Tag Archive: Preparation

Hurricane Preparation in the Landscape

Hurricane Preparation in the Landscape

Trees are often among the first victims of hurricane-force winds. Photo credit: Mary Duryea, University of Florida.

Well, it is the peak of hurricane season (June 1-November 30), and this one is proving to be no joke. After having all summer to heat up, Gulf and Atlantic water temperatures peak in late August-mid September, feeding storms’ strength. Legendary hurricanes like Harvey, Katrina, and Andrew all made landfall during this time of year. The models for Irma show likely impacts in Florida, and due to its extreme size, most of the state is in line to endure heavy rain and wind regardless of location.

From a landscaping perspective, hurricanes can be truly disastrous. I will never forget returning home after evacuating from Hurricane Ivan and realizing all the leaves had been blown from nearly every tree in town. Mid-September suddenly looked like the dead of winter. A Category 3 storm when it landed near the southwest corner of Escambia County, Ivan was responsible for a 40% loss of tree canopy in our county.

Even if the Panhandle is not directly impacted by a storm, it is always smart to prepare. Research conducted by University of Florida arborists and horticultural specialists have yielded some practical suggestions.

To evaluate trees for potential hazards;

  • Know your tree species and whether they are prone to decay or wind damage (more below).
  • Look for root or branch rot—usually indicated by very dark spots on the bark.
  • Tree structure—is there a single, dominant central trunk? Are branches attached to the trunk in a U-shape (strong) or V-shape (weak)?
  • Smart pruning—never “top” (cut the tops from trees) but instead prune crowded limbs and remove limbs that are dead, dying, or hanging above power lines.

As for species selection, keep in mind that pines generally do not perform well in gale-force winds. Longleaf pines are quite strong, but common slash pines often snap or lean in storms. Even if a pine tree survives, it can be vulnerable to damage or death from pine bark beetles. It is wise to monitor pines for up to 2 years after a storm.

In addition, a survey conducted throughout the southeastern United States after hurricanes from 1992-2005 yielded important information on the most (and least) wind-resistant tree species. Live oaks and Southern magnolias topped the list, while pecans and cherry laurels performed poorly. This full, user-friendly report from the study is a useful tool.

For more hurricane preparedness information, visit the UF IFAS Extension Disaster Manual online or contact your local Extension office or Emergency Management agency.

 

 

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Author: Carrie Stevenson – ctsteven@ufl.edu

Coastal Sustainability Agent, Escambia County Extension

Carrie Stevenson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2017/09/09/hurricane-preparation-in-the-landscape/

Hurricane Preparation for Your Farm

Hurricane Preparation for Your Farm

Farmers in Florida worry every fall about potential damage from a hurricane.  Most of the media attention focuses on families in coastal communities, but not as much attention is provided for farmers and ranchers. Emergency responders are also likely to target their efforts immediately after the storm comes ashore on coastal areas hardest hit by storms.  Every farm and ranch in Florida must have an emergency plan for the impact of a hurricane.  The main thing is to prepare to be self sufficient for a more than a week.  The following are ideas that may prove helpful as a checklist to prepare ahead of a major storm.

Resource People

After a major storm large areas in the path are in chaos.  It is important to have a good list of current contact information for important people.  While most of us rely on the phone numbers loaded on a smart phone to do our daily business, it is a good idea to develop a printed list, just in case your cell phone becomes damaged.  Make sure you have current phone numbers for:

  • Extended family – Everyone will want to know you are ok after the storm, and you will want to do the same.
  • Employees and their families – it is good to be able to
  • Veterinarian – not just the office number but a cell phone number as well
  • Neighbors – in rural areas neighbors helping neighbors are the first responders
  • Farm Service Agency Office Damages should be reported within 15 days after the storm.
  • Insurance provider
  • Utility Company – Report downed power lines and power outages so your farm can be added to their response list.
  • County Extension Offices– Agricultural Extension Agents serve as the ESF 17 Coordinators for each county emergency team.  It is their role to assist farm and livestock owners after the storm.  Extension Agents are also part of the State Agriculture Response Team lead by the Florida Department of Agriculture, so they are your local contact in each county for assistance for farms and livestock owners following a disaster.

Loss of Power

At the very least, farmers in rural areas can expect power outages following a hurricane. In rural areas, power may not be restored for 1-2 weeks. This can cause some real problems for farmers.

  • Order fuel to top off farm fuel tanks for tractors and equipment.  Fuel deliveries may be disrupted following the storm.
  • Purchase batteries for flashlights and lanterns.  Have enough flashlights ready for each employee.
  • Stock up on feed for animals receiving supplemental feeds.  Don’t forget the cats and dog food.  Have enough hay, feed and health care supplies on hand for 1-2 weeks. Feed stores may not be open for business for a week or more after a storm.
  • Move animals to pastures with ponds so well filled water troughs are not the only source of water.
  • Dairy farms should have enough generator power so that cows can be milked each day.
  • For operations that rely on electric fencing, have a generator ready to keep the fence hot, or at least move animals to interior pastures so they have multiple fences to help keep them in.

