167 South (signs to Panama City &Fountain)
  • Turnleft on CR 167 South
  • Travel about 9.8 miles south on CR 167 to Nortek Blvd. (yellow intersection sign indicating Nortek Blvd & second sign for Compass Lakes inthe Hills) – turn left (east) on Nortek Blvd. -Travel east on Nortek Blvd. until the pavement ends –our property begins on your left as the pavement ends.
  • Stay on Nortek Blvd./Hasty Pond Road (the name changes as the pavement ends) for another ½ mile.
  • Turn left (north) at the first intersection onto Pittman Hill Road
  • They have the first real driveway (with a mailbox) on the left, after you pass the pond on the left –less than ½ mile. The house number “357” is on the mailbox. Follow the power poles to the house.

 

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Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Lead Editor for Panhandle Ag e-news – Jackson County Extension Director – Livestock & Forages Agent. My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.
http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/22/forest-stewardship-tour-of-sandhill-farm-in-jackson-county-october-5/

Gear Up for Leon County Extension’s Garden Educator Training Series

The Garden Educator Training Series helps garden leaders start or improve their school or community garden. Photo by Molly Jameson.

 

By Tiffany Torres

Tiffany Torres is the Family Nutrition Program Northwest District Food Systems Specialist with UF/IFAS Extension.

With the cooler months of fall upon us, school gardens across the Panhandle are beginning to awaken from their summer slumber. Soon, students and teachers will begin to replenish the soil, plant their seeds, and dive into an engaging edible education experience.

For these schools and communities, gardens are much more than just a few beds of carrots. School gardens serve as outdoor classrooms, bringing academic concepts to life in new and exciting ways, while also encouraging environmental stewardship. In addition, school gardens can expose students to lifelong healthy eating habits by inspiring them to try new fruits and vegetables. In time, the school garden can become a facet of school culture and pride, ultimately reinforcing an overall healthier school food environment for students, teachers, parents, and the broader community.

School gardens can inspire students to try foods, impacting their eating habits long-term. Photo by Molly Jameson.

To help support teachers and other school garden stakeholders on this journey, specialists at the University of Florida IFAS Extension Family Nutrition Program developed a seasonal school and community garden training. The “Garden Educator Training Series” provides teachers and volunteers with tools for improving school garden education, enjoyment, and long-term outcomes. This monthly education and networking opportunity welcomes teachers who want to start and sustain school gardens, college students who want to volunteer with local gardening projects, and other garden enthusiasts, such as Master Gardeners, who want to lend their time to ensure the success of school and community gardens.

Each session includes three engaging components: 1) seasonally relevant, hands-on gardening skills; 2) curriculum and education connections; and 3) community organizing strategies to build team commitments. Sessions also include an opportunity to share successes and challenges amongst fellow attendees, resulting in a stronger school and community garden network. Each garden project leader will build a “Living History Binder,” which they will fill with resources throughout the series and use with their team to help organize their garden projects.

Through the Garden Educator Training Series, it is our hope that everyone involved will gain tangible and valuable skills to launch or improve their school or community garden projects. The program will give educators the tools necessary to design their gardens to be outdoor classrooms; promote health and wellness through gardening; facilitate community engagement; and teach students valuable life skills such as teamwork, cooperation, focus, and patience –  inspiring the next generation of “garden leaders, not just garden weeders.”

The Series provides teachers and volunteers networking opportunities and tools to improve school garden education. Photo by Molly Jameson.

Interested in participating in the Garden Educator Training Series? The Series is free of charge, and will take place at the Leon County Extension Office (615 Paul Russell Rd, Tallahassee, FL). Fall sessions are 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on September 14th, October 12th, November 9th, and November 30th. To register, visit the UF/IFAS Leon County Eventbrite website (https://leongetsfall2017.eventbrite.com).

For further information, please contact the UF/IFAS Extension Office at Leon County by calling (850) 606-5200.

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Author: Molly Jameson – mjameson@ufl.edu

Molly Jameson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/18/gear-up-for-leon-county-extensions-garden-educator-training-series/

Walton County Beef Cattle Seminar – September 21

Walton County Beef Cattle Seminar – September 21

There are roughly 13,000 head of cattle in Walton County, making them an important part of agriculture in this part of the western Florida panhandle.  The University of Florida IFAS Extension Walton County office is offering an educational program to help livestock owners stay competitive and up-to-date on the business. It will be held at the Paxton Ag Center, 22036 Highway 331 North in Paxton, on September 21th from 4:00 – 8:00 PM Central.

