Hops and Aquaponics Workshops – November 1 & 2

Hops and Aquaponics Workshops – November 1 & 2

Laura Tiu, Marine Science Extension Agent, Okaloosa and Walton Counties

Aquaponics and Hops – Two New Crops for the Panhandle

The phone rings off the hook at the UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office.  Questions run the gamut from agriculture, residential gardening, commercial horticulture, family and consumer science, to youth development and marine science.  Extension agents strive to develop programs to bring the latest research-based science from the Universities to the Counties. In November 2018, two such educational workshops will be conducted.

hops cones

Hop cones. Credit: Evan Anderson, UF/IFAS

Hop Production
There has been a growing interest in growing hops in the Panhandle, for home brewing and potentially to supply the growing number of craft breweries in the area.  Researchers and Extension Specialists from the University of Florida and Ohio State University will be available to share the latest research updates and answer questions about what you need to consider before getting started.  The Hops Workshop will be November 1, 2018 at the UF/IFAS Okaloosa County Extension Office, 30 98 Airport Rd., Crestview, FL from 9:00 – 5:00 pm.  You can register here: Hops Workshop Registration

Credit: Green Acre Aquaponics

Aquaponics is another food production method that offers an alternative to traditional soil-based culture. Aquaponics combines aquaculture and hydroponics to produce fish and produce in a water-conserving recirculating system. Join Extension Specialists from the University of Florida, Auburn University and The Ohio State University as we share the latest in aquaponic research and technology. A small scale, fully operational, hobby-scale system will be available for viewing. The Aquaponics workshop will be November 2, 2018 at the UF/IFAS Walton County Extension Office, 732 N. 9th Street, DeFuniak Springs, FL.  You can register here: Aquaponics Workshop Registration

If you have any questions, feel free to contact: Laura Tiu, lgtiu@ufl.edu, 850-6126197 for more information.

Suwannee Valley Watermelon Institute – November 29

Suwannee Valley Watermelon Institute – November 29

Join UF/IFAS Extension for the 2018 Suwannee Valley Watermelon Institute to be held on Thursday, November 29th at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center (2142 Shealy Drive Gainesville, FL 32611).  For anyone that grows watermelon or cucurbits, this day-long event will be worth the drive to Gainesville.

The optional morning session will provide an in-depth review of Florida’s watermelon diseases (bacteria and virus, etc.) with focus on detection and management of new diseases, and an update on drone research for early disease and other stress detection.

After lunch, the following topics will be covered:

  • Irrigation and nutrient management BMPs for the Suwannee Valley Region and Cost Share Programs
  • Watermelon grower experiences with soil moisture sensors
  • Weed management updates, nutsedge, and brunswick grass concerns
  • Update on the Food Safety Modernization Act and new guidance on water and update regarding On-Farm Readiness review process.
  • Watermelon cultivar and fusarium trial results, and review of pollinating plant choices.
  • Watermelon disease and fungicide program planning for the 2019 season.

For more information, contact Dan Fenneman at (850) 973-4138 or by email at dfenneman@ufl.edu.

Fig. 1. Symptoms of the Pseudomonas syringae leaf spot on watermelon

Farm Bill Seed Cotton and Hurricane Program Updates

Farm Bill Seed Cotton and Hurricane Program Updates

Cotton field with open white bolls

On September 7, 2018, courtesy of Clover Leaf and Sowega Cotton Gins, the Jackson County Extension Office hosted a two-hour meeting for cotton growers. Don Shurley Professor Emeritus of the University of Georgia and John VanSickle with the University of Florida shared pertinent information regarding risk management program decisions, and the upcoming deadlines for cotton growers. This meeting was also web broadcast via Zoom to participating Extension Offices across Florida’s Panhandle in order to increase the number of producers reached. The meeting was recorded live and the labelled presentations are available below for viewing along with their PDF versions.

The first hour consisted of Don Shurley giving an overview of the seed cotton program (specifically in terms of how it works and how prices and payments will be calculated) and then discussing the generic base conversion options.  The following was the recorded presentation explaining the Seed Cotton Program provided at this training.

Important date regarding the seed cotton program:
1. December 7, 2018 -enrollment deadline for seed cotton program and make base elections.

