• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 The herd
 Breeds of beef cattle
 Herd management
 Feeds
 Silos
 Feeding beef cattle
 Marketing
 Some common diseases of cattle














Title: Beef production in Florida
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Title: Beef production in Florida
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Shealy, A. L.
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Publication Date: 1933
Copyright Date: 1933
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Bibliographic ID: UF00026770
Volume ID: VID00001
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 4
    The herd
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Breeds of beef cattle
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Herd management
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    Feeds
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Silos
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    Feeding beef cattle
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
    Marketing
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Some common diseases of cattle
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
Full Text

Bulletin 260 June, 1933

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA
Wilmon Newell, Director



BEEF PRODUCTION

IN FLORIDA

By A. L. SHEALY


















Fig. 1.-Herd of native Florida cows.






Bulletins will be sent free upon application to the
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA










EXECUTIVE STAFF BOARD OF CONTROL

John J. Tigert, M.A., LL.D., President of the Raymer F. Maguire, Chairman, Orlando
University A. H. Blanding, Bartow
Wilmon Newell, D.Sc., Director A. H. Wagg, West Palm Beach
H. Harold Hume, M.S., Asst. Dir., Research Geo. H. Baldwin, Jacksonville
Harold Mowry, B.S.A., Asst. Dir., Adm. J. T. Diamond, Secretary, Tallahassee
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor
R. M. Fulghum, B.S.A.. Assistant Editor
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian
Ruby Newhall, Administrative Manager BRANCH STATIONS
K. H. Graham, Business Manager
Rachel McQuarrie, Accountant NORTH FLORIDA STATION, QUINCY
L. O. Gratz, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist in Charge
R. R. Kincaid, M.S., Asst. Plant Pathologist
MAIN STATION, GAINESVILLE W. A. Carver, Ph.D., Associate Agronomist
MAIN STATION, GAINESVILLE Crown, B.S.A., Assistant Agronomist
Jesse Reeves, Farm Superintendent
AGRONOMY
W. E. Stokes, M.S., Agronomist** CITRUS STATION, LAKE ALFRED
W. A. Leukel, Ph.D., Agronomist
G. E. Ritchey, M.S.A., Associate* John H. Jefferies, Superintendent
Fred H. Hull, M.S., Associate Geo D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Associate Plant Pathol-
J. D. Warner, M.S., Associate ogist
John P. Camp, M.S., Assistant W. A. Kuntz, A.M., Associate Plant Pathologist
B. R. Fudge, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY W. L. Thompson, B.S., Assistant Entomologist
A. L. Shealy, D.V.M., Animal Husbandman**
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Specialist in Dairy Hus- EVERGLADES STATION, BELLE GLADE
bandry R.V. Allison, Ph.D., Soils Specialist in Charge
W. Neal, Ph.D., Associate in Animal Nutri- R. N. Lobdell, M.S. Entomologist
tion F. D. Stevens, B.S., Sugarcane Agronomist
E. F. Thomas, D.V.M., Assistant Veterinaran G. R. Townsend, Ph.D., Asst. Plant Pathologist
W. W. Henley, B.S.A.,dman Assistant Animal Hus- B. A. Bourne, M.S., Sugarcane Physiologist
bandman J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Biochemist
"P. T. Dix Arnold, B.S.A., Assistant in Dairy In- A. Daane, Ph.D., Agronomist
vestigations R. W. Kidder, B.S., Asst. Animal Husbandman
CHEMISTRY AND SOILS Ross E. Robertson, B.S., Assistant Chemist
R. M. Brnette, Ph.D., Chemist" SUB-TROPICAL STATION, HOMESTEAD
C. E. Bell, Ph.D., Associate H. S. Wolfe, Ph.D., Horticulturist in Charge
J. M. Coleman, M.S., Assistant W. M. Fifield, M.S., Assistant Horticulturist
H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Stacy O. Hawkins, M.A., Assistant Plant
H. W. Jones, M.S., Assistant Pathologist

ECONOMICS, AGRICULTURAL
C. V. Noble, Ph.D., Agricultural Economist**
Bruce McKinley, A.B., B.S.A., Associate
M. A. Brooker, Ph.D., Associate FIELD STATIONS
Zach Savage, M.S.A., Assistant

ECONOMICS, HOME Leesburg
ECONOMICS, HOME M, N. Walker, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist in
Ouida Davis Abbott, Ph.D., Specialist** Charge
L. W. Gaddumn Ph.D., Biochemist W.B. Shippy, Ph.D., Associate Plant Pathol-
C. F. Ahmann, Ph.D., Physiologist ogist
K. W. Loucks, M.S., Asst. Plant Pathologist
ENTOMOLOGY J. W. Wilson, Ph.D., Associate Entomologist
J. R. Watson, A.M., Entomologist** C. C. Goff, M.S., Assistant Entomologist
A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Associate
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A, Assistant Plant City
P. W. Calhoun, Assistant, Cotton Insects A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
R. E. Nolen, M.S.A., Asst. Plant Pathologist
HORTICULTURE -
A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Horticulturist** Cocea
M. R. Ensign, M.S., Associate A. S. Rhoads, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
A. L. Stahl, Ph.D., Associate
G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Pecan Culturist Hastings
C. B. Van Cleef, M.S.A., Greenhouse Foreman A. H. Eddins, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Pathologist

PLANT PATHOLOGY West Palm Beach
W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist"* D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Veterinarian
George F. Weber, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
R. K. Voorhees, M.S., Assistant Monticello
Erdman West. M.S., Mycologist Fred W. Walker, Assistant Entomologist
*In cooperation with U.S.D.A. Bradenton
**Head of Department. David G. Kelbert, Asst. Plant Pathologist








CONTENTS
PAGE
THE H ERD ........... ... ....................................... 5
The Native Florida Cow .................................... 5
A Purebred Bull ............................................ 6
The Purebred Cow ...................... .................... 7
Grade Offspring ............................. .. ..... ......... 8
The Breeder of Purebred Beef Cattle........................ 10
BREEDS OF BEEF CATTLE......................................... 11
What Breeds to Choose ...................................... 11
Aberdeen-Angus ............................................ 11
H ereford ..................... ........................... 12
Shorthorn .................................................. 14
Brahman ................................. ................ 15
Devon .................................................. 16
Red Polled ................................................ 17
HERD MANAGEMENT .............................................. 18
Breeding Season .......................................... 18
Importance of a Large Calf Crop ............................ 19
Culling ................................................ 20
Separation of Heifers ........................................ 21
Number of Cows Per Bull ................................... 21
How Often to Change Bulls ................................. 21
Dehorning ............................................... 22
Castration .................................................. 25
Marking and Branding ...................................... 25
FE DS .............................................. ............ 26
Native Pastures .......................................... 26
Improved Pastures ........................................... 27
Winter Pastures .......................................... 27
Velvet Bean Fields and Remnant Corn Fields................... 28
Peanut Hay ................... ............................ 29
Cowpea Hay ............................................... 29
Beggarweed Hay ............................................. 29
Kudzu Hay ................................................. 29
Cottonseed Hulls ........................................... 30
Corn Silage .................... ............................. 30
Sorghum Silage ............................................. 31
Sugarcane Silage ........................ ......... ....... 31
Napier Grass Silage ....................................... 32
Cottonseed Meal ............................................. 32
Corn ...................................................... 32
Velvet Beans in Pod ......................................... 33
M olasses ................................... .. ............... 34
Oats ...................................................... 34



0








CONTENTS-Continued
PAGE
SILOS ........................................................... 35
Importance of Silos .......................................... 35
Types of Silos .............................................. 35
FEEDING BEEF CATTLE .............................................. 41
Feeding the Breeding Herd .................. ............... 41
Feeding Herd Bulls ......................................... 42
Feed for Growing Calves ................................... 42
Fattening Steers for Market ................................. 43
M ARKETING ............................... ....................... 44
Good Breeding Essential ...................................... 44
Feed Essential ................. ............ .... .......... 44
Time of Marketing ................. ......................... 45
Market Grades ............................. ................ 46
Preparing Cattle for Shipment............................... 47
Number to Load Per Car................................... 48
Shrinkage of Livestock in Shipment ........................... 48
Truck Movements of Cattle................................... 49
SOME COMMON DISEASES OF CATTLE ......... ...................... 49
Contagious Abortion ........................................ 50
Tuberculosis ............................................. 52
Hemorrhagic Septicemia .................................... 52
Salt Sick .............................................. 52
Bloat .................................................... 53
Diarrhea .............................................. 54
Stomach Worms ............................................ 54









BEEF PRODUCTION IN FLORIDA
By A. L. SHEALY

Cattle have been in Florida since the early Spanish importa-
tions. They have been able to maintain themselves under range
conditions, and today, native cattle are noted for their ruggedness
and rustling ability. This state is naturally adapted to beef cattle
production, since the climate permits grazing on the ranges and
pastures for nine and 10 months in the year, and on certain soils,
such as those found in hammock and flatwood ranges, grazing
may be obtained during the entire year. However, even though
it is possible to obtain 12 months' grazing in these sections, it is
advisable to feed the breeding herd during the winter months if
best results are to be obtained. The rainfall in Florida is abun-
dant and contributes largely to the abundance of grass for graz-
ing purposes.
At the present time Florida produces only 25 percent of the
beef consumed within the state; such a situation is a challenge
to the farmers and cattlemen to produce more beef for local con-
sumption.
With the cattle fever tick eradicated by federal and state forces,
except in a small area, Florida cattlemen can afford to bring in
new and improved stock which will enable them to carry out a
program of herd improvement, resulting in the production of
more beef of higher quality. While it is true that thousands of
range cows were sold in the past, depleting the ranges of these
animals, yet there are left sufficient numbers of native cows to
be used as a foundation on which to build a practical and profitable
beef cattle industry for the future.
The discovery of the cause of salt sick will contribute in a large
measure to the expansion of the beef cattle industry in Florida,
since this condition proved a real menace and hindrance to beef
production over large areas of grazing lands.
Florida should consider the advisability of producing "feeder"
steers, since there is a demand for such steers in this as well as
in adjoining states. As long as there is a growing demand for
calves, Florida cattlemen could well afford to consider selling
calves from cows which have been kept in good condition on
the ranges.
THE HERD
The Native Florida Cow:-For over three centuries cattle have
been raised in Florida. During this time they have adapted them-






6 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

selves to the ranges, and have been able to withstand many
adverse conditions. They have been compelled to rustle over the
ranges in search for feed, and received practically no attention
from their owners in the way of herd management.
In past years the range cow was never given any feed other
than that she could gather from the ranges, and at times, grass
was scarce. Further, as a result of being reared on the ranges
with little supervision in the handling of the breeding stock, in-
breeding resulted. These conditions account in a large measure
for the small size of the present day native range cow.
It is a well recognized fact that the range cow of today must
be counted upon to furnish the foundation breeding stock for the
future beef cattle industry of this state. The native cow is better
suited for this purpose than any other, since she is acclimated, has
excellent foraging ability, and can withstand unfavorable con-
ditions. Furthermore, these cows are available on the ranges
and it is more economical to use them as foundation stock than
to purchase grade cows and heifers from other states. By select-
ing the best native cows and introducing purebred bulls of beef
breeds, it will be possible to produce cows of desirable conforma-
tion which in turn will produce calves of the higher market grades.
The color of the native cow is varied. Some show evidence of
Ayrshire blood, while it is known that Devon blood was intro-
duced three to five decades ago, and evidence of that breeding
may be seen at this time. Jersey blood has been introduced more
recently, and animals carrying blood of this breed may be seen
today among the herds of native cattle. The great majority of
native cows show an intermixing of colors or are spotted in pat-
terns not typical of any improved breeds. (Fig. 1.)
Many of the native cows are small in size, yet by selection,
cows averaging 600 to 700 pounds may be obtained. In herd
improvement work these larger cows should be selected. By
careful selection, cows with quite straight top lines and good
width of loins can be obtained for breeding purposes. While it
is difficult to select native cows showing desirable development
in the thighs, yet when these cows are bred to purebred bulls of
beef breeds, the offspring carry good development in the hind
quarters.
A Purebred Bull:-A desirable beef bull is rather compact in
conformation, low set, with a deep, firm covering of flesh. He
should be well and smoothly muscled over the entire body. It
is important that the top and bottom lines be straight. Much
width is desired across the loins, with the rump and thighs well







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 7

fleshed, the muscling carried well down the twist near the hocks.
The ribs should be well sprung, with much depth in the chest
region. The body should be rather long and deep, thereby giving
large capacity for consuming and assimilating quantities of feed.
The forequarters should blend in well with the body, with con-
siderable width between the forelegs, thereby giving good chest
capacity. A rather short and wide head is desired in a purebred
beef bull. The eyes should be quite prominent yet placid, indi-
cating a quiet temperament. A broad and rather short face
denotes a desirable beef type bull. The general appearance of
head and neck should denote masculinity. It is essential that the
purebred bull be prepotent, that is, he should have the ability to
stamp his desirable characteristics upon his offspring. (Figs. 2,
3, 4, and 5.)




















