Tag Archive: Florida

Summer Wildflowers of North Florida Roadsides

Summer Wildflowers of North Florida Roadsides

The network of backcountry roads winding through north Florida offer pleasant views of rolling pastures, fields of cotton, old tobacco barns, and, occasionally, a scenic overlook of our local “hills”. Many of these roads follow the original trails blazed by early settlers, or even Native Americans. Traveling along these small roads during the late summer, drivers are also presented with an abundance of wildflowers along the road. It’s fun to imagine travelers of past generations being awarded the same colorful displays in days of yore.

 

Traveling a country road in 1905 when they were all country roads! Likely enjoying same roadside wildflowers. Credit: State Archives of Florida – Hays.

 

Some of the most common roadside wildflowers of late summer include Spanish needles (Bidens alba), goldenrod (Solidago spp.), silkgrass (Pityopsis spp.), slender scratchdaisy (Croptilon divaricatum), goldenaster (Chrysopsis spp.), and, one that the early settlers wouldn’t have seen, showy rattlebox (Crotalaria spectabilis), an invasive, exotic species that was introduced in the 1920’s.

 

Spanish needles. Credit: Brent Sellers – UF/IFAS.

 

Goldenrod. Credit: Larry Williams – UF/IFAS.

 

Silkgrass. Credit: JC Raulston Arboretum – NC State University.

 

Scratch daisy. Credit: Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants – UF/IFAS.

 

Showy rattlebox. Credit: Doug Mayo – UF/IFAS.

 

Many of these roadside wildflowers can also be found in home lawns and landscapes, usually in areas infrequently mowed, such as fence lines and field edges. Except for showy rattlebox, these roadside wildflowers are native species adapted to dry, disturbed sites, like roadsides. These native species provide ecosystem services to many native insects and other pollinators, including honey bees. Depending upon site particularities, allowing these plants to thrive in the residential landscape can provide similar ecosystem services and similar reward of color as is found along country back-roads.

 

While most folks would probably just consider these plants weeds, that determination depends upon an individual’s situation and each gardener’s opinion. In one yard, maybe it’s a weed, but along the roadside, it’s called a wildflower! Certainly, if left to set seed, these plants will spread. Mowing prior to seed maturity can help keep them in check while still getting a temporary show of color. Again, any showy rattlebox should be controlled since it is an invasive, exotic species that can invade natural Florida ecosystems and smother native plants. It’s also toxic to many animals if ingested.

 

North Florida’s roadside wildflowers are a pleasure see while cruising the back roads. If recognized and allowed to grow in residential landscapes, these plants can provide the same aesthetic and environmental benefits.

If you are interested in what’s growing in your yard, or local roadside, contact your county’s UF/IFAS Extension office.

PG

Author: Mark Tancig – tancig00@ufl.edu

Mark Tancig

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/10/09/summer-wildflowers-of-north-florida-roadsides/

Florida EQIP Application Deadline is November 17

Florida EQIP Application Deadline is November 17

EQIP can provide cost-share funds for conservation practices such cross fencing, and a water trough system to allow for rotational grazing and protection of riparian areas.

Florida farmers, ranchers and forest owners can apply until November 17, 2017 for fiscal year 2018 funding from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) that provides financial and technical assistance through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Although applications are accepted on a continuous basis for all programs, funding selections are typically made once a year.  The following video explains the types of services and cost-share programs the NRCS provides to farmers and ranchers, and the basic information needed to apply for EQIP funding.

Through EQIP, agricultural landowners may receive financial and technical assistance to improve soil, water, air, plants, animals, and related resources. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, private non-industrial forestland and other farm or ranch lands. The application deadline also applies to the following EQIP-funded initiatives:

Begin by visiting your local NRCS field office and requesting help developing a conservation plan. To learn about technical and financial assistance available from NRCS, go to Getting Started with NRCS.

 

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Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu

admin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/10/06/florida-eqip-application-deadline-is-november-17/

September Florida Cattle Market Price Watch

September Florida Cattle Market Price Watch

The August 2018 Feeder Cattle futures contract increased by $ 5.95/cwt. during September. Based on this futures price increase, August Feeder Cattle revenues increased by approximately $ 47.60/head ($ 5.95/cwt. * 8.0 cwt.) on an 800-pound feeder steer, which amounts to $ 2,975.00/truckload (50,000 lbs.). The August Feeder Cattle futures contract high, contract low, and price range since September 2017 are $ 150.02, $ 139.80, and $ 10.22/cwt., respectively. The price range of $ 10.22/cwt. on an 800-pound feeder steer totals $ 81.76/head and $ 5,110.00/truckload.

