Tag Archive: Practices

Permaculture Practices for the Home Landscape

If you’ve attended any of our landscaping classes, then you’ve probably heard the phrase “Right Plant, Right Place”.  This phrase is a simple reminder to research plant growth habits and growing conditions before making selections for your landscape.  This not only holds true for ornamental plants, but for edible crops as well.  A term used to describe the use of edibles as ornamentals is “Permaculture”.  Now this is an extremely simplified definition of the term, but permaculture comes from a combination of the words “permanent” and “agriculture”.  The thought behind permaculture is to fashion an edible landscape after a natural ecosystem.

There are a number of strategies to becoming a successful permaculturist.  Below you will find a few examples.

  • Site Observation and Analysis – The slope, orientation to the sun, and sectors of your yard should all be documented.
    • Slope – Identifying the slope of your yard can help you determine the natural flow of water and nutrients.  For example, if you have a hill in your back yard you may want to install some plant beds between the peak of the slope and your house.  These beds will help absorb water and nutrients before they have a chance to reach the house.
    • Orientation – Think about the location, relevant to your house, of each of your edible landscape areas.  The eastern side of your house receives morning sunlight, which is much cooler than the western side of your house that receives sunlight in the afternoon.  A tomato plant will be much happier if it can avoid the afternoon heat.
    • Sectors – While walking your property, you will notice differences in soil texture, soil moisture, and the plants and weeds growing in these different areas.  You can divide your yard based on these characteristics along with slope, orientation, and shade percentage to develop sectors of your property.
  • Cover Crops and Living Mulch – Cover crops are planted in areas that you would normally allow to go fallow.  Living mulches are plants that are planted alongside edible plants to help fill voids.  The benefits of both are listed below.
    • Weed Supression
    • Erosion Control
    • Produce and/or Scavenge Nutrients
    • Nematode Supression
    • Harbor Beneficial Insects
clover flower

Clover is an excellent cover crop choice and has a beautiful flower. Photo Credit: University of Florida/IFAS.

  • Space Utilization – The third criteria is to mimic a forest.  Just like any good forest, your “forest garden” will consist of different layers of vegetation.
    • You can start by planting large deciduous trees such as pecans or pears farthest from the house.  These trees will allow filtered light to penetrate the layer below.
    • Next, you can plant smaller fruit trees such as citrus or peaches along the understory of the larger trees.
    • Then, you can plant your vegetable and herb garden around your fruit tree plantings.
    • Finish by planting root and vining vegetables such as carrots or sweet potatoes at the edge of the forest.
a mix of vegetable plants

A mixed vegetable garden. Photo Credit: eXtension.org.

We’ve just scratched the surface of the concept of permaculture, but I encourage you to dig a little deeper.  What could be the harm with being able to eat your landscape?  Just don’t eat too much or you may lose your landscape entirely!

An “Intermediate Permaculture” class is scheduled for Saturday, September 23 at the Jackson County Extension Office.  For more information, please call (850)-482-9620 and ask for Matt.

For more information on permaculture please visit the NC State Permaculture Page.

For more information on “Right Plant, Right Place” please visit the UF/IFAS Florida Friendly Living Site.

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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/2017/08/25/permaculture-practices-for-the-home-landscape/

Moisture Monitoring, Cover Crops, and Best Management Practices for Crop Farmers

Moisture Monitoring, Cover Crops, and Best Management Practices for Crop Farmers

On August 10th, UF/IFAS Santa Rosa and Escambia County Extension hosted a field day covering moisture monitoring, cover crops, and best management practices at Mickey Diamond’s Farm.  Through a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Best Management Practice (BMP) mini-grant, UF/IFAS Extension, FDACS, and NRCS have been able to examine how cover crops are working to improve soil moisture holding capacity by doing some work one of Mickey’s fields.

This past winter, Mickey established a rye cover crop in the field, but agreed to do a very early burndown on a portion of his field and left the majority of the field with rye actively growing.  He terminated the crop by using a glyphosate application and then using a crimper roller to form a mat of rye on the soil surface.

