II '"NTER-STATE SHIPMENT OP CATTLE
P. H. Rolfs, Director, Fla. Experiment Station
By your paper of the 17th I, see that ry friend, Ir.
Dawson, is getting somewhat alarmed atoqt the number of cattle that
are being shipped out of Florida. Of course tpis state of rind would-
be a serious matter personally were the temperature as high in Florida
as it has been du-ing past weeks in the northern sections of the
United States. However, since it is quite warrn in, Florida, though
not dangerously hot, it is advisable 'to keep as cool as possible.
Shipment of Cattle to Cuba
By referring to the Semi-Tropical, f-r iToverber, 1877,
page 669, published in Jacksonville, we find the follfring figures
w;iich are credited with being from the customs official and therefore
not below the facts:
Silpment of Cattle to Cuba,.
From this it would seem that the Floriqa live stoc. industry has
Survived the very great shock of sending out as many', as 20,000 head
of cattle in a single year as far back as forty years ago. There
appear to be about a million cattle in the State at present.
l. orida Cattle Raiised for Money'
-,'- The Plorida cattle raiser is not in the business for
r .'. :
3s .timental reasons. iore or loss sentiment ,ay be coincect.ed with
tile wr:rk, especially with those whose families have been in this
line of wor.,r for two or three generation. However, the question
as to whether he will remain a stool: raiser will depend upon whether
i.c can: sOe :in the business a better livelihood than he can in other
lines of work. and frori a business standpoint we can say that many
of our stool: raisers are pretty sound i, tHei.r jud.l'.ent. If they
can raise 1 al anina3 for 75 cents to 2.50 a head. 1'.d tlon .ll'.1 it
for $10 to ;15, even at three or four y-ars old., it loo]0 s 13!:o a
pretty good business investment.
V'e cxn:.ot deny that th'e rcLiges in moan parts of the Stale'
have been. o.verstocled, accepting of course the c.: cl t.lons 's oe find
then oiL thie ranr.e. A considerable per .o:,tac of .-ortality occurred
during the p-ist winter, indeed in somo.e placO it :" 3: r.';.'c hTaorier
than ocurrod during teo last several ye'..rs.
I l.vwe It:d with at. 1-'t.t o:o of thie :cn vt: ose catt3,.' we7nt
into tlhe rating up of th]e larce n.u.il- -.r that 7 e. rlt.ippr to :Oklahoma,
an d .it seems to i;e that his judR ent i'n s.Ali'g off t:o.-e cattle was
good. He foun.l tlhat 'he could -Ct a pric-' for .i.s c .'-te that. -.e would
not be l11:el- to obtain by keeping the saZu.e animals until next fall.
He also found by experience that he lo.t a considcerable._a: ou-nt of
stock last winter from lac]: of sufficient fiWA on to'e rane.
Another thing that must be taken into consideration is tlhe
fact t.at the selling price of land is graiAually advancing, making
it less profitable to continue in the old range fashion of carrying
Smalln-ss due to Stunting
y reducing the number of cattle on thle ranre it will be
possible for the fewer number to secure a larger a',ount of forage
during the vrt.nter or dry season. Likewise the money obtain d for
the cattle now sold could. be invested very profitably in raising
winter forage for the remaining cattle, aniC so growing the animals
at one or one and a half years old to the 2ar e size that is nowr at-
taine-d at three years or more old.
It has be,?-, s1:owi beyond. question of doubt by our experinlLents
(sco BulleT-.i: ;110, Florida Ecperlir.ent 8-.ation, G-ainc..vil 3 ) that the
fa.citor of bi:e-oss has not been metirely bred out of tLie Florida
native stock, but that thie l ck of size has been irought a;l.out in the
individual by tlie aumual stunting it receives fro: lack of pasturage
in the winter and infestations of ticks.
