NFREC Heifer Development Field Day – January 10

NFREC Heifer Development Field Day – January 10

Group of cattle producers learning about CIDR for AI with lady talking.

Chute-side demonstrations for cattle producers at the 2018 field day. Photo Credit: Pete Vergot

The replacement of subfertile cows in a cow/calf operation comes at a tremendous cost. Successfully managing replacement heifers the first two years of their life can play a role in their lifetime productivity, and should be a priority for all herdsmen.

A heifer development field day will be hosted at the North Florida Research and Education Center on January 10, 2019, with registration beginning at 8:30 and the program kicking off at 9:00 AM CST. Lunch will be sponsored by Zoetis and be served at noon.

Dystocia Simulator that will be at the field day. Photo Credit: Veterinary Simulator Industries

The 2019 heifer field day that will feature topics that are focused on replacement heifer development and management. A highlight of this year’s event will surely be the interactive calving simulator that will allow participants the opportunity to work through dystocia situations (calving difficulties) in a life-like model. Those who attend the field day will have the opportunity to practice pulling calves that are in abnormal presentations and positions and the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience in dealing with dystocia.

In addition to the field day, a preview of the bulls that will be sold at the 2019 Florida Bull Test Sale will be held. Starting at 1:00 PM, all prospective buyers will have the opportunity to see the bulls that have been consigned to the sale on January 19th.


Documentation for USDA-FSA Disaster Relief Programs

Documentation for USDA-FSA Disaster Relief Programs

 Tractor clearing debris

Following the USDA-FSA (United States Department of Agriculture-Farm Service Agency) meetings that were held across the Panhandle in response to Hurricane Michael, one word was a common factor program qualification: DOCUMENTATION!

In fact, most times it was said that producers need to “Document, Document, and Document.” But what exactly does that mean, and how exactly should it be done? And let’s face it, most of us in the agricultural industry are not the best at taking the time to write things down, especially after the storm of the century! However, in this case, it is not an option, but a necessity. In addition to pictures, work and purchase logs will be needed to fully document damage and recovery efforts.

Records should be kept for each individual USDA Farm Number. Documentation of labor and efforts will need to be recorded and broken down by farm numbers. If you do not know your farm number or need to create one, please contact your USDA-FSA office. In addition, records should be kept in detail for all work that is done by the producer and/or those that are hired out.

Work Log

Keeping detailed records of all activities related to the storm is critical for the USDA-FSA programs. Producers will not only need to log the scope of work but also record the following:

  • Date work doneCutting up a fallen tree
  • Who completed work (Self vs. Hire)
  • Rate charged (per hour/acre/tree etc.)
  • Scope of work
  • Man-hours worked
  • Size and type of equipment used (Chainsaws, generators, tractors, trucks, trailers, etc.)

This includes all chainsaw work, time spent in your tractors or dozers and other equipment that is used during storm clean up. Also, remember to log it as man hours. For example, if 3 people from your farm run chainsaws for 8 hours doing debris removal, that would be logged as 24 hours (3 men x 8 hours). In addition, include details about locations of work done and how/why it was required to maintain or restore normal operation of your farm. For example, tree removed from the field to allow for harvest equipment to enter a field, or cleanup of damaged feed barn to allow of additional feed to be delivered for livestock.

Purchase Log

Expenses from the storm can help quantify the scope of damage. Detailed records and receipts should be kept of all purchases made in relation to the disaster.  This will be key for disaster relief programs, as well as for tax purposes. These purchase/expenses could include:

  • Fence Repair Supplies
  • Fuel
  • Feed (above normal or as a replacement of lost feed)
  • Vet Supplies (Replacement of lost vaccines from power outages)
  • Capital purchases


In addition to work and purchase logs, photographs are key documentation. These too should be kept by farm number. While taking photos, take close ups as well as wide angle pictures that help capture the vastness of the damage in addition to being able to be used to help verify the location of the pictures. If you are able to email pictures to yourself, after documenting a farm/location, email those pictures to yourself with the location and other important information to help keep images organized. This will also allow for pictures to be stored in more than one location as a backup.

Long story short, it is better to over-document, than to wish you had. Utilization of these logs will help keep records for each farm number and give your operation a great starting point when meeting with USDA-FSA program staff to report your storm damage. Detailed information about Disaster Assistance Programs are available online or by contacting local offices.  Additional information or types of documentation can be seen from the Wisconsin FSA document: Disaster Assistance Program Loss Documentation  

Copies of the Work and Purchase Logs can be downloaded for printing using the following links, or are available by mail by calling the UF/IFAS Extension Holmes County Office  850-547-1108.

