• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Growing sugarcane for feeding
 Feeding sugarcane
 Economic considerations
 Summary
 Literature cited
 Back Cover






Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Stations ; No. 844
Title: Sugarcane as a cattle feed
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Full Citation
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027209/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sugarcane as a cattle feed production and utilization
Series Title: Bulletin Agricultural Experiment Stations, University of Florida
Physical Description: 24 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Pate, F. M ( Findlay Moye ), 1941-
Publisher: Agricultural Experiment Stations, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla.
Publication Date: 1984
 Subjects
Subject: Sugarcane as feed   ( lcsh )
Beef cattle -- Feeding and feeds   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 23-24.
Statement of Responsibility: F.M. Pate ... et al..
General Note: "June 1984."
Funding: Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station)
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Bibliographic ID: UF00027209
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000575273
oclc - 14269086
notis - ADA2678

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
    Title Page
        Page ii
    Acknowledgement
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
    Introduction
        Page 1
    Growing sugarcane for feeding
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Feeding sugarcane
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Economic considerations
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Summary
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Literature cited
        Page 23
        Page 24
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text

June 1984 Bulletin 84z



















Sugarcane as a Cattle Feed:
Production and Utilization
E M. Pate, J. Alvarez, J. D. Phillips, and B. R. Eiland

H' UME LIBRARY
< i- 15 :4
Agri cultural Experiment Stations
Sf Food and Agricultural Sciences
SF S. U1 o t rsity of Florida, Gainesville
E- A. Wood, Dean for Research


















SUGARCANE AS A CATTLE FEED:
PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION

F. M. Pate, J. Alvarez, J. D. Phillips, and B. R. Eiland

Dr. Pate is a Professor (Animal Nutritionist and Center Director)
at the Agricultural Research Center, Ona, Florida, 33565; Dr.
Alvarez is an Associate Professor (Extension Agricultural
Economist), and Mr. Phillips is a Farm Administrator at the Agri-
cultural Research and Education Center at Belle Glade, 33430; and
Mr. Eiland an Adjunct Assistant Professor (Assistant Agriculture
Engineer) at the USDA, ARS Sugarcane Harvesting Laboratory, Belle
Glade, 33430.














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Appreciation is extended to Bolman Slater and J. V. McLeod for
their assistance in the feeding of cattle and the analysis of
sugarcane samples from which much of the data presented in this
publication were derived.


















SUGARCANE AS A CATTLE FEED:
PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION

F. M. Pate, J. Alvarez, J. D. Phillips, and B. R. Eiland

Dr. Pate is a Professor (Animal Nutritionist and Center Director)
at the Agricultural Research Center, Ona, Florida, 33565; Dr.
Alvarez is an Associate Professor (Extension Agricultural
Economist), and Mr. Phillips is a Farm Administrator at the Agri-
cultural Research and Education Center at Belle Glade, 33430; and
Mr. Eiland an Adjunct Assistant Professor (Assistant Agriculture
Engineer) at the USDA, ARS Sugarcane Harvesting Laboratory, Belle
Glade, 33430.














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Appreciation is extended to Bolman Slater and J. V. McLeod for
their assistance in the feeding of cattle and the analysis of
sugarcane samples from which much of the data presented in this
publication were derived.












CONTENTS


Introduction . . . . ... ...... 1

Growing Sugarcane for Feeding . . . . 1

Production Practices . . . . .. 1

Variety Selection . . . .... ... 1

Maturity of Sugarcane . . . . 3

Row Spacing . . . . ... . 4

Harvesting and Chopping Sugarcane . . . 5

Feeding Sugarcane . . . ... . 6

Fresh-Chopped Sugarcane in Feedlot Diets . . 6

Value of Urea in Sugarcane Diets . . .. 10

Sugarcane Silage . . . . .. 11

Shocked Sugarcane Stalks . . . ... 14

Sugarcane as a Supplement for Grazing Cattle ...... 15

Grazing Sugarcane . . . . ... .. .16

Feeding Previously-Frozen Sugarcane . . ... .16

Economic Considerations . . . . ... 17

Value as a Feed in Florida . . . ... .17

Value as a Feed in the Tropics . . ... .18

Comparing Sugarcane and Cottonseed
Hulls in Growing-Finishing Diets . . ... .20

Urea in Sugarcane Diets . . . ... 21

Summary . . . . ... . . 21

Literature Cited . . . ... .. . .23








INTRODUCTION


Beef production in south Florida and other subtropical and
tropical regions has been disadvantaged by a deficiency of feed
sources needed for the growing and finishing of young cattle.
Most of the feeder calves weaned in south Florida are shipped to
northern and western areas for feeding and finishing for slaugh-
ter. The tropical zone has 55% of the world's cattle, 80% of the
buffalo, 67% of the goats and 36% of the sheep, yet produces less
than 20% of the meat obtained from these species (15). Perennial
pastures, the most abundant feed source in Florida and throughout
the tropics, are limited by the relatively poor quality of the
tropical grasses used, and by a highly seasonal forage production
pattern.
Sugarcane may be a potential feed source for beef cattle in
subtropical and tropical areas. Its advantages as a forage crop
include: 1) adaption to the tropical and subtropical environ-
ments, 2) less sensitivity than other crops to poor soil ferti-
lity, the hot-humid climate, and insect and disease problems, 3)
existing technology for its production, 4) a high yield capabi-
lity, and 5) the unique ability to maintain consistent quality as
a standing crop in the field.
The purpose of this bulletin is to discuss the production and
use of sugarcane as a feed source for beef cattle. The discussion
will include information on the use of whole sugarcane feed
products for various classes of cattle with emphasis on using
fresh-chopped cane as a feed for growing-finishing beef cattle.
Information will also be presented on agronomic practices or con-
ditions specific to the production and harvesting of sugarcane as
a feedstuff, and the economics of its utilization.


GROWING SUGARCANE FOR FEEDING

Production Practices

Sugarcane grown for forage should be treated the same as cane
for sugar production with regard to agronomic practices such as
cultivation, fertilization, and pest control. Thus, recommenda-
tions already developed for an area should be used. Several pub-
lications are available for south Florida (2, 6, 8), and other
specific information can be obtained from county agricultural
extension offices or the Agricultural Research and Education
Center at Belle Glade (AREC-Belle Glade). Several agronomic prac-
tices specific to growing sugarcane for forage are discussed
below.


Variety Selection

The most important decision when growing sugarcane for animal
feeding is variety selection. Sugarcane has numerous varieties
with widely varying characteristics. The three important items to
consider are crop yield (plant and ratoon crops), nutritive
quality (i.e., sugar and fiber contents) and ease of harvesting.