Topics covered will include feed stuff selection, beef cattle management strategies, and reproduction management strategies.  This is a multi-state and multi-county program, so cattle producers from across the region are welcome to attend. Also, there will be some hay equipment and hay wrappers on site to look at. There will be a $ 10 fee to attend; steak dinner is included. For more information or to register, please contact the Walton County Extension Office at (850) 892-8172 or by email to haneyc@ufl.edu.

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Author: Michael Goodchild – mjgo@ufl.edu

Michael Goodchild County Extension Director Walton County (forestry)

Michael Goodchild

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/16/walton-county-beef-cattle-seminar-september-21/

Soybean Rust Detected in Jackson County

Soybean Rust Detected in Jackson County

Figure 1. Soybean rust was detected on soybean in a soybean sentinel plot in Jackson County, Florida on June 26, 2017. The map above shows scouted and confirmed locations through July 18, 2017 as reported on the USDA IPM PIPE website.

Ian Small, Kelly O’Brien, and David Wright, UF/IFAS NFREC Quincy, and Ethan Carter , UF/IFAS Regional Crop IPM Agent

Soybean rust was confirmed in early-planted soybean sentinel plots on June 26, 2017 at the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Marianna Florida. Ethan Carter, Regional Crop IPM Agent cooperating with Ian Small, and Kelly O’Brien on the monitoring of the sentinel plot, submitted the leaf samples that were analyzed and found to be positive for soybean rust.  Sentinel plots are planted very early, so they are more mature with a more developed canopy than most soybean production fields to serve as an early-warning system for farmers.

Figure 2. Soybean rust on upper (A) and lower (B) leaf surface (Photo credit: Ian Small).

With the unseasonably wet start to summer, conditions have been suitable for soybean rust to produce spores for dispersal.

Figure 3. Map showing rainfall for the previous 45 days (June 1 – July 15) http://agroclimate.org/. Frequent rainfall has resulted in favorable conditions for soybean rust and many other plant diseases.

Figure 4. Map showing deviation from historical rainfall averages for the southeast US for the past 45 days (June 1 – July 15) http://agroclimate.org/. Many parts of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia have experienced greater than 14 inches above historical average rainfall.

It will be important for growers to scout for disease and stay on top of their fungicide application programs this year.  Follow updates from USDA Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (ipmPIPE) to monitor soybean rust distribution in your area.  Several fungicides are available that provide very good control of soybean rust:  UT Fungicide Efficacy for Control of Foliar Soybean Diseases. Be sure to rotate fungicides from different classes to prevent resistance.  Before selecting your fungicide for control, consider other diseases such as Cercospora leaf blight that may also be an issue in your fields.

Each year the rust epidemic typically begins in the Gulf Coast area and spreads north. Monitoring of sentinel plots in Florida plays an important role in providing information to soybean producing states. This sentinel plot monitoring effort was made possible through funding from the Eastern Region Soybean Board (ERSB).

Resources:

UT Fungicide Efficacy for Control of Foliar Soybean Diseases

USDA site for tracking soybean rust

A farmer’s guide to soybean diseases

Using foliar fungicides to manage soybean rust (updated)

 

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Author: Ian Small – ismall@ufl.edu

Ian Small

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/07/21/soybean-rust-detected-in-jackson-county/

APHIS Confirms New World Screwworm in Dade County Dog

APHIS Confirms New World Screwworm in Dade County Dog

Source: 

Screwworm larvae. Source: Foreign Animal Diseases “The Grey Book” USAHA

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of New World screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax) in a stray dog near Homestead, Florida. The dog was isolated and his infested wounds were treated. Federal and state officials have started active surveillance in the area.

This is the first confirmed case on Florida’s mainland. Screwworm was first confirmed on October 3, 2016 in Key deer from National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key, Florida. This initial presence of screwworm was the first local detection in the United States in more than 30 years and Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam declared an agricultural state of emergency in Monroe County, Florida.

