Utilizing Performance Data for Improved Bull Selection – January 15

Utilizing Performance Data for Improved Bull Selection – January 15

Selecting the right bull(s) is a key component to the success of any cattle operation. Effectively utilizing performance data is an essential part of the bull selection process.  Photo Credit: Mark Mauldin, UF/IFAS

Bull selection is one of the fastest and most effective methods cattleman can use to change the quality of their calf crop from one year to the next. It is difficult to overstate the importance of the bull. In a small herd, half of the genetic potential of the entire calf crop is determined by a single individual, the bull. Even in larger herds with multiple bulls, the impact of each individual bull can be wide spread, especially if he sires heifers that are returned to the herd. All that said, it is easy to understand why bull selection is an important management decision that should be taken seriously.

When it is time to purchase a new bull, many cattlemen can find themselves overwhelmed with the amount of data that is available to “help” them select the most appropriate bull(s) for their operation. Most cattlemen enjoy picking out the best looking bull in a group. While looks (phenotype) can be important, the traits the bull will pass on to his calves will have more effect on the ranch’s bottom line. These traits are dictated by the bull’s genetic makeup (genotype). To help inform bull buyers about the genetic merit of individual bulls the cattle industry has developed a plethora of ways to quantify and represent genotypes. These representations (EPDs, Indexes, etc.) are collectively referred to as performance data, and they constitute all of those numbers that fill sale catalogs. While all of the data may seem overwhelming, it is very valuable and should be utilized, not ignored.

On Tuesday, January 15th Understanding and Applying Performance Data will be presented at the Washington County Agricultural Center. The primary goal of this class is to help commercial cattlemen decipher all of the performance data available and develop a practical plan for utilizing these resources when selecting bulls for their own operations.The catalog form the Florida Bull Test Sale (January 19, 2019) will be reviewed in detail.

If you are interested in the class, but attending in person is not a viable option, it will also be offered online. If you are interested in watching the presentation via Zoom, please contact Mark Mauldin for participation details.

Event details are in the flyer below. If you have questions contact Mark Mauldin, 850-638-6180 or via email: mdm83@ufl.edu.

Northwest Florida Beef Conference & Trade Show – February 13

Northwest Florida Beef Conference & Trade Show – February 13

Cattle ranchers, employees, and family members from the Tri-state Region (FL, AL, GA) are invited to attend the 34th annual Northwest Florida Beef Conference and Trade Show, to be held on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 in Marianna, Florida.  The Conference will be held at the Jackson County Extension Office, located at 2741 Penn Avenue, Marianna, Florida. There will be a $5 per person registration fee, payable at the door.  Registration and the Trade Show open at 7:30 AM central time, the program starts at 8:15 AM, and concludes with a steak lunch.


 Beef Confernce Crowd

2018 Northwest Florida Beef Conference & Trade Show. Credit: Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS

2019 Focus:  Rebuilding for a Better Future

The Tri-state area was hammered by Hurricane Michael, so cattle producers in this region survived a very challenging year in 2018.  Because of this, the 2019 Beef Conference educational program will focus on Rebuilding for a Better Future. Dr. Jared Decker, Beef Genetics Extension Specialist, University of Missouri, will be the keynote speaker. He will discuss genomic-enhanced EPDs and EPD Indexes to help producers make effective choices to improve the genetics of their herd. Michael Archibald, Deseret Cattle and Timber will share diversification options to consider.  Ken Kelley, Alabama Regional Farm management Agent, will discuss improving income through cattle marketing options.   Other topics will focus on potential supplemental income from pastures, and controlling trees and brush in rebuilt fence lines.

Schedule of Events (all Central Time)
  •  7:30 – Trade Show & Registration Opens
  •  8:15 – Welcome & Program Introduction
  •  8:30 – Diversification to Add Income to Your Cattle Operation
                Michael Archibald, General Manager Deseret Cattle & Timber
  •  9:00 – Using Genomic-Enhanced EPDs and EPD Indexes to Build a Better Herd
                Jared Decker, Beef Genetics Extension Specialist, University of Missouri
  •  9:45 – Trade Show & Snack Break
  • 10:30 – Marketing Options to Improve Income
                 Ken Kelley, Alabama Regional Farm and Agribusiness Management Agent
  • 11:00 – Income Potential from Pastures
                 Doug Mayo, County Director, UF/IFAS Extension Jackson County
  • 11:30 – Killing Trees and Brush in Your Fence Lines
                 Mark Mauldin, Ag Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Washington County
  • 12:00 – Grilled Steak Lunch (thanks to JCCA Cooking Crew)
  • 12:30 – 1:30 Trade Show Open

Trade Show

18 Beef Conference Trade Show

The Beef Conference will also feature a Trade Show of businesses and agencies that offer goods and services to cattle producers. Credit Doug Mayo, UF/IFAS

In addition to the educational program, the Beef Conference will also feature a Trade Show of businesses and agencies that offer goods and services to cattle producers. There will be time allotted on the schedule to visit with the company representatives to learn about specific products and services they offer for cattle producers in this region. The program will have designated times for ranchers to visit with the Trade Show Exhibitors:  45 minutes during registration, 45 minutes in the middle of the program, and 1 hour immediately after lunch is served.

If you are interested in participating in the as an exhibitor/sponsor, utilize the Trade Show Eventbrite Registration website .  You will be entering the required information online and paying in one simple step.  No other action required. Registration deadline is Friday, February 8.