Seed Cotton Program Overview Handout used at the meeting
Printer friendly Seed Cotton Presentation
Seed Cotton Program Decision Aid spreadsheet mentioned in the presentation

Dr. Shurely also wrote an article on the Seed Cotton Program: Understanding Your Generic Base Conversion Options with the New Seed Cotton Program

After the farm bill update, Dr. Shurely also briefly covered the Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and what it entails.

Market Facilitation Program (MFP) Handout

During the second hour, John VanSickle discussed the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (WHIP). This program enables the USDA’s Farm Service Agency to make disaster payments to offset losses from hurricanes and wildfires during 2017. WHIP covers both the loss of the crop, tree, bush or vine as well as the loss in production.

Important dates regarding the WHIP program:
1. November 16, 2018- enrollment deadline.

WHIP Program Factsheet
Printer friendly WHIP Presentation

Scientists Share Latest Research and Production Tips at Carinata Field Days Across the Southeast

Scientists Share Latest Research and Production Tips at Carinata Field Days Across the Southeast

Ian Small, UF/IFAS Plant Pathologist, discussed disease management and advanced scouting tools at the Carinata Field Day in Quincy, FL.

Authors: Dan Geller, Ben Christ, Wendy-Lin Bartels, Bill Hubbard, Sheeja George, Ian Small, David Wright

This Spring, both farmers and researchers in the Southeast United States are at work. Inside the farm gate, producers are taking advantage of every opportunity to be out with their crops, putting in extra time to ensure their production goals for the season will be met. At the same time, researchers participating in the Southeastern Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC), a USDA NIFA CAP funded grant project, are putting in long hours in the field, greenhouses, and laboratories to develop new varieties of carinata, an emerging oilseed crop in the Southeastern US.

Carinata is grown in the cool-season to provide a second cash crop that can be used to produce high-grade jet fuel, diesel, gasoline and animal feed, as well as provide cover crop benefits. SPARC scientists are working on best management practices for production, and post-harvest uses of the seed to help producers by increasing yields and profitability of carinata. Maintaining the connection between scientists and producers is imperative. Early in its formation, SPARC leadership foresaw the need for a strong and diverse extension team that would serve as a bridge between scientists, producers, and regional extension agents.

David Wright, UF/IFAS Agronomist, discussed carinata production best management practices at the Carinata Field Day in Tifton, GA.

The SPARC team hosted carinata field days in Jay, and Quincy, Florida, Milstead, Alabama, and Tifton, Georgia this spring. The SPARC events in Jay, FL (February) and Quincy, FL (March) attracted over 50 interested farmers, extension agents, academics, and agency representatives who came to learn more about carinata production from SPARC experts and collaborators. SPARC members presented topics on carinata production including weed, pest, disease and fertility management. The team also discussed planting and harvesting techniques as well as timing of planting and harvest to fit into common crop rotations in the Southeast. An overview of carinata contracts and crop insurance was also provided to attendees of these events. The field days provided the opportunity to observe carinata in the field and discussion included details of SPARC experiments at each site.

Some of the key points addressed at the field days were:

  1. Carinata genotype multi-location trials are underway to evaluate advanced breeding lines under diverse environmental conditions. Crop improvement efforts continue to target enhanced cold tolerance, early maturity, high oil and seed yield in carinata
  2. Carinata’s “fit” as a winter cash crop in Southeast cropping systems was emphasized
  3. Best management practices for carinata production were discussed – timely planting is key (early to mid-November for North Florida). For more details on row spacing, nutrient management, pest management, harvest management, seed depth, tillage requirements refer to the production manual and other resources on www.sparc-org.org; www.growcarinata.com
  4. Crop insurance stipulations for carinata were discussed. For more details on production contracts and insurance contact a representative from Agrisoma www.growcarinata.com.
  5. The importance of a life cycle analysis (LCA) to understand the overall impact of carinata production in the southeast was presented. Ongoing research is focused on increasing value to stakeholders in the carinata supply chain – from seed supplier to producer, handler, processor, fuel and coproduct end-user

Austin Hagan, Auburn Plant Pathologist, discussed disease management and variety evaluations at the Alabama Carinata Field Day.

