IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS experts to celebrate animal agriculture at 39th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo

Topic(s): 4-H, Agriculture, CALS, Crops, Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Livestock

2010 Sunbelt Agriculture Expo in Moultrie, Georgia.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty will be sharing their expertise on the theme of Florida’s animal agriculture at the 39th annual Sunbelt Ag Expo — the largest agricultural expo in the southeast.

About 80,000 people are expected to attend the expo, held Oct. 18 to 20 in Moultrie, Georgia.

“Our experts in UF/IFAS Extension are thrilled to represent our programs, and we are proud to participate in such an important event. It is a great opportunity to meet others who are as passionate about agriculture as we are,” said Nick Place, dean of UF/IFAS Extension.

Visitors come to the expo to learn about the latest agricultural research, technology and marketing tools, according to the expo web site.

At the permanent UF/IFAS building, displays and exhibits will tell the story of Florida’s animal industries, starting with the resources that go into raising animals and ending with the safe preparation of animal proteins. In addition, attendees can hear presentations on livestock forages and poisonous plants by UF/IFAS researchers in the expo’s Beef Barn, or head over to the pond section to learn more about Florida’s fisheries.

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UF/IFAS researchers find biological treatment for cow disease; could help humans, too

Topic(s): Extension, Families and Consumers, Food Safety, IFAS, Livestock, Research

Beef Cattle at the Straughn Extension Professional Development Center and at the Horse Teaching Unit. Livestock,cows.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher and his colleagues are far more certain now that a new biological treatment could prevent dairy cattle from getting uterine diseases, which might improve food safety for people.

That’s because Kwang Cheol “KC” Jeong, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS animal sciences department and Klibs Galvao, an associate professor in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, and their team conducted their experiments in the lab the first time. This time, they went into the field.

Jeong, who’s also affiliated with UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, studied uterine illnesses because they can make cows infertile, lower milk production and because those maladies are often linked to bacteria.

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New UF/IFAS document profiles destructive screwworm fly recently detected in Florida Keys

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Biocontrols, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, IFAS, Invasive Species, Livestock, Pests

screwworm

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — To educate Florida agricultural producers, livestock owners, pet owners and concerned residents about the destructive screwworm fly recently detected in the Florida Keys, experts with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have published a profile on the insect, available online at http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/livestock/primary_screwworm.htm.

The free resource provides a scientific overview of Cochliomiya hominivorax, commonly known as the primary screwworm fly or New World screwworm fly, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. The species was a major challenge for Florida ranchers until the late 1950s, when it was eradicated from the state with controlled releases of sterile male flies.

“Since the announcement earlier this week that this pest had re-emerged, we’ve had people working virtually around the clock to get accurate information to producers, pet owners and the public – this document is yet another example of UF/IFAS at work,” Payne said. “Knowledge is power, and state residents can aid the eradication effort by learning to recognize the symptoms of infection.”

A member of the blow fly family Calliphoridae, the primary screwworm fly is a threat to warm-blooded animals, including people, because its larvae feed on living tissue to develop, said Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman, an associate Extension scientist with the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department and one of the profile’s authors.

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Florida residents should be vigilant for signs of screwworm on livestock and pets, UF experts say

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Biocontrols, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, IFAS, Invasive Species, Livestock, Pests
Adult horses grazing in a pasture at the Horse Teaching Unit.

Adult horses grazing in a pasture at the Horse Teaching Unit.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Screwworms infecting wild deer in the Florida Keys have captured headlines, and experts with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine say livestock and pet owners in Peninsular Florida should keep a watchful eye for signs of infection in their animals, to aid in the eradication effort.

Florida residents who own cattle, horses, goats, sheep, dogs, cats, poultry, exotic birds or other warm-blooded animals should know the symptoms animals exhibit when infected by the larvae of the New World screwworm fly, said Jack Payne, Ph.D., UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

“We have every reason to believe that the current outbreak will be contained and eradicated,” Payne said. “Our UF/IFAS Extension Monroe County office is doing a terrific job of informing residents and interfacing with all the key players, there are relatively few livestock animals in the Keys, and the eradication effort uses proven, effective methods. Having said all that, we need state residents to provide an extra measure of protection, just by observing their animals.”

James Lloyd, D.V.M., Ph.D., dean of the UF veterinary college, explained that screwworm infestations occur when an adult female screwworm flies lays eggs on an open wound or mucous membranes in a warm-blooded animal. When the eggs hatch, screwworm larvae burrow into the host animal’s flesh to feed. Infestations can strike otherwise healthy animals, he noted.

“The symptoms of a screwworm infestation might include a festering wound or sore or an unexplained lump under the skin, particularly if there’s a discharge or foul smell associated with it,” Lloyd said. “Also, you may observe fly larvae on the animal or in its quarters.”