Since October, 13 Keys had known infestations mostly in the key deer population, with five confirmed infestations in domestic animals. Animal health and wildlife officials at the state and federal levels have been working aggressively to eradicate this pest. Extensive response efforts have included fly assessments to determine the extent of the infestation, release of sterile flies to prevent reproduction and disease surveillance to look for additional cases in animals. Officials have received significantly fewer reports of adult screwworm flies in the area and fewer cases of infected Key deer. To date, fly assessments have been conducted on 40 Keys. USDA has released over 80 million sterile flies from 25 ground release sites on twelve islands and the city of Marathon. The initial epidemiology report on the Florida Keys infestation may be viewed at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/stakeholders/downloads/2017/nws-epi-report.pdf.

Life cycle of New World Screwworm from Fernandez and White, 2010. Investigation into Introduction of New World Screwworm into Florida Keys

Residents who have warm-blooded animals (pets, livestock, etc.) should watch their animals carefully. Florida residents should report any potential cases to 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or non-Florida residents should call (850) 410-3800.  Visitors to the area should ensure any pets that are with them are also checked, in order to prevent the spread of this infestation.

While human cases of New World screwworm are rare, they have occurred, and public health officials are involved in the response. No human cases have been reported in Florida. For more information about this disease in humans, please contact your local public health department. Using fly repellents and keeping skin wounds clean and protected from flies can help prevent infection with screwworm in both people and animals.

New World screwworm are fly larvae (maggots) that can infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals, including people. They most often enter an animal through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh. While they can fly much farther under ideal conditions, adult flies generally do not travel more than a couple of miles if there are suitable host animals in the area. New World screwworm is more likely to spread long distances when infested animals move to new areas and carry the pest there.

In the 1950s, USDA developed a new method to help eradicate screwworm using a form of biological control, called the sterile insect technique, which releases infertile flies in infested areas. When they mate with wild females, no offspring result. With fewer fertile mates available in each succeeding generation, the fly, in essence, breeds itself out of existence.  USDA used this technique to eradicate screwworm from the U.S. and worked with other countries in Central America and the Caribbean to eradicate it there as well. Today, USDA and its partners maintain a permanent sterile fly barrier at the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia to prevent the establishment of any screwworm flies that enter from South America.

For more information on this subject, use the following links:

USDA Confirms Screwworms in the Florida Keys

Investigation into Introduction of New World Screwworm into Florida Keys

APHIS New World Screwworm Fact-sheet

 

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Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu

admin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/01/13/aphis-confirms-new-world-screwworm-in-dade-county-dog/

Morrison Springs Park – Walton County, Florida

Morrison Springs Park – Walton County, Florida

Snorkeler at Morrison Springs Park

Snorkeler at Morrison Springs – Laura Tiu

Morrison Springs Bald Cypress

Morrison Springs Bald Cypress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are over 1000 springs identified in Florida. In the Panhandle, the majority of the springs are karst or artesian springs rising deep from the Floridan Aquafer System within the states limestone base.  Springs are unique and can be identified by perennial flows, constant water temperature and chemistry, high light transparency.  This yields a freshwater ecology dependent on these features.  Springs are classified based upon the average discharge of water but can exhibit a lot of variability based on water withdrawals and rainfall. These springs are some of our most precious water resources, supplying the drinking water our communities rely on, as well as providing great recreation opportunities.

Morrison Springs is a popular spring in northwest Florida and is one of 13 springs flowing into the Choctawhatchee River Basin. It is a large, sandy-bottomed spring surrounded by old growth cypress.  The spring pool is 250 feet in diameter, discharges an average of 48 million gallons of water each day from three vents into the Choctawhatchee River as a second magnitude spring.  The spring contains an extensive underwater cave system with three cavities up to 300 feet deep and is popular for scuba diving, swimming and snorkeling, kayaking, canoeing and fishing.  Historically, it was privately owned and was a popular swimming hole for locals.  In 2004, the state of Florida purchased the land containing the spring in the Choctawhatchee River floodplain.  The land was leased to Walton County for 99 years.  The county created a 161-acre park with a picnic pavilion, restroom facilities and a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk.  A down-stream boat ramp provides access to the river away from swimmers and divers.  There is no entrance fee.