Good Forage ChOeaply Rai sd
Under a proper far;n-ing system it is possible to raise more
pounds of fo;. e per acre Tpr year in Florida than inI so -e of our
western nid :;orth-urn. states. jij, however, requires an outl. a of
capital a;::, n. ch an--e of system,,r in handling tVie cattle. ; But with
the new tropical forage plants that are being grown the deficiency
in winter forage can be ecoinoiically su nlied. Notably is this true
with Japanese Cane, the :ing of fora,:e crp-;s for p'riotidd. The
velvet bean fa.-ily gives us a large range of i:enbers to choose from
to have forage at the time vhen it is most needed. One of our
pioneers is raising forage crops on a large scale to supply his needs
for the turpentine and lumber camps, and thereby finds it the no:st
profitable investment that he has. Similar metho.'.s can be adopted
easily by growers of range cattle.
The Texas Long Horn
It has not b-iei s'o .any years since trai;. loads of cattle
were shirppd. fror. Texas,AOl0lahona into the corn producing regions of
the west. As a matter of fact, soze of the men vwho are now classed
as middle aged have witnessed such a spectacle. Soir.e would i:.e able
to tell how those western- Long Horns abvclu-'.ly stanrod ratl-r than
subr..it t"% a diet of cor.:, yet toT.'ny Texas is o:.'.vtll.t of a cr..ttle
country, amnd it sc;ns to have riveCi Texas so .o of the good hard cash
just ar. a ti..o when they needed it. In spite of d',al.:i.',G out the
Long Horn stocl:, and I. .:rite of t io *.cl, Texas is 'o ..' pu tti".L7 some
pretty fair b-ef, 1. co..siideral,, qiuanitities, o:. to t,-.. o st..rn market.
DoubtfLil Advice is to For.a.e C'rops
In mnuoth:r article on2 tihe -a,:e 0 .'et I f":d +. .t- sore one is
advisirng us to sor; le.;pedoza, bur clover, vrli.eo c)o--cr, '.elilotus,
alsl:e coover and rod top over t1e pasture l:::ds:. L spodeza does
pretty w71l anud is quite at Ilo n:e in a. sr.al v-roy, but I wonder how
i.arny acres of ran e it would take to produce a bale of red top hay.
Likewise with some of the otli.r crops recor.uiended. ITT some
of our cattle Len who have been reading s-uah udvi.ce fCr the last
twenty or twenty-five years -and have from tire t tin tic --cted upon
it, are likely to look ondit somewhat harassedd with doubts" as to
its value. It reminds us someMiat of the eminent national agricul-
turist vno advised the use of 6 lbs. of arsenaite of lead to 50 gal-
lons of rater for controlling the velvet bean caterpillar, when the
people actually in the field were scalding the velvet boans by the
use of 6 oz. to 50 gallons. The advice was good on' general prin-
ciples but when applied to a specific case, that is velvet beans,
it would have talen care of the caterpillars a3l right, but by ut-
terly destroying the velvet beans.
The Cattle Business
The point I want to naie, lr. Ifitor, is this, that the
Florida cattte men taken as a whole are good sound business men
and are raising cattle for the r.oner there is ii it. They have
studied the question from a good nany points of view and will un-
questionable do those things that will bring there the most noney.
We are going throur3i a transition period and theprice of l] d is
increasing rapidly, while the selling price of c:l. t13 is not in-
creasing vCrry rapidly. It will be profitable fr r sore Florida stock
men to reduce the nuat;er of cattle on certain areas to a considerable
extent. A smaller number will ,rove more profitable t hat: so-.large
a number as will cause a very heavy annual winter loss. The snall-
ness of our cattle is due to the annual stunting and. not necessarily
ani. inherited quality, and since it will lay us be_ tor to raise the
forage crops necessary to produce larger sized a:ii.,als, that line of
proceduepe-will be adopted. Broodi ng up anid gradi;., up will be of
greatest service to us when it will be profitable to adopt the method
of providing winter forage crops. These crops will be raised. and
will cone into more general use as the value of our 1-,-nds increases
and the demand for better stock increases.