INTRODUCTION


Beef production in south Florida and other subtropical and
tropical regions has been disadvantaged by a deficiency of feed
sources needed for the growing and finishing of young cattle.
Most of the feeder calves weaned in south Florida are shipped to
northern and western areas for feeding and finishing for slaugh-
ter. The tropical zone has 55% of the world's cattle, 80% of the
buffalo, 67% of the goats and 36% of the sheep, yet produces less
than 20% of the meat obtained from these species (15). Perennial
pastures, the most abundant feed source in Florida and throughout
the tropics, are limited by the relatively poor quality of the
tropical grasses used, and by a highly seasonal forage production
pattern.
Sugarcane may be a potential feed source for beef cattle in
subtropical and tropical areas. Its advantages as a forage crop
include: 1) adaption to the tropical and subtropical environ-
ments, 2) less sensitivity than other crops to poor soil ferti-
lity, the hot-humid climate, and insect and disease problems, 3)
existing technology for its production, 4) a high yield capabi-
lity, and 5) the unique ability to maintain consistent quality as
a standing crop in the field.
The purpose of this bulletin is to discuss the production and
use of sugarcane as a feed source for beef cattle. The discussion
will include information on the use of whole sugarcane feed
products for various classes of cattle with emphasis on using
fresh-chopped cane as a feed for growing-finishing beef cattle.
Information will also be presented on agronomic practices or con-
ditions specific to the production and harvesting of sugarcane as
a feedstuff, and the economics of its utilization.


GROWING SUGARCANE FOR FEEDING

Production Practices

Sugarcane grown for forage should be treated the same as cane
for sugar production with regard to agronomic practices such as
cultivation, fertilization, and pest control. Thus, recommenda-
tions already developed for an area should be used. Several pub-
lications are available for south Florida (2, 6, 8), and other
specific information can be obtained from county agricultural
extension offices or the Agricultural Research and Education
Center at Belle Glade (AREC-Belle Glade). Several agronomic prac-
tices specific to growing sugarcane for forage are discussed
below.


Variety Selection

The most important decision when growing sugarcane for animal
feeding is variety selection. Sugarcane has numerous varieties
with widely varying characteristics. The three important items to
consider are crop yield (plant and ratoon crops), nutritive
quality (i.e., sugar and fiber contents) and ease of harvesting.







Yield information available on sugarcane varieties is pre-
sented as millable cane for sugar production. This includes only
the processed stalk and not the top and other material that would
be harvested for forage. Tops will average from 15 to 25% of the
aerial cane plant, thus usable estimates of forage yield can be
derived from millable cane data. The yield response of sugarcane
varieties is sensitive to environmental conditions, and a variety
for feeding purposes should be selected on information about its
growth in the given area. For example, varieties that perform
best on organic soils are different from those that perform best
on mineral soils in south Florida. Average yields of millable
cane in south Florida have been 35 to 40 tons/A (78 to 90 mt/ha)
for organic soils and 30 tons/A (67 mt/ha) for sand soils.
In terms of nutritive quality, sugarcane varieties grown for
sugar production are probably best for feeding purposes, because
sucrose, the important part, is a highly digestible nutrient.
However, in sugar production, less emphasis is placed on the quan-
tity of fiber contained in a variety which could adversely and
materially affect nutritive value to livestock. For example, a
high-fiber, high-sucrose yielding variety may be acceptable for
sugar production but could be less desirable as an animal feed
because sugarcane fiber is poorly digestible. Sugarcane varieties
grown in south Florida are lower in fiber content than those grown
in other sugarcane production areas.
A laboratory investigation using forage evaluation methods
was conducted to compare the nutritive quality of 66 commercial
and breeding sugarcane varieties grown under south Florida condi-
tions. A wide range in the percentage of fiber and in vitro
digestibility of different varieties was observed (Table 1). The


Table 1. Mean and range of laboratory analyses of 66 sugarcane
varieties grown on organic soil plots in South Florida.

Range
Analysis Mean Low High
-_- --- --^--- -y_----,---_------

Dry matter 25.8 17.0 30.5
Crude protein 2.3 1.1 3.1
Crude fiber 28.1 22.7 35.9
Neutral detergent fiber 52.7 42.6 67.7
Acid detergent fiber 35.4 28.3 41.5
Cellulose 27.0 21.9 32.0
Lignin 6.3 4.6 8.4
Ash 4.3 2.7 7.1
Calcium 0.20 0.06 0.35
Phosphorus 0.05 0.02 0.09
In vitro digestible
organic matter 56.6 40.0 64.1


aAll values except dry matter are presented as a percentage of
the dry matter.








fiber content was found to be negatively related to in vitro
digestibility (17). These data indicated that the feeding value
of sugarcane varieties could be variable and emphasis should be
placed on a lower fiber content when selecting a variety for feed-
ing purposes. Crude protein content was low in all varieties
tested; this result suggested little chance of finding a variety
that would contain a moderate level of this nutrient.
In a steer feeding trial comparing two varieties that had a
moderate difference in fiber content (44.8 vs 49.2% neutral deter-
gent fiber), there was no difference in animal gains or feed effi-
ciency (19). These animal performance results indicate that small
to moderate differences in the fiber content of cane varieties are
of little significance.
The most obvious differences between sugarcane varieties are
their growth characteristics. Some varieties grow very erectly
and do not tend to lodge severely under adverse climatic condi-
tions. A variety should be selected for erectness throughout the
growth and harvest periods if mechanical harvesting is planned,
even if some sacrifices are made in yield and quality.


Maturity of Sugarcane

In a study at AREC-Belle Glade, five sugarcane varieties were
harvested at different ages to determine the effect of maturity on
potential nutritive value (18). Whole sugarcane plants were first
harvested on April 9, when composed mostly of leaves with little
stalk, and subsequently at 56-day intervals over the next 336
days. The results of laboratory analysis showed that during the
early growth stages, dry matter (DM) content increased, crude pro-
tein content decreased to a low level, and fiber content decreased
(Table 2). These trends continued, but at a slower rate, during
the later growth stages. In vitro digestible organic matter,
which approximately equals total digestible nutrients (TDN), con-
sistently increased over the entire 336-day growth period. The
changes in fiber and digestibility of cane with increasing matur-
ity is in sharp contrast to changes that occur in other forages
because of progessive sucrose storage by the cane plant. These
results have significant implications in terms of feeding sugar-
cane to cattle. A moderate level of crude protein exists in
sugarcane only if harvested at a very young age. However, har-
vesting young cane would be counter productive to the improved
yield and digestibility obtained with increasing maturity. The
ability of sugarcane to increase in digestibility with advancing
maturity and to maintain this higher quality over an extended per-
iod as a standing field crop offers substantial advantages in its
use as a cattle feed compared to other harvested forages.
The quality or maturity of sugarcane is also related to sea-
son. Sugarcane is usually planted at a time to allow growth
during rainy and warm seasons of the year and be ready for harvest
during the cool and dry seasons of the year. Such practice
insures maximum sugar content in the stalks due to the stress of
the cool and dry conditions. Of course, the cool and dry period
of the year occurs when cattle would likely be fed sugarcane
because pasture forage would be limited.