Crimper rollers are good options to help with the termination process of a winter small grain cover crop.

The field was stripp-tilled in late Spring, and planted in cotton.  After the cotton germinated and put on true leaves, BMP Logic ( a private company) came and installed soil moisture sensors on each plot (cover crop and non-cover crop).  These probes have telemetry capabilities, so the data were sent directly to managers of the BMP Logic site where they were analyzed on a regular basis.

The rains held off for a few weeks early on in the season, so there was some difference noticed in the amount of moisture held in the upper horizons of the soil profile, where there was a cover crop, versus no cover.  See the charts below.

Other than soil moisture retention, why would a grower want to spend the extra time and cost to establish a cover crop?  When that question was asked to the group attending the field day, some interesting answers came up.  Many want to hold the moisture and increase infiltration through the root zone, but others want to supply some nitrogen by using legumes.  Others were looking to scavenge nutrients from the previous crop.  Others were using winter cover crops to graze livestock and needed the winter forage. A number identified reduction of run off and improving water quality as benefits.  A reduction of weed populations and/or better management of weeds throughout the growing season, and reducing the cost of herbicides were other reasons to plant cover crops.  Still, farmers said that managing any crop takes time and effort. Challenges for crop establishment included getting the actual seed desired, planting in a timely fashion, and difficulty in terminating the crop and planting into high residue. Tim Tucker, a Monroe county (Ala) grower stated,  “It doesn’t matter if you get the cover crop in by October 15; get it in when you can.  The benefits are worth it.”

The table below gives some good information on various cover crops that can be grown in the southeast and what benefits each could provide.

 

John Baggett, FDACS BMP coordinator for Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa Counties provided information about some of the more popular cover crops for this area.  Quick growing cereal rye offers the greatest production of residue and helps to suppress weeds, reduces soil erosion, increases water retention, and aids in organic matter accumulation.  The extensive root system works to scavenge the nutrients remaining from the previous crop.  The average price per bag will be around $ 13.50; the recommended seeding rate is 60-120 lbs/acre.  If you plant 90 lbs/acre, the cost will be about $ 24/acre. Stephen Godwin, Santa Rosa County farmer, cautions about using high rates of rye when mixing with another small grain or legume.  Because of the strong growth potential of this crop, he plants 20 lbs or less if he’s going to mix it with another crop.

Another very popular option is winter wheat, an easy to grow and cost effective cover crop.  It works well when planted in a blend with crimson clover.  John found the average price to be $ 11.75 per bag, and at a seeding rate of 90 lb/acre, the average cost would be $ 21 per acre.

If you are looking to add a legume, crimson clover is always a popular choice.  This crop can produce a high level of residue as well as fixing nitrogen.  This crop is especially good for attracting beneficial insects, and bee keepers in particular would be happy to have a field of crimson clover nearby.  Seeding rate for this crop is 15-18 lbs/acre if drilled. Clover seed is more expensive at around $ 56 per bag, but you use less seed in a blend.

Always pick a recommended variety; varieties that do well in north Florida can be found in this publication:  Cool-Season Forage Variety Recommendations for Florida.  There are many exceptional sources for learning more about cover crops and using them on farm.  Please review USDA’s publication, Managing Cover Crops Profitably for a much more detailed look at those three, plus many other cover crops. Finally, for specifics on UF/IFAS recommendations, Cover Crops is a publication with good information.  If you have any questions about signing up for the BMP program, your local county extension agent can help you locate your coordinator, or you can scroll to the bottom of this FDACS BMP site to locate your coordinator.