  1. The breakeven price was estimated to be $ 714.13/head or $ 129.84/cwt. ($ 714.13/head divided by 5.50 cwt.). The breakeven price includes variable and fixed production costs of $ 419/head and $ 295/head, respectively.
  2. The price objective was estimated to be $ 864.36/head or $ 157.16/cwt. ($ 864.36/head divided by 5.50 cwt.).  The price objective includes production costs of $ 714/head, family living withdrawal ($ 100/head), and growth
    capital/retirement ($ 50/head).
  3. The expected cash price is equal to the daily August 2018 Feeder Cattle futures closing price plus an expected August 2018 South Florida 550 lb. Feeder Calf Basis of $ 2/cwt.

 

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Author: Chris Prevatt – prevacg@ufl.edu

Chris Prevatt

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/10/06/september-florida-cattle-market-price-watch-2/

Wildlife Food Plots for North Florida

Big Buck on the Move – Photo Credit Shep Eubanks, UF/IFAS

About this time each year the minds of sportsman and wildlife aficionados turn towards the planting of wildlife food plots for use by wildlife  in fall, winter , and early spring.  There are many factors to consider when planting a fall food plot if you want to be successful in the endeavor.  Food plots can be  an effective method of providing food sources for game birds, deer, rabbits, raccoons, and other species.  The size of food plots vary according to landowner preferences and the requirements of the target wildlife species, but usually they are a minimum of 1/2 to 1 acre in size, with a maximum of 5 acres.

Location is a an important consideration when planning the plot as the most effective plots typically are located adjacent to sanctuary or escape cover that provides security for wildlife.  Food plots that meander along edges of of two or there converging types of cover, such as the edge created where pine plantations, hardwood bottoms, and agricultural fields intersect, are very attractive to wildlife and provide natural travel corridors, in addition to providing a high nutrition food source.

Successful planting of your crop begins with soil sampling.  Having the proper pH in your food plot is of paramount importance.  A pH of 6.5 is ideal for winter annual grasses and legumes in North Florida.  As an Ag Agent I have seen more food plot disasters because a landowner did not take time to soil test than any other reason.  The soil test will also guide you in applying proper fertilization to optimize productivity of your food plots.  Food plots are expensive  to establish and you want to avoid needless mistakes such as poor fertility that will yield poor results.

Preparation of a good seedbed is also very important as is selection of seeds that are adapted to our area.  UF/IFAS has developed some excellent resources that will assist you in selecting forages that do well in our area such as, A Walk on the Wild Side: 2013 Cool-Season Forage Recommendations for Wildlife Food Plots in North FloridaAnother Excellent reference is Establishing and Maintaining Wildlife Food Sources.

Now is the time to make your preparations for planting your successful cool season food plot here in North Florida! hopefully you will have the experience of seeing and enjoying wildlife as pictured in photo 2 and photo 3!

For more information on planting successful food plots this fall, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office.

Photo 2. Nice Buck grazing woods edge food plot in North Florida   Photo Credit – Shep Eubanks, UF/IFAS

Photo 3. Gobbler and Hen Standing in Crimson Clover
Photo Credit – Shep Eubanks, UF/IFAS

 

 

PG

Author: Shep Eubanks – bigbuck@ufl.edu

Shep Eubanks is the County Extension Director and Agriculture Agent in Gadsden County.

Shep Eubanks

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/22/wildlife-food-plots-for-north-florida/

Exploring Opportunities in Agritourism in North Florida – September 30

Exploring Opportunities in Agritourism in North Florida – September 30

UF IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center

155 Research Road – Quincy, FL 32351

Saturday, September 30, 2017

8:00 AM – 4:30 PM Eastern Time

Eventbrite Registration

Call 850-875-7100 for more information

PG

Author: admin – webmaster@ifas.ufl.edu

admin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/16/exploring-opportunities-in-agritourism-in-north-florida-september-30/

Friday Feature: Hurricane Irma’s Impact on the Florida Citrus Industry Video

Friday Feature:  Hurricane Irma’s Impact on the Florida Citrus Industry Video

Citrus trees in Hendry County destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Credit: Gene McAvoy

This week’s featured video was a CBS News report on the damage from Hurricane Irma to Citrus in Southwest Florida.  The story features Paul Meador, Citrus Grower and Gene McAvoy, UF/IFAS Regional Vegetable Agent, who were out earlier this week assessing damage to crops and citrus in Hendry County.  McAvoy estimates there were more than $ 2 billion dollars in damages in Southwest Florida where the eye-wall of Hurricane Irma churned up groves, ranches, and vegetable farms.

