• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Commonly used methods and...
 The survey
 Costs and methods in the Pasco...
 Costs and methods in the Indian...
 Costs and methods in the DeSoto...
 Recent shifts in conditions affecting...
 Beef production required to meet...
 Summary
 Literature cited














Group Title: Bulletin - Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 600
Title: Costs of clearing land and establishing improved pastures in central Florida
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 Material Information
Title: Costs of clearing land and establishing improved pastures in central Florida
Series Title: Bulletin - Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 600
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Reuss, L. A.
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Publication Date: 1958
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Bibliographic ID: UF00027586
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
    Introduction
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Commonly used methods and equipment
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    The survey
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Costs and methods in the Pasco County area
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Costs and methods in the Indian River-St. Lucie area
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
    Costs and methods in the DeSoto County area
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    Recent shifts in conditions affecting land clearing and current cost rates for equipment
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Beef production required to meet development costs
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
    Summary
        Page 39
    Literature cited
        Page 40
Full Text



August 1958


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS
J. R. BECKENBACH, Director
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing

Improved Pastures in Central Florida


L. A. REUSS
Department of Agricultural Economics
Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations
Gainesville, Florida
in cooperation with
Farm Economics Research Division
Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture


Fig. 1.-Clearing and preparing hammock land for improved pasture, using
crawler-type tractor equipped with top guards, rake and chopper.


Bulletin 600











CONTENTS
Page

INTRODUCTION ..-.. .........- ----- ... --------- ------ ---------- 3
Commonly Used Methods and Equipment ---.....-.......----------.---------- 5
The Survey ..........-.. -----........------------- 8
COSTS AND METHODS IN THE PASCO COUNTY AREA -......---...---------------------- 10
Land Clearing .........-------............ ...------ ----------- 12
Land (Seedbed) Preparation ---..-.......... ---------------- .13
Liming and Fertilizing --...........-..-.-... --..- .-------- 17
Seeding and Planting ....................-- ----- ----------- 19
Total Per-Acre Costs ............... ------ -------- ------------------ 20
COSTS AND METHODS IN THE INDIAN RIVER ST. LUCIE AREA ...............--... 21
COSTS AND METHODS IN THE DESOTO COUNTY AREA ..........--- ---.------------ 28
RECENT SHIFTS IN CONDITIONS AFFECTING LAND CLEARING AND
CURRENT COST RATES FOR EQUIPMENT ......-...--.---.-----------. 31
The Pasco County Area ..........-......--. ..-.. --..- ----- 31
The Indian River St. Lucie Area ................ -.. ..----.--.--.. 32
The DeSoto County Area ..............-----.......-- ------..... 34
BEEF PRODUCTION REQUIRED TO MEET DEVELOPMENT COSTS ...................----- ... 35
SUMMARY .-...............---------- ------ --------- 39
LITERATURE CITED ........... .....--- ---------- -- ---------- 40









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Many ranchers and agricultural officials in central Florida contributed
information for this project. County Agricultural Agents J. F. Higgins
(Pasco County), the late Marcel Boudet (Indian River County), Charles
D. Kime (St. Lucie County) and W. L. Woods (DeSoto County) gave
valuable assistance in arranging field interviews.
Special acknowledgment is made to Dr. R. E. L. Greene, Department of
Agricultural Economics, University of Florida, for participation in project
planning and field investigations.
Dr. H. G. Hamilton, Head, Department of Agricultural Economics, Uni-
versity of Florida, and Mr. H. H. Wooten, Farm Economics Research
Division, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture,
gave valuable guidance and direction to the project.
Photographs in Figures 1, 2, 6 and 11 are used by courtesy of the
Florida Agricultural Extension Service; those in Figures 3, 5, 12 and
14-16 are by courtesy of the Soil Conservation Service; and those in Figures
8-10 and 13 are by the author.








Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing

Improved Pastures in Central Florida'

By L. A. REUSS

INTRODUCTION
The area of improved pastures in Florida has been estimated
at 11/ to 21/2 million acres. Much of this pasture was developed
from 1942 to 1952 when prices of beef cattle and calves were
at record high levels. When beef prices declined from late 1951
to mid-1953, the rate of pasture development lessened. In the
period 1954-56 beef prices were relatively stable at a level be-
tween those of the prewar and war periods, and additions to
the area of improved pastures were modest.
By early 1957 lands were being cleared mainly for citrus
groves, truck crops and subdivisions. Practically the only land
being cleared for immediate use for improved pastures was on
large ranches where the operators owned land-clearing equip-
ment and had labor available in slack periods. Of course, it is
expected that some of the land being cleared for truck crops in
1957 will be converted to improved pastures in a year or so,
but part will stand idle and part will be used for groves, building
sites and other uses.
The outlook for pasture development depends greatly upon
the expected levels of beef prices and production costs. Some
expansion in improved pastures should result from the follow-
ing conditions: (1) On some ranches, land-clearing operations
serve as a means of utilizing labor and equipment during slack
work periods; (2) there may be some tax advantage in making
investments in land and breeding stock as a result of capital
gains provisions of tax laws and regulations; (3) the costs of
carrying land, principally interest but also real estate taxes,
may exert pressure on owners to use land more efficiently; and
some of the new land cleared each year for watermelons, to-
matoes and other vegetables will go into improved pastures.
With beef prices more satisfactory now than they have been

1 Information concerning research on other aspects of pastures is avail-
able in publications of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station and
from other sources.
Italic figures in parentheses refer to selected publications listed in
Literature Cited, Page 40. Items (1) and (2) contain general recommenda-
tions concerning pastures in Florida.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


since about 1951, additional pasture development is to be ex-
pected. More especially, new pastures may be developed by
ranchers who are striving for the premium prices associated
with production of the better grades of beef animals.
Most of the improved pasture in central Florida was de-
veloped from native rangeland that was covered with pine,
palmetto, wiregrass and associated trees and plants (Figs. 2
and 3). Large areas were prepared and seeded to carpetgrass
in the early days of the Agricultural Conservation Program;
others were cleared and used for melons, tomatoes and other
vegetables or legume seed crops, and then put into improved
pastures. A small acreage was developed from old cropland
that had been left idle for several years. On some sites trees,
stumps and palmetto had been largely removed and little clear-
ing was required(3). On others such heavy equipment as bull-
dozers and stumpers was needed. On many ranches sites with
few trees and stumps were cleared first. Improvement of addi-
tional acreages for pasture on these ranches will probably in-
volve difficult and costly clearing operations on the more densely
covered sites.
Information on costs of clearing land and establishing im-
proved pastures is valuable to ranchers and others considering
making an investment in pasture by either developing pastures
or buying land that has already been developed. Cost data are
most useful when related to such things as (1) land cover, (2)

Fig. 2.-Native range pasture in cut-over area of northern Florida.






Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


number and type of operations performed and (3) quantities
of inputs of labor and materials. With such information avail-
able, ranchers and other prospective investors can compare the
general characteristics and requirements of their sites with the
recorded experience of others.