 

 

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Author: Libbie Johnson – libbiej@ufl.edu

Agriculture agent at UF IFAS Escambia County Extension.
http://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/

Libbie Johnson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/11/moisture-monitoring-cover-crops-and-best-management-practices-for-crop-farmers/

Moisture Monitoring, Cover Crops, and Best Management Practices Field Day – August 10

Moisture Monitoring, Cover Crops, and Best Management Practices Field Day – August 10

Please join us on the morning of August 10th for a Moisture Monitoring, Cover Crops, and Best Management Practices Field Day hosted by UF/IFAS Santa Rosa Extension.  The event will take place from 8:00 am to 9:30 at Mickey Diamond’s Farm: 3270 Scarborough Road near Jay, Florida.

The following topics will be covered:

  • Soil Moisture Sensor Project Overview and Results

  • Benefits of Soil Moisture Probes

  • Use of small grains, legumes, and mixtures as cover crops

  • Using a summer legume after corn

  • Benefits of cover Crops

  • Estimation of Fall 2017 costs for installation of cover crops

  • Best Management Practices

  • Nutrient availability of legumes for future crops

  • On-farm management of cover crops

  • Explanation of crimper/roller to terminate winter cover

  • Demonstration of petiole sap testing of cotton and other crops

Need more information?  Contact Libbie Johnson at 850-475-5230 or by email at libbiej@ufl.edu.

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Author: Libbie Johnson – libbiej@ufl.edu

Agriculture agent at UF IFAS Escambia County Extension.
http://escambia.ifas.ufl.edu/

Libbie Johnson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/04/moisture-monitoring-cover-crops-and-best-management-practices-field-day-august-10/

Safety and Best Management Practices Essential for Pesticide Use

Many folks may not realize it at first, but everyone is using pesticides. Have you recently used a mold or mildew removal cleaner in your bathroom? Do you apply flea & tick powder to your pet? It is a misconception that only farmers, ranchers and lawn and garden enthusiasts are pesticide users. So, let’s all keep safety in mind, as any of these household and outdoor chemicals can be dangerous.

Example of Precautionary Statement and Personal Protective Equipment Instruction. Credit: UF/IFAS Extension

Pesticides include a wide range of products that either kill or repel pests. These pests can be insects, nuisance animals, weeds, plant pathogens, molds and other undesirables. Are pesticides necessary? Maybe not. Pesticides should be considered as a last resort. Using an integrated pest management (IPM) approach is an environmentally safe, and often, economical way to reduce pests. Usually, there are four steps involved in IPM, starting with the practice with the least environmental impact, until a solution to the pest problem has been found. For example, say that you are having issues with aphids in your garden. The IPM approach may begin with cultural measures (ex. avoiding high nitrogen fertilizer as it promotes lush growth that creates a favorable environment for aphids). This may be followed by mechanical measures (ex. use of insect netting) and if problem still exists, biological measures (ex. release of parasitic wasps). As stated earlier, the last resort would be chemical measures (ex. applying pesticide). There are varying IPM strategies for different pests. Please visit the UF/IFAS IPM website for more information: http://ipm.ifas.ufl.edu/

When pesticide usage is necessary, it’s important to select the right chemical(s). Once the pest has been identified, check pesticide labels under the section “pests controlled”. Never assume a pesticide will control a pest not listed under this section. Often, there are numerous products that list a common pest. Always consider five factors when determining the right pesticide: environmental friendliness, effects on beneficial organisms, ease of use, available application equipment and cost.

Once a pesticide has been chosen, be sure to follow the directions. It is critical to mix a concentrated pesticide accurately, therefore follow the product label. Diluting concentrated pesticides by mixing with water is necessary to achieve the correct concentration. Increasing the concentration is dangerous and will have a negative response. The response can be environmental harm, damage to desirable plants and beneficial organisms and above all, it’s illegal to apply rates greater than the specified label.

Remember, pesticide exposure can be life threating under certain circumstances. Pesticides can enter the body in several ways. The most common entries are mouth, inhalation, eyes or skin. Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when mixing and applying pesticides. Precautionary statements for humans and domesticated animals will be supplied on the product label. Examples of safety information are: causes eye irritation, harmful if swallowed or avoid contact with eyes or clothing. Dress accordingly based on the safety information supplied by the product label. Some types of PPE are long rubber gloves, goggles, respirators, waterproof apparel and rubber boots.