Table 2. Laboratory analyses of sugarcane at different stages of
maturity.


Harvest Dry Crude
date matter protein NDF ADF IVDOM


April 9 12.9c 9.2 67.4 39.3 50.1
June 4 14.0 5.8 61.7 37.0 53.1
July 30 21.1 3.6 52.7 33.0 54.1
September 24 25.2 3.1 53.5 34.4 51.2
November 19 27.4 3.2 51.8 33.1 54.7
January 14 28.7 2.8 47.3 30.3 56.1
March 10 28.8 2.6 46.4 30.5 59.1


Values are an average of two samples from each of five sugar-
cane varieties harvested on each sampling date.

NDF = neutral detergent fiber; ADF = acid detergent fiber; IVDOM
= in vitro digestible organic matter.
c
All values except dry matter are presented as a percentage of
the dry matter.


Row Spacing

An agronomic practice that can influence sugarcane yield is
row width. Field data from Louisiana showed that rows spaced 36
inches (91 cm) apart produced 30 to 35% more millable cane than
rows spaced at 65 inches (165 cm) (9). Different row spacings did
not greatly affect the sucrose content of millable sugarcane (5,
10), thus indicating that spacing also would not affect the qual-
ity of cane as an animal feed.
With narrow row spacings, the sugarcane stalks tend to be
longer and smaller in diameter (10, 21), which could be the cause
of increased lodging. A Louisiana field study (11) showed that
total millable sugarcane yields were 45 and 24 tons per acre (101
and 54 mt/ha) with row spacings of 24 and 72 inches (60 and 182
cm), respectively. However, ground losses with a whole-stalk har-
vester were 24 and 4 tons per acre (54 and 10 mt/ha), respective-
ly. This difference in harvesting loss could possibly have been
even greater if a conventional forage harvester had been used.
Harvesting losses can be recovered with manual labor, but the cost
may be prohibitive in many areas.
In general, it would be best to use the wider row spacing for
sugarcane planted for feeding purposes if machine harvesting is
planned. Of course, the selected row spacing should conform to
both cultivation and harvesting equipment that will be used.








Harvesting and Chopping Sugarcane


Whole sugarcane can be harvested by hand or with machines.
If hand harvested, the cane must then be chopped before feeding.
Several commercial stationary choppers are available for
processing hand-harvested cane, or it can be hand fed into a
tractor drawn forage harvester.
Mechanical harvesting can be accomplished with some commer-
cial forage harvesting equipment. Although this equipment was
developed to harvest corn, sorghum, and other erect row crops, and
was not designed for sugarcane, it can do an acceptable job in
certain situations. Sugarcane is relatively difficult to harvest
mechanically because of its high yield, tough stalks, tendency to
lodge and rather broad stooling characteristics. The design of
the header mechanism presents the greatest problem, because most
units are fabricated with material that is less durable than need-
ed for harvesting sugarcane. Also, the header intake is usually
too narrow for the broad sugarcane stool and the often decumbent
sugarcane stalk. For this reason, emphasis should be placed on
selecting erect varieties if mechanical harvesting is planned.
The chopping mechanism of most forage harvesters is generally sat-
isfactory if care is taken not to overload the chopper and if the
chopping knives are properly maintained.
When harvesting sugarcane, it is important to cut the stalk
properly to insure good ratooning and regrowth of the stubble
crop. Ideally, the stalk should be clean cut as obtained in hand
cutting with a cane knife or machete. Because of the density of
sugarcane, most forage harvesters are drawn too slowly and a poor
cut is obtained. Also, a better cut is obtained with a rotating
disc than with a cutter bar mechanism on the harvester header.
The harvesting speed of a rotating disc cutter should be at least
500 feet (1500 m) per minute for best results. Stalks should be
cut at ground level because regrowth will occur from each eye
above ground level and this type of regrowth is less satisfactory
than that which occurs below ground level. One procedure used in
mechanical harvesting has been to cut the stalk about 6 inches (15
cm) above ground level, and then remove the stalk stump at the
proper level with a cane knife. However, this practice is labor
intensive and expensive.
A header mechanism adaptable to a commercial forage harvester
has been designed and built by a sugarcane enterprise in south
Florida which harvets a large acreage of sugarcane for silage.
The header proved more durable than those commercially available
and worked satisfactorily for the rapid harvesting of large ton-
nages of fairly erect sugarcane. A practical header mechanism
should approach the gathering and base cutting system of a narrow-
throat, single-row cane harvester. The throat width should be
about 30 inches (76 cm) wide.








FEEDING SUGARCANE


Fresh-Chopped Sugarcane in Feedlot Diets

Several trials were conducted at AREC-Belle Glade in which
fresh-chopped sugarcane was fed at different levels in feedlot
type diets. The quantity of sugarcane fed ranged from 20 to 77%
of the diet dry matter (DM) with the remainder supplied by corn
grain, citrus pulp and cottonseed meal (Table 3). Growing-
finishing steers fed these diets exhibited a very predictable
response in relation to the quantity of sugarcane fed (Table 4).
As the percentage of sugarcane in the diet increased, rate of
gain, feed utilization, and carcass quality decreased. These
results would be expected since the energy value of sugarcane was
lower than that of corn grain and citrus pulp which sugarcane
replaced. Increasing levels of sugarcane in the diet also result-
ed in less DM intake which would limit rate of gain. This re-
sponse is different from that obtained with corn silage where DM
intake by steers fed high corn silage diets exceeded that by
steers fed high corn grain diets (22). It is known that sugarcane
fiber (bagasse) has a low digestibility and may have a depressing
effect on feed intake.
Chapman and Peacock (3) reported that steers fed diets con-
taining approximately 45, 60, and 75% corn silage on a DM basis
gained 3.22, 2.96, and 2.68 lbs (1.46, 1.34 and 1.22 kg) per day
and required 7.04, 6.62, and 6.49 units of feed per unit of gain,
respectively. Although the comparison is indirect, steers fed a
moderate level of sugarcane (30-39%) had a rate of gain and feed


Table 3. Composition of feedlot diets containing various levels
of fresh-chopped sugarcane.


