The Panhandle Ag Extension Team would like to thank our email subscribers and social media followers for your interest and support of Panhandle Ag e-News in 2021.  Keep sharing those emails, posts, and tweets to help us spread the word, so more farmer4s and ranchers sign up for this service.The Panhandle Ag e-News project began in 2012. Over the past decade, 2,151 articles have been published that are searchable by topic area, keyword, author, or by using the search box provided at the top right-hand corner of the website.

In 2021, the Panhandle Agriculture Extension Team was made up of 21 county agents and 21state specialists that serve the agricultural industry in Northwest Florida.  This team published 279 articles in 2021, that provided timely information to farmers and ranchers related to farm management, pest management, best management practice recommendations, interesting videos, plus numerous announcements of educational events and assistance programs.  Each week links to the most recently published articles were shared through 43 electronic newsletter issues (emails), as well as through Facebook and Twitter Accounts.   In 2021, readership increased 21% over 2020, with 522,435 page views (1,431/day).  In 2021, the website reached a new milestone with over 2.2 million page views, since the project began in 2012.

Readers Choice Awards

At the start of each year, the statistics are compared for the articles that were published on the Panhandle Ag e-News website over the previous year, with the authors of the most popular articles given recognition with Reader’s Choice Awards.  There were a number of the articles that were very popular this year, but there were several that really stood out. The following are the 30 most popular articles published in 2021.  Congratulations to the following authors for putting together excellent information and practical recommendations.

1st Place

How Much is that Cheaper “Cow Hay” Really Costing You?

weathered old hay

Low quality , cheap “Cow Hay.” Credit: Robbie Jones UF/IFAS

Robbie Jones, UF/IFAS Extension Gadsden County, and Marcello Wallau, UF/IFAS Extension Forage Specialist wrote the most popular article published in 2021, with  2,307 page views in 2021.

In this article, Jones and Wallau discuss the challenges that arise from trying to save money by purchasing “Cheap Cow Hay.”  High quality forage can provide a good source of both protein and energy. With high quality forage, a farmer or rancher minimizes the need for nutrition supplements during this green forage gap period. However, when you skimp on hay quality to save a few dollars, you can significantly increase the need for supplemental purchased feed to provide adequate nutrition. Instead of supplementing hay with feed, you may find yourself needing to spend more on feed than the hay.

2nd Place

Poisonous Plants Suspected Cause of Cattle Deaths in the Panhandle

Bright red berries of coral ardisia. Chris Evans,

Ann Blount, UF/IFAS Forage Extension Specialist, João Bittar, UF/CVM Extension Beef Veterinarian, Adam Stern-UF/CVM Veterinary Forensic Pathologist, and Evie Blount, UF/IFAS Extension Gadsden County 4-H Agent wrote the second most popular article published in 2021, with 1,352 page views.

This article provided details of cattle deaths caused by consuming toxic weeds.  Consumption of Coral Ardisia and Heavenly Bamboo were the suspected as the cause for cattle deaths in a local herd. Cattle were turned out into a wooded pasture where these plants were heavy with ripe berries. Clinical signs observed in these cattle included abdominal distention (acute bloat), impaction (slowed gut motility), and death. When an event like this occurs with livestock, immediately remove animals to a secure and safe area.

3rd Place

Hope for the Wild Hog Problem in Florida

Wild pigs live in social groups called sounders.   Credit: Mark Maggard, Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Dr. Samantha Wisely, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida was the author of the third most popular article published in 2021, with 1,097 page views.

In the article, Wisely describes how $75 million allocated in the 2018 Farm Bill is being used for wild pig control efforts, which provides farmers with technology and infrastructure to control animals on their property while providing money for compensating farmers for losses incurred by wild pigs. In Florida, this money has been invested into a cooperative trapping program jointly operated by USDA’s National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).  This pilot program is being tested in Leon, Jefferson and Madison Counties, where the federal agencies provide training and traps to groups of adjacent landowners who wish to control feral hogs.