Any animal with a suspected screwworm infection should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately, said Wendy Mandese, a clinical assistant professor with the UF veterinary college’s Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences.

“Open wounds and unexplained lumps can indicate serious health issues other than screwworm infection, so the key point is to get treatment for the animal as soon as possible,” Mandese said.

Time is of the essence from an entomological perspective as well as a veterinary one, because delayed treatment gives screwworm larvae more time to develop and cause damage to the host animals, said veterinary entomologist Phil Kaufman, an associate professor with the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department.

“The pest we’re talking about, the New World screwworm fly, Cochliomiya hominivorax, is not something you can ignore, because there’s no such thing as a tolerable infestation,” Kaufman said. “The larvae of this species consume healthy tissue – they create wounds. They are also capable of burrowing deep into the host’s body tissues to reach previously uninfected areas. Untreated cases can lead to death within a matter of weeks, maybe less.”

Clinical treatment of infected animals typically involves application of medication to the animal’s wounds to kill the larvae, larvae removal, administration of antibiotics and general supportive care, Mandese said.

“When caught in time, screwworm infections are treatable,” she said. “Even if it turns out your animal has a different health issue, immediate attention is appropriate for any unusual wound, sore or persistent discomfort you notice in a pet or livestock animal.”

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Contacts

Writer: Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu

Sources: For interview requests, please contact Tom Nordlie at 352-273-3567 or after hours at  352-375-1415 or tnordlie@ufl.edu, or contact Sarah Carey at 352-294-4242 or careysk@ufl.edu or after hours at 352-273-5810

UF experts addressing outbreak of New World screwworm fly in Florida Keys

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Biocontrols, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Extension, IFAS, Invasive Species, Livestock, Pests

screwworm-larva

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Responding to the announcement yesterday that the New World screwworm fly has been detected in Florida for the first time in a half-century, experts with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and College of Veterinary Medicine are taking steps to educate ranchers, property owners and residents about the pest, and assist in eradication efforts in the Florida Keys, where the fly’s larvae were found infesting wild deer.

Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, noted that the outbreak appears to be limited to a small area but affirmed that strong, immediate action is needed to manage the outbreak and resolve the situation. He confirmed that UF/IFAS personnel will be assisting colleagues with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which made the initial announcement in a news release found at http://www.freshfromflorida.com/News-Events/Press-Releases/2016-Press-Releases/USDA-Confirms-New-World-Screwworm-Cases-in-Big-Pine-Key.

“Florida producers know all too well that we can almost never completely rule out the reappearance of pests and pathogens that were believed to be eradicated,” Payne said. “The good news is, UF/IFAS has dealt with this kind of unexpected crisis before and we’re already fully engaged in this effort.”

James Lloyd, D.V.M., Ph.D., dean of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine echoed Payne’s sentiments and noted that a member of the college’s faculty, parasitologist Heather Walden, was involved in confirming the initial identification of specimens collected from infected deer.

“There’s no cause for alarm, but we are very concerned because the New World screwworm fly, historically, was one of the most serious pests affecting Florida livestock production,” Lloyd said. He added that no screwworm cases have been reported in livestock or people as part of this outbreak.

Known scientifically as Cochliomiya hominivorax, the New World screwworm fly is a significant pest of domestic animals, wildlife and even people in areas where the insect is well-established. It has not been widely present in the U.S. since the 1960s but is still found in most of South America and in five Caribbean countries.

Adult females lay eggs on open wounds or mucous membranes in live warm-blooded animals, and the fly’s larvae consume flesh from the host, which can lead to disability or death. The fly is not considered a serious vector for pathogens, but tissue damage caused by larvae can make affected animals more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

Payne noted that entomologists are preparing a background document for the UF/IFAS online library, the Electronic Data Information Source, or EDIS. When completed and posted later this week, the document will detail the appearance, life cycle, habits, and ecology of the New World screwworm fly.

Extension personnel are being informed about the screwworm outbreak and information on management will be distributed to UF/IFAS Extension county offices statewide, so that Extension personnel can address concerns from ranchers, livestock owners and concerned residents.

Numerous faculty members with UF/IFAS academic departments and Extension offices, and clinical faculty with the UF College of Veterinary Medicine are working on the situation and are potentially available for interviews with reporters, as their schedules allow.