Percent sugarcane dry matter in diet
Trial 1 Trial 2
Ingredient 30 60 20 39 58 77

--------------% on dry matter basis--------

Chopped sugarcane 30.1 60.1 20.3 39.4 58.4 77.3
Shelled corn, No. 2 37.5 13.3 45.7 30.5 15.2 --
Dried citrus pulp 14.0 5.0 17.3 11.5 5.7 --
Cottonseed meal, 41% 13.1 18.0 12.2 15.1 18.0 21.9
Cane molasses, 860 Brix 4.5 2.2 3.8 2.9 2.0 --
Mineral mix 0.5 1.1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Salt 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2


a Mineral mix contained 11.5% P, 18.0% Ca, 0.3% Fe, 0.3% Cu, 0.02%
Co, 0.2% Mn, 0.5% Mg, 0.2% Zn, and 12.5% NaCl.

b Vitamin A and D were added to each diet to supply 1,200 and 120
IU per lb of dry matter, respectively.








Table 4. Performance of steers fed diets containing various levels of fresh-chopped sugarcane.


Percent sugarcane dry matter in diets

Trial Ia Trial 2a
Item 30 60 20 39 58 77


No. of steers 20 20 8 8 8 8
Initial liveweight, lb 733 735 558 570 562 564
Adjusted avg. daily gain,
lb 2.80 1.93 2.87 2.51 1.82 1.39
Dry matter intake, lb/day 24.18 20.86 19.42 19.51 16.33 15.76
Dry matter to gain ratio 8.64 10.81 6.77 7.77 8.97 11.33
Hot carcass weight, lb 599 551 564 542 483 450
Actual dressing %c 55.5 51.9 57.9 55.6 53.3 50.9
Carcass grade Good + Std + Good Good Std + Std
Fat over rib eye, in 0.40 0.18 0.30 0.38 0.21 0.21
Rib eye area, sq in 10.82 10.56 10.90 11.21 9.70 9.80


aSteers used in trial 1 and 2 were 24 and 12 months old when placed in the feedlot, and were fed 95 and
133 days, respectively.

Calculated from a final weight based on a 60% hot carcass dress (final weight = hot carcass weight
0.60 and an initial weight taken after a 16-hour shrink without feed an water.

c Dressing percent calculated from actual live weight immediately out of feedlot and hot carcass weight.
2
Metric conversions: 1 lb = 0.45 kg, 1 in = 2.54 cm, and 1 sq in = 6.45 cm .


--1








Table 5. Composition of feedlot diets containing either fresh-
chopped sugarcane or cottonseed hulls as a roughage
source.


Roughage Source
Item Sugarcane Cottonseed hulls


-------% on dry matter basis-----

Growing phase

Sugarcane 32.0
Cottonseed hulls 20.0
Shelled corn, No. 2 37.2 47.0
Corn meal 18.6 23.3
Cane molasses, 860 Brix 5.0 5.0
Cottonseed meal, 41% 4.8 2.3
Urea 1.0 1.0
Mineral mixb 1.0 1.0
Salt .2 .2
Biophosc .2 .2

Finishing phase

Sugarcane 17.1
Cottonseed hulls 10.0
Shelled corn, No. 2 48.9 54.3
Corn meal 24.4 27.2
Cane molasses, 860 Brix 5.1 5.0
Cottonseed meal 2.1 1.1
Urea 1.0 1.0
Mineral mix 1.0 1.0
Salt .2 .2
Biophose .2 .2


a Vitamin A and D were added to each diet to supply 1,200 and 120
IU per lb of dry matter, respectively.

b Mineral mix contained 11.5% P, 18.0% Ca, 0.3% Fe, 0.3% Cu, 0.2%
Co, 0.2% Mn, 0.5% Mg, 0.2% Zn, and 12.5% NaC1.

c Biophos contained 21% P and 18% Ca.


efficiency somewhat similar to those fed 45% corn silage. Steers
fed high sugarcane diets (77%) gained 30% slower and 30% less
efficiently than those fed 75% corn silage diets. This comparison
indicated that fresh-chopped sugarcane may be equivalent to corn
silage as a roughage source in high-concentrate diets, but has
only 70% the value of corn silage when used as a major diet ingre-
dient. Fresh-chopped sugarcane was reported to be approximately
70% the value of corn silage when used as the primary ingredient








Table 6. Performance of steers fed diets containing either sugar-
cane or cottonseed hulls as a roughage source.


Roughage Source
Item Sugarcane Cottonseed hulls


Number of steers 25 26
Initial weight, lb 487 491

Growing phase

Gain, Iba 242 268
Avg. daily gain, lb 2.69 3.01
Dry matter intake, lb/day 17.92 19.36
Dry matter to gain ratio 6.66 6.44

Finishing phase

Gain, lbb 247 247
Avg. daily gain, lb 2.72 2.72
Dry matter intake, lb/day 21.43 19.09
Dry matter to gain ratio 7.87 7.04

Carcass data

Hot carcass weight, lb 582 605
Actual dressing %c 59.8 60.9
Carcass grade Good Good +
Fat over rib eye, in 0.43 0.54
Rib eye area, sq in 11.54 11.82


aCalculated from shrunk live weights.

Calculated from beginning live weight with 4% pencil shrink and
final weight based on a 60% hot carcass dress (final weight =
hot carcass weight 0.60).

cCalculated from actual live weight immediately out of feedlot
and hot carcass weight.

Metric conversion: 1 lb = 0.45 kg, 1 in = 2.54 cm, and 1 sq in
= 6.45 cm .


in feedlot diets fed to growing cattle in Kenya (4). This rela-
tionship supported the indirect comparison made between Florida
feeding trials.
In a feedlot trial at AREC-Belle Glade, fresh-chopped sugar-
cane was compared with cottonseed hulls as roughage in high-
concentrate growing-finishing diets fed to 12-month old steers.
Diets were formulated such that sugarcane and cottonseed hulls
supplied equal amounts of nitrogen detergent fiber (NDF) to the








respective diets in which they were added (Table 5). Sugarcane
and cottonseed hulls contained 52 and 85% NDF, respectively, on a
DM basis. During the growing phase, steers fed the sugarcane diet
gained 11% slower than steers fed the cottonseed hulls diet (Table
6). Most of this response was explained by a 8% lower DM intake
by steers fed the sugarcane diet. This result supported the
previous conclusion that sugarcane fiber limits DM intake. During
the finishing phase, when the roughage source was reduced by one-
half, rate of gain was similar for steers fed either sugarcane and
cottonseed hulls. However, steers fed sugarcane consumed 12% more
DM and were 12% less efficient in converting DM to gain than
steers fed cottonseed hulls. Carcasses from steers fed sugarcane
diets tended to be slightly lower in quality. They had a lower
dressing percent, marbling score, and USDA grade; they also had
less fat over the rib eye and a smaller rib eye area.


Value of Urea in Sugarcane Diets

Because of the low crude protein content of sugarcane, diets
based on cane forage require a large quantity of supplemental
nitrogen. Natural protein feeds are expensive, particularly in
regions where sugarcane would be fed. The economics of feeding
sugarcane might be improved by using a less expensive source of
crude protein, like urea.