High Winds

Coastal areas normally receive the highest winds as a hurricane comes ashore, but even 50-70 mile per hour winds can create some real problems for livestock producers. Barns and fences are very susceptible to fallen trees and limbs from even tropical storm force winds. Tornadoes are also common in rural areas as storms move through.

  • Make sure chainsaws are in good working order and stock up on mixed fuel.
  • Locate chains and come-a-long for limb and tree movement off of fences and buildings.
  • Stock up on fence repair materials:  wire, posts, and staples for repairing fences damaged by limbs and trees.
  • Move animals and valuable equipment out of barns. Most agricultural barns are not made to withstand more than 75-100 mile per hour winds with out some damage. Metal roofing material falling and flying around can be deadly. Normally open fields or pastures are much safer for both animals and equipment. Animals out in the open have a way of avoiding danger most of the time.
  • Move animals to interior pastures so there are multiple fences between animals and the highway or neighbors.
  • Identify cattle and horses so that if they do wander out of your property, you can be notified of their whereabouts. Halters or collars and luggage tags can be used for horses. If nothing else is available, spray paint your name and phone number on cattle or horses, so they can be returned to you following a storm.  Do not include Coggins number on any identification, because that would allow the animal to be sold at auction.
  • Pick up debris that might become high-wind hazards. Strap down feeders, trailers and other items that might blow around and injure animals or cause damage to facilities.

    Be prepared to remove and clean up broken limbs and uprooted trees on cowpens, fences and buildings following a storm. Photo credit Doug Mayo

Flooding

Tropical storms and hurricanes can generate 3-15 inches of rain in just a few hours.

  • Move tractors, equipment, hay, or other stored items to highest ground.
  • Move animals out of low lying pastures, or at least tie the gates open so they can move to higher ground if need be.
  • Have enough hay on hand to feed for two weeks in case grass runs short from low areas being flooded.
  • Make sure drainage ditches are clean without blockage.

    Photo credit: USDA Archive

Clean Up and Damage Assessment

Notification and documentation are the keys to getting financial aid following a major storm.

  • Beware of downed power lines. Treat them as if they are charged even if they are damaged or knocked down tree limbs. If you drive up near a downed power line, stay in your vehicle, and contact emergency personnel or the utility company.
  • Contact insurance agencies as soon as possible after the storm passes for buildings that are insured.
  • Report major damage to the local Farm Service Agency within 15 days of the storm to be eligible for federal disaster aid.
  • Document damage and repair expenses. Photographs of damages and receipts for services and materials will be very important when applying for insurance claims and federal disaster aid. Any purchased feed, supplies or veterinary expenses related to storm damage should be recorded as well.

    Equipment shed in Hardee County destroyed by at tornado associated with Hurricane Charley in 2004. Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Other Resources available to aid with Farm Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

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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/2017/09/07/hurricane-preparation-for-your-farm/

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

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

Having Bahia grass ready to graze in 2017 depends on what you do in 2016.

Having Bahiagrass ready to graze in 2017 depends on what you do in 2016.

In that recent flash of time when cattle prices were the highest in my lifetime, many Florida ranchers seized the opportunity to invest some increased income in capital improvements for the ranch. Some fertilized according to soil test for the first time in years, some replaced worn out equipment, and some took the opportunity to plant or renovate Bahiagrass pasture.

In that high market, ranchers may have thought, “Prices are good, I don’t have to worry so much about doing this exactly right.” Now that the good times seem as distant as civil political discussion, doing it right has renewed importance.

I’ve visited several recently renovated fields this year, and here are some of the shortcuts that have come back to bite the rancher.

• Failure to rid the new pasture of weed populations BEFORE planting.
This is particularly important when planting improved varieties in fields which have Pensacola Bahiagrass in them. Bahiagrass’s popularity stems from its persistence. There are no herbicides which can differentiate between Pensacola and its descendants, Tifton 9 and Riata. Moving from Pensacola to one of these varieties may require burning down existing Bahiagrass, and planting a winter feed crop such as oats or cereal rye before planting next year. This intermediate crop may need to be burned down again before planting to assure a clean field.

Wait until after your Bahiagrass is established to add legumes to the mix. If you use broadleaf herbicides for your Bahiagrass, you’ll lose your legumes. That’s another expense you can avoid.

• Planting too deep.
Bahiagrass should be planted only one quarter to one half inch deep. Planting into loose soil or improper drill settings can put the seed below that and decrease seedling vigor and germination. That’s another loss of time and money.