One of the team’s primary objectives is to understand the farmers’ expectations and what they would need to effectively grow the crop during the winter months. Dr. Wendy-Lin Bartels and Benjamin Christ, both from the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation, are social scientists leading SPARC’s understanding of the barriers and opportunities that may exist for producers in the Southeast to adopt carinata. They began with broad questions directed to the many stakeholders involved with SPARC and have since directed their focus to regional agents and producers. Through surveys at Carinata Field Days and phone interviews, Wendy-Lin and Ben have constructed a model of the barriers and opportunities relevant to producers in the Southeast. This information is directed back to SPARC and serves as the producers’ collective voice as researchers continue their work to develop better, regionally appropriate varieties of carinata.

Agrisoma representatives discussed production and marketing options at the Carinata Field Day in Jay, FL.

As carinata harvest approaches and field studies wind down for the year, the extension team will begin to work with SPARC researchers to develop tools to provide farmers the most up-to-date publications. The extension team has already started a working relationship with the feedstock team, which is expected to result in several critical publications to be published by extension in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. The team will soon begin work on the first of the SPARC e-Learning courses to be developed during the program which will utilize expertise from all the SPARC research teams to provide continuing education to extension agents, crop advisers, and other key stakeholders in the carinata supply chain.


Marketing Weaned calves through the Alabama SAFE Sale

Marketing Weaned calves through the Alabama SAFE Sale

Cow-calf ranchers have an opportunity to add value to the weaned calves they sell, through a cooperative board sale.  For the past 24 years cattle producers in Southeast Alabama, Southwest Georgia, and Northwest Florida have joined together to form marketing groups that jointly offer weaned calves in groups.  The main concept of these board sales is to offer uniform groups of calves that have been weaned for 60 days, have been vaccinated and boostered, from producers that are Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certified.

Ideally the cattle are sold in ~50,000 pound truckload groups, but they do not have to be.  In 2017, there were 12 lots of less than truckload-sized groups that sold.  The cattle are videoed over the summer, so that buyers can see the quality, and are sold through a telephone conference call auction that originates from the Houston County Extension Office, Dothan Alabama.  Mosely Brothers Cattle Company, Blakely, GA serves as the sales consultant to provide a bonded middleman to connect buyers and sellers.

The cattle never leave the farm of origin until the agreed upon delivery date. The cattle are either weighed on the ranch or on the truck.  If they are weighed on the truck, at the closest truck scale, the final sale weight will include a 2% shrink.  Weights made prior to loading at the ranch include a 3% shrink. The buyer makes the trucking arrangements and pays the freight costs.

What are the key advantages to this type of sale?  

The primary advantage is that cow-calf producers can sell groups of cattle through a telephone auction, so neither buyers or cattle have to be on-site. Buyers have access to more than 2,500 head of uniform, source verified cattle from some of the better managed ranches in the area.  The buyers are provided health sheets, with verified treatments from a licensed veterinarian.  Each calf is tagged with the farm of origin, so buyers can track performance and purchase from that farm again in the future.  The cattle are never commingled with cattle from other farms, unless two farms sell jointly to fill a load.  Ranchers get a premium for selling cattle with two-rounds of vaccines, that have been weaned and fed for an extended period. The buyer purchases groups of cattle that remain healthy because they have been immunized correctly, have been started on feed, and are more uniform than trying to put groups together from auction markets where cattle must be commingled from multiple farms to make uniform truckloads.

The bottom line for the rancher is that they can sell weaned calves for ~$100 per head premium.  The chart below compares the 2017 SAFE Sale prices to similar weight calves sold that same week.  Although this comparison is not completely fair, because the calf delivery was one to two months later, it does give you an idea of the value comparison at the same point in time, and an approximate increase in value from participating in this sale last year.

What are the disadvantages?

Selling in a joint sale will always create challenges. For these Board Sales to work, every member and buyer has to agree on the set guidlines. There is also more work, expense, and risk with keeping cattle on the farm an extra 60 days after weaning. The reason for the 60 days is that it takes time for weaned cattle to get back to their original weight after weaning, and to adjust to life without Mamma.  Since these cattle are kept separate from the main herd, ranchers also have to provide space for them from weaning until delivery.