Table 7. Composition of fresh-chopped sugarcane diets containing
different levels of urea.


Percent dietary nitrogen as urea
Growing phase, Finishing phase,
71% sugarcane 40% sugarcane
Ingredient 0 25 50 0 20 40
-----------% on dry matter basis----------

Chopped sugarcane 71.0 71.0 71.0 39.5 39.5 39.5
Shelled corn -- -- 27.3 27.3 27.3
Dried citrus pulp -- -- 13.2 13.2 13.2
Molasses -- -- 4.0 4.0 4.0
Corn meal 8.5 15.7 22.9 -- 6.6 13.0
Cottonseed meal 19.2 10.5 1.9 15.3 7.6
Urea -- 1.2 2.3 -- 0.9 1.9
Mineral mix 1.1 1.1 1.1 0.5 0.5 0.5
Biophos -- 0.3 0.6 -- 0.2 0.4
Salt 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2


a Mineral mix contained 11.5% P, 18.0% ca, 0.3% Fe, 0.3% Cu,
0.02% Co, 0.2% Mn, 0.5% Mg, 0.2% Zn and 12.5% NaCl.

Vitamin A and D added to each diet to supply 1,200 and 120 IU
per lb of dry matter, respectively.
c Biophos contained 21% P and 18% Ca.








At AREC-Belle Glade, urea was evaluated as a replacement for
cottonseed meal in sugarcane based diets. In three dietary treat-
ments, urea and corn meal replaced cottonseed meal in a 71% (DM
basis) sugarcane diet fed to 12-month old steers during a 93-day
growing phase such that urea supplied either 0, 25, or 50% of the
dietary nitrogen (Table 7). During a following 63-day finishing
phase, urea supplied either 0, 20, or 40% of the dietary nitrogen
in 40% sugarcane diets. During the growing phase, both rate of
gain and feed efficiency by steers decreased as the urea level in
the diet increased (Table 8). However, the adverse effect of urea
on steer performance occurred mostly during the first 28 days of
feeding. Over the next 65 days, rate of gain continued to be
lower on diets containing urea, but urea had little effect on feed
conversion. During the 63-day finishing phase steers performed as
well when fed diets containing urea as when fed diets containing
only cottonseed meal.
In a second trial, urea was again compared to cottonseed meal
in 69% (DM basis) sugarcane diets, but with molasses as the
supplemental energy feed (Table 9). In addition, corn meal was
compared with molasses as a supplemental energy source in high-
urea (50% of dietary nitrogen) diets. During a 133-day feeding
period, 12-month old steers fed the urea-molasses supplement had a
much lower rate of gain and poorer feed utilization than steers
fed either cottonseed meal-molasses or urea-corn meal (Table 10).
However, the performance of steers fed urea-corn grain was almost
equal to that of steers fed cottonseed meal-molasses.
It was concluded that urea can supply all of the supplemental
crude protein required in sugarcane based diets without causing
harmful effects, but with slower and less efficient gains than
those obtained with natural proteins. When feeding high levels of
urea, molasses is inferior to corn grain and possibly other
starchy concentrate feeds as a supplemental energy source. The
degree of improvement in urea utilization with corn grain would be
related to the level of corn grain in the diet. Care should be
taken to adapt animals slowly to urea in the diet. Possible pro-
cedures include the progressive replacement of a natural protein
feed with urea over a 30-day period or even the feeding of liberal
quantities of natural protein throughout an initial 30-day adapta-
tion period while slowly increasing the level of urea in the diet.
The final decision on using urea in sugarcane based diets
would be related to economics. For example, urea and molasses are
less expensive than natural protein feeds and corn grain. Even if
slower and less efficient gains are obtained by using urea and/or
molasses, production cost may favor the use of these ingredients
in some situations.

Sugarcane Silage

Sugarcane can be ensiled like other forage crops, but its
nutritive value is significantly reduced. Florida data (16)
showed a total digestible nutrient (TDN) value of 62.0% for fresh
sugarcane fed to steers, and a value of only 45.5% for ensiled
cane. Metabolism studies (14) with sheep confirmed the relatively
low TDN value of sugarcane silage. It was shown that the TDN








Table 8. Performance of growing and finishing yearling steers fed
fresh-chopped sugarcane diets containing different
levels of urea.

% urea N growing/finishing diet
0/0 25/20 50/40


No. of steers fed

Growing phase
Initial weight, lb
Days 1-28 b
Avg. daily gain, lb
Dry matter intake, lb/day
Days 29-93 b
Avg. daily gain, lb
Dry matter intake, lb/day
Dry matter to gain ratio
Days 1-93
Avg. daily gain, Ibc
Dry matter intake, Ib/day
Dry matter to gain ratio

Finishing phase
Initial weight, lb d
Avg. daily gain, Ib
Dry matter intake, lb/day
Dry matter to gain ratio

Carcass data
Hot carcass weight, lb
Dressing %e
Carcass grade
Fat over rib eye, in
Rib eye area, sq in


12 12


536 536

2.03 1.15
11.81 11.13


2.16
15.25
7.06

2.01
14.23
7.11


723
1.72
19.62
11.40


498
54.2
Good -
0.21
9.86


1.96
14.28
7.29

1.60
13.27
8.24


685
1.85
19.02
10.28


480
54.1
Std +
0.19
10.00


540

0.52
11.22

1.85
13.75
7.46

1.38
13.00
9.49


668
1.79
18.27
10.21


467
53.5
Std +
0.17
8.95


a Steers were fed 71% (dry matter basis) sugarcane diets during
93-day growing phase and 40% sugarcane diets during 62-day
finishing phase.
b
Calculated from unshrunk live weights.

c Calculated from shrunk live weights (16 hours without feed and
water) at start and end of growing phase.

d Calculated from initial shrunk weight and a final weight based
on a 60% hot carcass dress (final weight = hot carcass weight
0.60%).

e Dressing percent calculated from actual live weight immediately
out of feedlot and hot carcass weight.

Metric conversion: 1 lb = 0.45 kg, 1 in = 2.54 cm, and 1 sq in
= 6.45 cm .








Table 9. Composition of fresh-chopped sugarcane diets containing
different crude protein and energy supplements.


Cottonseed Urea Urea
meal and and and
Ingredient molasses molasses corn meal

-----------% on dry matter basis----------

Chopped sugarcane 68.8 68.2 68.7
Cane molasses, 860 Brix 11.3 24.3
Corn meal ---- ---- 26.4
Cottonseed meal, 41% 18.8 3.8 1.4
Urea --- 2.1 2.0
ab
Mineral mix 0.9 0.9 0.8
Biophosc ---- 0.5 0.5
Salt 0.2 0.2 0.2


a Mineral mix contained 11.5% P, 18.0% Ca, 0.3% Fe, 0.3% Cu,
0.02% Co, 0.02% Mn, 0.5% Mg, 0.2% Zn, and 12.5% NaC1.
b
Vitamin A and D were added to each diet to supply 1,200 and 120
IU per lb of dry matter, respectively.

cBiophos contained 21% P and 18% Ca.