Fig. 3.-Undeveloped pasture in poorly drained soil in southern Florida.
COMMONLY USED METHODS AND EQUIPMENT
During the 10 to 15 year period before Pangolagrass and
Pensacola Bahia came into general use in Florida about 1945,
thousands of acres were disked or chopped and planted to carpet-
grass without using a bulldozer or stumper to remove stumps
and without removing the palmetto roots. Few of these pas-
tures were comparable in quality to those developed a little later
when new varieties of grass were available and more emphasis
was placed upon killing native vegetation and upon thoroughly
preparing a seedbed. Also, shortly after 1945 machinery, equip-
ment and materials, in scarce supply during World War II, be-
came generally available throughout central Florida. A number
of servicemen returned to the area after war-time training and







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Rolling Chopper or Cutter


Undercutter
(Pull-tool with V-plane blade


Detachable Stumper Movable Bandsaw
Fig. 4.-Sketches of land-clearing equipment.


Fig. 5.-Clearing land for vegetables to be followed by permanent pasture
grasses in Glades County.






Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


experience in machine shop work and in the clearing of sites
for landing strips and airfields. In central Florida they acquired,
developed and operated equipment for clearing land for pasture
and other civilian purposes.
After about 1945 wooded sites were usually cleared by using
a crawler-type tractor equipped with a bulldozer blade (Figs. 4
and 5). Trees and shrubs were "pushed" (over), "piled" (shoved
into windows or piles) and then burned. Usually these three
steps in the land-clearing operation were performed by a custom-
operator at a contract price. On heavily wooded sites sometimes
the windows had to be repiled and returned. Usually little hand
labor was needed for picking up roots and helping with the fires.
But on some sites, usually those with medium to light cover
of trees and moderate to heavy undergrowth, extra workers
were used to pick up roots and branches. Old stumps were
usually pushed with a bulldozer blade or a stumper attachment
(Fig. 6). Undercutting plows and motor graders with V-plane
blade were used on palmetto land which was free of stumps
and trees.
After "bulldozing" or "stumping," the lands were customarily
worked with light equipment to prepare a seedbed. Usually the
land was disked one or more times. Ranchers used one or more
of these types of equipment: choppers, plows, harrows, drags
and cultipackers. For the wooded sites a distinction is made


Fig. 6.-Stumper attachment in use, Clay County.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


insofar as possible in reporting the costs of those operations
primarily concerned with "land clearing" and those primarily
concerned with "land (seedbed) preparation." However, land-
clearing operations contribute to the working of the soil and
thus assist in seedbed preparation.2
The same types of equipment used for seedbed preparation
after bulldozing or stumping were used on sites where removal
of trees and stumps was not a problem. Such sites included
land previously cleared for crops or pastures, prairies and
marshes. However, heavy disks, choppers and plows were rela-
tively more important on these sites, and light disks, harrows,
drags and cultipackers were relatively more important follow-
ing the bulldozer or stumper. Also, on sites that had not bene-
fited from the use of heavy land-clearing equipment, operations
such as disking were usually repeated one or more times.

THE SURVEY
For purposes of this survey, 77 ranchers in three areas of
central Florida were visited, and records were obtained from
59 of them (Table 1 and Fig. 7). Most of the ranch records
related to costs of clearing land and establishing improved pas-
tures from the fall of 1951 to the fall of 1953. Many operators
prefer to clear land in stages, to permit a better kill of native
plants. This also allows the operator to schedule operations
during times when other work is slack. However, some loss
of use of grazing land usually is involved, which represents a
cost that is often overlooked.
Interviews with ranchers disclosed wide variety in number,
kind and sequence of operations involved in clearing land and
establishing improved pastures. Insofar as possible, estimates
were kept separate for (1) land clearing, (2) seedbed prepara-
tion, (3) soil amendments and (4) planting and seeding oper-
ations. Cost estimates reflected custom rates for the areas
studied rather than detailed cost data for the operation of home-
owned equipment. Estimates of rates of accomplishment in
terms of acres per day or hours per acre, and estimates of costs
for single operations or for groups of operations were made in
accordance with experience of the reporting ranchers.

SIn a study in northeastern Florida(4,5), costs were related to the type
of operation, size of tractor and hourly rental charge for the equipped
tractor, as follows: Land clearing with D-8 Caterpillar tractor @ $15
per hour; seedbed preparation with D-4 tractor @ $10.50 per hour; and
fertilizing and seeding with wheel-type farm tractor @ $2.20 per hour.






Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


Fig. 7.-Shaded areas are e
the ones included in this -
Sstudy.


Ranchers to be interviewed were suggested by the County
Agents in the counties selected for study. Some ranchers had
had no recent land-clearing experience and some were unable
to give adequate information concerning costs, but usable in-
formation was obtained concerning some phases of clearing land
and establishing pastures in 1951-53 on 59 ranches of varying
sizes and characteristics. Detailed reports of pasture-improve-
ment methods and costs covered 6,840 acres in three areas.
In the spring of 1957 custom land developers and agricul-
tural officials were again interviewed in central Florida. Thirty-
three individuals were interviewed, including four to six agri-
cultural officials and four to six custom land developers in each
of the three study areas. Information was obtained about
1956-57 conditions affecting land clearing, recent changes in
extent of land clearing, currently proposed uses for newly cleared
lands, shifts in type of equipment and trends in hourly custom
rates for land-clearing equipment.
In this report, each survey area is discussed separately in
order to relate costs and methods directly to a description of







10 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

land and cover. Results of the detailed survey of ranchers,
custom land developers and agricultural officials in each area
in 1952-53 are presented first. This discussion is followed by
a report of the shifts in conditions and current hourly custom
rates indicated by the reconnaissance survey of 1957. The data
concerning costs of land development are then related to the
beef yields required to meet development costs for land con-
verted from native rangeland to improved pasture.

TABLE 1.-RANCHES VISITED AND RANCHERS REPORTING METHODS AND
COSTS OF CLEARING, PREPARING LAND AND ESTABLISHING IMPROVED PAS-
TURE, BY AREAS, CENTRAL FLORIDA, 1952-53.
Area II
(Indian
Item Area I River Area III Totals
(Pasco) and St. (DeSoto)
Lucie)
Ranches Visited

1. Number of ranches ........ 28 30 19 77
Acres Acres Acres Acres
2. Area operated ...........-- 111,300 104,700 36,800 252,800
3. Area in improved
pastures -.......- .....----...- 16,000 21,200 7,000 44,200

Ranchers Reporting Methods and Costs

1. Number of ranchers ...... 26 20 13 59
Acres Acres Acres Acres
2. Area operated -........... 99,600 40,500 26,900 167,000
3. Area in improved
pastures ..--.----..- ............. 15,100 6,400 6,200 27,700
4. Area covered by pasture
improvement reports ... 4,316 1,850 674 6,840


COSTS AND METHODS IN THE PASCO COUNTY AREA

Twenty-eight ranches and other beef-producing units were
visited in the Pasco County area in 1952-53. These contained
a total of more than 111,000 acres; they varied from pasture
tracts containing less than 100 acres to full-fledged ranches,
some containing more than 18,000 acres. Approximately 16,000
acres, or 14 percent of all land on the ranches, was in improved
pastures.