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Contacts

Writer: Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, tnordlie@ufl.edu

Sources: For interview requests, please contact Tom Nordlie at 352-273-3567 or after hours at  352-375-1415 or tnordlie@ufl.edu, or contact Sarah Carey at 352-294-4242 or careysk@ufl.edu or after hours at 352-273-5810

 

Photo by Heather Walden, UF College of Veterinary Medicine

Jackson County 4-H member selected as Florida junior beef ambassador

Topic(s): 4-H, Agriculture, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Livestock

Caitline Caudill 2

Caitlin Caudill

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Long before she joined the Jackson County 4-H Livestock Club, Caitlin Caudill liked to pretend she was a veterinarian, treating her teddy bear or stuffed cow for a make-believe illness or injury. When she turned 11 and got her first real cow—a Charolais heifer—she already had a passion for the livestock industry and caring for animals.

That passion was on full display when Caudill, now 15, recently competed to become the new Florida junior beef ambassador.

To be selected, Caudill had to demonstrate both her public speaking skills and knowledge of the beef industry. The day-long competition included a mock media interview, a product promotion scenario and a presentation to group of would-be consumers.

“I was super nervous at the beginning, but then when I began the competition, my nerves went away because I knew I had to be confident in myself,” Caudill said. “I was so excited when I won!”

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4-H youth to compete in state grilling championship at the University of Florida

Topic(s): 4-H, Agriculture, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Livestock

Steaks being grilled. Barbecue, grilling, meat, meat science, steak, beef, cooking, food, nutrition. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

Please see caption after story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When Kara Croft, 16, noticed that all the other contestants at her district 4-H Tailgating Contest were using lighter fluid to start their grills, she got nervous. The lighter fluid produced big flames, while the paper charcoal-starter she used created a much smaller flame. But she stuck to her plan, reminding herself that paper starters, unlike lighter fluid, don’t impact the taste of grilled meat.

Croft, who is a Suwannee County 4-H member, ended up cooking the winning steak, which the judges said was both tender and flavorful. Her win qualified her for the State Championship 4-H Tailgating Contest, where she and 29 other youth will demonstrate mastery of cooking safety and grilling techniques.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences will host the contest on September 10 at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center on the UF campus. The Straughn Center is located at 2142 Shealy Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611. Check-in begins at 8 a.m., and grilling starts at 9 a.m. Contestants have 2 ½ hours to prepare and submit their meat for judging.

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Cattle Enhancement Board Meeting

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, IFAS, Livestock

NOTICE OF A MEETING OF THE CATTLE ENHANCEMENT BOARD, INC.,

DIRECT SUPPORT ORGANIZATION

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

MONDAY, AUGUST 8, 2016  —  10 a.m.

TIME AND PLACE OF MEETING

A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Cattle Enhancement Board, Inc., will be held on Monday, August 8, 2016 at 10 a.m.  The meeting will be held at the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, 800 Shake Rag Road, Kissimmee, Florida.

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this meeting is asked to advise this office at least 72 hours in advance by contacting Ms. Goldie King by phone at (352) 392-1971 or by email at kingo@ufl.edu .

UF/IFAS study: Sweet potato crop shows promise as feed and fuel

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biofuels, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Environment, Extension, IFAS, Livestock, Research, Soil and Water Science

Sweet potato fuel 081516

Please see caption below story.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As some Florida growers try to find new crops and the demand for biofuel stock increases globally, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers have found that sweet potato vines, usually thrown out during harvest, can serve well as livestock feed while the roots are an ideal source for biofuel.

This could be a key finding for the agriculture industry in Florida and to biofuel needs worldwide, said post-doctoral researcher Wendy Mussoline.

“The agriculture industry in Florida is looking to find new, viable crops to replace the citrus groves that have been diminished by the greening disease,” Mussoline said. “Potato farmers are also trying to find new crops that offer both biofuel alternatives as well as food and/or animal feed opportunities. They are conducting field trials on several varieties of sweet potatoes to determine if they are an economically viable crop that they can market.”

According to a newly published study by professor Ann Wilkie and Mussoline, an industrial sweet potato variety (CX-1) may do the trick.

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UF/IFAS Extension shows horse owners that the grass can be greener

Topic(s): Agriculture, Extension, IFAS, Landscaping, Livestock

before and after pasture LARGE

AUGUSTINE, Fla. — When Diane Musil put in three acres of grazing pasture for her horses five years ago, she had more grass than she could mow. But over time, weeds began to take over, and bald patches appeared. The pasture was not the lush, green plot it used to be.

Unsure of how to deal with the problem, Musil decided to pull out all the weeds by hand — backbreaking work. “I hand-weeded all three acres,” she said. “It took me six weeks.”

Musil knew she needed expert help, so she signed up for the weed management seminar offered by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension St. Johns County. There she learned how to properly use chemical treatments to target weeds choking out her pasture. This gave her the confidence to buy a sprayer and start applying the treatments herself.

A few weeks later, Tim Wilson, director of UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County, stopped by to see how her pasture was progressing. Soil samples revealed that the grass was under-fertilized, so he walked Musil through the process of adding nutrients to the soil.

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