• Failure to use adequate seeding rates.
Recommended seeding rates for Tifton 9, Riata and TifQuik are 15 – 20 pounds per acre and 20 – 30 pounds for Argentine with the lower rates for drilled seed in prepared ground and the higher rates for broadcast applications. Cutting corners on seed rate leaves more open ground, which allows weeds to compete more effectively with Bahiagrass seedlings. A thick, vigorous stand reduces weed competition. Yes, seed is expensive, but if you can’t afford to do it right, can you really afford to do it over?

• Grazing the new crop too soon.
Bahiagrass persistence depends on having sufficient leaf area to sustain itself. Make sure the forage is fully established before grazing. It is possible to get grazing in the season of establishment, however your goal is to have pasture for many years. Jumping the gun can decrease the useful life of the pasture. The IFAS recommendation for minimum stubble height is three inches, if rotationally grazed, and five inches if continuously stocked. You may well be renovating your fields because you’ve overgrazed them in the past. Don’t throw good money after bad.

• Inadequate fertility
The IFAS publication, Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum): Overview and Management, recommends “Light fertilization of Bahiagrass will generally be necessary within 7–10 days after seedling emergence. The initial application should consist of 30 lb nitrogen (N)/acre, all of the recommended P2O5, and 50% of the recommended K2O. Approximately 40–50 days after the initial application, an additional 50 lb of nitrogen and the remaining K2O should be applied.”  Many renovations skip this step out of false economy. In addition, soil pH should be 5.5 before planting.

• No rain
Unless you’re planting under the “Silver Cloud” (irrigation), I can’t help you here. However, Bahiagrass seed can lie dormant for longer than you might think. One of my neighbors had seed in the ground 3 months before a decent rain got it going. Of course, “If it doesn’t rain, it doesn’t matter.”

Chris Prevatt’s market projections in his Panhandle Ag October 7th article show next year’s calf prices below breakeven prices and trending lower. Even though properly renovated pastures are a long term investment and may be more likely justified over time, this near term market downturn intensifies the urgency of ensuring the necessary care and attention be paid to getting everything right in your renovation project. There’s no room for error in this market.

 

Portions of this article were adapted from “Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum): Overview and Management”  and “The Management and Use of Bahiagrass”

 

PG

Author: Jed Dillard – dillardjed@ufl.edu

Jefferson County Livestock and Natural Resources Agent with a commercial cow/calf background. My degree is in animal breeding, but I do more work wth forage systems. Long time clover/legume booster for both livestock and wildlife

Jed Dillard

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/10/28/next-years-bahia-grass-depends-on-this-years-renovation-preparation/

Spring Vegetable Garden Preparation

Spring Vegetable Garden Preparation

It is cold right now…at least it is this week. Even though the winters in northwest Florida do not have consistent cold temperatures, it is not warm enough to grow warm season vegetables all year around. The cold spells come and go but will soon be gone and spring will have sprung. With spring comes birds chirping, flowers blooming, and spring vegetable gardening. Now is the time to begin to prepare for what is ahead. Here are a few things to begin to think about before the work begins:

  1. Variety Study – This is a great time of year to sink into a seed catalog and pick out the different vegetables and fruits to try this year. Make sure to explore University of Florida/IFAS recommended varieties before making final selections. Think of problems that have occurred in past years and search for varieties that tolerate these conditions. Look through the Florida Vegetable Guide to see recommended varieties.

    Seed Catalogs.

    Seed Catalogs.

  2. Seed Searching – Recommended varieties are not always available at the local seed and feed store and sometimes take a little bit of searching. Of course, the internet can assist greatly in finding desired varieties. A simple search engine inquiry could help in locating and purchasing desirable selections.

    A man taking a soil sample with an auger. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

    A man taking a soil sample with an auger. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

  3. Soil testing – Soil testing is the cornerstone of having a healthy garden that has been fertilized correctly. Although it would not be appropriate to put out fertilizer this early before the crop, the pH should be adjusted through liming if there is an indicated need on the soil test. This will give time for the pH to begin to adjust before the crops are planted.
  4. Starting transplants – Another activity that can begin before the actual planting in the garden takes place is seeding inside. Transplants are vegetable and fruit seedlings that begin in potting soil in small containers. This can happen in make shift containers made out of Styrofoam coffee cup with drainage holes or multi celled commercial plastic trays. Seeds can be started in the house and moved inside and out of the climate control depending on the weather or in a greenhouse. Wherever they are, they need to be in high light conditions to prevent plants from becoming stretched and weak. Learn more about Starting the Garden with Transplants.

Now It’s time to start thinking of consistent warm days. The vegetable garden tasks will be overwhelming soon enough. Go ahead and get an early start with some of the winter tasks of spring vegetable gardening.