Fig. 2.-A purebred Hereford bull of desirable type for use with native cattle.
This bull was kept on the range during the breeding season.

The Purebred Cow:-The description of the conformation for
a purebred bull applies in general to the purebred cow. The cow
should show the same compactness of form, deep fleshing, with
smooth muscling over the body. It is important that the body
show much width and depth. She should be low set, short necked
and the appearance of head and neck should denote feminine
characteristics. A quiet temperament is important in purebred
cows.








8 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Grade Offspring:-Since there are quite a large number of
native cows on the ranges, within enclosed pastures and on smaller
farms in this state, and since these native cows must furnish the
foundation for the future beef cattle industry, it is important to




















Fig. 3.-A purebred Aberdeen-Angus bull of desirable type for use on
Florida ranges.






















Fig. 4.-A purebred Shorthorn bull showing good type for use in herds
of native cattle.







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 9























Fig. 5.-A purebred Devon bull of this type is useful in breeding up
native range cattle.

consider the offspring secured by breeding purebred bulls to native
cows, and grade cows. Great improvement is noted in the off-
spring even in the first cross of a purebred bull with a native cow.
The purebred bull straightens the top and bottom lines and gives
a greater width of loin and a heavier muscling in the thigh region.
It is important to have width and depth of loin and fullness of
thigh, since these regions furnish the high priced cuts. The body
is longer and has greater depth in a grade animal than in one of
native, unimproved breeding. All parts of the body show a
heavier muscling and smoothness not present in native animals.
(Figs. 6, 7, and 8.)
Early maturity is an important factor in raising beef cattle.
Calves out of native cows and sired by a purebred beef bull will
often weigh 100 to 125 pounds more at six months of age than
calves sired by native bulls. Grade calves will carry more fat and
will be heavier muscled than natives. The quality of meat in
carcasses of grade calves is superior to that in natives.
Another very important point in favor of breeding only pure-
bred bulls to native cows is that uniformity is obtained in the
offspring. As a result of such breeding the calves show more







10 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

















Fig. 6.-These grade Hereford calves of the first cross show
unmistakably the influence of the Hereford sire.

uniformity in size, conformation and color. Uniformity adds to
the sale value of calves or steers.
The Breeder of Purebred Beef Cattle:-While Florida will grow
beef cattle primarily for the butcher trade, yet there will be a
limited number of cattlemen who will engage in raising purebred
cattle in this state. Only an experienced person should raise
purebreds, since extra care in feeding and management is neces-
sary in raising such cattle. It is very important that the breeder


















Fi.. .-Grade Aberdeen s c s of te ft

Fig. 7.-Grade Aberdeen-Angus calves of the first cross.








Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 11













Fig. 8.-Grade Devons of the first cross evidence improvement in quality.

of purebred cattle provide an abundance of feed for winter feed-
ing. He should make certain that his cattle are provided with
plenty of grass for summer grazing. Furthermore, a producer
of purebreds must be a good judge of beef cattle. He must select
only the best animals to use for breeding purposes in his own
herd and to sell to other breeders. Too often the breeder of pure-
bred cattle fails to recognize the inferior animal within his herd,
and will keep undesirable bull calves for breeding purposes. Pure-
bred bull calves showing poor conformation should be castrated,
since they are likely to transmit undesirable characteristics to
their offspring. Until the breeder has had considerable experi-
ence with cattle, especially in feeding, management, and selection,
he should engage in growing beef for market rather than in rais-
ing purebred stock for breeding purposes.

BREEDS OF BEEF CATTLE
What Breed to Choose:-The choice of a breed is entirely a
matter of personal preference. The breed which the individual
cattleman likes best is the one with which he will have the greatest
success. The matter of greatest importance is not what particu-
lar breed is chosen, but rather that an animal of good conforma-
tion is selected in that particular breed. The native cow fur-
nishes a good foundation for the female breeding stock, and it is
very essential that good purebred bulls be used in grading up
from the native cow.
Aberdeen-Angus:-The Aberdeen-Angus breed originated in
Scotland and an importation was made of three bulls of this breed
to America in 1873. A large number of importations were made
shortly afterwards and by 1883 the breed was well established
in this country. (Fig. 9.)








12 Florida Agricultdral Experiment Station


















Fig. 9.-Purebred Aberdeen-Angus bull. (Courtesy Amer. Aberdeen-
Angus Breeders Assn.)

Aberdeen-Angus cattle are noted for their excellent quality and
refinement as shown by their smoothness of body, evenly fleshed,
neatly trimmed bone, and refined head. The body of the Aberdeen-
Angus is compact, broad, deep, symmetrical, smooth and heavily
muscled throughout. The ribs have good depth and are evenly
arched, giving the body a somewhat cylindrical shape. Animals
of this breed are low set to the ground with straight top and
bottom lines. They are noted for being heavily muscled in the
hindquarters, the muscling being carried down well towards the
hocks. They have excellent constitution and vigor. Individuals
of this breed are inclined to be somewhat nervous and excitable
in disposition. They should be solid black in color; however, at
times white spots are found on the underline behind the navel.
Aberdeen-Angus cattle are exceedingly popular for the reason
that they are polled. Many cattle of this breed are found on the
ranges and enclosed pasture areas of Florida. They do well in
the state. As feeders, they are particularly desirable and produce
well fleshed carcasses, with a high degree of marbling.
Hereford:-The Hereford breed originated in Herefordshire,
England, and cattle of this breed were first imported into America
in 1817 when Henry Clay brought in two Hereford bulls and two
heifers. About 25 years later larger importations were made and
by 1890 the breed was well established in this country.
The Herefords are particularly noted for their foraging ability,







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 13

and for that reason large numbers are found on the southwestern
and western ranges. They give a good account of themselves in
the feed lot, and are used extensively for "baby beef" production,
due to their early maturing qualities. (Fig. 10.)


r

















Fig. 10.-Purebred Hereford bull. (Courtesy Amer. Hereford
Breeders Assn.)
The color of the Hereford is very characteristic in that wherever
there is a trace of Hereford blood, the "white face" will be in
evidence. They are often referred to as "white face" cattle. The
white markings include the face, head, crest extending to top of
shoulders, under surface of neck, breast, belly and switch. The
legs are white below the knees and hocks. The body, side of
neck and upper part of the legs and tail, except the switch, is red.
The red varies somewhat from light to dark deep red, the latter
color being somewhat preferred by breeders.
Herefords have large bones and bulls of this breed are rugged,
and well adapted to range conditions. Hereford cattle are rather
rectangular in form, wide across the loins, with deep bodies,
straight top and bottom lines, and short legs. They are excellent
in constitution and vigor. Herefords are docile and quiet in
temperament and have the ability to fatten easily. Herefords







14 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

give a good account of themselves when put on ranges and pas-
tures where they are compelled to gather their own feed. For
this reason, many cattle of this breed are found in Florida.
Cattle belonging to the Hereford breed have horns. Within
the past three decades the Polled Hereford breed has been devel-
oped, and this breed is very popular among breeders.
Shorthorn:-The Shorthorn breed originated in England, and
is one of the oldest of all breeds of cattle. Much of the early
work along the line of demonstrating the importance of selection
in improvement of livestock was carried out with this breed. In
1783 the first importation of Shorthorns was made into the United
States. By 1850 the breed was well established in this country,
where it is very popular. This breed is found particularly in the
northern and midwestern states. (Fig. 11.)




















Fig. 11.--Purebred Shorthorn bull. (Courtesy Amer. Shorthorn
Breeders Assn.)

In size, the Shorthorn is the largest of all beef breeds. Animals
of this breed are rectangular in outline, with straight top and
bottom lines. They are noted for their characteristic wide, deeply
fleshed backs and loins with much depth to their sides. The
quality of the Shorthorn is excellent as indicated by fine hair and
loose, mellow skin. The thighs and twists are well fleshed, the
fleshing carrying down well towards the hocks, making heavy
hindquarters.







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 15

The color of the Shorthorn breed is very variable. Cattle of
this breed may be red, solid white, red and white spotted, or the
red and white may intermingle to form a roan color. The
temperament of the Shorthorn is quiet, and animals of this breed
have a gentle disposition. Although there have been compara-
tively few cattle of this breed in Florida in the past, these cattle
have done well on the farms where they have been placed. They
manifest good grazing qualities on the better soil types where
plenty of grass is available. The Shorthorn is a horned breed;
but a Polled Shorthorn breed has been developed within the past
50 years.
Many Shorthorn cows are high in milk production. The milking
Shorthorn strain has been developed through selection of the
high milk producers within the breed. This strain is classed as
dual purpose in performance.
Brahman:-The Brahman breeds of cattle are native of India.
There are about 31 breeds or varieties of Brahman cattle; the
four breeds imported into the United States include the Nellore,
the Guzerat, the Gir, and Krishna Valley breeds.
Brahman cattle were first introduced into the United States in
1850. They are found largely on the ranges of Texas. Many
carloads of Brahman bulls have been imported into Florida where
they have been bred to native cows. (Fig. 12.)




















Fig. 12.-Brahman bull. (Courtesy B. A. I., USDA.)







16 'Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Cattle of the Brahman breeds are noted for their ruggedness,
foraging ability, and vigor. They are resistant to cattle fever
ticks. They are characterized by the prominent hump above the
shoulders, and have much loose, pendulous skin extending down-
ward along the dewlap and in the region of the navel and sheath.
They have rather long bodies with much depth. Although the
rump is rather drooping, in many individuals the hindquarters are
heavy with a high degree of muscling over the loin which extends
downward in the region of the thighs. They have rather long
legs when compared with the other beef breeds, yet their bones
are neat and quite fine except in the Krishna Valley breed which
has large flat bones. The color of the Brahman is very variable.
In the Nellore breed the color varies from a light gray to almost
white. The Guzerat breed varies from a dark gray to almost
white. In the Gir breed, the color is generally a brownish red,
the ears, neck and legs showing a darker color than the rest of
the body. The Krishna Valley breed is light gray to almost white,
quite similar to the Nellore breed in color.
With the eradication of the cattle fever tick, and with more
attention being given to better grazing lands and feeding of the
herd, Brahman cattle are not being used as extensively at this
time as in the past. However, on many ranges where cattle must
rustle considerably for their feed, a certain amount of Brahman
blood is desirable. Native cows produce large calves when bred
to bulls of the Brahman breeds.
Devon:-The Devon is one of the oldest breeds of cattle, having
originated in Devonshire, England. It is believed that cattle of
the Devon breed were first imported into America by one of the
Pilgrim fathers in 1623. From 1800 to 1855 numerous importa-
tions were made from which they became quite well established,
particularly in the New England states. Early importations of
this breed were made into Florida from the states farther north
and today one can see evidences of this breed in numerous range
cattle of this state. They have demonstrated their ability to
withstand the range conditions, and cows showing this blood are
regarded highly as foundation breeding stock in herd improve-
ment work. (Fig. 13.)
The Devon is red in color, varying from light to dark red, with
the darker shade preferred. By selection, animals of good beef
conformation are obtained in the Devon breed. Such animals
have straight top and bottom lines, are compact in form, with
bodies that are well covered with flesh. Cattle of this breed show
considerable refinement, having neat, clean bone free from coarse-







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 17





















Fig. 13.-Purebred Devon bull.

ness. They are quite low set. The cows are good milkers and
have an abundance of milk to raise good large calves of high
quality.
Red Polled:-The Red Polled is a breed of dual purpose cattle
which originated in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk in Eng-
land. Importations of this breed of cattle were made into the
United States as early as 1847. They are widely distributed
over this country at the present time. There is considerable
variation in conformation among cattle belonging to this breed.
Many individuals are inclined towards the dairy type while others
are more of the beef type. For use on Florida range cattle,
animals of the beef type should be selected. Such animals show
compactness of body with good depth. The legs are somewhat
longer than those of Devon cattle. They are evenly fleshed and
smooth when finished for market. The color varies from light
to dark red, the latter being preferred. Many owners of range
cattle desire a polled breed, and for that reason, the Red Polled
has gained in popularity in this state. They have good rustling
ability and do well under range conditions. Being dual purpose
in performance this breed should be considered when selecting
animals for small farm herds. (Fig. 14.)







