University of Florida

New UF/IFAS Extension publication can help owners protect horses from creeping indigo

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Environment, Extension, IFAS, Invasive Species, Livestock, Safety

Horse in pasture -- small

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Recent news accounts of horses falling ill or dying after consuming the weed creeping indigo have raised concerns among horse owners. So, University of Florida experts have released a new publication to educate the public and help prevent future incidents.

It’s the latest in a series of educational efforts on creeping indigo led by faculty members with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine, said weed scientist Jason Ferrell, a UF/IFAS agronomy professor. For the past year, Ferrell and colleagues have been giving live presentations to horse owners and reaching out to veterinarians, Extension agents and fellow scientists with information.

“We want to heighten people’s sense of awareness, heighten their vigilance, teach them about good pasture management practices and improve their horses’ health,” Ferrell said.

The publication is available free at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag399. It provides color photos of creeping indigo, along with information on its toxic effects, preventive steps to discourage establishment of the plant, and herbicide recommendations for treating infested pastures. The publication is part of the UF/IFAS online Extension library known as the Electronic Data Information Source, or EDIS. (more …)

Ona White Angus Field Day set for Oct. 22

Topic(s): Announcements, IFAS, Livestock, RECs, Research, Weather

Ona White Angus 070615

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Get ready to see the latest on a new breed of cattle, courtesy of research by scientists at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

UF/IFAS scientists and administrators will host the field day Oct. 22. Activities will start at 8 a.m. at the Turner Agri-Civic Center, 2250 NE Roan St. in Arcadia and finish after lunch at the Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona.

“This Field Day will highlight topics related to the impacts of heat stress on beef cow/calf production – an important subject for Florida beef producers,” said John Arthington, director of the Range Cattle REC.

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UF/IFAS helping homeowners across Florida deal with coyotes

Topic(s): Agriculture, Environment, Extension, IFAS, Invasive Species, Livestock

Coyotes are becoming a nuisance in some parts of Florida.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Coyotes were introduced in Florida in the 1920s for hunting and, today, they live in every county in the state and are becoming a nuisance in some areas.

Lisa Hickey, an Extension agent for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is hosting a workshop from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 16, at the Anna Maria Public Library to help residents understand the precautions they can take to reduce coyote encounters. The library is located at 5701 Marina Drive on Holmes Beach (Manatee County). (more …)

Pioneering UF/IFAS cattle scientist recognized at World Dairy Expo

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Livestock, Nutrition

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida emeritus graduate research professor in the Department of Animal Sciences was recognized last week at the 2015 World Dairy Expo for his decades of work in cattle reproduction.

Virtus Nutrition honored several researchers, including William Thatcher, as the company launched the Fatty Acid Forum Legacy Series at the expo in Madison, Wisconsin. Virtus showcased the significance of dairy research and the scientists who pioneered numerous dairy cattle nutrition breakthroughs. Some of the scientists’ findings serve as resources for nutritionists and producers now and for future generations.

Thatcher, an active emeritus UF/IFAS faculty member, is considered one of the world’s leading experts in animal reproduction. He played a key role in establishing links between the intake of fatty acids by dairy cows and their effects on improving reproduction.

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History marker honors UF/IFAS Extension’s role in helping Florida’s farmers, ranchers, families

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, IFAS, Livestock
Extension agents have been helping farmers, ranchers and homemakers for 100 years in Florida. UF Smathers Library

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — In the early 1900s, every farmer and rancher in Florida knew their county Extension agent by name: It was the person from the University of Florida who taught them the best and latest techniques, and homemakers how to can and preserve their food—a skill that actually saved lives during the lean years of the Great Depression and World War II.

On Wednesday, Extension’s 100 years of contributions to the well-being of Florida residents is being honored with the unveiling of an historical marker at the Pugh Hall Patio along Buckman Drive, across from Rolfs Hall.  The ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m.  The Extension program falls under the umbrella of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (more …)

Groundbreaking is Sept. 10 for renovation of UF/IFAS Beef Teaching Unit

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Economics, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Livestock

A sandhill crane in a cattle pasture at the UF's Beef Teaching Unit

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Dignitaries, UF/IFAS faculty and other interested parties are scheduled to gather Thursday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of the $3.6-million renovation of the UF/IFAS Beef Teaching Unit in Gainesville.

The ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. at the south entrance to the facility at 3301 SW 23rd Terrace, near Williston Road.

The 500 undergraduates and many graduate students who spend time during their degree programs in animal sciences will have much more room to learn about how cattle help America’s economic and nutrition needs, said Geoff Dahl, professor and chair of the UF/IFAS animal sciences department.

This year, the Legislature allotted $1 million toward the renovation of the Beef Teaching Unit. UF/IFAS plans to ask the Legislature for the rest of the $2.6 million during the 2016 session, Dahl said. The facilities for working cattle and student housing had fallen into disrepair, he said. The student housing at the unit was condemned about six years ago.

The old unit housed about 900 square feet of enclosed space for housing and an additional 3,000 square feet for animal work. After the renovation, there will be 5,000 square feet of multipurpose enclosed space and another 15,000 square feet for cattle pens and working area.

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Farm animal expert Temple Grandin is headed to UF to tour livestock facilities and discuss autism

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Livestock

Temple Grandin - Photo by Rosalie Winard

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — On Sept. 24, the world’s most famous farm animal behaviorist and autism advocate, Temple Grandin, will be touring the beef and dairy teaching units at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and speaking about autism.

In addition to meeting with animal science and veterinary medicine students, Grandin will give a free public lecture at the Phillips Center at 7 p.m. on “Helping Different Kinds of Minds be Successful.” Tickets can be picked up starting at noon on Sept. 24, with a limit of four per person. (more …)

UF/IFAS program highly successful in keeping phosphorus out of the Everglades

Topic(s): Agriculture, Aquaculture, Conservation, Crops, Environment, IFAS, Livestock, RECs

Wide angle scenic of Everglades National Park near Homestead, Florida.  Parks and recreation, Florida, river of grass.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A 20-year plan to dramatically reduce phosphorus levels of agricultural water entering the Florida Everglades is working, thanks to proper implementation of best management practices by growers, training by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and cooperation with state and federal agencies.

“It is a partnership that has worked,” said Samira Daroub, a professor of soil and water science at the UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade. “It is one of the success stories in the area and also in the country.” (more …)

Two UF/IFAS animal sciences faculty members each earn $450K cattle research grants

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Environment, IFAS, Livestock, RECs, Research

Cliff Lamb.  Professor and coordinator, Animal Science Programs.  UF/IFAS Photographer Tyler Jones.

Geoffrey E. Dahl (Geoff), Professor and Chair, Ph.D. UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Geoff Dahl wants to know why heat makes cows less prone to produce milk, even when they are not lactating.

Dahl, a UF/IFAS animal sciences professor, has won a $450,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study how to reduce mammary cell growth so he and his colleagues can develop strategies to limit the negative impact of heat stress on cows that are late in pregnancy and not producing milk, the so-called “dry cows.”

Dahl was one of two UF/IFAS animal sciences faculty members to win $450,000 NIFA grants last week. Cliff Lamb, a professor at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Florida, will study the differences in fetal development of Bos Indicus cows compared to Bos Taurus cows.

Heat stress causes cows to eat less and reduces milk during lactation, Dahl said. But it also decreases mammary growth late in a cow’s pregnancy, when cows normally do not produce milk as they prepare for the next lactation.

“That depression of mammary growth translates to less milk throughout the next lactation, and thus reduced efficiency and profitability for dairy producers,” said Dahl, who’s also chair of the Department of Animal Sciences.

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