All pesticides should be stored out of the reach of children. Pesticides stored in any container not deemed pesticide compatible (ex. canning jars and food or soft drink containers) is illegal. For more information on pesticide safety and best management practices, contact your local county extension office.

Supporting information for this article can be found in the UF/IFAS EDIS publication: “Homeowner’s Guide to Pesticide Safety” by Frederick M. Fishel: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/PI/PI05100.pdf

UF/IFAS Extension is an Equal Opportunity Institution.

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Author: Ray Bodrey – rbodrey@ufl.edu

Gulf County Extension Director, Agent II Agriculture & Natural Resource, Horticulture, Sea Grant

Ray Bodrey

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/08/01/safety-and-best-management-practices-essential-for-pesticide-use/

November 9th Green Industries Best Management Practices Class

Wednesday November 9th, 8am-4pm. Green Industries Best Management Practices

Okaloosa County Extension 3098 Airport Rd. Crestview, FL. Click Here for flyer.

 

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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/2016/10/21/november-9th-green-industries-best-management-practices-class/

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

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

Peanut margins are predicted to be tight this year. According to the UGA Crop Comparison Tool dryland peanuts will struggle to cover production costs. http://agecon.uga.edu/extension/budgets/cct/index.html In tight years the importance of each management decision is magnified. All options should be carefully analyzed to determine the most economically viable production practices. Photo credit: IFAS Communications

Peanut margins are predicted to be tight this year. According to the UGA Crop Comparison Tool, dryland peanuts will struggle to cover production costs.  In tight years the importance of each management decision is magnified. All options should be carefully analyzed to determine the most economically viable production practices.  Photo credit: IFAS Communications

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. However, more often than not, cut corners lead to a reduction in yield; low prices and low yields are worse for the bottom line than low prices and solid yields. This is not news, we all know that skimping on inputs is not part of the formula for producing a good crop. All that said, in peanuts there are some production factors that can be evaluated and tweaked on a field by field basis, which may allow for some cost savings without sacrificing yield.

Variety Selection

There are many factors to consider here. Yield is only part of the equation; granted, it is a large part. When looking at yield data, I recommend that you consider multiple years and multiple locations. Just because a variety put up ridiculously high numbers in one trial doesn’t mean you should necessarily expect it to do that on your farm. Production practices associated with the variety trials, especially irrigation, should be considered. Look for consistent high production under conditions similar to those on your farm. (See 2016 Peanut Variety Update for the results of trials in Florida).

Data from University of Georgia 2016 Peanut Update By: Monfort, Knox, Smith, Smith, Branch, Tubbs, Porter, Kemerait, Brenneman, Culbreath, Abney, Prostko http://www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/fieldcrops/peanuts/documents/2016PEANUTUPDATE.pdf

Data from University of Georgia 2016 Peanut Update
By: Monfort, Knox, Smith, Smith, Branch, Tubbs, Porter, Kemerait, Brenneman, Culbreath, Abney, Prostko

Seed Size

Seed size is another factor that should be considered. Seed cost is a significant expense (15-20% of the variable cost per acre). Smaller seeded varieties allow for potentially reduced seed cost, without reducing the number of seeds planted. Seeding rates are calculated based on number of seed per acre, but seed is sold by the pound. Smaller seeds equate to more seeds per pound, each bag goes a little further, so fewer bags are needed. A good target is six seeds per row foot. If you are planting much more than that, it is unlikely you will see an increased yield as a result of the extra seeds.

Number of seed per pound varies, ranges and averages shown were compiled from multiple sources. The chart is intended only to illustrate the variation between varieties and how that variation effects seed cost.

Number of seed per pound varies, ranges and averages shown were compiled from multiple sources. The chart is intended only to illustrate the variation between varieties and how that variation effects seed cost.