 

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If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out the featured videos from previous weeks:  Friday Features

If you come across a humorous video or interesting story related to agriculture, please send in a link, so we can share it with our readers. Send video links to:  Doug Mayo

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/2017/09/15/friday-feature-hurricane-irmas-impact-on-the-florida-citrus-industry-video/

New Insect and Mite Control Guide for Florida Cotton Growers

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 growers with up-to-date information on scouting and managing insects and mites in their fields.

The guide contains a link to a cotton insect identification guide. It also contains links to information on individual insect identification and their damage, including tobacco thrips, tobacco budworm, cotton bollworm, true armyworm, beet armyworm, fall armyworm, cutworms, loopers, boll weevil, plant bugs and stink bugs, cotton aphid, broad mite, two-spotted spider mite, and silverleaf whitefly.

The guide provides scouting information and damage thresholds which are important to avoid unnecessary pesticide application and to conserve important natural enemies. Conversely, cotton fields require frequent scouting from emergence to harvest as damaging pest populations can develop quickly. The guide details the recommended period of sampling and methods of sampling that are appropriate for individual pests. The average number of the pests in the samples then is used to determine if a management tactic is needed to prevent the pest from reaching a damage threshold.

For example, sweep netting is frequently used to estimate the number of plant bug adults once squaring begins in a cotton field (Figure 1). Take several 25-sweep samples in a field to determine if populations are approaching damage thresholds in a field.

Figure 1. Sweep netting is a way to monitor several cotton insect pests, including plant bugs and stink bugs. Credit: Joe Funderburk

For cotton boll weevils, pheromone traps are an efficient way to monitor (Figure 2). One trap is recommended for every 20 acres in a field.

Figure 2. Pheromone traps are used to monitor for boll weevils. Credit: Joe Funderburk

The guide serves as a reference for management tactics with links to other EDIS articles and external sources of information on arthropod management in cotton. These include cultural controls, mechanical controls, biological controls, and chemical controls. The article serves as a guide for Bt and non-BT cotton.

A pesticide table is included from the National Pesticide Informational Retrieval System that lists the major arthropod pests of cotton in Florida, the active ingredients and example products registered for controlling them, and the Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) classification system for use in rotating active ingredients to prevent resistance in target pests. The table includes special information on precautions and recommendations for maximizing control in Florida.

This EDIS publication website allows UF/IFAS extension researchers, extension specialists, and extension agents to regularly update fact sheets to include the most current information.

Download and print out the pdf, printer friendly version of this new fact sheet:

Insect and Mite Integrated Pest Management in Florida Cotton

 

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Author: Joe Funderburk – jef@ufl.edu


http://nfrec.ifas.ufl.edu

Joe Funderburk

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/08/new-insect-and-mite-control-guide-for-florida-cotton-growers/

Updates to the Florida Cottage Food Law

Updates to the Florida Cottage Food Law

Sally Waxgiser sells Sally’s Old Fashion Jams and Jellies in Jackson County utilizing the guidelines of the the Florida Cottage Food Law, which was approved by the legislature in 2011. Photo credit: Doug Mayo

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 Florida Statutes. These food products must be sold within Florida, they cannot be sold wholesale, and they must be properly packaged and labeled.  Although products can be served as free samples for tasting, the samples must be prepackaged.

The label on Cottage food must include the name and address of the Cottage food operation, the name of the product, the ingredients in order by weight, the net weight or volume of the product, allergen information, nutritional information if a nutritional claim is made, and the following statement, “Made in a cottage food operation that is not subject to Florida’s food safety regulations.”

Recently, the Cottage Food Law was amended to include two important changes. These updates, which took effect July 1, 2017, increase the annual gross sales of cottage food products allowed under the law from $ 15,000 to $ 50,000, and make it possible for the producer to sell, offer for sale, and accept payment over the Internet, if the product is delivered in person directly to the consumer, or to a specific event venue.

As listed on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Cottage Food website, the following foods fall under the Cottage Food Law:

  • Loaf breads, rolls, biscuits
  • Cakes, pastries and cookies
  • Candies and confections
  • Honey
  • Jams, jellies and preserves
  • Fruit pies and dried fruits
  • Dry herbs, seasonings and mixtures
  • Homemade pasta
  • Cereals, trail mixes and granola
  • Coated or uncoated nuts
  • Vinegar and flavored vinegars
  • Popcorn and popcorn balls

For more information, please visit the FDACS Division of Food Safety website, and read their latest fact sheet called, Florida Cottage Food Guidance.