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


Information was obtained on earlier use of more than 14,000
acres of improved pastures (Table 2). More than two-thirds
had been converted directly from native range to improved
pastures. Much of the rest was native range that had been
cleared and used for crops before pasture grasses were estab-
lished. This land was divided about equally between land that
had been used for watermelons only and land that had been
cleared and used for watermelons and then for a legume seed
crop, usually Alyce clover.
The use of the land just prior to the establishing of improved
pastures is emphasized because of its bearing on clearing and
land-preparation costs chargeable to the new pastures, and on
the cost of fertilizer. Watermelon producers normally bear the
cost of clearing the land. Seedbed preparation for pasture is
made easier by the use for watermelons and the soils usually
contain residual fertilizer which aids the new pasture plants.
As will be shown later, this may make a difference in cost borne
by the rancher of $10 to $50 or more per acre, depending on the
density of cover and the difficulty of clearing sites chosen for
production of watermelons.

TABLE 2.-IMMEDIATE PRIOR USE OF LAND IN IMPROVED PASTURE, RANCHES
REPORTING, PASCO COUNTY AREA, 1952.
Ranches*
Prior Use of Land Reporting Area
Number Acres Percent
Native rangeland ...................... 20 9,732 68
Alyce clover for seed** .-...... 4 2,045 1
W atermelons .............................. 5 2,023 29
Vegetables .................................. 1 70
Old cropland (idle) .................. 4 370
Carpetgrass ........... .......-. ........ 1 40 3

Totals ...... .......... ................ 23 14,280 100

Many reports covered more than one pasture site and more than one prior use of land.
** Nearly all of this land was used for watermelons just before it was seeded to Alyce
clover.

Ranchers in this area have been able to help defray the costs
of clearing in other ways also. An industrial firm in the area
uses "lighter" stumps as raw materials, and under favorable
conditions ranchers who own cutover lands may sell stumps for
cash or obtain their removal without charge. Then too, from
1952 to 1956, the demand for such forest products as pulpwood
stumpage has increased.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


LAND CLEARING
The pasture-improvement reports contained information con-
cerning methods of clearing and establishing approximately
4,300 acres of improved pasture from 1951 to 1953 in the Pasco
County area. On 59 percent of this land, removal of trees and
stumps or both was necessary and bulldozers were used to push
and pile the growth. Power saws were used in the clearing
operations on only 1 percent of the land reported. On 24 per-
cent of the land, removal of trees and stumps was not a major
problem and light equipment such as plows, choppers and disks
were used in the land-clearing operations. The remaining 16
percent was cleared by other methods that were not well estab-
lished in the area, such as pulling trees using a tractor and
cable, or "chaining"-using two tractors with connecting chain
to drag the trees and plants into windows.

TABLE 3.-LAND CLEARING COSTS AND RATES OF ACCOMPLISHMENT BY
COVER DENSITY CLASSES, RANCHES REPORTING USE OF BULLDOZERS TO
CLEAR WOODED SITES, PASCO COUNTY AREA, 1952.*

Generalized Area Cost per Acre Acres Cleared
Cover- Re- Per 10-Hour Day
Density ported 1 Ex- Aver- Lower Upper
Classes Averages [ tremes ages Limit Limit
Acres Dollars Dollars Acres Acres Acres
Heavy ............ 245 59 21-75 2.2 1.5 5.5
Medium ........ 540 26 15-40 4.0 2.5 7.7
Light .............. 675 18 14-30 6.3 3.3 8.4
All 16 sites .. 1,460** 28 14-75 4.1 1.5 8.4

Based on contract cost rates paid by ranchers reporting.
** In addition, bulldozers were used on 1.100 acres after "lighter" stumps had been
removed at no cost to the ranchers.

Reported costs for clearing wooded areas with bulldozers
in 1952 averaged $28 per acre and ranged from $14 to $75
(Table 3). An average of 4.1 acres was cleared per day. Aver-
age costs on reporting ranches reflected light to medium density
of cover on many of the sites. On 245 acres where trees were
more numerous and possibly larger than average, costs in 1952
averaged $59 per acre, almost three times as much as on all
other sites. Nevertheless, the highest costs reported by ranchers
were below the highest costs reported by custom land-developers
in the area (Table 4). This difference is attributed to the fact







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


that the ranchers reported on sites cleared only for improved
pasture, whereas custom land-developers' reports included "ham-
mock" lands which, in some instances, contain large live oak
trees (Fig. 8). Study of aerial photographs indicates that such
"hammock" lands tend to be located on the ridge near estab-
lished citrus groves and are likely to be planted to citrus trees
after clearing rather than used for improved pastures.

TABLE 4.-CUSTOM LAND-CLEARING COSTS AND RATES REPORTED IN THE
PASCO COUNTY AREA, 1952.*


Equipment Land
Used Type


lldozer** ...... Black-jack
Flatwoods
Hammock
bumper ........ Flatwoods
io tractors
and chain .... Black-jack


Percent of Cost
Dollars Attributed to:
per Acre Pushing
or Piling Burn-
Stumping ing
10-25 and up 50 25 25
10-67 50 25 25
50-125 34 33 33
50 50 25 25

5-25


Based on interviews with custom-land developers in the Pasco County area.
** Based on use of a YD-7 tractor at $10 per hour.
t Based on use of two D-7 tractors and chain at $25 per hour.
$This method had not had widespread use or acceptance by 1952 and custom rates
were not firmly established.
Not available.

LAND (SEEDBED) PREPARATION
As has been stated, the same types of equipment used for
seedbed preparation after bulldozing or stumping were also used
on sites where removal of trees or stumps was not a major prob-
lem. On sites where bulldozers were used, operators usually
followed the bulldozer with light tillage equipment such as har-
rows, light disks, drags or cultipackers. When operators did
not use bulldozers or stumpers for a particular site they tended
to use heavy equipment including choppers, plows and heavy
disks. Disking was the operation most likely to be 'repeated on
the same land from one to several times.
There was a very wide range in rates of accomplishment
for the various operations designed to prepare an adequate seed-
bed (Table 5). Differences in land and cover conditions are
probably responsible for much of this spread. Plows, disks and
choppers were used on sites covered with brush as well as on


Bu


St
Tw







14 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

those covered with native grasses and weeds. Size of tractor
and size of equipment also affected rate of accomplishment.

TABLE 5.-RATES OF ACCOMPLISHMENT OF LAND (SEEDBED) PREPARATION
FOR IMPROVED PASTURES ON RANCHES REPORTING, PASCO COUNTY AREA, 1952.


I Total
Operation Reported*

Acres

Plowing .................. 682
Disking ...................... 2,691
Chopping ............. 535
Harrowing ............. 289
Dragging ............. 835
Packing ....-............- 1,104
Rolling .................. 300


Accomplishment per 10-Hour Day


Lower
Average Limit
Acres Acres
9-10 3
15 9
22-23 10
25-26 20
19-20 18
35-36 5
10 -


Fig. 8.-Clearing undergrowth of brush on hammock land in
St. Johns County.





La i


* Areas covered one or more times with indicated equipment.
** Only one ranch reporting.


Upper
Limit
Acres
25
40
30
30
30
60







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


Ordinarily, when the size of the tractor is kept in balance with
the size of equipment and both are fitted to job needs, the acres
covered per day in a given operation may be expected to increase
with the size of the tractor-equipment unit. Although daily
costs of the larger units (tractor plus equipment) will likely be
higher than for smaller units for a given operation, per-acre
costs will likely be lower for the larger equipment.