 

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Author: Blake Thaxton – bthaxton@ufl.edu

Santa Rosa County Extension Agent I, Commercial Horticulture

Blake Thaxton

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2016/01/21/spring-vegetable-garden-preparation/

Winter Preparation for Poultry Flocks

Winter Preparation for Poultry Flocks

With decreasing temperatures on the way, poultry farmers should implement proper management techniques to insure their animals’ health, safety, and productivity during the winter.  Now is a good time to take into consideration the light, heat, ventilation, food and water requirements of your flock and make adjustments as needed to optimize production through the winter.

Light

Commercial farmers can substitute sun light with artificial lighting during the winter months to increase egg production. Utilize the natural and supplemental light before sunrise and after sunset, so that the flock is exposed to 14-16 hours of light. This can also help cut down on electricity costs. A typical 60-watt incandescent light bulb works fine for a small laying flock.

Housing

Keeping a clean, dry and draft free environment in the winter is very important. Checking for leaks or holes prior to the winter months will help prevent moisture from getting into your barn. Ventilation can also help prevent moisture build up, which can lead to rising levels of ammonia, mold, and respiratory issues. It is critical for pullets to have access to heat to survive. Heat lamps can also be beneficial to older birds, to help maintain egg production during the winter. Insulation such as bedding, will help hold heat inside your poultry barn. Cleanliness is an important component to poultry disease prevention.

Proper housing, water source, feeder, and heat lamp. Photo Cred- Doug Akers, Escambia County.

Proper housing, water source, feeder, and heat lamp. Photo Credit – Doug Akers, Escambia County.

Feed and Water Requirements

Birds need access to clean water at all times. It is important to check water sources, to make sure they are not frozen. Chickens require a well-balanced diet including energy, protein, and calcium year round. During winter months, adding high energy feed (especially in the evenings) can help manage the increased caloric intake requirements to stay warm.

For more information on chicken management, please see the following publications:

Raising Chickens for Egg Production

Preparing Your Chickens for Winter

Small-Flock-Production in Winter Weather

Poultry Basics

Escambia County Small Farms Egg-Poultry-Production

 

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Author: hdbignell – hdbignell@ufl.edu

hdbignell

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/11/21/winter-preparation-for-poultry-flocks/

4-H is Growing the Workforce Preparation

workforce prepThe business world says that there are not enough young people with strong communication skills, work ethic, and leadership skills to fill today’s workforce pipeline. Through schoolwork, youth can gain knowledge and skills in areas like reading, writing, math and science. Working hard in school and taking advantage of all the opportunities available is very important, but it is not enough. By stepping up and doing more outside of school, it gives them a head start. Skills such as thinking skills; communication; teamwork and leadership; lifelong learning and self-direction; technology adoption and application; and professionalism and ethics are called 21st century skills (or life skills). These skills have not replaced the technical skills of doing a specific job. Rather, they are the skills necessary for almost all jobs and they are becoming more important every day.

The great news is that youth participating in 4-H are on the right path to obtaining these skills employers seek because 4-H projects, events, and activities incorporate workforce development skills regardless of the subject matter content. In fact, thousands of 4-H Alumni credit 4-H with their success in work and personal life. You can read some of their stories in our 4-H Press Room or watch the video below to learn how Commissioner of Ag Adam Putnam got his start in 4-H.

It’s never too early to start, and 4-H volunteers and parents play a critical role in helping youth gain skills and experiences through the pre-employment process. Below are ideas that will assist youth on the path to a successful career.

Career Awareness and Exploration

☐ Advise youth to read a book or do online research on six different career areas that interest them

☐ Start a job journal where they keep notes on different jobs.

☐ Have them to interview someone they know about their career.

☐ Contribute to a blog about a workforce career or skill.

☐ Take an aptitude assessment to see what types of careers might fit their interests.

☐ Coordinate a field trip for your 4-h club to a business or organization.

☐ Participate in 4-H U to explore different careers and fields of study.

21st Century Skill Development

☐ Youth can conduct a talk or demonstration on a career of interest.

☐ They can volunteer for a leadership role on a committee, club, etc.

☐ They can teach an adult coworker, family member, teacher or club leader how to apply or use a

technology to improve what they are trying to do.

☐ They can ask their teacher, parent, boss or club leader once a week (or whenever you meet) what they

can do to help out.

☐ Ask at least one question each day at school, home and work.

☐ Youth can attend a presentation on a workforce skill or topic.

☐ He/she can identify a skill area and write two goals and specific action items for improving your skill

in that area over the next six months.

Preparing for the Work World

☐ He or she can write a resume including project and work experiences and have an employer, educator

or parent review it.

☐ They can ask a friend, family member or adult leader to give you a practice interview, or apply to be a

summer camp counselor- part of the application includes an interview!

☐ Complete a 4-H Portfolio. The portfolio includes a resume and interview process. Top portfolios are awarded scholarships during 4-H U each year.