Morrison Spring is filled with abundant fish and plant life. Fish include largemouth bass, spotted bass, hybrid striped bass, bluegill, sunfish, redbreast sunfish, warmouth, black crappie, striped bass, catfish, alligator gar, bowfin, carp, mullet and flounder or hogchoakers (freshwater sole).  It is also home to some nocturnal freshwater eels that swim around the vent and delight the divers. Most are gray, about an inch in diameter and maybe a foot or two long.  The spring supports many trees, plants, and grasses including bald cypress, live oak, red maple, pawpaw, red and black titi, Cherokee bean, sweetbay, blackgum, juniper, red cedar, southern magnolia, laurel oak, tupelo, hickory, willow, wax myrtle, cabbage palm, saw palmetto blueberry, hydrangea, St. John’s wort, mountain laurel, water lily, pickerelweed, pitcher plant, broad leaved arrowhead, fern, and moss.

Morrison Springs was previously considered one of the cleanest springs in Florida until 2010 (Florida Springs Initiative). All of Florida springs are currently at risk as the state population continues to increase.  Spring flows are decreasing as the result of increasing extraction of groundwater for human uses.  Development, and the resultant over pumping, and nitrogen pollution from agriculture both have impacts on the aquifer recharge areas.  Existing groundwater pumping rates from the Floridan Aquifer in 2010 were more than 30% of average aquifer recharge (Florida Spring Initiative).  The University of Florida IFAS Extension Agents in the Panhandle occasionally conduct interpretive guided tours of the Springs to help citizens understand the importance of protecting this unique water source.

 

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Author: Laura Tiu – lgtiu@ufl.edu

Sea Grant Extension Agent – Okaloosa and Walton Counties

Laura Tiu

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/18/morrison-springs-park-walton-county-florida/

Jackson County Farm City Festival November 18 & 19

Jackson County Farm City Festival November 18 & 19

Farm City Week is celebrated all across America the week before Thanksgiving.  In Jackson County, the Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau, Cattlemen’s Association, UF/IFAS Extension Service, and Farm Credit of Northwest Florida have teamed up once again to host the Farm City Festival November 18-19 in Marianna.  The Festival will feature two days of activities designed to honor the heritage and bounty of Jackson County agriculture.

Farm-City Awards Breakfast – Friday 7:00 to 9:00 AM

The Farm City Festival will begin with a breakfast at Rivertown Community Church in Marianna (4534 Lafayette Street aka. Hwy 90).  Farm Credit of Northwest Florida sponsors the breakfast that is provided at no charge to the public.  Participants are encouraged, however, to make donations of peanut butter for the Peanut Butter Challenge.  Registration and the serving of breakfast will begin at 6:30 AM, and the program will begin at 7:00 AM. There will be presentations from local 4-H clubs and FFA chapters, along with recognition of the Outstanding Farm Family, Peanut, Cotton, Corn, Tree, Hay, and Specialty Crop Farmers of the Year, as well as the Conservationist, and Cattleman of the Year.  Farm Bureau will also be recognizing farms through the “This Farm C.A.R.E.S.” program.

2015 Jackson County Farm City Breakfast

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival – Awards Breakfast.  Photo: Doug Mayo

Antique Tractor Drive – Friday 10:00 AM & 2:00 PM

Antique tractors will be offloaded at the Jackson County Agriculture Center, 3631 Highway 90 West, Marianna, Florida.  Registration will begin at 9:00 AM Central time, tractor lineup at 9:30, with the actual Tractor Drive leaving at 10:00 AM.  The first leg of the drive will be to travel 6.1 miles east to the Marianna Farmer’s Market.  Drivers will create a static display at the Marianna Farmer’s Market from 11:00 – 1:30.  At 2:00 PM the antique tractors will begin the return leg of their drive back to the Agriculture Center.

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival - Antique Tractor Drive through Mariannna

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival – Antique Tractor Drive through Marianna.  Photo: Doug Mayo

Farms, antique tractor collectors, 4-H clubs, FFA Chapters, and civic organizations are encouraged to participate in the drive.  Tractors must be 1986 or older models.  Wagons with club members can be pulled behind the tractors, but must have an adult chaperone in the wagon with youth, and an adult tractor driver.  Tractor drive participants are not required to participate in the tractor pull competition.

Antique tractors on display at the Marianna Farmer's Market following the drive. Photo: Doug Mayo

Antique tractors on display at the Marianna Farmer’s Market following the drive. Photo: Doug Mayo

Lawn Mower Pull – Friday 6:00 PM

There will be a hot-rod lawn mower pull on Friday night starting at 6:00 PM, following the tractor drive, at the Jackson County Agriculture Center.