TABLE 6.-CALCULATION OF AVERAGE PER ACRE COST OF LAND (SEEDBED)
PREPARATION FOR IMPROVED PASTURES ON RANCHES REPORTING, PASCO
COUNTY AREA, 1952.


Operation


1. Costs on 2,560 acres af
bulldozing or stumping:


Chopping ..........
Plowing ........
Disking-heavy
Disking-light
Harrowing ....--.
Dragging ..........
Packing ..........
Rolling ...............


Total cost ....


Average per acre cost .


2. Costs on 1,019 acres not
bulldozed or stumped:


Chopping .......................-...
Plowing ......... ..... .
Disking-heavy ...............
Disking-light ..................
Harrowing ...................
Dragging ........... ..............
Packing ........................
Rolling ..........- ........ .........


Total cost ...................

Average per acre cost ..........


Area
Covered
by Each
Operation
Acres



110
182
2,340t
3,041t
455
1,160
490t
300









545t
500
1,304t
1,018t
289
lOOt
704t
0


C
p


ost Rate Calculated
er Acre* Total
Cost**
Dollars Dollars



2.00 200
4.00 700
3.00 7,000
2.50 7,600
1.00 500
1.00 1,200
1.00 500
1.00 300


18,000

7.00




2.00 1,100
4.00 2,000
3.00 3,900
2.50 2,500
1.00 300
1.00 100
1.00 700
1.00 0


10,600

10.00


Based on custom rates reported in the area. Cost rates will vary somewhat with
land conditions and size of power unit and equipment.
** Items in total cost have been rounded to the nearest hundred dollars, average-per-
acre costs to the nearest dollar.
t Operation was performed more than once on some sites.


ter



z..... \


I~







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


For purposes of this study, it was considered that there was
no standard set of operations performed in the process of land
(seedbed) preparation in 1952. The general magnitude of land-
preparation costs per acre was established by applying custom
cost rates per acre to the various operations performed on the
ranches reporting (Table 6). In general terms, each of the
leveling operations (harrowing, dragging, packing and rolling)
averaged about $1 per acre, and the cost of all disking was
approximately $6 per acre. The heavy operations of chopping
and plowing amounted to almost $3 per acre more where a bull-

TABLE 7.-SOIL AMENDMENTS FOR NEW PASTURE STANDS, THEIR EXTENT,
AVERAGE RATES OF APPLICATION AND TYPES, RANCHES REPORTING, PASCO
COUNTY AREA, 1952.*

Area Reported
Area that Had Been
Used for:
Item Total Native
Range Old Water-
Cropland, melons,
Semi- Vege-
Improved tables,
Pasture Clover

Percent Percent Percent
Applications of soil amendments:
Fertilizers ..--...---.............................. 58 72 18
Mixed fertilizers** .............. (54) (66) (18)
Fertilizer materials** -.......... (13) (17) ( 0)
Lime materials .......................... --64 67 54
Crushed limestone ............. (52) (52) (52)
Limestone screenings ............ ( 5) ( 6) ( 0)
Dolomite ...------ -......-- ...-....---- ..- (7) ( 9) (2)

Not fertilized nor limed ............ 19 11 43
Pounds Pounds Pounds
per Acre per Acre per Acre
Rates of application:
Mixed fertilizers ....--.....--..--...... 414 422 342
Crushed limestone ................. 1,905 1,960 1,744
Limestone screenings --............ 4,000 4,000 0
Dolomite ............................-- .... --- 3,793 3,889 2,000
Percent Percent Percent
Average ratio of mixed fertilizers:
Nitrogen .-....-.---- ..........-----. 5.2 5.1 6.0
Phosphorus (P ) -----------................ 8.5 8.6 7.7
Potassium (K20) ...............--- 6.7 6.7 6.0

Based on reports covering 3,219 acres or 75 percent of the 4,316 acres included in
all pasture-improvement reports.
** Some tracts received both mixed fertilizers and fertilizer materials.







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


dozer or stumper had not been used than where such equipment
had been used. Thus, on sites bulldozed or stumped, the calcu-
lated costs of land (seedbed) preparation averaged about $7
per acre, whereas on sites not bulldozed or stumped they averaged
about $10 per acre.

TABLE 8.-CALCULATION OF AVERAGE PER ACRE COST OF SOIL AMENDMENTS
FOR IMPROVED PASTURE STANDS, RANCHES REPORTING, PASCO COUNTY
AREA, 1952.

Per Costs
Inputs Area Acre
Quan- Per Per
titles Ton Acre

Percent Acres Pounds Dollars Dollars
A. Soil amendments on
1,252 acres that had
been used for melons,
vegetables, or clover:*
Limestone and
spreading .....-....... 52 651 1,744 7.25 6.32
Dolomite and
spreading ............. 2 25 2,000 9.10 9.10
Mixed fertilizers
and spreading ..... 18 225 342 42.00 7.18
Average ................... 1,252 4.76
B. Soil amendments on
3,064 acres that had
been used as native
range, old cropland or
semi-improved pasture:
Limestone and
spreading .............. 52 1,593 1,960 7.25 7.10
Dolomite and
spreading .............. 9 276 3,889 9.10 17.70
Sreenings and
spreading .............. 6 184 4,000 1.89 3.78
Mixed fertilizers
and spreading ...... 66 2,022 422 42.00 8.86
Fertilizer materials
and spreading ...... 17 521 200 68.00 6.80
Average ............... 3,064 12.52
C. Summary:
Average for 4,316
acres reporting .. 4,316 10.27

Twenty-nine percent of land in improvement reports, see Table 2.

LIMING AND FERTILIZING
As has been indicated, ranchers believe that land that has
been used for watermelons or vegetables contains unexhausted
lime and fertilizer. In the Pasco County area reporting ranch-
ers used fertilizer on only 18 percent of such land at or near the








Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


time the pasture grasses were seeded or planted, compared with
their use of fertilizer on 72 percent of land on which there had
been no preceding crop of melons or vegetables (Table 7). Also,
they limed a smaller proportion of the land following melons or
vegetables, although the difference was relatively small com-
pared with the difference in area on which fertilizer was applied.
Rates of application of fertilizers and lime were substantially
lower following melons or vegetables. The difference per acre
covered averaged approximately 80 pounds of mixed fertilizer
and 216 pounds of crushed limestone.
These differences in application of soil amendments both in
area covered and in rates of application, together with differ-
ences in types of materials, result in a substantial difference in
calculated average cost per acre. The calculated average cost
per acre of soil amendments on land that had been used for
melons or vegetables was less than 40 percent of the calculated
$12.52 per acre of sites which had been in native rangeland, old
cropland or semi-improved pastureland (Table 8).

TABLE 9.-CALCULATION OF AVERAGE PER ACRE COST OF ESTABLISHING
PLANTS FOR IMPROVED PASTURES, PASCO COUNTY AREA, 1952.