Table 10. Performance of growing steers fed fresh-chopped sugar-
cane diets containing different crude protein and
energy supplements.


Cottonseed Urea Urea
meal and and and
Item molasses molasses corn meal

No. of steers fed 12 12 12
Initial weight, lb b 527 527 531
Adjusted avg. daily gain, lb 1.65 1.23 1.56
Dry matter intake, Ib/day 14.68 14.04 13.86
Dry matter to gain ratio 8.88 11.38 8.86
Hot carcass weight, lb 410 379 406



aSteers were fed for 133 days.

Gain calculated from an initial shrunk weight (16 hours without
feed and water) and a final weight based on a 55% hot carcass
dress (final weight = hot carcass weight 0.55).

Metric conversion: 1 lb = 0.45 kg.








value of 51.6, 48.1, and 41.5%, respectively for 6, 12, and 24
month old cane was negatively related to the maturity of the cane
when ensiled.
The large reduction in the TDN value of cane was attributed
to the sugar which is fermented readily to ethanol by yeast, an
inefficient fermentation pathway. Also, sugarcane has a high
moisture content (70 to 80%), which is not ideal for making good
silage and results in excessive seepage losses in most convention-
al silos.
Several Florida studies evaluated sugarcane silage as a
roughage in growing-finishing steer diets. Shealy et al. (20)
reported that when cane silage constituted around 30% of the DM in
a ground snapped corn and cottonseed meal diet, it had approxi-
mately 70% the value as sorghum silage in a similar diet. Daily
gains were 1.79 and 2.08 lb (0.81 and 0.94 kg), respectively, for
steers fed sugarcane and sorghum silage diets, but feed efficiency
was similar (8.6 vs 9.0 units of DM/unit of gain) because steers
consumed less of the sugarcane silage diet. Kidder and Kirk (12)
also fed steers ground snapped corn and cottonseed meal diets that
contained either 25% ensiled or fresh-chopped sugarcane, resulting
in daily gains of 1.84 and 1.93 pounds (0.83 and 0.88 kg),
respectively.
The trials just described show that ensiled sugarcane can be
used successfully at moderate levels in feedlot diets fed to
cattle. This has been recently demonstrated in a commercial feed-
lot in south Florida. Feeding studies in which high levels of cane
silage were fed to growing cattle have not been reported, but con-
sidering its relatively low TDN value it would probably not com-
pare favorably with other ensiled or fresh-chopped forages.
Ensiled sugarcane was evaluated as a winter roughage for pro-
ducing brood cows (13). Lactating cows fed 38 pounds (17 kg) of
cane silage and 2.2 pounds (1 kg) of cottonseed meal per head
daily during a 105-day winter period lost 44 pounds (20 kg) of
liveweight per head compared to a loss of 78 pounds (35 kg) per
head for cows grazed on carpet grass pasture and supplemented with
2.2 pounds (1 kg) of cottonseed meal. These results suggested
that sugarcane silage would be an acceptable winter feed for brood
cows which utilize poorer quality roughages more efficiently than
growing cattle.

Shocked Sugarcane Stalks

Although the shocking of forages is not commonly practiced
today, occasionally whole sugarcane stalks might be cut and temp-
orarily stored for later feeding. Sugarcane stalks shocked during
the winter months in Florida retain a relatively high percentage
of their value (16). The TDN value of shocked sugarcane fed to
steers was 57.5%, compared to 62.0 and 45.5% for fresh-chopped and
ensiled sugarcane, respectively. Kirk and Crown (13) also demon-
strated that shocked sugarcane was an acceptable winter roughage
for producing brood cows in central Florida.
To better define changes in the nutritive value of whole
sugarcane stalks with time after harvest, stalks cut and piled in
late winter and early spring were sampled at various intervals and








analyzed in the laboratory at AREC-Belle Glade. The moisture con-
tent decreased throughout the 42 day storage period (Table 11).
The neutral detergent soluble fraction and in vitro organic matter
digestibility decreased immediately after the sugarcane was cut,
suggesting a measureable loss of sugar during the first few days
after harvest. Subsequently, these measurers remained relatively
constant, and only after 30 to 40 days was there an indication of
further deterioration. Average minimum and maximum daily tempera-
tures during the study period were 600 and 800 F (160 and 24 C),
respectively.


Table 11. Changes in the dry matter (DM) and neutral detergent
fiber (NDF) content, and in vitro organic matter
digestibility (IVOMD) of whole sugarcane with time
after cutting and stockpiling.


Days
after
cutting


NDFb


IVOMD


-----------Z------------------%C


28.2
30.3
30.9
33.9
34.1
34.7
33.8
36.4
36.2
37.7
37.8
35.3
38.4


48.7
54.8
53.7
53.8
53.2
54.7
54.0
54.9
56.5
56.4
55.9
57.6
57.3


57.1
51.2
53.1
53.5
51.0
55.0
53.0
51.2
49.4
51.0
49.5
46.7
47.4


Two sets of stockpiled sugarcane
April 13, 1981.

Percent of DM.


stalks cut on March 9 and


Each value represents an average of the analyses of four
samples. Two samples (3 stalks each) was obtained from each set
of stockpiled sugarcane stalks.


Sugarcane as a Supplement for Grazing Cattle

During three consecutive winters, 15 to 25 pounds (7 to 11
kg) per head of fresh-chopped sugarcane was fed daily to yearling
steers grazing either paragrass, bahiagrass, or St. Augustinegrass








pasture at AREC-Belle Glade (7). In comparison to unsupplemented
steers grazing these three pasture grasses, steers offered sugar-
cane gained an additional 52, 25, and 8 pounds (24, 11, and 4 kg)
per steer, respectively, over a 10 to 12 week period. In addition
to forage type, severity of the winter affected the degree of
response to sugarcane supplementation. It was also pointed out
that a higher stocking rate than the 2 head per acre (5 head per
ha) rate used would have also shown a greater response to supple-
mentation.
These trials showed that fresh-chopped sugarcane should be
fed to grazing cattle only when pasture forage availability is
very restricted. Such situations include a very severe winter or
drought, the grazing of grasses that become dormant during cool or
cold weather, or when using a very high stocking rate. The latter
two situations would be relevant to grazing pasture forages in
south Florida. Paragrass is the best quality forage grown in the
Belle Glade area, but is very sensitive to cool weather, explain-
ing the response noted in the aforementioned trials. Also, the
use of heavy stocking rates on all pasture grasses during the
winter period would allow more efficient use of the abundant quan-
tity of forage available during the 8-month growing season.