18 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station





















Fig. 14.-Purebred Red Polled bull. (Courtesy Red Polled Cattle
Club of Amer.)

HERD MANAGEMENT

Regardless of the size of herd, certain principles of herd man-
agement should be followed if the best results are to be obtained.
Breeding Season:-One of the important factors in good herd
management is to regulate breeding in the herd. The herd bull
should be separated from the cows except during the breeding
season. By following this practice, the calves will all come within
a few weeks of each other, thereby assuring more uniformity in
size of offspring. Uniformity in size is very important, espe-
cially if the male calves are to be grown out as "feeder" steers.
Furthermore, it is desirable to have all the calves come as nearly
as possible at one time so that closer observation may be given
each cow and calf at calving time. A little extra attention is
often necessary when the calves are dropped and such care and
attention can be given to a better advantage if the calves all come
quite close together. In marketing veal calves, uniformity is
desirable, since a better price is paid for calves of uniform size.
The breeding season should extend from April 1 to August 1,
resulting in the calves being dropped from about February 1 to
May 1. The cows will be better able to raise larger calves if the
calves are dropped in the spring months when there is a good







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 19

supply of grass. By having the calves dropped only in the spring
months, the cows can be wintered to a better advantage since they
can all be fed and handled uniformly. It is better for the bull to
have the breeding season cover a four-months period than to
keep him with the cows at all times.
Importance of a Large Calf Crop:-The income derived from
the herd is dependent entirely upon the calf crop. A large calf
crop is necessary in economical beef production. The following
factors should be considered in striving to obtain a large calf
crop: (1) healthy, vigorous cows and bulls; (2) ample feed for
the breeding herd; (3) supply of proper minerals.
To have healthy, vigorous cows it is necessary to feed them
some sort of roughage, and a grain mixture if possible, during
the winter months. Cows which are undernourished and un-
thrifty will not breed. Undernourished cows often die at calving
time. Should they calve normally, they often fail to breed during
that year, which necessitates them being carried over until the
following year before they conceive. Such a practice is uneco-
nomical, and a little feed often prevents these occurrences.
It is just as important to have vigorous bulls as it is to have
healthy cows. If the bull has not been properly fed he is often
weak and unthrifty, and cannot be depended upon to get many
calves during the breeding season. He should be fed the right
kind of feed, kept in a high state of nutrition at all times and so
managed that he will receive plenty of exercise. Bulls should be
turned into a small pasture after the breeding season is over and
given some grain feed during the late summer and fall months.
During the winter months it is well for them to have such green
feed as oats or rye, and in addition, a little hay and grain. Where
green feed is not available, they should be fed hay and grain dur-
ing the winter months as recommended under "Feeding Beef
Cattle." Silage may be used as roughage.
Experiments conducted at the Florida Agricultural Experiment
Station have shown that it is essential to supply some of the
necessary minerals to cattle ranging on certain areas where the
soil is deficient in these elements, if high breeding efficiency is to
be obtained. When the grasses and other feeds that cows eat are
deficient in iron and copper, such cattle will not breed regularly
and a low crop results. An ample supply of calcium (lime) and
phosphorus is essential for good bone development. These ele-
ments should be supplied at all times to cows in the breeding herd
on such ranges, since there is considerable drain on their systems
for calcium and phosphorus during pregnancy and following







20 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

calving, due to the fact that these elements comprise a high per-
cent of the ash of milk. Growing calves need these elements. It
will be seen that minerals are very important, and to make sure
that cattle get the right minerals in sufficient amounts, it is well
to supply them in boxes or receptacles to which cattle have access
at all times. These receptacles should be constructed in such
manner as to keep out rain. Two partitions should be built across
the box, thereby making three separate compartments in which
minerals may be placed. The following minerals should be kept
in the box at all times: (1) steamed bone meal in one compartment,
(2) common salt in another compartment, and (3) the salt sick
lick in the remaining compartment. The salt sick lick is composed
of common salt, 100 pounds; red oxide of iron, 25 pounds; and
powdered copper sulphate, 1 pound. These ingredients should be
well mixed together and placed in the mineral box. When cattle
have access to these minerals, they will take what they need of
each. (Fig. 15.)




















Fig. 15.-A mineral box, with three compartments.

Culling:-All old, weak cows, non-breeders, and those with poor
conformation should be culled out of the herd in the early fall.
They should go to the butcher. These undesirable animals eat
forage which could be utilized by cows that produce calves. The
herd should be culled each year, keeping only those cows that
are good breeders and have desirable conformation.







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 21

Separation of Heifers:-When five to six months of age the
heifer calves should be separated and kept away from the breed-
ing herd until they reach the breeding age of 18 months to two
years. By separating the young heifers they are kept from being
bred too young. When bred at 10 to 12 months of age they give
birth to small calves and the heifers themselves are retarded in
growth. They cannot care for their calves at such young ages
as well as they could if they were 27 months old or older when
their first calf is dropped. Further, when the young heifers are
kept separate they can be given extra attention regarding proper
feeding to enable them to develop well, thereby producing larger
and better cows for the foundation breeding herd.
It is very important to feed growing heifers during the winter
months. Roughage in the form of hay or silage and some con-
centrate feed can be fed rather cheaply and will prove to be profit-
able. A field of velvet beans and corn nay be used as winter feed.
Further consideration is given this phase of beef production under
"Feeds" and "Feeding Beef Cattle."
Number of Cows per Bull:-Under range conditions, pasture
mating is obtained and for that reason fewer cows should be
allowed per bull. Hand mating should be followed wherever prac-
ticable and in such matings only one service allowed during a heat
period. The number of cows allowed per bull will also depend on
the age of the bull; young bulls being allowed fewer than older
ones. The condition of the bull is another important factor to
be considered when determining the number of cows to be served.
A bull in good physical condition-vigorous and thrifty-can be
assigned more cows for service than one in weakened physical
condition.
It will be seen from the foregoing statements that it is difficult
to set down any definite rule regarding the number of cows
allowed per bull; however, the following general rule may be con-
sidered as applying to pasture mating conditions:
For yearling bulls, 8 to 10 cows per season.
For two-year-old bulls, 15 to 20 cows per season.
For three-year-old and older bulls, 20 to 35 cows per season.
Where selected mating is practiced, 25 to 50 percent more cows
may be bred annually per bull than where pasture mating is
followed.
How Often to Change Bulls:-It is not good practice to breed a
bull to his own daughter, and more especially is this so if native
Florida cows are used as foundation breeding stock. Because of
this fact, it is necessary to change bulls at least every two years







22 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

within any one group of cows. It might be possible that the bull
could be shifted to another group of cows on the same range or
to another pasture on the same farm; but regardless of where
the bull is used, new blood from the sire side should be introduced
at two-year intervals to prevent inbreeding.
Cattle owners should consider the feasibility of working out
some system whereby bulls may be exchanged within the com-
munity, and by following such a plan a minimum outlay of money
is required to introduce new blood into the herds.

DEHORNING
Removing the horns of cattle is a very important operation and
should be performed when the animals are young. Older animals
may be dehorned successfully, but there is greater danger of
infection, and the operation causes greater loss of blood and
unthriftiness in old animals than in young calves. There are two
very important reasons for dehorning cattle: (1) to prevent cattle
from injuring each other, and (2) to prevent attendants who
handle cattle from being gored. Especially is it essential to de-
horn cattle intended for the feed lot and for shipment.
Dehorning may be accomplished: (1) by use of caustics; (2)
by use of mechanical dehorners; and (3) by use of a saw.
Removing Horns With Caustic:-Horns may be removed with
caustics only on young calves before they are 10 days old. Caus-
tics prevent the growth and development of the horn. The caus-
tics which mray be used are caustic potash or caustic soda. These
chemicals are prepared in stick form and can be employed easily.
When the calf is from three to nine days old a "button" or thick-
ened area may be felt at the point where the horn will develop.
That thickened area is the point to attack in applying the caustic.
Clip the hair from over each "button", leaving each spot about
the size of a nickel. Put a heavy layer of vaseline around the
edges of the clipped area. Take a stick of caustic soda or potash;
wrap one end securely with paper to protect the hands; moisten
the other end; rub very briskly over each "button" three or four
times until the caustic becomes dry. Repeat this operation two
or three times. Be careful that the caustic is not applied too wet
as the concentrated solution may flow over the vaseline, down the
side of the face, and possibly into the eye. The calves should be
kept out of rain for 12 hours after this treatment, since the caustic
may wash down onto and injure the side of the face.
Use of Mechanical Dehorners:-There are two types of mechan-
ical dehorners as illustrated in Figures 16 and 17. Young calves








Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 23

























Fig. 16.-Dehorners suitable for using on young calves.



























Fig. 17.-Mechanical dehorners.







24 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

three to five months old can be dehorned easily by using the
dehorners illustrated in Fig. 16. There is very little danger
of infection from using this type of dehorner. Older cattle with
larger horns should be dehorned with the clippers illustrated in
Fig. 17. In dehorning with either of these instruments, it is
necessary to remove the horn with about one-quarter inch of skin
around its base to make certain that the horn forming cells are
destroyed, and to allow the skin to grow over the wound.
Use of Saw:-In dehorning older cattle, three to five years old
and older, it is best to use a saw, since the dehorning clippers are
apt to sliver or crack the bone which forms the horn core. The
use of the saw results in less loss of blood than when clippers
are used. (Fig. 18.)











Fig. 18.-A dehorning saw.

Treatment Following Dehorning:-After dehorning, it is ad-
visable to apply a thin layer of pine tar over the wound and ad-
joining areas to repel flies and prevent infection. Cattle should
be dehorned in cool weather when there is less danger from flies.
Should the cavity (frontal sinus) get infected, as indicated by
pus being discharged through the areas where the horns were
removed, it should be irrigated with an antiseptic solution. Boric
acid solution or a hypochlorite solution is very useful for this
treatment. The antiseptic solution should be forced into the
cavity with a syringe, turning the head sidewise to allow the
solution to flow out of the cavity.
Should maggots collect in the wound, saturate a piece of clean
cloth with chloroform or gasoline and insert same into the cavity,
or syringe out with a weak carbolic acid solution, using three
tablespoonfuls of carbolic acid to one quart of water.
Dehorning is often practiced on range cattle when the calves
are rounded up to be castrated, marked and branded.






Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 25

CASTRATION
All male calves not selected for breeding purposes should be
castrated. This should include all native and grade bull calves,
as only purebred bulls should be used in beef cattle improvement
work. Castration should be done when calves are from one to
six months old, the younger age being preferable. If castration
is delayed longer than six months, the calf begins to develop heavy
forequarters and a thick neck. Such an animal is often referred
to as being "staggy." Young calves bleed very little and recover
sooner after the operation than older ones.
There are two general methods of castration depending upon
whether or not the individual will be used for show purposes. If
the calf is not to be shown, the lower portion of the scrotum may
be removed. The calf should be thrown down, and the scrotum
washed well with an antiseptic solution. The lower one-third or
one-fourth of the scrotum should be cut off with a clean knife,
thereby exposing the lower portion of each testicle. Then cut
through the glistening membranes which enclose the testicles,
and pull the testicles outward, stretching the cord considerably,
but not jerking it loose from its attachment in the abdominal
cavity. Scrape the stretched cord with the sharp edge of the
knife until the cord severs. Bleeding is less if the cord is severed
by scraping rather than by cutting it off direct or jerking it loose
from its upper attachment. Good drainage is provided when the
end of the scrotum is cut off.
If the animal is to be shown later as a fat steer, it is desirable
to leave the scrotum in its entirety, necessitating another method
of castration. This is done by cutting through the wall of the
scrotum on one side, removing the testicle through the incision,
then making another incision on the opposite side, to remove the
other testicle. The incision should be long and made directly
over the testicles on each side. They should extend well down
to the lower end of the scrotum to provide good drainage.
MARKING AND BRANDING
It is necessary to mark and brand all cattle that run on the open
range. When large herds of cattle are kept on restricted ranges
under fence, it is highly advisable to mark and brand. Cattle
thieving may be traced down by mark and brand inspections, and
definite identification can be made of cattle at all times if they
are marked and branded.
Brands:-Calves are usually branded before they are weaned.
Very often male calves are marked, branded and castrated at the







26 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

same time. In branding, it is best to use characters four inches
high in the brand. When applied properly a character four inches
in height can be distinguished for a considerable distance. The
brand which the cattleman puts on his cattle is his trade mark.
In branding be very careful not to have the iron too hot. A
deep burn makes an undesirable sore area and such burning is not
necessary in making distinctive brands. By simply scorching the
upper skin layer, the burned layer peels off, leaving behind a well
defined branded area which gradually heals and that particular
brand can be readily identified.
Marks:-Marking of cattle is generally accomplished by cut-
ting the ears in such a manner that identification can be readily
established. There are certain well recognized earmarks em-
ployed, and any one or combination of two or more may be used.
(Fig. 19.)
Some cattlemen mark by splitting the dewlap. Since the loose
skin of the dewlap is pendulous, and since this area is often irri-
tated when the ani-
mal passes through
"0---------------- bushes, dewlap
marking is less de-
sirable than ear
------------Sy- marking. How-
.ever, when it is
used the cut should
ar p/f Vo,/!-- --- be made upward
from the lower
--f -.--------- part of the dewlap,
----/ .--------.. the incision ex-
tending towards
/-----------. the head rather
/7- & -e1 o o e.----. than downward to-
wards the chest.
Fig. 19.-Common earmarks of cattle. (Courtesy When the cut por-
B. A. I., U. S. D. A.) tion hangs down-
ward towards the chest, the cut area is directly exposed in front
to bushes, weeds, and other objects which are likely to cause
infection.
FEEDS
Native Pastures:-There are many sections of Florida where
good native pastures are found. Such pastures afford grazing







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 27

from the grasses which occur naturally on these areas. On the
better soil types, as the prairie lands and hammocks, the native
grasses and other vegetation afford grazing sufficient to stock
such lands at the rate of one steer on one to five acres of pasture.
The prairie lands afford the greatest carrying capacity while the
hammocks rank second. Over much of these lands carpet and
other improved grasses are being rapidly established.
Under natural conditions the sandy flatwoods and blackjack
ranges furnish less grazing than the prairie and hammock lands,
the flatwood areas having a greater carrying capacity than do
the blackjack ranges. It is estimated that the average flatwood
ranges can be stocked at the rate of one steer on ten acres while
on the deep, sandy blackjack ranges of low fertility, the rate would
be one steer on 20 acres. Since grass is the cheapest feed that
can be furnished cattle, it is very essential that attention be given
to the question of soil type and amount of grass on the ranges and
pastures in this state when considering the carrying capacity of
such areas.
Improved Pastures:-Under natural conditions there is such a
large variation in carrying capacity that the question of improved
pastures has attracted much attention. Further, with many of
the ranges passing out of existence, cattlemen find that they must
provide more abundant grazing for their herds. Improved pasture
grasses afford a longer grazing season, and cattle can be handled
to a better advantage on a small area of improved grasses than
on a large area of natural grasses.
There is an improved pasture grass for practically every soil
type in this state; however, just as with any other crop, grass
will do well on more fertile soils, and smaller yields are to be
expected on poorer soil types. The improved grasses which have
flourished in Florida are carpet, Bahia, Dallis, centipede, and Ber-
muda. Lespedeza grows well on the heavier types of soil where
an abundance of moisture is found. Carpet and Dallis grasses
do best on the soils with plenty of moisture, while centipede and
Bahia may be grown on somewhat higher soils. Bermuda will
grow on almost any soil type; however, on the higher areas where
moisture is limited the growth is not as luxuriant as on the lower
and more moist lands. All of these grasses may be propagated
from seed except centipede. In propagating this grass it is neces-
sary to use cuttings or small sections of the already formed sod,
planting out these vegetative growths during the rainy season.
Winter Pastures:-One of the big problems confronting cattle
owners is that of providing winter feed for their livestock. The







28 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

owners of small herds of cattle, sometimes referred to as farm
herds, can grow a winter pasture of oats or rye and find this feed
economical and practical. Cattle are allowed to graze these pas-
tures during the winter months, and if oats and rye are not grazed
too closely an abundance of winter feed may be obtained. When
sown in October, these crops are ready to be grazed around the
middle of December. Oats and rye furnish succulent feed which
is very important for the breeding herd and calves. A small
amount of grain supplement, as two pounds of shelled corn or
ground snap corn and a pound or two of cottonseed meal, should
be given when cattle are grazed on oats and rye. It will require
more green feed when no supplement is provided. (Fig. 20.)














Fig. 20.-Herd of cattle on oats pasture.

Velvet Bean Fields and Remnant Corn Fields:-If cultivated
fields are available for handling a farm herd of cattle, winter feed
can often be provided by growing velvet beans and corn, using
the beans as winter feed, and harvesting the larger ears of corn.
Cattle are turned into the field of velvet beans during late fall
and winter. Velvet beans and corn fed in this manner are eco-
nomical feeds for wintering cattle. The amount of feed available
in a bean field depends on the yield, but it is generally considered
that one acre of beans will carry one cow for three or four months.
Velvet beans in the field are used in fattening steers as men-
tioned on page 43.
Remnant corn fields are used in wintering cattle on some farms.
At times much native grass and possibly small ears of corn left
in the field are available as feed. It is good farm practice to
make full use of such remnants in the fields, since much grazing
may be obtained from feed which would otherwise go to waste.







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 29

ROUGHAGES
Peanut Hay:-Peanut hay is used extensively in this state as
a feed for beef cattle. The plants are dug in early fall and the
vines cured in small stacks built around upright poles. Two
crosspieces are nailed to the pole about 12 inches from the ground,
the vines being stacked on these crosspieces. Such an arrange-
ment assures free circulation of air and allows the vines to cure
without molding to any great extent. The vines remain in the
stack for about six weeks before the peanuts are picked. When
the vines are properly cured the hay will come from the peanut
picker clean and bright. Peanuts are leguminous plants and the
vines are high in protein and calcium. The hay is a valuable
roughage for beef cattle. Feeding trials at this station show that
cows can be wintered on peanut hay alone; however, a few pounds
of cottonseed meal and shelled corn or ground snap corn should
be added to the ration.
Cowpea Hay:-Cowpea hay, commonly called peavine hay, is a
valuable feed for cattle. The cowpea is a legume, hence hay
made from the vines is higher in protein than that from native
grasses. To obtain hay of best quality cowpea vines should be
cut before they begin to shed their leaves. The vines are cut and
left in the swath until the upper leaves are well wilted, but not
until the leaves are dry and brittle. Then the vines are raked into
windows and allowed to remain in these rows for a day or two
to allow additional cure. They are then stacked into numerous
small stacks in the field to permit free circulation of air in the
final curing process. They are left in these small stacks for a
few days and then hauled into the barn or packed into large stacks
in the field. The hay is generally baled to facilitate handling.
Good quality cowpea hay is about equal to alfalfa in feeding value.
This hay when cured properly is exceptionally good as a feed for
wintering cattle. Very little concentrate feed is required as a
supplement.
Beggarweed Hay:-In certain sections of Florida beggarweed
grows well, and is used as a hay crop. This plant is a legume and
is, therefore, higher in feeding value than non-legumes. Beggar-
weed should be cut before the lower leaves drop off; otherwise
the hay is coarse and fibrous. The hay cures easily and is very
palatable. It is especially useful in wintering the breeding herd.
Kudzu Hay:-Kudzu is a perennial and produces long vines
which may be cut for hay. The vines grow to great lengths, and
for that reason, kudzu hay is rather difficult to handle. It may
be cut two or three times a year. The vines are rather slender,







30 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

hence they cure readily in good weather. The hay is of fine quality
and high in protein. It is very palatable and well suited as a
roughage for the breeding herd. Kudzu is grown only on limited
areas, particularly in the western parts of this state.
Cottonseed Hulls:-In many sections of the south cottonseed
hulls are used as a roughage for feeding beef cattle, particularly
in those sections where cotton is grown extensively. In such
areas cottonseed hulls are low in price and often no other rough-
age is available as feed for beef cattle. However, when transpor-
tation charges are added to the initial cost of cottonseed hulls, it
will be found that hulls are expensive for feeding cattle in this
state. Cottonseed hulls are very fibrous, being low in net feeding
value when compared to some of the other roughages as corn or
sorghum silage, peanut hay, or cowpea hay. Cottonseed hulls
are extremely low in digestible protein, hence when this roughage
is used, a concentrate feed high in protein should be added to the
ration. Recent work shows that a ration of cottonseed hulls and
cottonseed meal is inadequate for maintaining a high state of
nutrition, due to a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals
in such a ration, especially when this combination of feeds is used
for an extended period. Quite satisfactory gains may be ex-
pected from a ration consisting of cottonseed meal and cottonseed
hulls for a 90-day period, but for longer periods, the animals fail
to gain satisfactorily or may even lose weight.
Corn Silage:-The corn plant with its long broad leaves, solid,
succulent stem, bearing one to two ears, is a silage plant of great
importance. When cut in proper lengths, about three-quarters
to one inch, the cut material packs closely in a compact mass which
undergoes the fermentative changes incident to silage production.
After ensiling, a nutritious, palatable product is found which may
be fed to cattle with very little waste. Larger returns can be
secured per acre of feed when corn is ensiled and fed than when
this crop is used in any other manner as feed for livestock.
Corn silage ranks high as a roughage in feeding beef cattle. It
is succulent, and is relished greatly by cattle. Since the corn
grain contains a relatively small amount of protein, and the stalk
contains even a smaller amount, it is necessary to balance the
ration by adding some concentrate high in protein as cottonseed
meal, velvet beans in the pod, or velvet bean meal. For fattening
steers, shelled corn may be added to these concentrates to make
a more balanced fattening ration.
The yield of corn silage per acre varies widely, and depends
upon the yield of corn on that soil. It is estimated that a crop of