Cattle are sold based on weight, but with a Board Sale the seller has to make an estimate of the average weight at the advertised delivery date.  To make this estimate work, cattle are sold with a “price slide.”   The SAFE Sale catalog explains price slide with this statement, “Price slides are used to protect against weight variances by adjusting the final bid price (sale price), which allows for a more accurate calf value for transaction between a buyer and seller based on the actual delivery weight (including shrink).”  For example a rancher estimates in July that his steers will average 625 pounds at delivery, but in September, when the cattle are weighed for delivery, the steers actually weigh 660 pounds.  The price per pound would then be adjusted $8/cwt lower, because the cattle were heavier than estimated. The price slide then protects both buyer and seller, because the auction is held one to two months in advance of delivery.

Want to learn more about the Alabama SAFE Sale?

The following links show the catalog from last year’s offering and also a summary of the final sales.  There is also an example of one of the videos from a Florida ranch that participated last year.

2017 Alabama Safe Sale Catalog

17 AL SAFE Sale Results

The following is the video was provided for buyers to view steer calves that were sold through the Alabama Safe Sale by Melvin Adams, Graceville, Florida, in 2017

Think you might want to participate?

The 24th annual Southeast Alabama Feeder Cattle Marketing Association (SAFE) sale has been scheduled for 6:00 PM, Thursday, August 9, 2018 at the Houston County Extension Office, adjacent to the Houston County Farm Center (1699 Ross Clark Circle, Dothan, AL 36301).  If you think you might be interested in joining the association, now is the time to get started.

  1. The first step is to get your BQA Certification.  BQA certification is important, even if you don’t participate in the Board Sale. BQA training is something every rancher and their employees should participate in.  Check out the video that explains why this is important.
    BQA Certification requires completion of a series on online training video modules.  Utilize the following link to access the Cow-Calf BQA Certification training module.
  2. The next step is to contact Rickey Hudson, AL SAFE Sale Coordinator, and let him know you are interested, and provide an estimate of the number of cattle you want to sell, so the farm tags can be ordered.  You will also need to get a copy of the Calf Health Record & Processing Sheet that will be included in the sale catalog with your cattle.
    Rickey Hudson
    Regional Extension Agent – Animal Science / Forages
    Wiregrass Research & Extension Center
    334.693.2010 (office)
    334.726.6814 (mobile)
  3. The third step is to work with your local veterinarian to set up the health protocol, and vaccination schedule.  Make sure you use the Calf Health Record sheet to document the products used.
  4. The final step is to work with Mosley Brothers Cattle Company to get a video made, and develop a listing for the sale catalog.


Highlights & Presentations from the 2018 Panhandle Row Crop Short Course

Highlights & Presentations from the 2018 Panhandle Row Crop Short Course

A total of 115 people came out for this year’s Panhandle Row Crop Short Course, from eleven Florida counties, three Georgia counties, and four Alabama counties.

This year’s Panhandle Row Crop Short Course took place on Thursday, March 1, 2018.  Extension Specialists from Florida, Georgia, and Alabama spoke to attendees providing production recommendations and various management tips for row crops farmers. Continuing education units (CEUs) were offered at the event for those with a restricted use pesticide license (Florida, Georgia and Alabama), as well as for Certified Crop Advisors. A total of 115 people came out for this year’s event, that number consists of attendees from eleven Florida counties, three Georgia counties, and four Alabama counties. The event featured nine presentations and a trade show of 17 companies and organizations that provide products and services to the industry.

The focus of the Short Course was primarily on peanut and cotton production, but did overlap to other crops regarding fertility, pest management, and the market outlook. Speaker topics included an update from the Florida Peanut Producers Association, information regarding peanut varieties, cotton varieties, weed management, pest management (insect, disease, nematode), market outlook, and early season fertility. The following recap provides a short summary of what was discussed by each speaker, as well as direct links to download PDF (printable) versions of the presentations given at the event.

Industry Update

Ken Barton, Executive Director of the Florida Peanut Producers Association (FPPA) provided an update on the current status of the peanut industry, along with the goals of the FPPA. The fact that generic base will no longer exist for the 2018 crop year.