Inputs


Establ
2,74
Se
Se
In
Se


Establ
1,57
P
Sc

Si
In
Sc


fishing plants on
1 acres seeded:
eed, grass ................
eed, legume ...........
Inoculation ......
feeding and packing.

Totals .....................

fishing plants on
5 acres planted:
lant materials ..........
scattering and cover-
ing ....--.- -----
eed, legume .............
inoculation .........
feeding and packing .

Totals -...---


Area


Percent Acres

100 2.741
65 1,796
65 1,796
100 2,741

2,741


1,575

1,575
205
205
205

1,575


Per
Acre
Quan-
tities

Pounds

11.9
8.9


-



625 **

5.7


Costs


Per
Unit

Dollars

0.561b
0.381b


Per
Acre

Dollars

6.66
3.38
0.20
2.00*

11.01


32.50T. 10.16**

5.83t
0.381b 2.17
0.20
2.00*

16.55


Custom rate reported in the area.
** Based on reports of two operators who purchased plant materials. Most operators
produce plant materials in their own nursery. Application and cost rates may vary con-
siderably depending upon local conditions.
t Includes items as follows: man labor, $2.50; truck, $0.83; and light disking, $2.50.







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures 19

SEEDING AND PLANTING
In the Pasco County area the calculated cost of seed and of
seeding and packing was only about two-thirds the cost of pur-
chasing or producing, scattering and covering plant materials
(Table 9). The acreage of Pensacola Bahia and other grasses
propagated from seed substantially exceeded the acreage of
Pangola and other grasses started from stolons. The records
show that seeded stands tend to include legumes, usually Hairy
indigo or Alyce clover, as well as grasses. When sites were
planted with vegetative materials, legumes were used less, top

TABLE 10.-SUMMARY OF PER ACRE AVERAGE COSTS OF CLEARING LAND AND
ESTABLISHING GRASSES FOR NEW IMPROVED PASTURE STANDS, RANCHES
REPORTING, PASCO COUNTY AREA, 1952.*

Clearing land and preparing seedbed on sites where bulldozers or
stumpers were used in the land clearing process:
Clearing land:
Heavy cover ....---.---. -- ------------........................-$... $ 59
Medium cover ----- -..----- __ ..........------------------ 26
Light cover --- ......-- ..................----------------------------- 18
Preparing seedbed ...................... ---.-..........--....................... 7
Clearing land and preparing seedbed on sites where plows, disks,
choppers and similar type equipment was used rather than
bulldozers and stum pers** .................. .......... ......... ............... ....... 10
Establishing plants:
Grasses seeded ....... ......... .............-----....-- ........... .......... 11
Grasses planted ----........... -------- ................. .... 17
Soil amendments:
Following watermelons, vegetables or Alyce clover ...................... 5
Following unimproved or semi-improved pasture or idle
cropland .....----.. ---................-----... ..--.. ------------..................... -- 12
SUMMARY-All operations and materials, where grasses were
seeded :
Where the immediate prior land use was for unimproved or semi-
improved pasture or idle cropland:
Bulldozer or stumper used in clearing lands:
Heavy cover ---............-----... ...................... ...-.........-.... 89
M edium cover ...---.......---.--- --..-.------......... ..... .......................... 56
Light cover .........4... .... .......-------...... ---.. ....................... 48
Bulldozer or stumper not used in clearing land ......................... 33
Where the immediate prior land use was for watermelons, vege-
tables or Alyce clovers ................... ..----...-------...... --...... -.. ... 23

Operational costs are based on contract and custom rates reported by ranchers and
custom developers.
** On sites where a bulldozer or stumper was not used, the operations of chopping,
plowing and disking serve some land clearing purposes as well as the purposes of seedbed
preparation.
tAdd $6 per acre where grasses were planted rather than seeded.
$ In this instance land clearing costs are borne by the producer of the preceding crop
as also are a portion of the costs of lime and fertilizers.






Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


seeding was a more common practice, and rates of seeding tended
to be lower.
TOTAL PER-ACRE COSTS
Calculated costs per acre in 1952 for clearing land, preparing
the seedbed, adding soil amendments and seeding forage plants
ranged from $33 to $89, depending largely upon the density of
cover of trees and plants which had to be eradicated (Table 10).
As indicated, the sites cleared in 1952 on the ranches surveyed
tended to have plant cover of light density, and therefore per-
acre costs of establishing pasture tended toward the medium
level. Having land cleared, limed and fertilized by producers of
watermelons, vegetables or Alyce clover may have reduced costs
to ranchers in some cases, as would the sale of lighter stumps
and pulpwood (Fig. 9).

Fig. 9.-Loading "lighter" stumps for shipment to processing plants.






Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


COSTS AND METHODS IN THE INDIAN
RIVER ST. LUCIE AREA
Thirty ranches or other beef-producing units were visited in
this area in 1953. These contained a total of nearly 105,000
acres and varied in size from tracts of less than 100 acres to
ranches containing 32,000 acres. Approximately 21,000 acres,
or 20 percent of all land, was in improved pastures. Pasture
improvement reports were obtained on 20 ranches containing
a total of 40,500 acres. The reports covered 1,850 acres out
of 6,400 acres of improved pasture on the reporting ranches
(Table 1).

TABLE 11.-IMMEDIATE PRIOR USE OF LAND IN IMPROVED PASTURES,
RANCHES REPORTING, INDIAN RIVER ST. LUCIE AREA, 1952-53.

Prior Use of Land Ranches Area
Reporting
Number Acres Percent
Native range ................ ............... 15 2,082 24
Vegetables ................-................... 16 4,185 48
Vegetables followed by native,
carpet or Bermuda grasses .... 7 2,383 28

Totals ................................. 8,650* 100

Excludes 12,575 acres not fully reported.

The Indian River-St. Lucie area is an important tomato and
vegetable producing district, and this fact influences the type
of pasture developed. There are substantial areas of marsh-
land suitable for clearing, ditching and diking for the growing
of vegetables. The producers of tomatoes, after a year or so
on one site, customarily seek new land which is disease free.
They leave behind them developed lands, well fertilized and
suitable for pasture. Under these soil, moisture and fertility
conditions, carpet, Bermuda and native grasses tend to volun-
teer and produce forage superior in quantity and quality to that
produced by the land before cultivation. And, of course, the
lands abandoned for tomato culture are suitable for immediate
seeding or sprigging to grasses of the most highly improved
varieties. Nearly half the improved pasture acreage included
in the reports of prior land use had been in vegetables imme-







22 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

TABLE 12.-CUSTOM LAND CLEARING COSTS AND RATES REPORTED IN THE
INDIAN RIVER -ST. LUCIE AREA, 1952-53.*
Estimated
Operation and Land Equipment Used Cost Cost
Type per Hour per Acre
1. Land clearing: Dollars Dollars
a. Hammock, dense
cover, usually
cleared for citrus *** 100-125

b. Pine and palmetto Tractor with blade,
land, usually rake or stumper:
cleared for to- Tractor size D-6 10
matoes or im- Tractor size D-7 12 Avg. 30-35
proved pastures Tractor size D-8 15
Tractor size AC-20 20

c. Palmetto Heavy tandem disk ** Avg. 10
Undercutter 16t 10-16t

2. Ditching and diking Dragline 12-15 cu. yds. $
Based on interviews with custom land developers in the Indian River County area.
** Not specified.
t Variable depending upon power unit required.
: Variable depending upon drainage situation and intended use. Ranch reports indi-
cate costs of from $5 to $25 per acre.