Trade Show booth at the Northwest Florida Beef Conference.

The Northwest Florida Beef Conference and Trade Show is an educational program provided by the UF/IFAS Panhandle Agriculture Extension Team. For more information on the Beef Conference, or participating in the Trade Show as an exhibitor, contact Doug Mayo, at 850-482-9620.

Carinata Summit 2019 & SPARC Annual Meeting – March 5-6

Carinata Summit 2019 & SPARC Annual Meeting – March 5-6

The 2019 Carinata Summit will be held March 5 and 6 at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research & Education Center in Quincy, Florida (155 Research Road, Quincy, FL).  Topics for discussion at the event will include:  the public-private partnership for carinata supply chain development, focus groups related to feedstock development and best management practices, adoption and outreach, fuel and bioproduct development, enhancing carinata meal value, system sustainability, and carinata field tours.  This two-day event provides a great venue for networking, and identifying opportunities to collaborate.

6th Carinata Biomaterial Summit & 2nd SPARC Annual Meeting
Tentative Agenda (All times listed in Eastern Time Zone)
March 5, 2019 (Industry Focus)
8:00-8:30 AM: Check-in
8:30-8:45 AM: Welcome Address
8:45-10:00 AM: 1st slot of talks (Speaker 1: Agrisoma; Speaker 2: TBC; Speaker 3: TBC)
10:00-10:30 AM: Break and Poster Session
10:30-Noon-2nd slot of talks (high level-Speaker 1: ARA; Speaker 2: TBC; Speaker 3: CAAFI)
Noon to 1:30 PM-Lunch and Networking
1:30-3:00 PM-Presentations-agronomy & breeding, best management practices, meal and coproducts, fuel (15 minutes limit)
3:00-3:30 PM-Break and Poster Session
3:30-5:00 PM-Presentations-system metrics, supply chain, social science, extension, education and workforce development (15 minutes limit)
Dinner and Adjourn

March 6, 2019 (Producer Focus)
8:00-8:30 AM: Check-in
8:30-9:30 AM: Welcome address & talks (carinata supply chain, crop insurance, whole farm economics)
9:30 to 11:00 AM: Field day-tours of select carinata studies in Quincy with in-field talks
11:15 AM-12:30 PM: Panel or fishbowl conversation with producers, researchers, extension agents, industry partners-Social Science Team facilitates
12:30-1:30 PM: Lunch
Larger summit group adjourns – SPARC convenes for 2nd SPARC Annual Meeting

To register call or email:
Sheeja George at sheejageorge@ufl.edu
850-284-1334 / 850-875-7136

Alabama Row Crops Shortcourse – December 13-14

Alabama Row Crops Shortcourse – December 13-14

It’s not too late to register for the 2018 Alabama Row Crops Short Course that will be held in Auburn next Thursday, December 13th and Friday December 14th. An event agenda and program updates are available by visiting www.AlabamaCrops.com. Continuing education units and pesticide points will also be available for all attendees. Register online at https://bit.ly/2ObJhYC. There is no registration fee, however, advanced registration is required. Additionally, interested producers may find updates via the Alabama Crops Facebook page or the Alabama Cooperative Extension Facebook page.



Gadsden Tomato Forum – December 6

Gadsden Tomato Forum – December 6

Freshly picked tomatoes

Freshly picked tomatoes. Credit: UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

The annual Tomato Forum will be held in Gadsden County on Thursday, December 6, 2018.  The event will be hosted by the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, Florida from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM eastern time.

Topics to be covered will include tomato variety selection, recommended production practices, pest and disease management, and best management practices for water quality protection. Pesticide CEUs will also be provided for restricted pesticide applicators who attend this event.  The annual meeting of the Gadsden County Tomato Growers Association will be held immediately following a sponsored lunch.

Meeting Agenda (All Times Eastern)

  • 8:00 AM     Registration and coffee
  • 8:15     Opening remarks – Dr. Glen Aiken – NFREC Center Director
  • 8:30     Update on Tomato Varieties and Soil-borne Pest Management Strategies – Dr. Josh Freeman, UF NFREC
  • 9:00     Update on Tomato Diseases Management for 2019 Planning – Dr. Mathews Paret, UF NFREC
  • 9:30     Use of Soil Moisture Probes for Irrigation Scheduling Rad Yager – Certified Ag Resources, Camilla, GA
  • 10:00   Break
  • 10:15   Pest Management Updates in Tomatoes – Dr. Xavier Martini, UF NFREC
  • 10:45   Cover Crops for Tomato and Vegetable Production – Dr. Cheryl Mackowiak, UF NFREC
  • 11:15   Drone Research on Melon Disease Assessment Dr. Melanie Kalischuk, UF NFREC Research Associate
  • 11:30   Continuous Water Tracking for Optimum Crop Productivity – Doug Crawford – BMP Logic, Inc.
  • 11:45   BMP’s and Available Cost Share for Producers – Dr. Andrea Albertin – UF Regional Specialized Water Agent
  • 12:00 PM  Q&A and Sponsors Presentation
  • 12:15   Lunch
  • 1:00   Annual meeting of Gadsden Tomato Growers

The meeting location address is:

North Florida Research and Education Center (Quincy)
155 Research Road,
Quincy, FL  32351

For more information, contact:
Shep Eubanks


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