Dairy cows grazing on Tifton-85 grass
Jan. 14, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – North Florida dairy farmers are increasing their use of grazing and hay areas thanks to the hybrid, perennial, warm-season Tifton 85 bermudagrass, tested extensively by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Forage Extension and Research programs.
Yoana Newman, an Extension Forage Specialist with the Agronomy department, described Tifton 85 as a highly nutritious grass that was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture more than 20 years ago but has become a ‘game changer’ now because of its high quality, greater yields and some environmental advantages. (more …)
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A multistate beef cattle Extension team that includes Cliff Lamb of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has garnered a national award for its efforts to help ranchers boost calving rates and strengthen U.S. beef production.
This week, the Beef Reproduction Task Force was named one of five programs chosen to receive a 2013 NIFA Partnership Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The award was formally presented at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities annual meeting Nov. 10-12 in Washington, D.C.
Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, called the award a “well-deserved milestone” for the task force, which was launched in 1999 to help Extension personnel educate ranchers about the latest reproductive technologies and explain how those technologies might benefit their operations.
“Beef cattle production is a key agricultural industry for Florida and high calving rates are key to ranchers’ success,” Payne said. “We could not be more pleased that Dr. Lamb and his colleagues are being honored for their efforts to help ranchers succeed with one of the pivotal economic issues they face.”
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Captive “wild” horses will cost U.S. taxpayers $1 billion by 2030 if federal management approaches don’t change, according to a new report by a pair of researchers who were part of a national committee that studied the issue.
A possible solution, they say: contraceptive vaccines.
The report by researchers Madan Oli of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and Robert Garrott of Montana State University, was published late last week in the journal Science. Oli is a professor in the wildlife ecology and conservation department, and Garrott is a professor in the MSU ecology department.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s agriculture, natural resources and related food industries provided a $104 billion impact on the state in 2011 and have continued to improve since the 2008 recession, according to a new University of Florida study.
The study is the latest report from researchers in UF’s food and resource economics department — part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences — on the industries’ economic contributions. It can be viewed here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FE/FE93500.pdf.
The industries include crop, livestock, forestry and fisheries production; agricultural product and service providers; food product manufacturing; forest product manufacturing; food distribution; mining and nature-based recreation.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — One of the world’s fastest growing agricultural industries, goat farming, is plagued by deadly intestinal parasites, particularly the barber’s pole worm – a pest that poses great danger to the goat-farming industry in the Southeastern U.S. and other parts of the world.
Improper use of commercial medicines has helped make the parasites resistant to many deworming drugs.
But recent research by the University of Florida’s Animal Sciences department may be closing in on a solution. Although researchers say it needs more study, they’ve recently found papaya seeds to be an inexpensive, alternative method for ridding goats of their parasitic passengers.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Milk may be sold in supermarkets, but it comes from cows – that’s the lesson being offered this Saturday at Family Day at the Dairy Farm, a free open-house event at the University of Florida’s dairy farm in Hague, 20 minutes northwest of Gainesville.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., dairy researchers and Extension specialists with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will showcase the farm’s operations and explain how their work helps commercial dairy producers. For directions, see http://tinyurl.com/d3a5626.
Visitors can watch cows being fed and milked, learn about cattle nutrition and health-care practices, pet live calves, tour barns, sample dairy products and make their own butter.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Last year’s open house at the University of Florida dairy farm was so successful that organizers were “moo-tivated” to repeat the event, which returns to Alachua County on Saturday, March 16.
Free and open to the public, Family Day at the Dairy Farm takes place 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hague, 20 minutes northwest of Gainesville just off U.S. Highway 441. For directions, see http://tinyurl.com/d3a5626.
Visitors can watch cows being milked, pet calves, walk through free-stall barns, make butter, see farming equipment and learn how UF research helps keep dairy cows happy, healthy and productive. There will even be free samples of dairy products, a giant cow statue to admire, and a hayride to transport visitors to and from the parking area.
Local actor Houston Wells will reprise his role as President Abraham Lincoln, greeting visitors and posing for photos. It will be one of his final appearances commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, a bill Lincoln signed in 1862 to establish the land-grant university system. UF is the state’s flagship land-grant university.
Organizers hope to exceed last year’s attendance, which was about 800 people, said dairy Extension specialist Albert De Vries, an associate professor with UF’s animal sciences department.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Some teenagers want a car; Tiffy Murrow wants to feed the world.
The Fort White High School junior has spent almost two years learning to farm fish, with help from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and her school’s agriculture adviser, Wayne Oelfke.
Murrow started with glass aquaria and tropical fish, then she graduated to a 750-gallon tank housed in an equipment building on the school campus. It holds 140 tilapia destined for a soup kitchen in nearby Lake City when they reach optimum size, about one pound.
But this project is about more than fish.
Soon, Murrow and collaborator Kaila Cheney, a FWHS sophomore, will begin growing vegetables on floating platforms in another part of the system, a shallow pool where water circulates. The crops may include cucumber, tomato, lettuce and basil. With roots dangling in the water, the plants will draw moisture and nutrients from the pool, reducing the need for fertilizer and helping maintain the ammonia and nitrogen levels tilapia need to stay healthy.
The technology is called aquaponics, a sustainable method for raising food where farmland is scarce. Increasingly common in Third World countries, aquaponics is still a novel concept to many Americans. But in Fort White, Murrow has plans to spread the word by holding open house events and encouraging others to investigate aquaponics as a possible project, hobby or business opportunity.
“We want to see if we can make a difference,” Murrow said. “This is a model showing how you can grow a large amount of food in a small amount of space. We want to set up the same kind of thing with fish ponds and incorporate it into Third World countries.”
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Corn silage is an important dairy feed but it sometimes harbors an unwelcome addition – Southern corn rust, a fungal disease that thrives under hot, humid conditions.
The fungus responsible, Puccinia polysora, seems harmless to cattle. However, a Southern corn rust infection can severely reduce the yield and nutritional value of corn plants and inhibit their fermentation to silage.
Worse, it damages corn tissue, providing a gateway for opportunistic microbes such as Aspergillis. This genus of fungi includes species that produce a toxic compound called aflatoxin, which can harm or even kill cattle that eat contaminated silage. Aflatoxin can also be transmitted to the milk of cows that eat contaminated foods; in people aflatoxin can cause cancer, other diseases and death.
Now, researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have found a way to control negative effects of Southern corn rust on silage and prevent aflatoxin accumulation, by inoculating the silage with beneficial bacteria.
The study was published in the September issue of Journal of Dairy Science.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Feral hogs wreak havoc on Florida’s natural areas but a new University of Florida study shows that control measures often fail; now, researchers are investigating how the animals outwit removal efforts.
“Feral hogs are definitely one of our more noticeable invasive animal issues on the Treasure Coast,” said Ken Gioeli, a St. Lucie County extension agent. “People have been struggling to deal with the populations and we want to offer them better options.”
The study appears in the summer issue of the journal Aquatics, a publication of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society.
Florida has the nation’s second-highest population of feral hogs, after Texas. The animals are especially common north and west of Lake Okeechobee, and in the coastal Big Bend area, Gioeli said. They roam in groups and damage forest ecosystems by rooting in the soil and wallowing in shallow water. It’s believed that feral hog damage costs landowners and agricultural producers millions of dollars nationwide.