Fig. 10.-Motor grader with V-plane blade, used for clearing
palmetto-covered land.


__l__i __






Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


diately before the development of improved pastures. An addi-
tional 28 percent had been in vegetables and then in carpet,
Bermuda and other grasses; and only 24 percent had been con-
verted directly from native range to improved pastures (Table
11). As a result of this situation, survey reports of costs and
methods were incomplete on many ranches visited because the
ranchers did not have the land-clearing cost records.
The existence of marshlands and the accompanying scarcity
of tree growth in the Indian River-St. Lucie area are reflected
in the costs and rates reported by custom land developers
(Table 12). The operations of ditching and diking are im-
portant on marshlands; undercutting plows are used on sand-
land covered with palmettos and a few pine trees (Figs. 4, 10
and 11).
Operations and costs of clearing and preparing the land were
reported in various combinations by the ranchers interviewed.

Fig. 11.-Experimental equipment for under-cutting palmetto and
brush, Clay County, 1952.












'D D7-
,a~4PS~E4~LB T R







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Seven ranchers reported use of a bulldozer on a total of 658
acres, at a cost ranging from $10 to $50 an acre. Average cost
of clearing was about $35 per acre, as compared with $9 per
acre on 355 acres of "stumped" land and $8 per acre on land
that was disked (Table 13). Three reports of the cost of stump-
ing alone showed a range from $3 to $6 per acre (Table 14).
Land preparation operations reported in the area were limited
to plowing and disking. Maintenance operations included mow-
ing and chopping (Table 15). Cost of soil amendments in this
area averaged about $9 per acre, seeding $8 per acre and plant-

TABLE 13.-CALCULATION OF AVERAGE PER ACRE COST OF LAND CLEARING
AND PREPARATION FOR IMPROVED PASTURES ON RANCHES REPORTING,
INDIAN RIVER ST. LUCIE AREA, 1952-53.


Operations
(Grouped as Reported)



1. Costs on 845 acres where bull-
dozers were used:
Bulldozing only ...................
Heavy disking only ....................-
Light disking only ....... ..-...-
Bulldozed and disked 2-ways -.....
Bulldozed, plowed, disked 2-ways


Sub-Total ....---............................
Other tracts .......--.................

Totals ............ ...... .

2. Costs on 355 acres where
stumper or blade was used
to push stumps:
Stumping only .......................
Additional picking-up roots,
piling and burning ............
Plowing .................. .............
Disking, 2-times ....................

T otals ... ........... ........-

3. Costs on 650 acres where neither
bulldozers nor stumpers were
used:
Heavy disking, 2 times ............
Heavy disking, 1 time ......--.......
Light disking, 1 time .... -------..


Area
Covered
(Grouped as
Reported)

Acres

228
(28)
(28)
170
260

658
187


Cost Rate
per Acre
Covered

Dollars

37.94
5.00*
2.50t
11.47
48.08

35.43**


845


355 4.28

(35) 5.71
(195) 4.00
(160) 5.00

355 9.30



150 10.00
390 5.00
595 2.50

650 7.60


Total
Cost


Dollars

8,650
140**
72**
1,950
12,500

23,312






1,520
200
780
800

3,300



1,500
1,950
1,488

4,938


Totals ............ ............
Based on reports from another ranch.
** Calculated from data in other columns.
t Estimated at 50% of cost of heavy disking.
f Costs not reported separately.


I







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


TABLE 14.-ARRAY OF PER ACRE LAND CLEARING COSTS AND ASSOCIATED
DATA, RANCHES REPORTING COSTS FOR 1952-53 OPERATIONS, INDIAN
RIVER ST. LUCIE AREA.


Per Acre Land
Clearing Costs


Dollars

1. Ranches reporting use of
bulldozer to push and
pile tree and plant
growth:
50.00
46.75
40.00
39.29
37.50
36.25
9.69

2. Ranches reporting use of
stumper or blade to push
stumps (stumping cost
only):
5.62
3.25
2.88**


Not available.
** Additional costs included plowing
burning at $5.75 per acre.


Area
Reported


Acres




100
10
80
28
160
120
160




160
160
35


Cost
per Hour


Dollars




20.00
12.00
12.00
12.50
*

7.75




*
10.00
7.50


at $5.00 per acre and


Accomplish-
ment per
10-Hour Day

Acres




4.4
3.0
3.0
3.2
*
*
6.4





31
26


picking-up, piling and


TABLE 15.-RATES OF ACCOMPLISHMENT AND PER ACRE COSTS OF LAND
PREPARATION AND MAINTENANCE OPERATIONS FOR IMPROVED PASTURES ON
RANCHES REPORTING, INDIAN RIVER ST. LUCIE AREA, 1952-53.


Operations*




Plowing ......-...

Heavy Disking

Light Disking

Chopping ........

Mowing ..........


Performance I
i,,, 1


Area
Re-
ported
Acres

160

488

293

2,025

3,831


Per 10u-H
Aver-
age
Acres

10

8

18

20

11.5


our J ay Area
S Re-
Range ported
Acres Acres

135

5-10 100

12-22

10-25 -

10-25 -


Cost

Average
per
Acre**
Dollars

4.00t

5.00


Calcu-
lated
Cost per
Hour
Dollars

4.00

4.00


* No reports for harrowing, dragging and packing.
** Custom rate reported in area unless otherwise indicated.
t Calculated average based on $4.00 per hour and 10 acres plowed per 10-hour day.


I







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


ing $10 per acre (Table 16). The cost of soil amendments
relates mainly to land converted from native range to improved
pasture.

TABLE 16.-CALCULATION OF AVERAGE PER ACRE COST OF SOIL AMENDMENTS,
SEEDING AND PLANTING NEW IMPROVED PASTURE STANDS ON RANCHES
REPORTING, INDIAN RIVER ST. LUCIE AREA, 1952-53.


Input



A. Soil amendments
on 1,690 acres in-
cluded in improve-
ment reports:

Limestone and
spreading .......
Dolomite and
spreading ....-...
Mixed fertilizers
and spreading
Rock phosphate
and spreading

Totals .............

B. Establishing
plants on 298
acres using seed:

Seed, Grass ........
Seeding and
packing ..... ..

Totals ................. I


C. Establishing
plants on 1,392
acres using vege-
tative material ...

Plant materials ...
Scattering and
covering .....-....


Area
Covered

Acres





343

300

733

160

1,690





298

298

298


1,392

1,392


Totals ... ...--..-. 1,392
*Data not reported in this area.
supplied.


Total
Quantities
Used


S140 ton

160 ton





3,874 bs.

3,874 lbs.


92 loads


Calculated Cost
Per Average
Acre Total for All
Covered Acres
Dollars Dollars Dollars





11.58 3,971

8.22 2,467 -

9.31 6,824 -

12.00 1,920 -

15,182 8.98


6.50

1.75*

- I


1,937

522

2,459


3,789

10,189


13,978 10.04
Average of reports in Pasco and DeSoto Counties


Indicated total costs of improved pasture in the Indian River-
St. Lucie area range from $25 to $55 per acre (Table 17). Thus,
reported development costs averaged substantially lower on re-
porting ranches in this area than in the Pasco County area.