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival - Lawn Mower Pull

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival – Lawn Mower Pull Photo: Doug Mayo

Antique Tractor Pull & Agricultural Festival – Saturday 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Antique tractors will compete by pulling a sled, based on tractor weight classes.  Tractor pull participants must be registered by 8:30 AM central time; a driver’s meeting will be held at 8:45, with Opening Ceremonies taking place at 9:00.  The hooking fee is $ 10 per pull.  Trophies will be presented to the top three finishers in each class. Camp sites are available for Tractor Pull participants at the Ag Center for $ 20 per night.

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival - Antique Tractor Pull. Photo: Doug Mayo

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival – Antique Tractor Pull. Photo: Doug Mayo

30 food and craft vendors will be on hand selling their creations.  There will be multiple vendors with things for kids to do:  an inflatable bounce house, slide, and bucking bull, along with a pony ride, and a barrel train.  There will also be heritage and agricultural demonstrations:  a blacksmith, Chipola Beekeepers, Jackson County Cattlemen’s association, and Florida Dairy Farmers.  All will be on the Ag Center grounds in the vicinity of the tractor pull, so this will be a fun event for the whole family.  This is a sponsored event, so admission is free.

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival - Heritage Demonstrations. Photo: Doug Mayo

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival – Heritage Demonstrations. Photo: Doug Mayo

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival - Agriculture Demonstrations. Photo: Doug Mayo

2015 Jackson County Farm City Festival – Agriculture Demonstrations. Photo: Doug Mayo

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Check out the highlights from last year’s Farm City Festival

For more information about all of the 2016 Farm City Festival events, contact the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce:  850-482-8060.

 

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Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Lead Editor for Panhandle Ag e-news – Jackson County Extension Director – Livestock & Forages Agent. My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.
http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/11/11/jackson-county-farm-city-festival-november-18-19/

Jackson County Daffodil Sale!

Jackson County Daffodil Sale!

carlton-daffodil

The Jackson County Master Gardeners are selling daffodil bulbs.  Bulbs are sold in paper bags for $ 5.00 per bag.  Bulb counts vary per bag based on bulb size.  For descriptions of available bulbs please see the attached flyer.

Jackson County Daffodil Selection/Description

To make a bulb order or for other questions please call the Jackson County Extension Office at (850)482-9620 and asked for Ms. Doris or Mr. Carl.

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Author: Matt Lollar – mlollar@ufl.edu

Matt Lollar is the Jackson County Horticulture Agent. He has 5 years of experience with University of Florida/IFAS Extension and he began his career in Sanford, FL as the Seminole County Horticulture Agent. Matt is originally from Belle Fontaine, AL. He earned his MS and BS degrees in Horticulture Production from Auburn University.

Matt Lollar

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/28/jackson-county-daffodil-sale/

Bay County Deploys First Super Reefs in Panama City Beach

Bay County Deploys First Super Reefs in Panama City Beach

Super Reef Deployment Location Graphic

Earlier this year, Bay County completed an artificial reef project in Gulf waters approximately 3 nautical miles (nm) south of the Panama City Beach Pier (Pier Park) and 11 nm west of St Andrew Bay Pass in Small Area Artificial Reef Site D. On May 14, five Super Reefs were deployed, each weighing approximately 36,000 lbs and rising 18 feet from the ocean floor. Typical artificial reef modules are only about 8 feet tall. This was the first time Super Reefs were deployed in western Bay County in the Panama City Beach area. The project provides marine habitat comparable to sinking a large vessel.

Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association (MBARA) supported Bay County and Walter Maine during the deployment efforts. MBARA provided this YouTube video documenting the deployment and post-deployment dive survey. During the survey, divers noted baitfish already utilizing the new habitat. The Super Reef module coordinates and details were verified as follows:

 

Patch Reef # Latitude Longitude Depth (ft) Permit Area
BC2015 Set 17 (1) 30° 10.196N 85° 54.607 W 74 SAARS D
BC2015 Set 18 (2) 30° 10.179 N 85° 54.567 W 75 SAARS D
BC2015 Set 19 (3) 30° 10.176 N 85° 54.603 W 75 SAARS D
BC2015 Set 20 (4) 30° 10.153N 85° 54.594 W 73 SAARS D
BC2015 Set 21 (5) 30° 10.138 N 85° 54.602 W 73 SAARS D

Previous monitoring and research suggest it takes 3 to 5 years for new reefs to reach full development of the associated marine ecosystem. Bay County will work with local anglers, divers, reef associations, and agencies to evaluate the performance of the new reef materials and the reef design.