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 31

corn which would yield 50 bushels per acre will produce from
eight to ten tons of silage. Yields of from six to eight tons per
acre in this state are considered very satisfactory.
Corn should be cut for silage when the kernels have become
hardened and glazed. At this stage the lower blades have become
brown and cured, but the upper ones are still green. If the plants
are more advanced in maturity, water should be added to the cut
material when put into the silo to facilitate the ensiling process.
When the stalks are cut too green, the silage has a high acid con-
tent which lowers its palatability and reduces the yield of feed
nutrients per acre. Much of the highest quality nutrients are
stored in this plant as it approaches maturity.
Sorghum Silage:-Sorghum is being used as a silage crop very
extensively in the Gulf Coast states, due primarily to the larger
yields as compared to corn. Feeding trials show that pound for
pound sorghum silage is only about 10 percent less valuable than
corn silage in beef production, and when put on a per acre basis
more beef may be produced by using sorghum silage than corn
silage.
The variety of sorghum usually planted for silage production
is the Texas Seeded ribbon cane, sometimes called Honey sorghum.
This variety yields a large tonnage, produces a large, firm, succu-
lent stalk and a well seeded top. It is important to cut the sor-
ghum at the proper stage of maturity to produce good silage.
This stage of maturity is best determined by twisting a few stalks
in the hands, and if the sorghum is in the proper stage for cutting
just a little juice will be visible on the twisted canes. Sorghum
cut at this stage of growth makes palatable silage and the maxi-
mum content of nutrients is preserved in the cut stalks. If cut
too green, sorghum makes a very acid silage and the palatability
is lowered. When cut too mature water must be added when
filling the silo.
Sugarcane Silage:-Several varieties of sugarcane grow well in
Florida. Sugarcane is adapted to clay, muck, and sandy soils,
hence it grows well in practically every section of this state.
Some varieties make large yields, even larger yields than are
produced by sorghum, and it is for this reason that sugarcane is
important for silage production. Only those varieties which are
resistant to nematode (root-knot) infection and mosaic disease
should be considered. The variety which has done well thus far
in giving good tonnage as well as being resistant to nematode
infection and mosaic disease is Cayana 10.
Sugarcane should be cut for silage just before the first frost







32 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

occurs. If cut when many of the lower blades have dried up, it
is advisable to add water to the cut forage as it goes into the silo.
The feeding value of sugarcane silage is lower than that of corn
or sorghum silage as this silage does not contain any seed or
grain; however, the large tonnage of sugarcane obtained from
most Florida soils makes this crop of much importance for silage
production.
Since sugarcane is low in protein, it is important to balance the
ration by using concentrates relatively high in protein-as cot-
tonseed meal, velvet beans in pod, or velvet bean meal.
Napier Grass Silage:-Napier grass may be used successfully
as a silage crop. Feeding experiments show that this silage is
palatable for cattle and that it is very desirable as a roughage,
especially for feeding during the winter months. Napier grass
is adapted to sandy and other types of soils and for that reason
this forage crop should be considered when planning a cheap and
practical roughage for cattle. It makes large yields of forage,
and under favorable conditions two cuttings may be obtained
annually.
CONCENTRATES
Cottonseed Meal:-Cottonseed meal is a by-product of the cot-
tonseed kernel from which the oil has been expressed by pressure.
After the oil is removed, a large, flat, board-like cake remains.
This cake is broken up into small pieces about the size of a pea or
small hickory nut, and is used as feed in this form, especially on
Western and Southwestern ranges. Such feed is called cotton-
seed cake. For the Northern, Eastern and Southern trade the
cake is ground into meal. A certain amount of hulls are allowed
to remain in the cake, depending upon the quality of the cotton-
seed meal. Cottonseed meal is high in protein, and for this
reason is used to balance rations made up of feeds high in carbo-
hydrates. In the southeast there are two grades of cottonseed
meal, containing 36 percent and 41 percent crude protein, respec-
tively. The 41 percent crude protein cottonseed meal is higher in
price, but when considered on the basis of feed value, this grade
usually is cheaper than the lower grade.
Cottonseed meal when fed with corn, sorghum, or sugarcane
silage, comprises one of the leading rations for fattening beef
cattle in this state. When shelled corn is added to the ration, the
feeding value is increased for fattening purposes.
Corn:-There is no single feed of such universal importance to
the beef cattle industry in this country as corn. In the mid-west,







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 33

the entire beef cattle industry is built around this feed. In
Florida, corn can be raised economically in some sections where
the soil is heavy, but low yields are obtained on the light, sandy
soils. In sections where it cannot be raised economically, corn
is less practical for fattening beef cattle. Being very high in
digestible carbohydrates, corn is unexcelled for fattening pur-
poses. It is used with legume roughage to balance the ration,
and is also used with any one of the forms of silage. With the
silages, corn should be supplemented with an additional concen-
trate feed which is high in protein, as cottonseed meal.
The amount of corn to use in the ration depends upon (1) the
available supply, (2) price, and (3) kind and amount of roughage
to be fed. When corn is shipped by rail or even trucked any great
distance, the added cost of transportation generally makes it too
expensive to be used for fattening steers. It may be considered
practical to feed a small amount daily to the breeding herd with
other feeds as cottonseed meal, and some form of roughage. In
fattening steers, it is often desired to use the maximum amount
of a particular kind of roughage as a fattening feed. Such
roughages as corn silage, sorghum silage, and sugarcane silage
are the ones used in maximum amounts for beef production in
this state. In such instances, shelled corn may not be an eco-
nomical feed to use in the ration, especially if it has to be shipped
any great distance. Such feeds as cottonseed meal or velvet
beans would be more economical and practical.
Corn is fed as shelled corn, broken ear corn, and ground snap
corn. Shelled corn is most widely used and whenever fed, it is
desirable to follow the steers with hogs. Pork can be econom-
ically produced from following steers in the feed lot, and the
returns derived from this feeding practice make the steer feeding
operations more profitable.
Broken ear corn is the husked ears broken into smaller pieces.
The grains are not crushed as in ground corn and cob meal, the
broken pieces of cob having the whole grains attached. The cost
of breaking the ears into such pieces must be considered when
determining whether or not this product will be used. When
broken ear corn is used, hogs should follow the steers.
Ground snap corn consists of the husk, kernels and cob ground
up together. It is lower in feeding value than shelled corn pound
for pound, and the expense of grinding must be considered.
Velvet Beans in Pod:-Velvet beans are adapted to many sec-
tions of this state and are grown extensively as feed for beef
cattle. They may be harvested and fed to cattle in the feed lot,







34 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

or may be grazed during the winter months. The variety known
as the Florida velvet bean was grown extensively in past years,
but more recently the earlier maturing varieties are grown, in-
cluding the Early Speckled, often called the Ninety Day Speckled,
and the Osceola varieties. The Florida velvet bean requires a
longer growing season, but makes more forage. It is difficult to
gather corn when this variety is grown. The earlier maturing
varieties do not make the vine growth as the Florida variety,
but may be grazed earlier.
Velvet beans may be picked when mature, and fed in the pods
to cattle. Feeding trials with fattening steers show that two to
two and one-half pounds of velvet beans in the pod are equal to
one pound of cottonseed meal. Usually from four to 10 pounds of
velvet beans in pod are fed daily to fattening steers, depending
upon the size of steers.
The beans are often ground in the pods, making velvet bean
feed meal. Feeding trials show that velvet bean feed meal is
slightly more valuable as a feed than whole beans in the pod, yet
if the cost of grinding is considered, the extra expense does not
make velvet bean feed meal economical to use.
Molasses:-Cane molasses, called blackstrap, is a by-product
in the manufacture of sugar from sugarcane. This product is
very palatable, and is relished by beef cattle. Molasses has been
used extensively for fattening steers in the Southern states where
this feed is produced. It is possible to use blackstrap to replace
25 to 40 percent of shelled corn in the ration. The dry matter of
molasses is high in nitrogen-free extract, comparing very favor-
ably with corn in this respect. Molasses is primarily a fattening
feed. Since blackstrap is exceedingly low in protein, feeds high
in this nutrient should be used in the ration.
The amount of molasses fed daily to fattening steers should be
from two and one-half to four pounds, depending on the corn
allowance, and the size of steers. In determining whether or not
to use molasses as a feed for fattening steers, the cost of this
product as compared with corn should be considered. Molasses
is often used to sweeten other feeds, thereby increasing their
palatability.
Oats:-Oats cannot be regarded as an economical feed for fat-
tening cattle, but they are important in the grain mixture of
growing calves and breeding stock. Oats are higher in crude
protein than corn but lower in nitrogen-free extract. Oats may
be used with corn to make a good grain mixture for use in feeding
bulls. Oats, corn, bran, and linseed meal may be used as a grain







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 35

mixture for growing calves. In considering the use of oats for
feeding beef cattle, price is the chief limiting factor, since oats
are excellent in any ration for beef cattle.

SILOS

Importance of Silos:-To produce beef cattle of higher quality
it is necessary to provide feed for the herd. To obtain a large
calf crop it is necessary to maintain the breeding herd in good
condition during the winter months. This can only be done by
feeding the breeding cows during time of scanty pasturage in the
winter months. To fatten steers economically it is necessary that
a cheap yet nutritious roughage be provided. For feeding both
of these classes of cattle, i. e., the breeding herd and fattening
steers, silage has proven desirable as a roughage. It is necessary
that a silo be provided if feed is to be stored as silage.
Silage has numerous advantages as a feed. Some of these
advantages are as follows: (1) more feed can be stored in less
space as silage than as dry roughage; (2) silage is palatable and
nutritious; (3) the entire plant is harvested and consumed as
feed, thereby obtaining more feed from any given area of land
when used in this form; (4) crops may be ensiled when the
weather conditions are not favorable for hay production; and (5)
during the winter months, silage furnishes a succulent feed more
nearly like grass than any other roughage.
Types of Silos:-The following points should be considered
regarding types of silos: (1) cost of construction; (2) materials
available on the farm; (3) permanency of structure; and (4)
efficiency of structure in producing silage as measured by spoilage
during the ensiling process.
There are four types of silos which are important to consider:
(1) monolithic concrete; (2) metal; (3) wooden stave; and (4)
trench.
Concrete Silo:-Because of its efficiency and permanency the
monolithic concrete type is often considered most desirable in silo
construction. This type consists of a solid wall of concrete rein-
forced with steel. Doors are provided at regular intervals. The
wall is usually six inches in thickness. It is necessary to build
a form in which to pour the concrete in constructing a silo of this
type. Only materials of the best quality should be used in con-
structing a concrete silo. The sand should be clean and of a high
grade. The crushed rock should not be too coarse. Pieces not
over two inches in diameter should be used, although pieces from







36 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

one-half to one and one-half inches in diameter are preferred,
especially for constructing the wall. Slightly larger rock may
be used in the foundation. The cement should be fresh and of the
highest grade possible to obtain. (Fig. 21.)































Fig. 21.-Monolithic concrete silo.

The mixtures recommended for the foundation and floor of the
silo are 1 :2 :5 or 1:3:6. These proportions mean that one part
of cement is mixed with 2/ or 3 parts of sand and 5 or 6 parts
built of a :2 :4 or 1:3:5 mixture, this mixture being a little



richer in cement than that used for the floor and foundation. The
inner surface of the wall should be made as smooth as possible.
This will reduce spoilage along the wall surface of the silo,
The ~ ~ ~ ~ mitue reomne hefudto n loo f h

silo ~ c ar : 5or136.Te rprions mea thtn pr







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 37

Metal Silo:-Within recent years the metal silo has come into
prominence. This type is built entirely of metal sections fitted
very closely together and held in place by small bolts. The ma-
terial used in making the metal sections contains a small amount






















Fig. 22.-Metal silo. (Courtesy P. E. Williams.)





















Fig. 23.-Wooden stave silo.