I I I







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures 27

However, where drainage was a problem, additional inputs were
required for diking and ditching in the Indian River-St. Lucie
area.

TABLE 17.-SUMMARY OF PER ACRE AVERAGE INSTALLATION COSTS FOR
NEW IMPROVED PASTURE STANDS, RANCHES REPORTING, INDIAN RIVER-
ST. LUCIE AREA, 1952-53.*


Dollars

Clearing land and preparing seedbed:
Using bulldozer for clearing ................. .......-- ... ....... 35.43
Using stumper or blade to push stumps ................-.............. 9.30
Using disks for clearing ................... ............... 7.60

Soil amendments ..........- -- ...................... .................. 8 98

Establishing plants, planted sites .................-....... ....... ....... 10.04
Establishing plants, seeded sites ...................... ................. 8.25

All operations and materials:
Bulldozed and planted ..................... ..... ...................... 54.45
Bulldozed and seeded ...............- ..... ....- ... .................... 52.66
Stumped and planted ............. ...................................... 28.32
Stumped and seeded .........-- ..--.- ....-....... ...... ..... ... .... .. 26.53
Disked and planted ........ ............................... 26.A2
Disked and seeded ......... ........ ......... ................... 24.83

Operational costs are based on contract and custom rates reported by ranchers and
custom developers.

Fig. 12.-Palmetto flats after clearing, plants piled and ready for
burning in Glades County.










4-.


." .. .:- ;- .1~~,




..- .. -.









9 Am.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


COSTS AND METHODS IN THE DeSOTO COUNTY AREA

The 19 ranches visited in the DeSoto County area in 1953
contained about 36,800 acres, including 7,000 acres of improved
pasture. As in the other areas studied, there was a wide range
in size of tract or ranch, in this instance from less than 100 to
more than 12,000 acres. Reports concerning methods and costs
of developing pasture covered 674 acres, on 13 ranches contain-
ing 6,200 acres of improved pasture and a total of 26,900 acres
(Table 1).

TABLE 18.-CUSTOM LAND CLEARING AND PREPARATION COSTS AND RATES
REPORTED IN THE DESOTO COUNTY AREA, 1952-53.*


Equipment
Used



Bulldozer and
heavy disk

Plow, motor
grader and
light disk

Plow


Land Type




Hammock -
Flatwoods ..--.....

Prairie .... ......---


Cut-over flatwoods
without stumps


Do

A


llars
per
cre



)-60
1-30

'-12



6


Percent of Cost
Attributed to
Pushing Piling Disking
or and or
Stump- Burn- Plow-
ing ing ing

20 35 45
40 40 20

0 0 100


0


Based on interviews with custom land developers in the DeSoto County area.
Reports included use of D-7 and TD-18 equipment at $12 per hour and D-8 equipment at
$15 per hour.

TABLE 19.-ARRAY OF LAND CLEARING AND PREPARATION COSTS PER ACRE,
SITES CLEARED WITH BULLDOZER ON REPORTING RANCHES, DESOTO COUNTY
AREA, 1951-53.


Per Acre Cost

Dollars

67
60
41
40
28
28
26
26
15
Total acres
Average per acre cost


Area Reported

Acres

75
10
12
28
60
20
40
100
25







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


TABLE 20.-CALCULATION OF AVERAGE PER ACRE COST OF LAND CLEARING,
SEEDBED PREPARATION, SOIL AMENDMENTS AND ESTABLISHING PLANTS FOR
IMPROVED PASTURES, RANCHES REPORTING, DESOTO COUNTY AREA, 1951-53.


Input




1. Costs of land clear-
ing and prepara-
tion:

a. Where bulldozers
were used ............
b. Where bulldozers
were not used ....
Plowing ............
Disking .........


Totals .............

2. Costs of soil amend-
ments and their
application:

a. Dolomite ..............
b. Limestone ............
c. Commercial
fertilizers ............
d. Other ....................


Totals ..............

3. Costs of seed, seed-
ing and packing:

a. Grass seeds .......-
b. Legume seeds ...
c. Seeding and
packing ................


Area
Covered

Acres





370


292
330


304





390
163

413
20


674




112
12

112


Totals ................. 112

4. Cost of plant
materials and
planting:


a. Plant materials ..
b. Scattering and
covering .......


Totals ............
Not available.


562

562


562


Total
Quanti-
ties
Used


380.5 T.
173.0 T.

80.0 T.
4.0 T.







1,613 lbs.
180 lbs.


Calculated Cost
Per Average
Acre Total for All
Covered Acres
Dollars Dollars Dollars





36.45 13,486 36.45


6.00 1,752 -
4.00 1,320 -


3,072 10.11





7.73 3,014 -
8.96 1,460 -

9.03 3,728
3.00 60


8,262 12.26


7.20
2.25

1.42


992




5.00 2,810

9.00 5,058


7,868


8.86









14.00







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


On the ranches visited in this area, the acreage improved
in 1952 was less than half that improved during either 1950 or
1951, thus accounting for the relatively small acreage included
in the reports of methods and costs.
DeSoto County contains large areas of flatwoods land on
which the principal plant growth is wiregrass, palmetto and
scattered sapling pine (Fig. 12). Costs per acre for custom
clearing of land were lower than in the Pasco County area where
lands were heavily timbered. Clearing and land preparation
with a bulldozer and heavy disk cost $40 to $60 per acre for
hammock lands and $20 to $30 per acre for flatwoods, according
to reports from custom land developers in 1953 (Table 18). The
cost of bulldozing was about the same for both these types, but
the costs of piling and burning were estimated to be nearly twice
as high on hammock land as on flatwoods, and the costs of
disking and plowing were more than twice as high. On prairie
areas, use of plow, motor grader and light disk cost $7 to $12
per acre. Plowing of cutover land without stumps cost $6
per acre.
Per-acre cost of land clearing and preparation shows ex-
tremes of $15 and $67, with an average of $36 per acre in
1952-53 (Table 19).

TABLE 21.-SUMMARY OF PER ACRE AVERAGE INSTALLATION COSTS FOR NEW
IMPROVED PASTURE STANDS, RANCHES REPORTING, DESOTO COUNTY AREA,
1951-53.*
Sites Where Sites Where
Input Bulldozer Was Bulldozer Was
Used Not Used

Dollars Dollars
Land clearing and seedbed preparation .... 36.45 10.11
Soil amendments ---.............. ... ............ 12.26 12.26
Establishing plants
Seeded sites ...............-.. .... .......... 8.86 8.86
Planted sites ...........-- ......-................ 14.00 14.00
Totals
Seeded sites .-....... ...... ............ 57.57 31.23
Planted sites -...... .- ......... 62.71 36.37

Operational costs are based on contract and custom rates reported by ranches and
custom developers.