Bay County artificial reef projects seek to use material that meets program goals and objectives. In this case, larger reef materials were selected to support larger reef fish such as amberjack, grouper, and snapper. Individual reef modules were spaced to support fish forage areas and accommodate multiple users including anglers and divers.

FL Artifcial Reefs FB

 

 

Funding for this $ 60,000 project was provided by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Artificial Reef Program. Additional reef projects were deployed by the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association earlier in the week. The Bay County Artificial Association (BCARA) is also planning new reef deployments in Bay County. Learn more about Bay County’s public artificial reefs at http://x.co/reefm. Florida Sea Grant hosts a Facebook page focused on news and information related to Florida’s Artificial Reefs. You can visit the page for latest information from around the state at https://www.facebook.com/floridaartificialreefs.

 

 

 

Walter Marine’s Maranatha deploying one of the five Super Reefs placed 3 nm south of Pier Park. The Super Reefs weigh greater than 18 tons and are 18 feet tall. Photo by Bay County Artificial Reef Coordinator, Allen Golden.

Walter Marine’s Maranatha deploying one of the five Super Reefs placed 3 nm south of Pier Park. The Super Reefs weigh more than 18 tons and are 18 feet tall. Photo by Bay County Artificial Reef Coordinator, Allen Golden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deployment of Super Reefs. Pictures provided by Bob Cox Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Foundation Picture2 Picture3 Picture4 Picture5 Picture6 Picture7

 

 

 

 

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Author: Scott Jackson – lsj@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS Bay County Extension Florida Sea Grant Regional Specialized Agent (Artificial Reefs and Fisheries)
http://bay.ifas.ufl.edu

Scott Jackson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/08/18/bay-county-deploys-first-super-reefs-in-panama-city-beach/

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

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

Ergot infected Argentine on the left and normal seadhead on the right

Ergot infected Argentine bahiagrass seedheads on the left and center,  normal seedhead on the right.  Photo credit:  Doug Mayo

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 bahiagrass, in fields that have been allowed to reach maturity for seed production or delayed hay harvest.  The weather conditions lately have certainly been favorable for fungal disease:  cloudy days, high humidity, and frequent rainfall.  If you have Argentine bahiagrass pastures, you should be familiar with the symptoms of this fungal disease, so you can monitor it and manage accordingly.  There are two major concerns with ergot:  1) ergot spores contain a toxin that affects livestock and 2) ergot decreases seed production. The fungus actually prevents flower fertilization and seed formation, so the main issue for seed producers is just a mild to serious loss in overall yield.  Ergot toxicity from bahiagrass is very rare, but could become an issue under the right conditions.

Ergot Identification

Argentine bahiagrass is much more commonly infected with ergot than the “Pensacola” cultivars (Tifton-9, TifQuik, UF Riata).  The “Pensacola” cultivars on the other hand are more susceptible to dollar spot (Sclerotinia homoeocarpa), which is a fungal disease of the leaf tissue.  Ergot spores are spread by wind, insects, or animal movement.  The fungus first infects the bahiagrass flowers and then grows in place of the seed.

Ergot frequently infects grasses in the genus Paspalum (bahiagrass) in the southern United States. The infection cycle begins with sexual spores (ascospores) spread by wind or possibly insects. The fungus infects the pistil of the flower at the time of flowering by colonizing the styles of susceptible plants, and a few days later the content of the ovary is replaced by fungal tissue.  The sign of ergot infection appears at flowering (anthesis) when a sugar-rich honeydew (exudate) is produced on infected flowers (florets). The honeydew makes seed heads feel sticky, and the exudates contain the asexual spores (conidia) that are responsible for initiating secondary infections (Fig. 1 A and B). Disease development is correlated to environmental conditions of high humidity, cloudy days, and warm temperatures, after which the disease cycle ends by forming a mass of dark fungal tissue (sclerotium) that replaces the seed and forces the glumes apart (Fig. 1 C and D). Additionally, ergot-infected seed contains alkaloids that are poisonous to animals.  Ergot Resistant Tetraploid Bahiagrass and Fungicide Effects on Seed Yield and Quality
FIGURE 1 Ergot (Claviceps paspali Stevens and Hall) in ‘Argentine’ bahiagrass: (A) early stage of honeydew development at anthesis; (B) dried honeydew in approximate 40% of the seed head and saprophytic fungi growing in a seed head postanthesis; (C) seed head at the time of harvest with three florets whose seed was replaced by ergot (note how the fungal tissue forced the glumes apart) while the other florets were not affected by the fungus; (D) normal caryopsis fully developed, right, and caryopsis replaced by ergot, left. Source: Ergot Resistant Tetraploid Bahiagrass and Fungicide Effects on Seed Yield and Quality