Grazing Sugarcane

Grazing trials with standing mature sugarcane were conducted
at AREC-Belle Glade, but usable animal production data were not
obtained. It was recommended that sugarcane used in this manner
be grazed clean within one week by using a very high stocking
rate, and then grazed only once annually (2). The sugarcane stool
can be destroyed by overgrazing or grazing for extended periods.
Sugarcane does not appear to lend itself to grazing and should be
so utilized only under emergency situations.

Feeding Previously-Frozen Sugarcane

Sugarcane grown in south Florida is occasionally frozen
during the mid-winter months. When this occurs, the aerial stalk
begins to deteriorate at a rate dependent upon the prevailing
temperature. On January 12, 1982, a hard freeze occurred at AREC-
Belle Glade on day 71 of a 134-day steer feeding trial in which
fresh chopped sugarcane constituted 68% of the diet DM. Subse-
quent temperatures were unseasonably warm. Laboratory analyses of
chopped sugarcane samples taken during the 64-day period after the
freeze showed that DM content increased from 28 to 32%, neutral
detergent fiber increased from 50 to 52% and crude protein
increased from 4.0 to 5.0%.
In the feedlot, DM intake by steers fed diets containing pre-
viously frozen sugarcane increased over the 64 days it was offered
(Table 12). This occurred even though the chopped sugarcane
developed a distinct sour odor during the last several weeks of
the feeding trial. Average daily gain of steers fed previously-
frozen cane during the last 50 days of the trial was higher than
their gains during the first 84 days when mostly unfrozen cane was
used.








Table 12. Chopped sugarcane dry matter (DM) intake and average
daily gain of steers fed unfrozen and previously-frozen
sugarcane.


Previously-
Unfrozen frozen
a
Item sugarcane sugarcane


Chopped sugarcane DM
intake, lb/day

Days 1-28 7.33
Days 29-56 8.81
Days 57-71 10.18
Days 72-84 -- 10.52
Days 85-112 -- 10.63
Days 113-134 -- 10.85

Average daily gain, Ib/day

Days 1-84c 1.68
Days 85-134 -- 1.83


a Sugarcane was frozen on January 12,
feeding trial.


1982, the 71st day of the


Intake of sugarcane DM only; complete diet is
Table 9.


presented in


Includes 15 days during which previously frozen sugarcane was
fed.

Metric conversion: 1 lb = 0.45 kg



ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS

This section presents a cost and return analysis of diets
containing sugarcane using the results of feeding studies dis-
cussed in the previous section. Details of these analyses and
their application to microcomputer programming were presented in
an extension circular (1).


Value as a Feed in Florida

Diet and animal data from feedlot studies (Tables 3 and 4)
were used to perform an economic analysis of chopped sugarcane in








growing steer diets. Chopped sugarcane was priced at $10 and $20/
ton ($11 and $22/mt) to cover probable extremes of its production
and harvesting costs in south Florida. Four concentrate prices
were also entered into the analysis and are presented in Table 13.
Cane molasses, mineral mix, and salt were priced at $60, $250, and
$120/ton ($66, $275, and $132/mt), respectively.

Results show that as the percentage of sugarcane in the diet
increased, net returns above feed costs decreased, regardless of
the price of sugarcane or concentrate ingredients (Table 14).
These results indicated that with sugarcane and concentrate feed
prices that would likely exist in south Florida, it is not
advisable to feed chopped sugarcane, except possibly at low levels
as a roughage ingredient.


Table 13. Prices of concentrate ingredients used in economic
analysis of sugarcane diets.


Relative price of feeds
Concentrate Medium- Medium-
feed Low low high High


Shelled corn, $/bua 1.50 2.33 3.16 4.00

Dried citrus pulp, $/tgn 80 113 146 180
Cottonseed meal, $/ton 150 183 216 250


Calculations assume standard bushel weighing 56 lb with 15.5%
moisture. To convert to $/kg divide values by 25.4.

bCalculations assume as fed ingredient with 10% moisture. To
convert to $/mt multiply by 1.1.


Value as a Feed in the Tropics

Feed prices in most tropical areas are very different from
Florida. The cost of producing sugarcane is usually much lower
and the cost of concentrate feed is much higher. To determine the
economic value of sugarcane in this situation, the performance and
feeding data of steers fed diets containing 20 and 77% sugarcane
dry matter (Table 3 and 4) were economically analyzed using feed
and animal prices typical of the tropics. Rates of gain were
changed to 3.5 lb (1.6 kg) and 1.89 lb (0.86 kg) per day for the
20 and 77% sugarcane diets, respectively.
For this analysis, purchase and selling prices of steers were
set at $35 and $40/cwt ($0.77 and $0.99/kg), respectively. Chopped
sugarcane was priced at $10/ton ($11/mt). Cane molasses, mineral
mix, and salt were priced at $20, $250, and $120/ton ($22, $275
and $132/mt), respectively. Concentrate feeds were priced at a








low and high level. Respective low and high levels were: corn,
$4.84 and $6.72/bu ($0.19 and $0.26/kg); dried citrus pulp, $160
and $240/ton ($176 and $264/mt); and cottonseed meal, $120 and
$200/ton ($132 and $220/mt).
The economic analysis showed that net returns above feed cost
were highest for steers fed the highest level of sugarcane, irre-
spective of concentrate feed price (Table 15). These results
demonstrated that the price structure of feeds in the tropics is


Table 14. Sensitivity analysis of results from feeding diets
containing varying levels of sugarcane and assuming tto
sugarcane.costs and four levels of concentrate costs.


Percent sugar- Sugarcane, $ gross ton
cane in diet 10 20

b Net returns ($) above feed
cost


Low concentrate price


Medium-low concentrate price

i4 124
L3 94
79 55
51 21

Medium-high concentrate price

)9 89
16 67
54 40
63 13


High concentrate price


a Production data taken from trial 2, Tables 5 and 6.

b
Purchase and selling prices of steers were figured at $70/cwt
($1.54/kg).







very favorable to using chopped sugarcane in diets fed to cattle
finished in the feedlot. It should be noted that the 77% sugar-
cane diet contained no corn, citrus pulp or molasses.


Table 15. Results of the economic analysis for two sugarcane diets
and two concentrate feed cost levels that would likely
occur in the tropics.a



Percent
sugarcane Concentrate feed cost
in diet Low High


--Net return ($) above feed cost--

20 19.58 -61.18

77 66.43 46.02


production data taken from feedlot trial 2, Tables 5 and 6.