Presentation link: Barton – Florida Peanut Producers Update


Peanut Variety Selection

Dr. Barry Tillman, UF/IFAS Peanut Breeder provided variety data from trials across several states demonstrating trends in performance. Hypothetical production situations were used to illustrate management decisions based on factors such as planting date, disease pressure, and risk. He also discussed seed availability for different varieties.

Presentation link:  Tillman- Managing Your Favorite Peanut Variety


Cotton Variety Performance

On behalf of Dr. David Wright, Ethan Carter, UF/IFAS Regional Crop IPM Extension Agent presented a talk on cotton performance and varieties. Information shared included both data from research stations and on-farm trials across Georgia and Florida. Across many trials at multiple locations, consistently top yielding varieties included ST 6182, DP 1538, DP 1646, CG 3885, and PHY 444.

Presentation link:  Wright- Making Replant Decisions for Cotton and Peanut


Nematode Management

Dr. Zane Grabau, UF/IFAS Crop Nematologist discussed nematicide options available to crop farmers, some new to the market and others returning. He presented data from a series of cotton and peanut trials that took place on research stations, as well as two on-farm trials in Jackson County. The Jackson County on-farm trials were looking at Velum Total, Telone II and AgLogic 15GG. Once again, Telone II is expected to be in short supply and difficult to find. The active ingredient in AgLogic 15GG is aldicarb, the same as Temik, and a permit will need to be obtained from FDACS for those interested in its use.

Presentation link:  Grabau- Nematode Management


Crop Disease Management

Dr. Nicholas Dufault, UF/IFAS Crop Pathologist focused his talk on the performance of peanut fungicides. It is important to know which pathogen you are treating, and confidently select an effective product for its control. Chlorothalonil, a back bone of many spray programs will be in short supply this year, and a higher price can be expected.

Presentation link:  Dufault- Crop Disease Management


 Herbicide Use/Weed Management

Dr. Steve Li, Auburn Weed Specialist discussed the control of hard to kill weeds in crop systems. He also discussed auxin herbicides and the newly labeled Enlist One for Florida. Good weed control can be achieved using some older products as well as the new ones, but it is important to continue using soil herbicides.

Presentation link:  Li – Herbicide Use/Weed Management


Crop Market Outlook

Dr. Adam Rabinowitz, UGA Economist provided a detailed analysis of the crop commodity markets. He covered several commodities, their utilization within the market, and inputs. Understanding what factors drive the market and the projected revenues/costs associated with growing different crops will allow producers to make informed decisions. When it comes to being well versed with your farm’s expenditures and income potential, this year is no exception. With generic base gone for the 2018 year, growers need to familiarize themselves with the conversion options available and do what is best for their specific situation.

Presentation link:  Rabinowitz- Crop Market Outlook


Caterpillars in Crops

Dr. Silvana Moraes, new UF/IFAS Entomologist discussed her research program and the goals of her work. She talked about the seasonal occurrence of pests that affect cotton and peanut, as well as their specific life cycles and potential control measures. Identification is crucial for insect control, controlling corn earworms vs armyworms or soybean loopers vs velvetbean caterpillars will affect your product options and can impact price.

Presentation Link:  Moraes – Caterpillars in Crops


Early Season Fertility

Dr. Michael Mulvaney, UF/IFAS Cropping Systems Specialist spoke on the importance of soil testing and how soil health relates directly to the early season fertility of the crop. Recognizing the nutritional need of a crop, and being able to identify symptoms of deficiency are key in maintaining a healthy field. With delayed or skipped gypsum applications in peanut, prioritize fields with <250 ppm Ca (500 lbs Ca/ac).

Presentation link:  Mulvaney- Early Season Fertility


Sponsors and Trade Show Exhibitors

These 17 companies and organizations that provide products and services to crop farmers in the region took part in the Trade Show and made lunch possible for not only this event, but also the upcoming Peanut Field Day in August.

Upcoming Events

There are a number of upcoming educational events taking place across the Florida Panhandle. Watch the newsletter for promotional materials regarding these events, or call the Extension Office in your county for more information.