☐ Take an application scavenger hunt. Pick up or view multiple applications online to determine

what kinds of things are required for most applications and what the process includes.

☐ Club members can interview a human resource professional to learn about the employment process

and tips they suggest for improving your chance of success in the process

☐ They can apply for a job, trip, office or volunteer experience that requires them to go through an

application and interview process. Don’t forget they can always turn down an offer.

Work-Based Learning (Employment or Service)

☐ They can serve as a camp counselor or a 4-H Ambassador.

☐ Club members can ask their parent for feedback on their performance with a household task or chore.

☐ Can serve as a volunteer at a business or organization.

☐ They can discuss with their current employer other career opportunities.

☐ Mentor a younger youth.

Encourage young people to start thinking about their experiences and accomplishments. They all have unique abilities, talents, skills, knowledge, and gifts. By learning to recognize the valuable skills they have gained, they can pinpoint their interests and help them to discover what types of career they may want to explore!  If you are have skills you would like to share to help today’s youth become tomorrow’s workforce, visit http://florida4h.org/volunteer or contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.

PG

Author: jgl1 – jgl@ufl.edu

jgl1

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/10/30/4-h-is-growing-the-workforce-preparation/

Preparation for Horse Training Begins in the Mouth

Equine Dentist

Hiring an experienced professional to perform routine dentistry prior to the bitting process may be one of your best training techniques. Adam Johnson, Equine Dental Care demonstrated how professionals care for teeth at the Horse Expo held in Marianna. Photo credit: Doug Mayo

Lame in the mouth

Head bob is a widely recognized indicator of lameness as a horse will lift the head in order to shift weight off a lame foreleg as it strikes the ground. A horse with a loose tooth or retained cap may show a similar behavior, raising the head in rhythm while jogging in response to pain elicited from a tooth being jarred. Though most observers would agree that the head bobbing horse is lame, few would consider that the horse might actually be lame in the mouth.

Resistance may be pain response

Similarly, when bitting a horse, excessive head tossing is often interpreted as the horse being unwilling to accept the bit. Consider, however, that the time frame when the horse is shedding baby teeth (deciduous) and permanent teeth are erupting coincides with the time we are placing a bit in the horse’s mouth, and asking the horse to submit to pressure. Head tossing might be explained as a pain response to bit pressure applied over a small, sharp tooth just below the surface of the gum.

Significance of eruption patterns

It is helpful to understand eruption patterns of consequence to the young horse going into training. Horses have both temporary and permanent incisors (6 pairs top and bottom, front) and premolars (3 on each side top and bottom, cheek). Deciduous incisors erupt around 6 days (centers), 6 weeks (intermediate), and 6 months (corners) and are successively shed around 2 ½, 3 ½, and 4 ½ years old, starting with the centers and moving outward to the corners. Premolars come in by 2 weeks of age and are replaced front to rear between 2 and 4 years of age. Molars (3 rear cheek teeth on each side, top and bottom) occur only in the permanent form and erupt at 1, 2 and 3 ½ to 4 years of age front to rear.

Baby teeth are pushed out by the erupting permanent teeth. Some baby teeth are slow to fall out and are referred to as retained caps. It is not uncommon to see lumps develop on the lower jaw of 3 year olds because pressure from retained premolar caps causes bone remodeling. When the caps are lost and the permanent tooth breaks through the gum, the lumps typically go away. A retained but loose cap can cause significant irritation to the surrounding gum which can be exaggerated as the horse is asked to work. In addition, inflamed gums can lead to secondary sinus inflammation that could be mistaken for an infectious respiratory disease. Like small children cutting teeth, a young horse with teeth erupting may simply not feel well.

Another concern is wolf teeth, which are technically the first premolars. Wolf teeth are typically quite small, occurring on the upper jaw of some horses and more rarely on the lower jaw between 6 months and 3 years of age. Wolf teeth can cause a number of problems for the horse that is beginning to carry a bit.

What should be done?

Before putting a horse into training, it is wise to prepare the mouth with some fundamental dentistry practices. If the horse has wolf teeth, they should be extracted. This is a fairly simple process in young horses, even if the tooth is still below the gum. After removing the wolf teeth, a “bit seat” should be created on the front edge of the first cheek teeth. A bit seat is simply a rounding or contouring of the edge of the tooth to prevent pinching of the cheek or tongue by the bit. Retained caps should be taken off so that the permanent teeth can come in unimpeded. Because the upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw, sharp edges often develop on the outer edge of upper teeth and the inner edge of lower teeth. These should be filed so that they do not cut the tongue or cheeks and so the horse can chew more efficiently. Filing the teeth is referred to as floating, because the traditional hand tool used is called a float. Horses that receive dental care early on are much less likely to develop dental problems like wave mouth later in life. The equine dentist is much like a skilled farrier who balances a horse’s foot, allowing for more even weight distribution and wear.