Low concentrate costs were: corn, $4.84/bu ($0.19/kg); dried
citrus pulp, $160/ton ($176/mt); and cottonseed meal, $120/ton
($132/mt). High concentrate costs were: corn $6.72/bu ($0.26 kg);
dried citrus pulp, $240/ton ($264/mt); and cottonseed meal,
$200/ton ($220/mt).


Comparing Sugarcane and Cottonseed
Hulls in Growing-Finishing Diets

Because the apparent use of sugarcane in Florida is as a
roughage ingredient in high concentrate growing and finishing
diets, the study which compared sugarcane and cottonseed hulls
(Table 5 and 6) was subjected to an economic analysis. In this
comparison sugarcane and cottonseed hulls were priced at $20 and
$100/ton ($22 and $110/mt), respectively, on an as fed basis.
Feed prices were: corn meal, $100/ton ($110/mt); shelled corn,
$2.80/bu ($0.11/kg); dried citrus pulp, $135/ton ($149/mt);
cottonseed meal, $167/ton ($184/mt); cane molasses, $60/ton
($66/mt); urea, $230/ton ($253/mt); biophos, $350/ton ($385/mt);
mineral mix, $250/ton ($275/mt), and salt, $120/ton ($132/mt).
With the preceding cost structure, the economics of feeding
either sugarcane or cottonseed hulls was similar. During the grow-
ing phase, feed cost per unit of gain was $0.35/lb ($0.77/kg) for
steers fed sugarcane and $0.38/lb ($0.84/kg) for steers fed
cottonseed hulls. During the finishing phase, cost of gain was
$0.44/lb ($0.97/kg) and $0.41/lb ($0.90/kg), respectively, for
steers fed sugarcane and cottonseed hulls. Dry roughage feeds,
like cottonseed hulls, are usually expensive in Florida, and are









often more expensive than the cost used in the above example;
Therefore, sugarcane is an economically viable roughage source for
feeding Florida cattle.


Table 16. Net returns from steers fed sugarcane based diets
containing different levels of urea.


Feeding Percent N as urea in growing/finishing
diet
phase 0/0 25/20 50/40

------Net returns ($) above feed cost----

Growing 64.29 44.86 34.02

Finishing 5.41 15.60 17.62




Urea in Sugarcane Diets

Supplementation of sugarcane diets with expensive natural
protein ingredients could be prohibitive. To determine the
economic value of substituting urea for cottonseed meal, perform-
ance data for the feeding study presented in Tables 7 and 8 were
analyzed. Feed prices were the same as in the preceding section,
and the citrus pulp used was priced at $135/ton ($149/mt).
Net returns above feed cost showed that it was uneconomical
to feed urea during the growing phase, when urea had a negative
effect on animal performance (Table 16). During the finishing
phase, when urea feeding did not affect animal performance,
increasing levels of urea resulted in higher returns above feed
cost.


SUMMARY

Sugarcane offers several unique advantages over other field
crops as a forage for cattle in the tropical and subtropical
areas. It is adapted to environmental conditions and a technology
for its production exists in tropical and subtropical regions.
Sugarcane maintains a consistent quality for long periods as a
standing crop in the field.
For feeding purposes, a sugarcane variety should be selected
on basis of erect growth characteristics, high yield, and good
quality; if mechanical harvesting is planned. Agronomic practices
for growing sugarcane for forage would be similar to those used
when growing it for sugar production.
Feeding fresh chopped sugarcane to growing cattle will result
in a very predictable response related to the level of sugarcane
and concentrate in the diet. Chopped sugarcane is comparable to








other roughage sources, like cottonseed hulls, when fed in steer
fattening diets.
Urea can be used to supply crude protein in sugarcane diets,
but animal performance will be below that obtained with natural
protein ingredients. The performance of cattle fed sugarcane-
based diets containing urea can be improved by adding a starchy
concentrate ingredient, like cereal grains, to the diet.
When ensiled, sugarcane loses a significant percentage of its
energy value. However, sugarcane silage can be effectively used
as a roughage source in cattle fattening diets and as a winter
supplement for producing brood cows. Stockpiled sugarcane stalks
declined in in vitro organic matter digestiblity immediately after
harvesting, but thereafter retain their nutritive value for rela-
tively long periods, even when warm temperatures prevail.
Chopped sugarcane should be fed to grazing cattle only when
the availability of forage is very limited. Sugarcane, itself,
should be grazed only in emergency situations, and then only once
annually and in a manner to completely clean the grazing area
within one-week.
Current economics indicate that it is economically feasible
to feed diets containing large quantities of chopped sugarcane to
growing cattle in developing countries in the tropics. In Florida
it is economical to feed chopped or ensiled sugarcane as a rough-
age source in high-concentrate diets fed to cattle.









LITERATURE CITED


1. Alvarez, J., and F. M. Pate. 1984. An economic analysis of
sugarcane as a cattle feed: A microcomputer application.
Fla. Ext. Circ. (In press).

2. Bregger, T., and R. W. Kidder. 1959. Growing sugarcane for
forage. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Cir. S-117.

3. Chapman, H. L., Jr., and F. M. Peacock. 1978. Use of corn
silage produced in south Florida for feeding beef cattle.
Fla. Beef Cattle Res. Rpt.,Univ. Fla., IFAS, Anim. Sci.
Dept., pp. 68-71.

4. Creek, M. J., and H. A. Squire. 1976. Use of a slaughter
technique for technical and economic evaluation of sugar-
cane and maize silage based rations. Trop. Anim. Prod.,
1:56-65.

5. Freeman, K. C. 1968. Influence of row spacing on yield and
quality of sugarcane in Georgia. Agro. J. 60:424-425.

6. Gascho, G. J., and G. Kidder. 1979. Response to phosphorus
and potassium and fertilizer recommendations for sugar-
cane in south Flordia. Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bull. 809.

7. Haines, C. E., and F. leGrand. 1963. Supplementing winter
grazing with sugar cane. Sugar J. 47 (No.):47-48.

8. Halsey, L. A. 1976. A management guide to profitable sugar
production. Belle Glade, AREC, Res. Rep., EV-1976-8.

9. Irvine, J. E., and G. T. A. Benda. 1980. Sugarcane spacing
I. Historical and theoretical aspects. Proc. 17th
Congr. Int. Soc. Sugar Cane Technol., pp. 350-355.

10. Irvine, J. E., and G. T. A. Benda. 1980. Sugarcane spacing
II. Effects of spacing on the plant. Proc. 17th Congr.
Int. Soc. Sugar Cane Technol., pp. 357-367.

11. Irvine, J. E., C. A. Richard, D. D. Garrison, W. R. Jackson,
R. J. Matherne, C. Camp, and C. Carter. 1980. Sugarcane
spacing III. Development of production techniques for
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This public document was promulgated at an annual cost of
$2033 or a cost of 41o a copy to provide information on the
production and utilization of sugarcane as cattle feed.



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