Honorable Mention

What are the White Spots on my Blueberries? Exobasidium Fruit Spot

Close up of berries with Fungal disease in Jackson County. Photo credit: Ashley Kush, UF/IFAS

Ashley Stonecipher, Jackson County Horticulture Agent, was the author of the fourth most popular article published in 2021, with 781 page views.

In this article she asks, “Have you noticed spots on your blueberry plants and fruit lately?” There is an emerging fungal disease on blueberries in the Southeastern US.  Exobasidium leaf and fruit spot is a fungal diseasecaused by a relatively new species of fungus.  This disease rarely affected blueberries in the past, but it is becoming a more common problem that threatens the sale of fruit rendering them unmarketable, as the defects cause buyers to reject the fruit.  This disease affects several cultivars of rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberries.

Other popular articles written in 2021 included:

5 – Integrating Perennial Peanut into Grazing Operations – 643 page views
6 – Genetic Testing of Beef Cattle for Parentage, Inherited Traits, and Enhanced EPDs – 579 views
7 – 2020 Average Farm Land Rental Rates and Farm Worker Wages – 560 views
8 – 2021 Cool-Season Forage Recommendations for Livestock and Wildlife – 522 views

9 – Chagas Disease – A Health Risk for Rural People in the Southeastern U.S. – 507 views

10 – Winter Care for Florida Horses – To Blanket or Not to Blanket? – 482 views

11 – Unsightly and Painful Winter Barnyard Weeds – 442 views
12 – Abundant Rainfall led to Cotton Sulfur Deficiency in Low Areas – 441 views

13 – Weaning Decisions to Maximize Cow/Calf Revenues – 413 views

14 – Talking About Grazing Management – 363 views

15 – Pecan Orchard Establishment FAQs – 360 views

16 – Hemp Diseases in North Florida – 351 views

17 – New Nematode Management Products For Row Crops in 2021 – 349 views

18 – Marketing Feeder Cattle during the Second Half of 2021 – 348 views

19 – How Weed Infestations in Pastures affect Cattle Performance? – 347 views

20 – Can Growth Regulators Boost Peanut Yields? – 345 views

21 – Calcium for Peanut Production in North Florida – 340 views

22 – Controlling Invasive Cogongrass – 333 views

23 – An Army of Worms are Munching through Hay Fields across the South – 309 views

24 – Farmer’s Market Growers Plan Ahead – Plant Resistant Tomatoes – 308 views

25 – Baleage Production from Cool-Season Forage Cover Crops – 299 views

26 – Jackson County Farm Family Reaches Major Milestone – 282 views

27 – Getting Neglected Pecan Orchards Back into Production – Is It Worth It? – 276 views

28 – Progress of Carinata Research in the Panhandle – 268 views

29 – 2021 Florida Bull Test Sale – Performance Data Analysis – 264views

30 – Reproductive Programs for Heifers Could Help You Tighten Up Your Calving Season – 263

The top 10 Featured Videos of 2021

In addition to the articles shared each week, a short YouTube video was shared under the title of “Friday Features.”  In general these videos related to some form of agricultural issue, farming techniques, new innovative tools and equipment, or farm humor.

1 – 1950 Farm Co-Op Promo Film for Alabama Farmers – 455 views

2 – Washington County Couple Receive Florida Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award – 319 views

3 – The Forgotten Storm – 299 views

4 – 500 Years of Cattle in Florida – 288 views

5 – Florida’s Cracker Horse – 256 views

6 – Baxter Black’s Cow Stupidity – 253

7 – Friday Feature: Drilling vs Broadcasting Forage Seed – 205 views

8 –  Cow Cuddling Agritourism – 194 views

9 – The Bale Baron – 191 views

10 – T-Post Spring Wire Fence Clips – 190 views

There is also an archive page with the entire collection of over 200 videos that have been shared over the last several years.  You can scroll through the entire collection by using the following link:

Featured Video Archive

You may also want to check out the most popular articles and videos from previous years:

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