38 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

of copper which tends to prevent rust formation. This type of
silo has a smooth inner wall which is highly desirable in reducing
edge spoilage to a minimum. The foundation is constructed of
concrete. The metal silo is important from the standpoint of
permanency. (Fig. 22.)
Wooden Stave Silo:-The wooden stave silo has been very
popular in the past, since the materials were readily available on
many farms, thereby reducing the cost of construction. (Fig. 23.)
A wooden stave silo consists of wooden staves built on a con-
crete foundation, the staves being held tightly together by iron
hoops. The concrete foundation should be made of a 1:21/2:5 or
1:3:6 mixture. The staves consist of 2x4 or 2x6 inch tongue and
groove cypress or pine lumber. The wooden staves swell and
shrink, requiring regular tightening of the hoops. Silos of this
type are subject to damage by winds when empty.
All types of silos just described are cylindrical. The following
table is applicable in determining the capacity of these silos.
TABLE I.-ESTIMATED WEIGHTS OF SETTLED SILAGE IN TONS (2,000 LBS.) IN
SILOS OF VARIOUS INSIDE DIAMETERS.*
Inside Diameter of Silo in Feet_
Depth of Silage
in Feet 10 ft. 12 ft. 14 ft. 16 ft. 18 ft. 20 ft. 22 ft.

20 ................. 22.8 32.8 44.6 58.3 73.8 91.1 110.2
21 .. .. .. .. ... 24.4 35.1 47.8 62.5 79.1 97.5 118.0
22 ....... .. 26.0 37.5 51.1 66.7 84.5 104.2 126.1
23 .. .. .. .... 27.1 40.0 54.4 71.8 90.0 111.1 134.4
24 .. .. .. .. .. 29.5 42.5 57.8 75.5 95.5 118.0 142.7
25 ................. 31.3 45.2 61.3 80.0 101.3 125.1 151.2
26 ................. I 33.1 47.7 64.8 84.6 107.2 132.3 160.0
27 ................. 34.9 50.3 68.4 89.3 113.2 139.6 168.8
28 ................. I 36.8 53.0 72.1 94.1 119.2 147.1 177.8
29 ................. I 38.7 55.8 75.8 98.9 125.4 154.6 187.0
30 ................ 40.6 58.5 79.5 103.8 131.6 162.3 196.3
31 .. .............. ... 61.3 83.4 108.8 137.9 170.1, 205.8
32 ... .. 64.1 87.2 113.8 144.5 178.0 215.2
33 ... 67.0 91.1 118.9 150.8 186.0 225.0
34 ........... ..... ..... 69.8 95.1 124.2 157.4 194.1 234.8
35 ................. .... .... 99.1 129.3 163.9 202.2 244.6
36 ................. .... .... 103.2 134.7 170.7 210.6 254.8
37 ................. ... ... .. 107.2 139.9 177.4 218.8 264.8
38 ................ ... 111.3 145.3 184.2 227.2 275.0
39 ............... ... ... 115.5 150.8 191.2 235.8 285.4
40 ................. .... ... 119.6 156.2 198.1 244.3 295.6
41 ................. .... .... 123.8 161.7 205.1 252.9 305.8
42 ................. .... .... 128.2 167.4 212.1 261.6 316.3
43 ................. .... .... .... 172.9 219.2 270.2 326.9
44 ................. .... .... .... 178.6 226.3 279.1 337.6
45 ................. .... I .... .... 184.2 233.6 288.0 348.4
46 ................. ..... 190.0 240.9 297.1 359.4
47 ................. .... .... .... 195.8 248.2 806.2 270.4
48 ................. .... .... .... 201.8 255.7 315.4 381.4
49 ................. .... .... .... 207.7 263.2 324.6 392.5
50 ................. .... .... .... 213.6 270.8 333.9 403.7
*"Capacity of Silos and Weights of Silage."-Missouri Expt. Station Bul. No. 164.







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 39

The Trench Silo:-The trench type of silo is particularly
adapted to the stiff, clay soils which will allow the construction
of a trench with smooth sides that will not cave in readily. It is
the cheapest type of silo, usually being dug with the use of a
plow and a slip scraper. In making the silo, one end is dug sloping
to facilitate the removal of the dirt in excavating. Silage is re-
moved from this end of the silo first, a feed cart being used to
haul out the silage (see Fig. 26). The other end is vertical. The
size of the silo will depend upon: (1) the number of cattle to be
fed; (2) amount of feed grown for silage; and (3) length of the
annual feeding period.




















Fig. 24.-Trench silo under construction. Wall on left is finished smooth as
entire silo will be when complete. (Courtesy Marianna Fruit Company,
Marianna, Florida.)

The walls of the trench are dug somewhat slanting as illustrated
in Fig. 24, the silo being usually two or three feet wider at the
top than at the bottom, depending upon its size. The walls are
made as smooth as possible to reduce side spoilage. Drainage is
provided by a small ditch leading out at the sloping end. This
type of silo is best constructed on a hillside with the sloping end
at the lower level. If it is impractical to dig a drainage ditch,
the water may be pumped out with a cheap pitcher pump attached
to a pipe leading into a small reservoir or trap dug at one end.
After the silo is filled and the cut forage packed thoroughly, it
is covered with hay or straw over which dirt is piled to exclude







40 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

air. The layer of hay or straw should be from six to eight inches
thick, while the dirt is piled two to three feet high, depending
upon the type of soil used in covering the silage. If a stiff clay
soil is used, a smaller amount will be required than of sand or
gravelly soil.

















Fig. 25.-A trench silo in sandy soil. Note that sides are boarded up to
prevent caving. This silo is in use at the West Central Florida Experiment
Station, Brooksville, in cooperation with the Bureau of Animal Industry,
USDA.






















Fig. 26.-Showing method of removing silage from a trench silo-a slice of
silage is removed from top to bottom to prevent end spoilage. This is the
same silo as shown in Fig. 25.








Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 41

In sandy soils the trench silo is more difficult to construct than
in clay soils, and is more costly. It is necessary to wall up the
sides with some material as boards or concrete, which adds to
the cost of construction. If boards are used, they will have to
be replaced when decayed. Boards placed next to the ground
should be treated with creosote. (Figs. 25 and 26.)

FEEDING BEEF CATTLE

Feeding the Breeding Herd:-Feed for the breeding herd
should be obtained as cheaply as possible, yet it must be adequate
to furnish the necessary nutrients that satisfy the body needs.
On many ranges in this state one of the greatest problems con-
fronting cattle owners is that of providing a suitable roughage
for the herd during the winter months. Such roughages as corn,
sorghum, or sugarcane silage may be provided for feeding the
herd during these months. Other roughages as cowpea, peanut,
or beggarweed hay are available. In some sections cottonseed
hulls are used in the ration, but they are not uniformly satisfac-
tory in cattle feeding.
For wintering purposes only a small amount of concentrates
will be required when the roughage is plentiful. Such concen-
trates as cottonseed meal, velvet bean feed meal, ground snap
corn or shelled corn may be used.
Suggested rations for wintering cows in dry lot are given below.
Daily allowance for cows weighing 600 to 800 pounds.
Corn, sorghum, or sugarcane silage.................. 30 pounds
Cottonseed meal .................................. 1 to 1.5 pounds
Corn, sorghum, or sugarcane silage.................. 20 to 30 pounds
Peanut or cowpea hay .............................. 2 pounds
Cottonseed meal ....................... ........... 2 pounds*
or
Velvet bean feed meal............................ 4 pounds
Cowpea, peanut, or beggarweed hay ................. 10 to 14 pounds
Cottonseed meal ................................... 2 pounds
or
Velvet bean feed meal............................... 4 pounds
Cowpea, peanut, or beggarweed hay ................. 10 to 14 pounds
Ground snap corn.................................. 2 pounds
Cottonseed meal ................................. 1 to 2 pounds
Cowpea or peanut hay............................... 10 to 12 pounds
Shelled corn .................................... 2 pounds
Oats .............................................. 1 pound
Cottonseed meal .................... ............... 1 pound
Cowpea, peanut, or beggarweed hay................. 10 to 14 pounds
Shelled Corn ...................................... 1 pound
Bran ........................................... 1 pound
Oats .................. ............................ 1 pound
*Give half pound first week and increase by half pound weekly until desired amount is
given.







42 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station


Cowpea, peanut, or beggarweed hay ................. 10 to 14 pounds
Ground snap corn.................................. 2 pounds
Velvet bean meal .................................. 4 ounds
Cottonseed hulls ................................. 12 to 15 pounds**
Cottonseed meal ................................. 3 to 4 pounds
**Due to low feed value and comparatively high price, it is seldom considered advisable to
feed cottonseed hulls in this state.

Feeding Herd Bulls:-The rations recommended for feeding
the cows may be fed to bulls but in larger amounts in proportion
to size. Shelled corn, cottonseed meal, and oats are excellent
feeds to use in making up the ration for herd bulls. Another
good grain ration is a mixture of shelled corn, oats, and bran.
These rations are more expensive than mixtures containing cot-
tonseed or velvet bean feed meal.
Feed for Growing Calves:-It is highly essential that the ration
for growing animals be properly balanced. It should contain
enough protein to assure maximum growth at all times. The
amount of feed given will depend upon the size of the animal.
Bull calves are generally fed a larger amount of grain than are
heifer calves. It is desirable to feed growing animals all the hay
they will eat. Two to three pounds of the grain ration is sufficient
to keep calves in a growing condition.
The following grain mixtures are recommended:
Corn ........................................... 100 pounds
Ground oats ................................... 100 pounded
Corn .......................................... 100 pounds
Ground oats .................................... 100 pounds
Bran ........................................ 100 pounds
Corn ....................................... 100 pounds
Ground oats .................................. 100 pounds
W heat bran .................................... 50 pounds
Linseed meal ................................... 50 pounds
Corn ........................................... 200 pounds
Ground oats ..................... ............. 100 pounds
W heat bran .................................... 50 pounds
Cottonseed meal ................................ 50 pounds

Corn, sorghum or sugarcane silage may be used as a roughage
for calves. The amount allowed daily will depend upon the size
of the calves; the average daily allowance being from 12 to 15
pounds for calves weighing 300 to 400 pounds. As a supplement
to silage, cottonseed meal may be used alone or as a mixture of
equal parts cottonseed meal and velvet bean feed meal. When
cottonseed meal is used alone the daily allowance would be from
one-half to one pound. When the mixture of cottonseed meal
and velvet bean feed meal is used, one pound of this feed should
be added to the silage.








Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 43

Fattening Steers for Market:-There are many feeds useful for
fattening steers for market. The feed selected will depend on
such factors as cheapness, relative feeding value for fattening,
whether home-grown feed is to be used in the ration, and whether
the steers are to be fed in a feed lot or fattened in a field of some
crop useful for fat production. Many steers are fed in feed lots
in Florida each winter primarily for their manure to be used as
fertilizer on crops. Steers are also fattened by grazing such field
crops as corn and velvet beans. They are turned into these fields
and allowed to graze until ready for market.
Suggested rations for fattening steers in feed lot:
Corn, sorghum, or sugarcane silage.................. 30 to 40 pounds
Cottonseed meal .................................. 3 to 6 pounds
Corn, sorghum, or sugarcane silage.................. 30 to 40 pounds
Cowpea, peanut, or native grass hay................ 2 to 4 pounds
Cottonseed meal ................................... 3 to 6 pounds
Silage ......................................... 30 to 40 pounds
Cowpea, peanut, or native grass hay................. 2 to 4 pounds
Cottonseed meal ................................... 3 to 5 pounds
Ground snap corn.................................. 10 to 12 pounds*
Silage .......................................... 25 to 30 pounds
Cowpea, peanut, or native grass hay ................ 2 to 4 pounds
Cottonseed meal ................................... 2 to 4 pounds
Velvet beans in pod ............................... 6 to 8 pounds
Silage .......................................... 25 to 30 pounds
Velvet beans in pod ............................... 6 to 8 pounds
Ground snap corn or broken ear corn ................. 6 to 10 pounds
Silage ........................................ 30 to 40 pounds
Cowpea, peanut, or native grass hay .................. 2 to 4 pounds
Cottonseed meal ................................... 4 to 7 pounds
Shelled corn .................................... 6 to 10 pounds**
Cowpea or peanut hay .............................. 5 to 8 pounds
Shelled corn .................................... 6 to 8 pounds
Velvet beans in pod ................................ 6 pounds
Cowpea or peanut hay. ............................ 6 to 8 pounds
Ground snap corn .................................. 6 to 8 pounds
Cottonseed meal ................................. 2 to 4 pounds
Velvet beans in pod................................. 2 to 4 pounds
Native grasE hay ................................. 6 to 8 pounds
Cottonseed meal ................................. 3 to 5 pounds
Shelled corn ....................... ............. 6 to 8 pounds
Cottonseed meal ............... ................ 4 to 6 pounds
Cottonseed hulls ................ ..............15 to 20 pounds
*The cost of grinding is often prohibitive.
**Shelled corn is a practical feed for fattening steers only in those sections where corn can
be raised economically. Pigs are used to salvage whole corn voided in the manure.