Who can do the work?

Some confusion exists over who is allowed to perform dentistry. Because human dentistry requires a professional degree, many would assume equine dentistry would require the same. Though equine dental schools do exist, they differ from human dental schools in that they are trade schools, not professional schools. Certainly dentistry is taught in the curriculum of veterinary schools but the broad scope of veterinary training does not afford students time to perfect the skills necessary to be proficient right out of school. Most veterinarians who specialize in dentistry seek additional training in certification programs or intern with veterinarians who specialize.

There are people who perform basic dentistry practices called Lay Dentists. They are not licensed veterinarians so they cannot sedate horses, use controlled substances nor diagnose diseases and/or prescribe antibiotics. Some work under the direct supervision of veterinarians and some work as independent contractors.

In understanding what is legal, it is good to look at current Florida Statutes. The Veterinary Practices Act provides some clarity:

474.202 Definitions

(13) “Veterinary medicine” includes, with respect to animals, surgery, acupuncture, obstetrics, dentistry, physical therapy, radiology, theriogenology, and other branches or specialties of veterinary medicine.

474.203. Exemptions

(b) A person hired on a part-time or temporary basis, or as an independent contractor, by an owner to assist with herd management and animal husbandry tasks for herd and flock animals, including castration, dehorning, parasite control, and debeaking, or a person hired on a part-time or temporary basis, or as an independent contractor, by an owner to provide farriery and manual hand floating of teeth on equines.

Services available

Historically, the floating of teeth was done exclusively with hand tools, many of which were fabricated by the dentist himself. Using hand tools is extremely physically demanding and time consuming. Excellent horsemanship skills, strength and stamina as well as being ambidextrous are hallmarks of the person using hand tools. Most veterinarians were happy to have lay dentists perform routine dental care, when hand tools were the only option. Today, with the advent of power tools, more veterinarians are working in this specialty field. In order to use power tools, the horse must be sedated and fitted with a mouth speculum so the dentist can view the teeth and file with an electric dremel. On the positive side, the process is more rapid and the mouth is easier to view. On the negative side, sedation is required, heat generation from the tool could damage the pulp of the tooth and over- zealous practitioners could take off more tooth than necessary.

Bottom Line

For the young horse, performing routine dentistry prior to the bitting process may be one of your best training techniques. Hiring an experienced professional is crucial. As in so many aspects of the business world, let the buyer beware. Price and value are not synonymous. The lowest price may not be the best value and the highest price does not assure the best quality.

 

PG

Author: Saundra TenBroeck – sht@ufl.edu

Saundra TenBroeck

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/10/17/preparation-for-horse-training-begins-in-the-mouth/

Cold Protection: Preparation is the Key to Success

Cold Protection: Preparation is the Key to Success

Some plants will handle freeze events, while other will wither and die.  Advance preparation will improve chances of saving sensitive plants from subfreezing weather.

Some plants will handle freeze events, while other will wither and die. Advance preparation will improve chances of saving sensitive plants from subfreezing weather.

Panhandle Florida gardeners face a new set of challenges annually dealing with the effects of cold weather. A little planning and creativity can make plant protection in the landscape successful.

Many homeowners and landscape managers want to know when plants will need protection. Depending on the plant, a frost warning is a good rule of thumb.

Note there is a difference in the terms used for cold weather conditions. Frost, freeze and hard freeze all describe different circumstances.

Frost is when water vapour freezes on surfaces. It happens on clear nights with still air and may even happen when temperatures are above freezing.

Freezing is when cold air moves in and causes temperatures to drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This condition commonly involves low humidity and wind, making drying out a big problem for plants.

A hard freeze is when temperatures dip below 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Many tropical plants and fruit trees will survive a few degrees below freezing for brief periods, but extended periods of freeze or heavy frost may require lights or other heat used safely with a cover.

Many time freeze damage happens during the busy holiday season. People are busy, schedules are disrupted and the distractions, pleasant thought they be, may cause homeowners to miss a freeze alert.

A few simple actions can save these “green” friends for another year’s enjoyment. Some plants can be moved indoors for the winter and incorporated into the interior décor, rather than cramming them last-minute into a clutter when a freeze looms.

Identify old sheets, blankets and drop cloths which can be used as covers for tender plants which must remain outside. Test potential covers beforehand to assure all plants are thoroughly covered.

It is best if the covers enclose the plant entirely without crushing it. Heavy blankets are great insulation, but only a good idea on sturdy plants.

A tomato cage or other support structure can be used to keep weight off the plant. Covers also need to be secured at the ground with pins or weights to assure cold air does not creep in from below.

Finally, keep storage bins handy and remove the covers in the daytime if temperatures are above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Monitor weather reports and react accordingly so tender and tropical plants see another spring in a few more months.

To learn more about protecting delicate plants, see “Cold Protection for Landscape Plants”.