Disease Resistance

Disease resistance is another important factor to remember when selecting a variety. Yes, we have excellent crop protection products, but it is still advisable to take advantage of the disease resistance packages that are bred into our modern peanut varieties. Not all varieties have the same levels of resistance to all pathogens. Consider selecting varieties that best address your greatest disease concerns on a field by field basis. Below is a disease risk index from Peanut Rx, lower point values equate to grater disease resistance.

"For each of the following factors that can influence the incidence of tomato spotted wilt or fungal diseases, the grower or consultant should identify which option best describes the situation for an individual peanut field. An option must be selected for each risk factor unless the information is reported as “unknown”. A score of “0” for any variable does not imply “no risk”, but that this practice does not increase the risk of disease as compared to the alternative. Add the index numbers associated with each choice to obtain an overall risk index value. Compare that number to the risk scale provided and identify the projected level of risk." From Peanut Rx http://www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/fieldcrops/peanuts/documents/2016PEANUTUPDATE.pdf

For each of the following factors that can influence the incidence of tomato spotted wilt or fungal diseases, the grower or consultant should identify which option best describes the situation for an individual peanut field. An option must be selected for each risk factor unless the information is reported as “unknown”. A score of “0” for any variable does not imply “no risk”, but that this practice does not increase the risk of disease as compared to the alternative. Add the index numbers associated with each choice to obtain an overall risk index value. Compare that number to the risk scale provided and identify the projected level of risk.
From Peanut Rx

Selecting the best variety is a balancing act, there are multiple factors – more than those discussed, that must be considered simultaneously. There is no one right answer, even on the same farm utilizing multiple varieties is often the most efficient course of action.

Chemical Cost

Chemical cost is generally the largest variable cost associated with peanut production. Fungicides are a large portion of these costs. Selecting a spray program that maximizes your return on investment is key. Each field is different; past disease pressure, cropping history, variety planted, plus other agronomic factors, all effect the potential for various pathogens to become a problem. Pairing the appropriate spray program and products to the anticipated disease pressure will help to maximize return on investment. Remember, there is a difference between cost and value. Value is a factor of cost and effectiveness. There are situations where higher priced products will have a greater value and there are situations where lower priced products will have a greater value. Identifying these situations is essential to maximizing the return on your investment. Assessing the disease risk of each of your fields with the Peanut Rx tool is a great first step to maximizing your return on fungicide investment. Once a disease assessment has been made on each field, an appropriate spray program can be planned.

Pod-blasting and Boarding

Pod-blasting and boarding, or scanning a representative sample from each field to determine optimum harvest time will help to ensure that yield and grade potential of a field is not sacrificed through premature harvest. This is particularly important on dry-land peanuts; the expected days-to-maturity for a specific variety do not account for delays that can be associated with drought stress. Pod-blasting and boarding don’t cost anything but time, while harvesting at optimum maturity can substantially increase grade and yield.

"Blasted" pods prepared for scanning. The scanned image is analyzed to determine maturity and generate a recommended harvest date. Photo credit: Mark Mauldin

“Blasted” pods prepared for scanning. The scanned image is analyzed to determine maturity and generate a recommended harvest date.
Photo credit: Mark Mauldin

For help with variety selection, Peanut Rx, pod-blasting or anything else discussed, contact your county’s agriculture extension agent. Take advantage of any and all available resources that can help reduce costs or increase productivity this crop year.

 

PG

Author: Mark Mauldin – mdm83@ufl.edu

I am the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent in Washington County. My program areas include livestock and forage, row crops, and pond management.
http://washington.ifas.ufl.edu

Mark Mauldin

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/02/06/expected-tight-margins-in-2016-call-for-careful-evaluation-of-peanut-production-practices/

Protect Beef Quality with Proper Cattle Hauling Practices

Protect Beef Quality with Proper Cattle Hauling Practices

Bulls on TrailerSince 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 number of key issues that were identified and the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) cattle producer educational program was developed to provide guidelines and training for cattle producers and their employees to protect the eating quality of retail beef.  BQA training is something that every cattle producer should pursue as a powerful way to document the dedication the industry has for producing a safe, wholesome, and healthy beef supply.