The amount of each feed listed in the rations suggested above
is given as the average amount which would be fed daily during
the entire time on feed. More roughage is consumed at first than
toward the last stages of the feeding period. Further, it requires







44 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

several weeks to get the steers on a full grain ration, hence the
grain is given in smaller amounts at the beginning and gradually
increased as the feeding period progresses. In sections where an
abundance of grain is available the rations would contain larger
amounts of concentrates. In most sections of this state, how-
ever, there is a shortage of home-grown grain and for that reason
it is desirable to use a maximum amount of roughage, especially
those roughages that are home-grown, even though less daily
gain is made by the steers.
The feeding period generally lasts for 90 to 120 days, depending
upon available feed supply and the market price of fat steers.

MARKETING
Marketing is a problem which requires serious consideration
by cattlemen. It is important to furnish packers with the grade
of cattle desired by the wholesale and retail trade. The producer
should know the market demands at all times. He should be
acquainted with all markets available as outlets for his livestock.
The market is the ultimate goal of all breeding and feeding opera-
tions connected with the production of beef cattle.
Good Breeding Essential:-The matter of breeding enters into
the marketing problem to a great degree. At this time the mar-
ket demand is for beef of high quality. To produce high quality
beef it is necessary to have a higher grade of foundation breeding
animals than that used in the past. This is accomplished more
readily by the use of purebred bulls in the herds. When purebred
bulls are used on native cows the offspring resulting from the first
cross is of much higher quality than native stock. By continuing
the use of purebred bulls on grade heifers and cows, together with
the practice of culling out undesirable cows from the herd, beef
of high quality will be produced. The old adage "like begets like"
operates to a pronounced degree in cattle breeding, and for that
reason it is good practice to select and breed only the highest
grade individuals in the herd. After continued use of purebred
bulls for a few years, their offspring possess conformation and
quality comparable in a large measure to purebred cattle. The
market pays more for animals of high grade breeding.
Feed Essential:-Improved feeding goes with improved breed-
ing. To produce what the market demands requires plenty of
feed. This does not mean that every cattleman should fatten
steers in a feed lot. It does mean that an abundance of grass is
required to produce cattle carrying good grass finish. Many







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 45

cattle are sold off of grass in this state, since it is often the most
economical way to raise beef cattle. However, the market pays
more for cattle carrying more finish than for those allowed grass
only. Some cattlemen will feed steers in the feed lot for market,
as is now being done in a limited way. Regardless of season of
marketing or the age of cattle when marketed, an abundance of
grass is needed in order to produce cattle economically and to raise
a higher grade of beef. In addition to grass, feed must be pro-
vided for the herd during the winter months to produce the best
grade of beef.
Time of Marketing:-The time of marketing cattle is governed
by the following factors: local trade demands; feed supply; num-
ber of head to be marketed; and degree of finish.
A steady market is provided at all times by local trade within
the state. Florida produces only 25 percent of the amount of beef
consumed within the state, hence a large market is available close
by for the producers of beef cattle. These local markets are
steadily demanding higher grades of beef.
The available feed supply often determines the time and age of
marketing cattle. If there are good pastures, but no extra feed
for fattening steers, the producer is forced to sell calves, grass
fed steers, or "feeder" steers. Such a producer may consider first
of all the available markets for calves. Generally, calves sell at
a higher price than steers, and can be marketed when four to five
months of age. At that age they still carry considerable of their
calf fat. Calves are sold during July, August, September, and
October at the highest prices. They should average from 150 to
250 pounds live weight, the most desirable weights being 175 to
225 pounds.
Grass fed steers which show improved breeding and are in good
condition find a ready market. At the end of the grazing season
they may be sold either to local butchers or to the packers. Steers
produced on native ranges should be marketed from August to
October before they have lost much of their grass fat condition.
Improved grasses carry steers longer than do the native pastures.
Marketing of steers from improved pastures may be delayed until
November. "Feeder" steers are marketed direct from pastures
and ranges during the early fall months, going into feed lots
where they generally are fed for 90 to 120 days. Florida cattle-
men can well consider an extensive production of high grade
"feeder" steers for shipment into adjoining states or northward
to regions where grain is produced.
The time of marketing cattle depends in a large measure upon







46 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

the number sold annually. When the producer has only a few
cattle to sell, the local markets generally afford his best outlet,
but in the case of the larger producers the marketing situation
is different. These cattle may go to market in carload lots. When
there are many cattle to sell, more uniform lots can be selected
and these shipped in carload lots to more distant markets. Such
producers can govern the time of selling according to the market
demands.
The degree of finish governs in a measure the time at which
cattle are marketed. High grade beef cattle carrying good finish
give the producer less concern regarding marketing than the low
grade animals. Calves and steers in good condition sell well at all
seasons, but the animals lacking in finish are difficult to dispose
of either locally or on the larger markets.
Market Grades:-The market grades of cattle sold on the lead-
ing markets in the south are as follows: prime, choice, good,
medium, fair, plain and common.
To grade "prime", steers must have been fed for a long period,
and be above criticism in form, condition and quality. They are
deeply fleshed and show a smooth, uniform finish. Excellent
development must be present in the regions of high priced cuts.
Only steers of the very best breeding reach this grade.
"Choice" steers are those not good enough to grade prime. They
must have been well fed for a long period. Steers of this grade
are well fleshed and in good condition, but lack quality. They must
be well bred to grade "choice."
"Good" steers are those lacking somewhat in finish and are
slightly faulty in conformation. They have not been fed long
enough to put them in the upper grades, yet carry enough finish
to produce good carcasses. They must be produced from herds
of good beef type breeding stock.
"Medium" steers are those lacking more pronouncedly in finish
and conformation. They are more paunchy than the steers in the
higher grades and lack development in the regions of the high
priced cuts. They are heavier steers than those grading fair, plain,
and common, the lower grades. "Medium" steers should weigh
from 800 to 900 pounds. Steers coming in this grade have been fed
for a period long enough to put on some flesh, but not enough to
enable them to carry the finish required by the higher grades.
They may be sired by a purebred bull and out of good native or
grade cows.
"Fair" steers are those carrying enough flesh to cause them to
weigh from 800 to 900 pounds. They show a fair degree of con-







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 47

edition. They may be sold direct from a good pasture as grass-fat
steers or may have been grazed for a short time on velvet beans.
Native steers of the better type and carrying good finish may
grade "fair."
"Common" steers are natives or grades in poor condition. They
are under weight with rough coats, decidedly angular, and have
little muscling in regions of the high priced cuts.
"Canners" are steers poorer in condition than those grading
"common." These steers are in such poor flesh that they cannot
be used in the fresh meat trade but instead are processed into
some by-products. They are the low grade culls.
"Feeder" steers are those that are in too poor condition to sell
as block-beef, but which will feed out profitably if put into a feed
lot or velvet bean field. They are purchased by cattlemen who
have an available feed supply, and after being fed for a 90 to 120
day feeding period are sold for the fresh beef trade.
"Stocker" steers are a little lower grade than "feeders" and
are purchased and kept on the ranges, pastures, or on cheap feed
for possibly several months, and later used as "feeders."
There are no prime cattle sold in the South at present. At this
time only about 5 percent of the cattle marketed in the South
grade choice; 10 percent grade good, and 10 percent grade medium.
The remaining 75 percent drop into the lower grades. Yet the
demand in the South is for 75 percent of its beef to come from
steers grading choice, good, and medium. This situation should
stimulate the production of higher grades of beef cattle for
markets.
Preparing Cattle for Shipment:-Cattle which are fed in the
feed lot should be given a reduced feed allowance at the last feed-
ing just prior to loading. It is advisable to reduce the last feed
25 to 50 percent, since animals full-fed or over-fed often develop
digestive disorders which reduce their value considerably when
they reach the market. They should not be heavily salted as is
so often the case, since many animals that are heavily salted will
be off feed and gaunt when they reach the market.
Beef cattle should be handled very gently and with as little ex-
citement as possible in loading. It is easy to bruise, injure, or
cripple steers by rough handling during the loading for ship-
ment to market.
When shipping by rail it is advisable to keep close check on the
time for placing the car. The car should be placed at the loading
pens on a schedule which will allow plenty of time for loading.
When the car is placed, examine it carefully to see that it is clean







48 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

and well bedded with three to four inches of sand. Inspect the
car closely for broken slats, protruding nails, bolts and other
objects on the side or in the floor of the car which might injure
the animals. Make sure that the car doors close securely.
Number to Load per Car:-Cars should neither be overcrowded
nor loaded with too few cattle, since either of these conditions
causes excessive shrink. Load enough cattle in the car to permit
them to be comfortable in transit. Table II will serve as a general
guide in loading cattle.
For interstate movement of cattle for slaughter, the minimum
weight for carloads is 20,000 pounds for cars measuring up to
36 feet and 7 inches when shipping in Southern territory. The
minimum weight on cars from 36 feet and 7 inches up to 40 feet
in length is 22,272 pounds in this territory. For intrastate ship-
ments, a minimum weight of 20,000 pounds is placed on carloads
for cars 34 feet or longer. The shipper must pay for these weights
regardless of whether or not the load comes up to the minimum
weight. Should the cars weigh more than minimum weights, the
freight charges will be correspondingly greater.
Regulations promulgated by the Federal government control-
ling the interstate shipment of livestock demand that cattle in
transit be unloaded, fed and watered at 28-hour intervals unless
the cattle reach their destination within 36 hours, in which case
the owner may request the freight agent for a release at the time
he bills the shipment, and after signing the release the cattle may
travel for 36 hours without being unloaded. If a release is not
signed, the cattle will be unloaded at the expiration of the 28-hour
period. Feed stations are located along the transportation lines
at convenient points, these stations being provided with facilities
for proper feeding and care of livestock in transit.
TABLE II.-AVERAGE NUMBER OF CATTLE OF DIFFERENT WEIGHTS IN SAFE
CARLOAD FOR 36 FT. AND 40 FT. CARS.
Number of Cattle per Car
Average Weight per Head 36-foot car 40-foot car
300 pounds ............................ 56 61
400 pound? ............................ 45 49
500 pounds ............................ 40 44
600 pounds ............................ 36 39
700 pounds ............................ 31 34
800 pounds ............................ 30 33
900 pounds ............................ 24 26
1,000 pounds ............................ 22 24

Shrinkage of Livestock in Shipment:-One problem to which
every cattleman gives serious consideration in shipping cattle is
that of shrinkage. It is his desire to deliver cattle to the markets







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 49

with just as little shrinkage as possible. Shrinkage can be re-
duced by observing the following precautions: (1) reduce the
feed allowance 25 to 50 percent during last 24-hour period just
prior to shipping if cattle have been on full feed; (2) regardless
of whether cattle are loaded from range, pasture, or feed lot they
should be handled very gently when being rounded up for ship-
ment; (3) do not overload the car or load with too few cattle in
shipping; and (4) feed and water according to the Federal "28.
Hour Law."
While the actual amount of shrinkage will vary considerably,
yet the following report shows, in a general way, the degree of
shrinkage which might be expected. "In an investigation made
by W. F. Ward of the U. S. Bureau of Animal Industry, cattle in
transit less than 24 hours shrank from 2.05 to 3.91 percent.
Those in transit from 24 to 36 hours shrank from 3.46 to 6.37
percent. Those in transit from 36 to 72 hours shrank 3.88 to 5.40
percent. Those in transit over 72 hours shrank from 3.96 to 7.00
percent. These figures are based on weight at origin and filled
weight at market."
Truck Movements of Cattle:-Within the past few years truck
movements of cattle have been steadily on the increase. Truck
movements generally can be made over longer distances in a
shorter period of time. Further, the convenience of loading at a
temporary loading chute on the range, pasture, or farm, and
transporting the animals direct to market, is very advantageous.
Some cattlemen believe that there is greater shrinkage in truck
movements than by rail; however, if the same precautions are
followed in preparing cattle for truck shipments the shrinkage
should be no greater. The driver of a truck loaded with cattle
must realize that he is transporting livestock, and that he should
avoid rough handling which would cause additional shrinkage. A
cattle truck should be driven smoothly and handled carefully at
all times. The bottom of the truck should be bedded with three
to four inches of clean sand to afford footing for the cattle.