 

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Author: Les Harrison – harrisog@ufl.edu

Les Harrison is the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Director, Agriculture and Natural Resources. He works with small and medium sized producers in the Big Bend region of north Florida on a wide range of topics. He has a Master’s of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from the University of Florida.

Les Harrison

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/12/16/cold-protection-preparation-is-the-key-to-success/

Summer Camp is Almost Here: Preparation Tips for Campers (and Parents!)

4-Hers still enjoy swimming and kayaking in the Choctawhatchee Bay.  Photo provided by Jackson County 4-H.

4-Hers still enjoy swimming and kayaking in the Choctawhatchee Bay. Photo provided by Jackson County 4-H.

Summer is here, and for most 4-H families, that means camp is on the horizon. If this will be your child’s first summer camp experience, you and your child both may have some camp anxieties.  But never fear!  Here are some simple steps you can take to prepare your camper (and yourself) for camp:

Preparing Campers:
• Plan several sleep overs before the week of camp arrives. Resist the urge to pack their bags for them or to check on them while there. If they have a cell phone, have them leave it at home. This is a good way to practice not having direct or constant contact.
• Encourage them to write a letter to someone (maybe you) while at camp. You will be so excited when you receive a letter from camp! Be sure to include envelopes, addresses, stamps, paper, and a pen in their luggage.
Gear up physically. If you have purchased new tennis shoes, break them in with a few long walks, so the blisters don’t have to happen at camp.
• Especially for teenagers, have them take a mini-vacation from their electronic devices. A couple of hours or a weekend.
• Have them write a statement for their social media pages. “Peace out Facebook, I will be at camp for the next week. Check in with you when I get back.” Or something similar.
• Have them write down their goals for camp. So they can mentally prepare themselves for what they hope to do and see.
• Make a homesick plan:
1. Homesickness isn’t entirely bad. It’s great to love your home. It’s sometimes part of the process, and it’s a confidence booster when a camper gets through it.
2. Make a happy place plan and write it down. This is an amazing opportunity to learn a life skill. Today’s youth go to technology to escape, and studies show this increases their stress. Some ideas might be: taking 10 deep breaths, traveling to a happy place in your mind, packing a certain stuffed animal, or tossing a football. They are capable of this independence.
 3. Your plan should NOT be, “Give it a couple of days and if you don’t like it, we will come get you.” This will set them up to give it a couple of days and knock the confidence right out of them.
4. Let your camper know what to expect with correspondence. You don’t need to write every day, but let them know what to expect.

Parents:
You are giving your child an incredible gift. I cannot promise you that they will not lose some socks, that they will love every meal or activity, or that they will adore every counselor. But you are preparing them for college and beyond; you are giving them the freedom to gain confidence, independence, and leadership skills; and you are instilling in them that they can do it.
What do YOU want to do during their time at camp? Plan a vacation for a later time, time to organize, time to have one-on-one time with your other children, or some “date nights” with your spouse or friends.
If you have apprehensions, work to resolve them. If you are worried that your camper is not going to know anyone, set up a pre-camp get-together. If you are worried about your camper’s medical needs, become friendly with the camp staff. If you are anxious about their food allergies, talk to the camp’s director. Make a camper-sick plan for yourself. Make sure there is only excitement and optimism coming from you, and share your anxiety with another adult.
Pack self-addressed envelopes in their luggage.
• Whether they are flying or driving, refrain from crying your eyes out until they cannot see you. Take a deep breath, trust, and remind yourself that you are giving them an awesome gift.

And, what is this gift everyone is talking about? At camp, they will be part of a community all their own. They will become emotionally attached to handmade rope bracelets on their wrist, and have a song for any occasion on cue, and maybe even forget they need to shower, and think sunscreen is just a normal daily moisturizing technique. They will learn to do things on their own, and they’ll learn to rely on others. They will learn how to survive on their own for a week or two, and they’ll learn how to help each other through it.

They may even grow up on summers away from TV, and forget Facebook exists. They will relish in the joy of sleeping in cabins, swatting mosquitoes at campfire, and swimming every day. They will savor the feeling of pushing water behind them with a paddle and the whoosh of air behind the tail of an arrow as they fire. They’ll forget about appearances, relish tan lines, and recognize the beauty of a smile over anything else.

So send your kids to camp. Send them so they’ll learn to set tables and make beds and wake early. Send them so they’ll know how to be a leader, paddle a kayak, weave a bracelet, and sing as loud as they can. Send your kids to camp so they’ll learn to love themselves and learn to love others. Send your kids to camp because they’ll realize who they are, or who they want to be. And, prepare yourselves for a year of camp stories, and for a flurry of songs. Prepare to learn names of kids you’ve never met. And for your kids to have a need for sunshine, a need for campfires, and companionship. They will be forever grateful for your awesome gift of summer camp.