One issue that was identified was bruising.  In 1994, 80% of cull cow carcasses had some level of bruising. Not only is bruising a beef quality issue, but also a humane handling issue as well.  In the chart below you can see that national progress has been made particularly with the cull cows, but there is still room for improvement.

Source Executive Summary of the 2007 National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit.

Source Executive Summary of the 2007 National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit.

One of the common ways cattle get bruised is during transportation from the ranch to the livestock market or slaughter facility.  Over or under loading cattle on livestock trailers can cause serious bruising and added stress to cattle being hauled.  Every rancher should know the capacity of their livestock trailer to ensure that cattle are always properly loaded.   Cattle should be sorted into trailer load groups in the cowpens, making it easy for workers to load the optimal number. The following chart is a useful guide to help plan trailer loads for hauling cattle.  From this chart we can predetermine the number of cattle that should be hauled and plan trips accordingly.   For example, according to the chart a 24′ x 7′ trailer can safely haul a maximum of eleven 1,200 pound cows.Trailer Hauling GuidelinesThe following video is one of a series of 9 training videos available from the BQA training website for ranchers to use for employee training available on the BQA Stock Trailer Transportation YouTube site.

In addition to the videos, there is a wealth of information in the BQA Training Manual, which provides the following tips on cattle transportation:

  • Cattle sorting and holding pens should allow handling without undue stress, be located near the loading/unloading facility, and be suitable for herd size.
  • Provide properly designed and maintained loading facilities for easy and safe animal movement.  Proper design of loading chutes as well as personnel that are knowledgeable of their proper use can assure the safety of both cattle and cattle handlers. Ramps and chutes should be strong and solid, provide non-slip footing, and have sides high enough to keep cattle from falling or jumping off. A ramp angle of 25 degrees or less will improve cattle movement.
  • All vehicles used to transport cattle should provide for the safety of personnel and cattle during loading, transporting, and unloading.
  • Strictly adhere to safe load levels with regard to animal weight and space allocation.
  • Producers hauling cattle in farm and ranch trailers must ensure that adequate space is provided so that cattle have sufficient room to stand with little risk of being forced down because of overcrowding.
  • Cattle that are unable to withstand the rigors of transportation should not be shipped.
  • When the vehicle is not full, safely partition cattle into smaller areas to provide stability for the cattle and the vehicle.
  • Knowingly inflicting physical injury or unnecessary pain on cattle when loading, unloading or transporting animals is not acceptable.
  • No gap which would allow injury to an animal should exist between the ramp, its sides, and the vehicle.
  • Vehicle doors and internal gates should be sufficiently wide to permit cattle to pass through easily without bruising or injury.

 

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Author: Doug Mayo – demayo@ufl.edu

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/2015/03/21/protect-beef-quality-with-proper-cattle-hauling-practices/

Eggcellent Food Safety Practices at Eastertime

Egg food safety at Easter time

Egg food safety at Easter time

Easter activities often include eggs. During the Spring holiday, eggs are both a decorative craft object and an inspiration for springtime fun and games, and, oh by the way, they are fun to eat too.

Eggs and egg products can be an important part of your diet. Although there are many myths and misconceptions about how to safely cook and handle eggs, all it really requires is care. By following a few simple guidelines, eggs and egg products can play a valuable and economic role in your holiday menu.

To avoid the possibility of foodborne illness, fresh eggs must be handled carefully.  Even eggs with clean, uncracked shells may occasionally contain bacteria called Salmonella that can cause an intestinal infection.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working to prevent this problem in eggs by requiring that egg producers obtain chicks that are certified Samonella-free, that the hens are kept in houses that are free from rodents and other Salmonella carrying sources, that the houses are continually tested for Salmonella, and that the eggs are stored at temperatures that retard Salmonella growth.  Consumers play a large role in this prevention strategy.  In fact, the most effective way to prevent egg-related illness is by knowing how to buy, store, handle and cook eggs—or foods that contain them—safely.