Work Log

Purchase Log

Water Requirements for Beef Cattle

Water Requirements for Beef Cattle

Things are heating up in the Panhandle, and everyone is trying cool off. Clean, fresh drinking water is critical for cattle performance in the summer heat. Photo Credit: K. Waters

When producers think about nutritional requirements for beef cattle, protein, energy, and minerals often come to mind. However, none of the above-mentioned nutrients will meet an animal’s needs without adequate water consumption.

There are minimum amounts of water required for growth, fetal development, lactation and the replacement of water from urine and evaporation (Table 1).  Going into the summer months in the Southeastern U.S., it is critical to remember that water is required for the animal to regulate body temperatures, as well as to maintain health and maximize production.

For producers, this means ensuring cattle have clean and abundant water sources available to them at all times. The total amount of water that is required for cattle is influenced by weight, stage of production, and weather conditions.

Factors influencing water requirements for cattle include:

  • Stage of production: Lactating cows will have a much higher water requirement. Milk composition in beef cows is about 4% fat and 8% other solids (proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals).  The remaining 88% of milk is water. Research in dairy herds shows that for every pound of milk produced by a cow, an additional 0.87 to 0.9 pounds of water will be required for consumption by that cow.
  • Environment: Temperature and humidity are key players in water consumption. For every 10 degrees above 40° F cattle consume about 1 more gallon of water per day.
  • Diet: Water content in the feed is highly variable. For example a total mixed ration (TMR) such that would be fed at a feed yard is much drier than what cattle grazing lush forages will be consuming.  As the water content of feed consumed increases, the amount of water cattle will drink decreases.

All of these factors impact the total water requirements and intake by cattle.  Cattle producers must continuously supply clean, fresh water to ensure they are meeting all of the nutritional requirements of their herd.

If you believe you have an issue with your water source or supply, please contact your county extension agent.

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

Estimating Water Requirements for Beef Cows

The Impact of Water Quality on Beef Cattle Health and Performance

Water Nutrition and Quality Considerations for Cattle


Weed of the Week:  Perilla Mint

Weed of the Week: Perilla Mint

Photo Credit: Tennessee Vascular Plants Eugene Wofford

Perilla Mint is a toxic ornamental that has escaped from landscapes in the Southern U.S. and is now an established pasture weed. As a summer annual it grows in shaded areas up to a height of 2 feet tall. It is often identified by its purple shading on the undersides of the leaves. All parts of the plant are toxic to livestock, with symptoms including labored breathing and death. Late April to early June is the ideal time to scout your pastures for Perilla Mint.

For help identifying weeds or developing a control plan for your operation, please contact your county extension agent. 

For more information on this topic please use the links for the following  publications:

UT Extension Perilla Mint

Scout Pastures for Toxic Perilla Mint

Spring is a Good Time to Scout Pastures for Toxic Weeds


Cattlemen Conversations: An Educational Video Series for Cattle Producers

Cattlemen Conversations: An Educational Video Series for Cattle Producers

Cattle producers are required to navigate a diverse range of management challenges, and make decisions that impact not only their current production cycle, but have lasting impact for years to come. For this reason, producers need to be current on trends, technologies, markets, nutrition, health, reproduction and more! In order to create a convenient, and relevant source of information for cattle producers across the nation Cattlemen Conversations was developed.

Cattlemen Conversations is a weekly video that is produced through collaboration between the University of Florida/ IFAS Extension Holmes County Agent, Kalyn Waters and South Dakota State University Extension Cow/Calf Field Specialist Adele Harty. Each month 4 topics will be presented in a 10-minute video featuring an expert from the industry or academia. Speakers are represented from across the United States. These videos are available on social media, and through other electronic channels to cattle producers around the globe.

Videos are hosted on YouTube and also in the Facebook group called Cattlemen Conversations. At the conclusion of each video, viewers are asked to complete a brief survey. Each video survey completed will also be an entry in a drawing to win a high-end cooler, with drawings taking place every six months.

We invite you to take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn from experts across the nation without leaving your ranch/operation!

For more information about this program, please contact Kalyn Waters at 850-547-1108.