Proposed by: Lindsey Wiggins

Presenters: Wiggins, L., Extension Agent II, MS, Hendry County Extension Service, Labelle, FL 33975
Christa Kirby, Extension Agent, UF/IFAS, Palmetto, FL 34221

The South Florida Beef Forage Program (SFBF) Weed Garden Committee
Baucum, L.1, Carlisle, B.2, Crawford S.1, Davis, C.B.3, Kirby, C.4, Prevatt, T.5, Sellers, B.6, Wiggins, L.F. *1

1. Extension Agent, University of Florida, LaBelle, Florida 33935
2. Extension Agent, University of Florida, Bartow, Florida 33831
3. Extension Agent, University of Florida, Okeechobee, Florida 34972
4. Extension Agent, University of Florida, Palmetto, Florida 34221
5. Extension Agent, University of Florida, Moore Haven, Florida 33471
6. Associate Professor & Extension Weed Specialist, University of Florida, Ona, Florida 33865

The significant population increase, in Florida, has fueled urbanization with an associated loss of land devoted to agriculture. Extension agents and specialists are required to deliver research based information to agriculturalists that enhance the quality of lives, and encourage profitability and sustainability. Weed infestations decrease productivity and profitability. For example, a 20% infestation on 100 acres has 20 un-grazable acres. The recommended stocking rate is 5 acres/pair, implicating 20 acres carry 4 sellable calves - the rancher is forfeiting $4,532.00 (550lb. calf X $2.06/lb. = $1,133/calf X4 = $4,532). Florida is hospitable to an abundance of undesirable weeds. Identification is key and enables the producer to select proper control and avoid over application of chemicals. To educate livestock producers, SFBF members designed a “weed garden” at the UF Range Cattle Research & Education Center. The garden consists of common pasture weeds and grasses growing in South Florida. Each plant is contained in a box with a label indicating the common and scientific name. Throughout the year the REC hosts several programs and participants are welcomed into the garden where the weed scientist is available to answer questions. In addition to providing producers a quality education, the garden also hosts in-service trainings for extension agents to stay acquainted with weed production. Proper identification alone can increase profits, save lives – if dealing with poisonous plants, and prevent the application of ineffective chemical controls. Approximately 500 producers visit the garden, annually, and according to evaluations, it exceeds 100% of their expectations.

All Accepted Proposals