Following these instructions is important for everyone, but especially for those most vulnerable to foodborne disease—children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.

Buy Right

  • Buy eggs only if sold from a refrigerator or refrigerated case.
  • Open the carton and make sure that the eggs are clean and the shells are not cracked.
  • Refrigerate promptly.
  • Store eggs in their original carton and use them within 4 to 5 weeks.

Keep Everything Clean

Before preparing any food, remember that cleanliness is key!

  • Wash hands, utensils, equipment, and kitchen work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after they come in contact with eggs and egg-containing foods.

Cook Thoroughly

Cook eggs thoroughly.  Thorough cooking is perhaps the most important step in making sure eggs are safe.

  • Cook eggs until both the yolk and the white are firm.  Scrambled eggs should not be runny.

Serve Safely

Bacteria can multiply in temperatures from 40°F (5°C) to 140°F (60°C), so it’s very important to serve foods safely.

  • Serve cooked eggs and egg-containing foods immediately after cooking.
  • For buffet-style serving, hot egg dishes should be kept hot, and cold egg dishes kept cold.
  • Eggs and egg dishes, such as quiches or soufflés, may be refrigerated for serving later but should be thoroughly reheated to 165°F (74°C) before serving.

Chill Properly

  • Cooked eggs, including hard-boiled eggs, and egg-containing foods should not sit out for more than 2 hours.  Within 2 hours, either reheat or refrigerate.
  • Use hard-cooked eggs (in the shell or peeled) within one week after cooking

On the Road

  • Cooked eggs for a picnic should be packed in an insulated cooler with enough ice or frozen gel packs to keep them cold.
  • Don’t put the cooler in a hot car—carry it in the air-conditioned passenger compartment of the car.

Safe Handling Instructions

To prevent illness from bacteria:  keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolks are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.

 

Hard-cooked Easter eggs can help stretch your food dollars. Packed with high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals, they add good nutrition when included in casseroles, sandwiches, and salads. Remember, hard-cooked eggs should be refrigerated as much as possible between cooking, decorating, and the hunt or the display.

However they are used, eggs are delicious, nutritious, and economical.

 

For further information, contact

Dorothy C. Lee, C.F.C.S.

Family & Consumer Sciences Agent

UF IFAS Extension Escambia County

(850) 475-5230

dclee@ufl.edu

 

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Author: Dorothy C. Lee – dclee@ufl.edu

Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent in Escambia County

Dorothy C. Lee

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/03/19/eggcellent-food-safety-practices-at-eastertime/

Green Industries Best Management Practices

Green Industries Best Management Practices

Landscape ProfessionalOn June 18, 2009, Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed into law SB 494 requiring all commercial fertilizer applicators have a license by January 1, 2014. Passing the Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP) training is mandatory to obtain that license.  University of Florida/IFAS Extension provides training and testing programs in urban landscape management practices and issues certificates demonstrating satisfactory completion of the training.  These classes are available in English or Spanish.

After receiving a certificate of completion, a person must pay $ 25 and apply to receive a limited certification for urban landscape commercial fertilizer application.  A person possessing such a certification is not subject to additional local testing.  The certification expires 4 years after the date of issuance.

Using UF/IFAS-recommended application rates and timing of pesticides, fertilizer and irrigation can help prevent nonpoint source pollution (water pollution that is associated with everyday human activities and driven by rainfall, runoff and leaching) from urban landscapes.  By choosing plants appropriate for the site and maintaining them with correct cultural practices (irrigation, fertilization, mowing and pruning), one can significantly reduce the amount of water a landscape needs to thrive.