SOME COMMON DISEASES OF CATTLE

The services of a veterinarian should be secured in treating sick
animals, since the layman cannot correctly diagnose disease con-
ditions in many cases. Furthermore, it is important to diagnose
communicable diseases in the early stages to prevent their spread
and often only a veterinarian can recognize these diseases
promptly. It is essential that the proper medical treatment be







50 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

used in those cases that require the administration of drugs. For
all these reasons cattlemen depend largely upon a veterinarian to
render professional services when possible. Nevertheless it is
true that in many sections of this state veterinarians are not avail-
able to render these services, and for that reason a brief discus-
sion of a few important diseases is given.
Contagious Abortion:-With the rapid eradication of the cattle
fever tick, and with the systematic testing of cattle to detect
tuberculosis, as is being conducted by the State Live Stock Sani-
tary Board and Federal government cooperating, no other disease
causes the cattleman such anxiety as contagious abortion. This
disease does not occur in the native cattle in this state, since for
generation after generation these cattle have been kept on the
ranges at all times without exposure to cattle infested with con-
tagious abortion. With the movement of cattle following tick
eradication there is danger of spreading the disease unless the
cattlemen are constantly on the alert to prevent its introduction
into the herds now free from the infection.
The State Live Stock Sanitary Board has given protection to
cattlemen of this state by requiring that all cattle six months old
and over coming into this state for breeding purposes must be
blood tested for evidence of contagious abortion and that the
health certificate for these cattle must show that they are free
from the disease.
The disease is due to a specific germ known as Brucella abortus.
It is transmitted from diseased to healthy cattle by contaminated
feed and water. The germ is not transmitted direct at the time
of service as was originally thought. The infected materials
which spread the germs are (1) fetal membranes following abor-
tion, (2) the "slunks" or aborted fetus, (3) discharge from the
infected womb following abortion, (4) discharge from infected
bulls which may leak out of the vagina of the cow immediately
after service. Any or all of these materials may contain germs
of contagious abortion and when the abortions take place in the
pasture the grass and water supply readily become infected.
There are no definite symptoms of the disease. It is very de-
ceptive. The animal in the herd that shows the very best general
appearance may be a "carrier"; thereby spreading the disease to
many other animals within the herd. There are certain indica-
tions, which would lead one to suspect contagious abortion as
follows: (1) the act of aborting; (2) retention of afterbirth
following apparent normal calving or abortion when the abortion
occurs late in the period of pregnancy; (3) discharge from womb







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 51

following abortion or apparent normal calving; (4) "shy" breed-
ers; and (5) cases of gargett" or inflammation of the udder.
If abortions occur in the herd, one should immediately suspect
contagious abortion. It is true that cows may abort their calves
from injury, but such instances are rare. When abortions occur
without a history of an injury having occurred to the aborting
animal, contagious abortion should be suspected. Abortions may
occur at any period of pregnancy, in the field or pasture and the
only indication that the disease is present within the herd is that
the cow came in heat after being bred several months previously.
When cows come in heat weeks after they have been bred and
apparently conceived, contagious abortion should be suspected.
Cows infected with contagious abortion, especially if they abort
during the last stages of the period of pregnancy, will often
retain the fetal membranes. When a large number of cows retain
their afterbirths within any one herd contagious abortion should
be suspected.
"Shy" breeders sometimes indicate that contagious abortion
may be present within the herd. It is not uncommon for infected
cows to be bred three to six times before they finally conceive.
While contagious abortion is not the only disease which affects
the breeding efficiency of cattle, yet when cows are "shy" breeders
this disease should be suspected. Likewise, if there are many
cases of gargett" (inflammation of the udder) occurring within
the herd, contagious abortion should be suspected.
The only way to determine definitely that contagious abortion
exists is to have blood tests made of all breeding cows within the
herd. A practicing veterinarian must draw samples of blood
and send them to a diagnostic laboratory where the test can be
made.
The most efficient way to control the disease in beef herds is to
sell the infected cows for immediate slaughter, or slaughter them
on the farm and sell the beef. If facilities are available to accom-
modate two distinct herds, an infected and a free herd, then it
may be considered advisable to have two separate herds, putting
all reactors within the infected herd, but this method is expensive,
and difficult to handle. Unless the cow is very valuable she can
be salvaged for beef with little loss and when infected cows are
slaughtered, the danger of spreading the infection is eliminated
entirely. Meat from cattle giving a positive test for contagious
abortion is harmless as food for humans. When it is learned that
contagious abortion exists within the herd, blood tests should be
made regularly at 90-day intervals until all reactors are removed






52 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

from the herd. Some animals might have just become infected
and would not react to the test in the early stages of the disease.
By testing every 90 days, such reactors would be detected on sub-
sequent tests.
Tuberculosis:-Tuberculosis is a very important disease of
cattle, yet there are so few cases in Florida that this disease is
negligible at this time from an economic standpoint. It is im-
portant to detect any cases that might exist so that the spread
can be prevented and finally the disease eradicated entirely from
this state. Tuberculosis is due to a specific germ, Bacillus tuber-
culosis. The germ gains entrance into the body of the cow
through contaminated feed and water. It is spread generally
by droppings and nasal discharges of infected cattle. These
infected discharges contaminate pasture grass, drinking water,
and possibly feed in the feeding bunks. One infected cow may
spread the infection to many other cattle in the herd. It is im-
possible to detect the disease from a physical examination, since
symptoms are rarely manifested. The tuberculin test is the only
means of detecting cases of tuberculosis. This test can be applied
only by graduate veterinarians. It is through the tuberculin
testing of cattle that affected animals are located and the disease
is being eliminated from the herds.
Hemorrhagic Septicemia:-Hemorrhagic septicemia is a disease
caused by a specific germ, Bacillus bovisepticus. This disease is
transmitted from infected animals to healthy ones by contam-
inated feed and water. There is a rapid loss of flesh in an animal
infected with hemorrhagic septicemia. It becomes emaciated,
unthrifty, and very weak. There is a loss of appetite. Breathing
is rapid and laborious. A cough generally is present. The pulse
is faster than normal. Diarrhea frequently accompanies the dis-
ease, the bowel discharges at times being blood streaked and cov-
ered with mucus. An infected animal is often nervous, very
easily excited, and in a severe case, may even run into objects.
Swellings may be observed in the region of the lower jaw and neck.
Since this disease is contagious it is important to check the
spread through the herd. The sick animals should be separated
from the healthy ones immediately. All animals that die should
be burned or buried very deeply. The healthy animals should be
immunized by using hemorrhagic septicemia aggression or
bacterin.
Salt Sick:-Salt sick has long been recognized as an important
disease of cattle. In some sections of this state the disease caused
such heavy losses in the herds that the raising of cattle was dis-







Bulletin 260, Beef Production in Florida 53

continued. Then on other ranges it was impossible to raise cattle
without periodically shifting them to "healthy" ranges. The
cattlemen knew from long years of experience that on certain
ranges cattle would develop this condition and by shifting to
another range the affected cattle would recover.
Recently the Florida Experiment Station found the cause of
salt sick. It is a nutritional deficiency caused by a lack of iron
and copper in the feed grown on ranges and pastures where the
soil is deficient in these minerals. The white and gray sandy soils
of this state have such a low content of these minerals that grass
and forage grown on these soils do not have enough copper and
iron to supply the body needs, hence the disease develops. Clay
soil, sandy soil underlaid with a clay subsoil near the surface, or
soil overflowed by clay drainage from clay soils all have a sufficient
supply of iron and copper to prevent the occurrence of salt sick.
Some of the muck and light sandy soils are deficient in these
minerals.
Salt sick may be prevented by changing the cattle periodically
from "salt sick" or deficient ranges to "healthy" ranges, or by
supplying the minerals in a mineral mixture or "salt sick" lick,
placing the mixture in boxes on the range or pasture. The cattle
will partake of the mineral mixture which is a preventive for the
disease. The "salt sick" lick consists of 100 pounds common salt,
25 pounds red oxide of iron, and 1 pound powdered copper sulphate.
Bloat:-Bloating is a digestive disorder in which large amounts
of gas collect within the rumen or paunch. This condition is fre-
quently caused by (1) sudden change of feed; (2) overfeeding;
(3) allowing animals to eat moldy feed; and (4) feeding improp-
erly cured hay and other feeds which ferment easily. Cattle
sometimes bloat when grazing on velvet beans. The disease may
be recognized by a swelling of the abdomen. This is especially
noticeable in the left flank, since the rumen is located on the left
side of the abdominal cavity. If the swelling is tapped with the
fingers, a hollow drum-like sound is produced. Gas is belched up
frequently. The breathing is difficult and somewhat more fre-
quent than normal. There is a loss of appetite with a cessation
of rumination. The animal is restless, uneasy, groans frequently,
and manifests abdominal pain.
Prevention is the best treatment. Do not give feed which fer-
ments easily, such as improperly cured or moldy feed. Do not
make a sudden change of feed or give too much feed to which the
animal is unaccustomed. Medical treatment consists in giving a
laxative of one pound Epsom salts in a quart of water as a drench.







54 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Give one to two ounces of aromatic spirits of ammonia in one
quart of water. The latter drug may be given every two hours.
Another drug which is useful at times is hyposulphite of soda.
One to two ounces of this drug given in one pint of water every
hour may prove helpful.
Diarrhea:-Diarrhea is a digestive disorder in which the bowel
discharges are watery and are passed at too frequent intervals.
It is caused by (1) moldy or spoiled feed; (2) sudden change of
feed; (3) overfeeding, especially of grain mixture; and (4) irri-
tating feed. The symptoms are: frequent evacuations of bowels,
the actions being watery, having a foul odor, and possibly being
blood-streaked in severe cases. There is a loss of appetite, the
animal gets weak and death may follow if the condition is not
checked.
Treatment consists first in correcting any feeding practice
which might be responsible for the condition. Withhold all grain
for a few days and give only good quality hay. Medical treatment
consists in giving one quart raw linseed oil. Lime water in six to
eight ounce doses may be given three to four times a day. A
lump of unslaked lime weighing two to three pounds may be put
in a water trough which will hold 10 to 20 gallons of water, thereby
supplying the lime water in that manner. Only wooden or con-
crete water troughs should be used when unslaked lime is added
to the drinking water. A mixture of equal parts salol and bis-
muth subnitrate is useful in checking diarrhea. The dose of this
mixture is one ounce three times a day.
Stomach Worms:-Calves sometime become infected with
stomach worms when grazing over areas where these parasites
occur. Symptoms of stomach worm infection are: weakness, un-
thriftiness, loss of flesh, enlargement of abdomen (pot-bellied),
pale mucus membranes of eye and mouth, diarrhea, and in ad-
vanced cases, swelling occurs under the lower jaw and neck.
Treatment consists in giving six to eight ounces of a 1 percent
solution of copper sulphate. The calf should be starved for at
least 12 hours before administering the drug. Treatment should
be repeated at two to three week intervals until the parasites are
removed. One percent solution of copper sulphate is made by add-
ing 11/4 ounces powdered copper sulphate to one gallon of water.
This solution should be kept only in glass or earthen containers.





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