FIGURE 1 Ergot (Claviceps paspali ) in ‘Argentine’ bahiagrass: (A) early stage of honeydew development at anthesis; (B) dried honeydew in approximately 40% of the seed head and saprophytic fungi growing in a seed head postanthesis; (C) seed head at the time of harvest with three florets whose seed was replaced by ergot (note how the fungal tissue forced the glumes apart) while the other florets were not affected by the fungus; (D) normal caryopsis fully developed, right, and caryopsis replaced by ergot, left. Source: Ergot Resistant Tetraploid Bahiagrass and Fungicide Effects on Seed Yield and Quality

Toxicity

Ergot toxicity is not a common issue with grazing livestock, but is something worth monitoring in Argentine bahiagrass fields, at this time of year.  The fungus only affects the seedheads, so the rest of the plant is nontoxic.  With normal, rotational or continuous grazing, the percentage of mature seedheads in a given pasture is fairly limited.  The greatest concern is turning livestock in to graze a pasture with a high percentage of mature seedheads in mid to late summer.  This might be an issue in a field where seed production or hay production was abandoned and instead utilized for grazing. Or perhaps a pasture that has not been utilized for several weeks, that has become more mature than normal in a rotational grazing system.

The key to livestock poisoning is the amount of toxic spores that are consumed.  The old adage, “The solution to pollution is dilution” is certainly true with livestock. The key is to avoid long, continuous exposure, or feeding toxins in a high percentage of the diet.

Intake of ergot bodies should be <0.1% of the total diet, and concentrations of ergot alkaloids should be <100 ppm in the total diet. Ergotism can be controlled by an immediate change to an ergot-free diet.  Merck Vet Manual

The NRCS Bahiagrass fact sheet contains the following statement:

Caution: Seed heads of the cultivar ‘Argentine’ are often infected by ergot (Claviceps paspali). Pregnant mares can experience abortion problems, if they eat large quantities of infected seed heads. Also, ingestion of infected seeds can produce toxic effects in cattle. USDA NRCS – Plant Materials Center

There are different forms of ergot, depending on the crop, season and location.  According to Ergot as a Plant Disease, the form of ergot (Claviceps paspali) found in bahiagrass and dallisgrass affects the nervous system. The common name for animals affected is “Bahiagrass Staggers” or “Dallisgrass Staggers.”  The ergot that occurs in cool-seson forages or crops such as rye or wheat, and ryegrass (Claviceps purpurea) causes lameness, hoof and tail decay, and even gangrene.  Ergot toxicity can also affect milk production and abortions in pregnant animals.

Animals consume ergot by eating the spores (sclerotia) present in contaminated feed. All domestic animals are susceptible, including birds. Cattle seem to be the most susceptible. The responses of animals consuming ergot are usually quite variable and are dependent on variations in alkaloid content, frequency of ingesting ergot, quantity of ergot ingested, climatic conditions under which ergot grew, the species of ergot involved, and the influence of other impurities in the feed such as histamine and acetylcholine.  Two well-known forms of ergotism exist in animals, an acute form characterized by convulsions, and a chronic form characterized by gangrene. A third form of ergotism is characterized by hyperthermia (increased body temperature) in cattle, and a fourth form is characterized by agalactia (no milk) and lack of mammary gland development, prolonged gestations, and early foal deaths in mares fed heavily contaminated feed. Which form of ergotism is manifested depends on the type of ergot consumed and the ratio of major toxic alkaloids present in the ergot: ergotamine, ergotoxine,and ergometrine. Claviceps purpurea, the common cause of ergot in North Dakota, is usually associated with gangrenous ergotism. Claviceps paspali, an ergot of Paspalum species of plants (bahiagrass & dallisgrass), is most commonly associated with central nervous derangement.  The responses of animals consuming ergot are usually quite variable and are dependent on variations in alkaloid content, frequency of ingesting ergot, quantity of ergot ingested, climatic conditions under which ergot grew, the species of ergot involved, and the influence of other impurities in the feed such as histamine and acetylcholine.  Ergot as a Plant Disease