The GI-BMP class teaches landscape workers how to implement these Best Management Practices into their daily work.  This is an opportunity for Green Industry workers to complete this requirement and market their skills to clientele.  Trainings are available monthly across the Panhandle as well as on-line.  Visit the website for more information : FYN-GI-BMP WEBSITE. UF / IFAS Washington County Extension will be offering a GI-BMP class July 23rd. Follow this link for registration information.

PG

Author: sdunning – sdunning@ufl.edu


http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu

sdunning

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/07/15/green-industries-best-management-practices/

Agricultural Best Management Practices – What’s Stopping You?

Submitted by Rance Ellis, FDACS OAWP

Agriculture often is in the spotlight, some might say the bull’s eye, when environmental issues are raised.  This is partly because agriculture is visible; people can see a farmer on a tractor and irrigation systems operating, and may not understand the decision-making and risks involved in running a farm. They may think that farmers and ranchers are not concerned about how much water they use or whether they are harming sensitive resources with fertilizers and pesticides.

But Florida producers depend on the land for their living and know they need to be good stewards by avoiding and reducing environmental impacts.

While some agricultural activities have the potential to affect our water resources adversely, well-managed farm, ranch, and forestry lands provide important benefits to the environment.  Much agricultural land is in its natural or near-natural state, helping to recharge ground water, protect open space for wildlife, and absorb carbon dioxide in soil, trees, and crops.

And, despite the visibility of agriculture, folks tend to forget that farms, ranches, and forests produce the food they eat, fiber for clothes and other materials, wood products, and so much more.  Agriculture exists to meet human needs.

In order to avoid or reduce the adverse impacts to water quality and water supply agriculture might have, producers can implement agricultural best management practices (BMPs).   These are practical, cost-effective measures, some of which can make an operation more efficient and reduce costs.   Typical practices include:

  • Nutrient Management to determine nutrient needs and sources, and manage nutrient applications (including manure) to avoid or reduce impacts to water resources.
  • Irrigation Management to address the method and scheduling of irrigation to lessen water and nutrient losses.
  • Sediment and Erosion Control to reduce or prevent the transport of nutrients and sediments from production areas to waterbodies.

BMPs are an important non-regulatory tool for farmers and ranchers to keep their operations environmentally friendly.  In fact, the Florida Legislature established BMPs as the preferred means for producers to help protect water quality, rather than requiring additional regulation.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) now has BMP programs for cow/calf, citrus, sod, vegetable and field crops, equine, specialty fruit and nut, and container nursery operations.  In developing the practices, FDACS involved producers and producer groups, University of Florida scientists and extension agents, and other agencies and groups.

Florida farmers and ranchers have enrolled more than 3 million acres of land in the FDACS BMP program, not counting forestry and aquaculture.   In the northwest Florida area, there are more than 59,000 acres of agriculture enrolled in FDACS BMPs, with row crops in the lead at 28,924 acres and cow/calf a close second at 26,627 acres.

A demonstration of environmental responsibility through implementing BMPs helps preserve agriculture in the state because when people see the level of commitment to water resource protection they are more likely to support this non-regulatory approach.

Producers, you already may be implementing most of the BMPs that would apply to you, through the way you manage your operation.  But enrolling in FDACS BMPs gives you some advantages you won’t otherwise have.

When you enroll in and implement the practices applicable to your operation, you have a presumption of compliance with state water quality standards.   Also, implementing FDACS BMPs gives you protection under the Right to Farm Act from duplicative local government regulation; local governments cannot regulate an activity you are conducting if you are doing BMPs that address that activity.  Participating in the FDACS BMP program also makes you eligible for cost share when it’s available.

Participating in FDACS BMPs = More efficient operation, enhanced environmental protection, less state and local regulation, and potential for cost share.  So, what’s stopping you?

 

For more information, and for assistance in enrolling in BMPs, contact:

Rance Ellis at (850) 394-9124 ext. 130 or Rance.Ellis@FreshFromFlorida.com

Or visit www.FloridaAgWaterPolicy.com

Doug Mayo

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2012/12/01/agricultural-best-management-practices-whats-stopping-you/

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