 

PG

Author: Molly Jameson – mjameson@ufl.edu

Molly Jameson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/25/updates-to-the-florida-cottage-food-law/

Northwest Florida Rose Symposium Saturday September 16, 2017

Northwest Florida Rose Symposium Saturday September 16, 2017

On Saturday, September 16th, 2017, from 9AM to 12PM, UF / IFAS Extension Washington County will be providing a rose gardening workshop for gardeners across the Panhandle. Many roses are hard to grow in the Florida Panhandle without investing considerable time and energy into spraying for insect and disease problems. This workshop will teach attendees how to select and sustainably grow roses adapted to the hot-humid conditions of the Southern Gulf Coast. There will be opportunities for outdoor learning and hands-on activities. 

Topics include:

  • Selection of disease resistant rose cultivars adapted to the lower South
  • Resources to obtain hard to find easy care rose cultivars
  • Soil and Nutrient Management
  • Disease and insect management
  • Irrigation
  • Rose Propagation

Participants will be given the opportunity to propagate their own rose and take home their own propagation assembly to grow their own roses from scratch.

Refreshments will be provided and a door prize will be available.

Address: Washington County Ag Center Auditorium, 1424 Jackson Ave, Chipley FL 32428.

Pre Registration required for count: Contact Nikki or Cynthia at 850-638-6180 or email Matthew Orwat at mjorwat@ufl.edu

or register online at eventbrite HERE !

 

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Author: Matthew Orwat – mjorwat@ufl.edu

Matthew J. Orwat started his career with UF / IFAS in 2011 and is the Horticulture Extension Agent for Washington County Florida. His goal is to provide educational programming to meet the diverse needs of and provide solutions for homeowners and small farmers with ornamental, turf, fruit and vegetable gardening objectives. Please feel free to contact him with any questions you may have.
http://washington.ifas.ufl.edu/lng/about/

Matthew Orwat

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/24/northwest-florida-rose-symposium-saturday-september-16-2017/

Jean Bodiford McMillian: Florida 4-H Hall of Fame

Ms. Jean Bodiford McMillan was inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame August 2nd. She has helped 5 generations of youth in Gulf County learn leadership and life skills through the 4-H Horse Project.  In 1970, she became the club leader for the Big River Riders 4-H Club.  Mr. Roy Carter, a former Gulf County Extension Director, says “The Big River Riders 4-H Club holds the county record for the longest running 4-H club [in Gulf County] and Jean is one of the strongest leaders we have ever had the pleasure to work with.  She has been the backbone of our horse program and is always willing to help in any capacity.”

In addition to serving at the county level, Mrs. McMillian also serves on the Area A 4-H Horse Advisory Committee.  This committee of volunteers provides direction and leadership for 4-H Horse programs across the Florida Panhandle (Northwest District).  The purpose of the committee is to make sure that 4-H horse events are educational in nature and adhere to the philosophies and goals of 4-H positive youth development.  This committee has the authority and responsibility to manage the direction and resources of the Area A 4-H Horse Program.  Examples of programs include schooling shows, showmanship and judging clinics, camps, and competitive shows.

Ms. Jean Bodiford McMillan being inducted into the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame during the 4-H University Awards Banquet in August.

Jean has served on the Area A Horse Committee for over 30 years and has held a variety of positions on the committee.  Through her involvement in the committee, she has watched her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren participate in the Florida 4-H Horse Program.  She is always willing to help with anything that needs to be done from checking bits and helmets to calculating points.  She has chaired the Western and Speed Divisions for a number of years at the district level and also pitches in to help with whatever is needed at the State 4-H Horse Show every July.

Her work in customer service has helped her as a volunteer to resolve conflict and solve problems.  She began her professional career with FairPoint Communications, Inc. (Port St. Joe office) in 1960 in the customer service department and held various jobs over the years.  She is also an active member of the Honeyville United Methodist Church in Honeyville located right outside of Wewahitchka. She retired from the integration and reports department of FairPoint in 2009.

When asked why she has stayed involved with 4-H for so many years, she said:

We have a very good group of Extension directors, agents, volunteers and members within our Area A Horse Program and I am so thankful to be a part of the group in any capacity. I was a 4-H’er growing up, worked as a volunteer for 5 generations over 45 years and there are so many rewarding pleasures when you see the young people do their best and strive to improve in all areas. When all your heart is given and they continue to give more is the greatest reward of all. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this astronomical foundation.” 

Despite retiring from the professional world, she has never retired from her 4-H volunteer work. Her dependability and compassion for youth has earned her the respect and admiration of fellow volunteers as well as Extension faculty.   If you are interested in sharing your knowledge and skills to inspire the next generation, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office to find out more about becoming a volunteer.  We offer a wide variety of roles to fit your interests and schedule.

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Author: Heather Kent – hckent@ufl.edu

Heather Kent is the Regional Specialized 4-H Agent in the Northwest Extension District.

Heather Kent

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/18/jean-bodiford-mcmillian-florida-4-h-hall-of-fame/

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