Source:
American Camping Association, Inc. (http://www.acacamps.org)

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Melanie Taylor – metaylor@ufl.edu

Melanie Taylor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/07/09/summer-camp-is-almost-here-preparation-tips-for-campers-and-parents-2/

Summer Camp is Almost Here: Preparation Tips for Campers (and Parents!)

Summer camp teaches children independence and leadership skills.

Summer camp teaches children independence and leadership skills.

Summer is here and summer camp is on the horizon. Maybe this is your child’s first time to an overnight camp or they are “old pros” at this thing called camp. Many parents and children will have camp anxieties, but here are some things you can do to prepare your camper and yourself for camp.

Campers:
• Plan several sleepovers before the week of camp arrives. Resist the urge to pack their bags for them or to check on them while there. If they have a cell phone, have them leave it at home. This is a good way to practice not having direct or constant contact.
Encourage them to write a letter to someone (maybe you) while at camp. You will be so excited when you receive a letter from camp! Be sure to include envelopes, addresses, stamps, paper, and a pen in their luggage.
Gear up physically. If you have purchased your camper new tennis shoes, have them break them in with a few long walks so the blisters don’t happen at camp.
Especially for teenagers, have them take a mini-vacation from their electronic devices – a couple of hours or a weekend.
Have them write a statement for their social media pages. “Peace out Facebook, I will be at camp for the next week. Check in with you when I get back” or something similar.
Have them write down their goals for camp so they can mentally prepare themselves for what they hope to do and see.
Make a homesick plan:

1. Homesickness isn’t entirely bad. It’s great to love your home. It’s sometimes part of the process and it’s a confidence-booster when a camper gets through it.

2. Make a “happy place” plan and write it down. This is an amazing opportunity to learn a life skill. Today’s youth go to technology to escape and studies show this increases their stress. Some ideas include: taking 10 deep breaths, traveling to a “happy place” in your mind, packing a certain stuffed animal, or tossing a football. Children are capable of this independence.

3. Your plan should NOT be, “Give it a couple of days and if you don’t like it, we will come get you.” This will set them up to give it a couple of days and knock the confidence right out of them.

4. Let your camper know what to expect with correspondence. You don’t need to write every day but let them know what to expect.

Parents:
You are giving your child an incredible gift. I cannot promise you they will not lose some socks, they will love every meal or activity, and they will adore every staff member. But you are preparing them for college and beyond; you are giving them the freedom to gain confidence, independence, and leadership skills; and you are instilling in them that they can do it.
What do YOU want to do during their time at camp? Plan a vacation for a later time, organize the house, or enjoy one-on-one time with your other children or some “date nights” with your spouse or friends.
If you have apprehensions, work to resolve them. If you are worried your camper is not going to know anyone, set up a pre-camp get-together. If you are worried about your camper’s medical needs, become friendly with the camp staff. If you are anxious about their food allergies, talk to the camp’s director. Make a camper-sick plan for yourself. Make sure there is only excitement and optimism coming from you; share your anxiety with another adult.
• Pack self-addressed stamped envelopes in their luggage.
• Whether they are flying or driving, hold off on crying your eyes out until they cannot see you. Take a deep breath, trust, and remind yourself you are giving them an awesome gift.

And just what is this gift everyone is talking about? At camp, they will be part of a community all their own. They will become emotionally attached to handmade rope bracelets on their wrist, and have a song for any occasion on cue, and maybe even forget they need to shower, and think sunscreen is just a normal daily moisturizing technique. They will learn to do things on their own and they’ll learn to rely on others. They will learn how to survive on their own for a week or two and they’ll learn how to help each other through it.

They may even grow up on summers away from TV and forget Facebook exists. They will relish the joy of sleeping in cabins, swatting mosquitoes at campfire, and swimming every day. They will savor the feeling of pushing water behind them with a paddle and the whoosh of air behind the tail of an arrow as they fire. They’ll forget about appearances, relish tan lines, and recognize the beauty of a smile over anything else.

So send your kids to camp. Send them so they’ll learn to set tables and make beds and wake early. Send them so they’ll know how to be a leader, paddle a kayak, weave a bracelet, and sing as loud as they can. Send your kids to camp so they’ll learn to love themselves and learn to love others. Send your kids to camp because they’ll realize who they are – or who they want to be. And, prepare yourselves for a year of camp stories and for a flurry of songs. Prepare to learn names of kids you’ve never met. And for your kids to have a need for sunshine, campfires, and companionship. They will be forever grateful for your awesome gift of summer camp.

Source:
American Camping Association, Inc. (http://www.acacamps.org)

 

PG

Author: Melanie Taylor – metaylor@ufl.edu

Melanie Taylor

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/06/27/summer-camp-is-almost-here-preparation-tips-for-campers-and-parents/

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