Symptoms of Bahiagrass Staggers

The same ergot fungus (Claviceps paspali) that affects Argentine bahiagrass also effects dallisgrass, that is more common in other parts of the South.  The following is a description of the symptoms of egrot toxicity from the same fungus that also affects Argentine Bahiagrass.

Clinical signs of Dallisgrass Staggers involve the animal’s nervous system. In the very early stages of the disease, the only sign seen may be trembling of various muscles after exercise. As the disease progresses, muscle tremors worsen so that the animal becomes uncoordinated and may show continuous shaking of the limbs and nodding of the head. When forced to move, this severely affected animal may stagger, walk sideways, and display a “goose-stepping” gait. Incoordination can be severe enough that the animal will fall down when attempting to walk. Some animals may be found down and unable to stand. Diarrhea may also be noted in some affected animals. Death can occur in severe cases, especially in scenarios where cattle are naïve to grazing dallisgrass. There is no cure for ergot poisoning, but removing cows from infected pastures when symptoms are first noticed usually results in uneventful recovery in three to five days. Mowing seedheads to prevent animals from grazing them helps prevent the problem from occurring. Ergot toxicity from dallisgrass hay is very uncommon since the total intake of hay forage dilutes any ergot contained in the hay. Ergot Poisoning and Dallisgrass Staggers

Management of Ergot in Bahia

The intent of this article was not to scare livestock producers, but simply to make them aware of a potentially serious issue. Before turning cattle or other livestock into an Argentine bahiagrass pasture with mature seedheads, it is a good idea to scout the field for the severity of this disease. Once a serious level, >20% of the pasture becomes infected, it would be better to be cautious, mow the seedheads off and wait a few weeks before grazing.  Pregnant animals, particularity mares should be moved to an alternate location, and even stalled if need be, until the severity of the infection in a pasture is reduced. Once the fungal materials are mowed off and the seedheads decay, there is always potential for reinfection, based on the right environmental conditions returning (heavy, continuous rainfall, humidity and mature seedheads).
Most of the cases of livestock fatalities and abortions involved contaminated feeds or bedding straw that were consumed on a regular basis, at fairly high levels.  Ergot toxicity from livestock grazing bahiagrass is not a common occurrence, but conditions at this point in the summer are ideal for the development of this disease, so it is something to keep an eye on.  If you do have animals grazing Argentine bahiagrass, and they seem to be acting strange, have muscle tremors, lack coordination, or are disoriented, the first course of action would be to move livestock to a new pasture immediately to change their diet,  monitor their behavior, and advise your veterinarian of the situation.  If conditions don’t rapidly improve, consult with your veterinarian.  There are other diseases that can cause similar symptoms that may require very different treatment.

Information sources used for this article:

Ergot Resistant Tetraploid Bahiagrass and Fungicide Effects on Seed Yield and Quality – Rios, E., Blount, A., Harmon, P., Mackowiak, C., Kenworthy, K., and Quesenberry, K. 2015. Plant Health Progress doi:10.1094/PHP-RS-14-0051.

Ergot as a Plant Disease – NDSU – Marcia McMullen, Extension Plant Pathologist & Charles Stoltenow, Extension Veterinarian

Ergot Poisoning and Dallisgrass Staggers – Dr. John Jennings, Extension Forage Specialist – University of Arkansas

Bahiagrass Plant Fact Sheet – Houck, M., 2009. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Louisiana

Ergotism – Merck Veterinary Manual

 

PG

Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

Lead Editor for Panhandle Ag e-news – Jackson County Extension Director – Livestock & Forages Agent. My true expertise is with beef cattle and pasture management, but I can assist with information on other livestock species, as well as recreational fish ponds.
http://jackson.ifas.ufl.edu

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/08/13/ergot-a-fungal-disease-in-argentine-bahiagrass-found-in-jackson-county/

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