On ranches visited in this area nearly 95 percent of the land,
including 10 percent in carpetgrass, was converted directly from






Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


native rangeland to improved pastures. Use of land for water-
melons and vegetables prior to improved pastures was relatively
unimportant. Despite these facts, only 55 percent of the land
was developed with bulldozer equipment. The remainder, which
was developed with plows and disks, was cleared and prepared
at an average cost of $10 per acre (Table 20). The average for
both types of equipment was slightly less than $25 per acre.
Cost of soil amendments averaged better than $12 per acre;
seed and seeding came to about $9; and plants and planting
amounted to $14 per acre (Table 20).
When all listed costs were summarized, costs of establishing
pastures on bulldozed sites averaged about $60 per acre and
costs on other sites averaged about $34 per acre (Table 21).

RECENT SHIFTS IN CONDITIONS AFFECTING LAND
CLEARING AND CURRENT COST RATES FOR EQUIPMENT

From 1952 to 1957 returns from citrus groves, especially
from production of oranges, were high and groveland values
were on the increase. Much capital was attracted into grove
development (Fig. 13). New houses, new subdivisions and ex-
panding commercial and industrial uses of land increased after
1952, especially in coastal areas.
During this period the emphasis in land clearing shifted
away from clearing for improved pastures and toward clearing
for citrus groves and subdivisions. A small amount of land
was cleared and converted directly into improved pastures each
year, however. In addition, enough land was cleared each year
to satisfy the need for new disease-free sites for production of
tomatoes and watermelons, and some of this land and land cleared
for other vegetables later went into improved pastures.

THE PASCO COUNTY AREA
From 1952 to 1957, emphasis in land clearing in the Pasco
County area shifted from improved pastures to citrus. Custom
developers were extending edges and clearing up corners of
existing groves and preparing land for groves in new citrus
areas in 1957. Enlarging the citrus acreage in the older estab-
lished citrus ridge area often meant clearing up hammock lands
with heavy stands of hardwoods. New citrus areas included
some sandy ridgelands lightly covered with small oak trees and
some flatwoods previously cleared for vegetables or pasture.







32 Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations

Most of the flatwoods land intended for improved pastures was
cleared by producers of watermelons. Some ranchers who had
not maintained their pastures from 1952 to 1957 were restoring
them and ranchers were interested in developing seepage irri-
gation and establishing clover pastures (Fig. 14). With the
decline in price of seed, Alyce clover was being used for hay.
But the active demand for land for citrus tended to encourage
ranchers to sell off part of their land holdings and to discourage
them from developing new pastures on land that might soon be
wanted for citrus production.
Hourly custom rates for land-clearing equipment tended up-
ward from 1952 to 1957. The usual rate for equipment powered
by units such as D-7 and TD-24 tractors rose from $10 to $11
per hour (Table 22). The differential in hourly cost between
small and large power units appeared greater. Draglines for
drainage work were more in use than in 1951-52.

THE INDIAN RIVER-ST. LUCIE AREA
By 1957 clearing of land for subdivisions and related urban
uses tended to overshadow land development for agriculture in

Fig. 13.-Repiling and returning on land intended for citrus groves
in central Florida.



















; .'. .



V -
. 3 .'* .... -- '
.-; :. ;; -, v ',- ,: r : ^ -







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


the Indian River-St. Lucie area. However, some acreages were
being cleared for citrus groves. Clearing for tomatoes and other
truck crops appeared to be on the decline, with a consequent
lessening in the development of improved pastures. Ditching

TABLE 22.-HOURLY CUSTOM RATES FOR EQUIPMENT FOR LAND CLEARING
AND LAND IMPROVEMENT, PASCO COUNTY AREA, 1951-52 AND 1956-57.*


Equipment


Tractors
D-6; TD-18 ...
D-7; TD-24 .....
D-8 ........--....
D -9 ...............

Dragline
% -yard .........-...
1-yard .........--....


1951-52**
Extremes
Dollars

9.00-12.50
... 10.00-15.00


1956-
Usual Extremes
Dollars I Dollars


10.00
10.00
10.00


11.00-12.00


Land clearing units include tractor and equipment such as dozer blade, stumper
or rake.
** Based on reports from ranchers and custom land developers.
t Based on reports from one or more well established custom land developers in
the area.

Fig. 14.-Drainage and irrigation system on pasture in Highlands County.


57t
Usual
Dollars

10.00
11.00
20.00
25.00


12.00
1 18.00







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


and diking operations by dragline and bedding by "land graders"
increased in importance from 1952-53 to 1957.3 Much of the
sandlands along the coast was already developed or held for
use for groves or residential or commercial uses. New land
development increasingly tended to be located on sites requiring
installation of drainage facilities.
Per-acre costs of clearing land as indicated by custom rates
per hour increased moderately from 1952 to 1957 (Table 23).
Of more importance was the input required for drainage of sites
being developed in 1957. Although both the size and spacing
of ditches and dikes vary considerably, ditching and diking costs
of $250 per quarter-mile, or $25 to $40 per acre are reported,
depending upon width and height of beds.

TABLE 23.-HOURLY CUSTOM RATES FOR EQUIPMENT FOR LAND CLEARING
AND LAND IMPROVEMENT, INDIAN RIVER -ST. LUCIE AREA, 1952-53 AND
1956-57.*


Equipment

Tractors
D-4 .-..............-
D-6 .................
D-7 ................-
D -8 .....................
AC-20 ...............
Draglines
-yard ..............
%-yard ..............
1-yard ................
"Land grader" .....
Undercutter ............


1952-53**
Extremes
Dollars


10.00-12.00
12.00-15.00


8.00-10.00


-


Usual
Dollars

10.00

20.00


* Land clearing units include tractor and equipment


1956-57t
Extremes Usual
Dollars Dollars
8.00- 9.00 -
10.00-11.50 10.00
12.00-14.50 12.00
14.00-17.50 15.00


9.00
11.00-14.00 -
14.00-17.00 -
12.00
14.00

such as dozer blade, stumper


or rake.
** Based on reports from ranchers and custom land developers.
t Based on reports from one or more well established custom land developers in
the area.
THE DeSOTO COUNTY AREA

During the period of study the annual acreage of water-
melons grown in the DeSoto County area increased in most
years. Much of this acreage, which amounted to 1,100 acres
in 1955-56 in DeSoto County alone, found its way into improved
pastures. Only a little improved pasture was being developed
directly from native rangelands in 1956-57.

3 The term "land grader" as used here refers to two and four-wheeled
equipment with angled blade used for work such as the grading of roads
and the leveling, terracing and bedding of land.







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


TABLE 24.-HOURLY CUSTOM RATES FOR EQUIPMENT FOR LAND CLEARING
AND LAND IMPROVEMENT, DESOTO COUNTY AREA, 1952-53 AND 1956-57.*

Equipment 1952-53** I 1956-57t
IExtremes Usual I Extremes Usual
Dollars Dollars Dollars Dollars
Tractors
TD-14 .................. 10.00
TD-18 -........ .. 10.00-12.00 10.00-15.00 -
D-7 .................... 10.00-12.00 12.00-15.00 -
D-8 ....---..........--- .. 15.00 15.00
Motor grader with
V-plane blade .... 10.00-15.00 12.00
Land clearing units include tractor and equipment such as dozer blade, stumper
or rake
** Based on reports from ranchers and custom land developers.
t Based on reports from one or more well established custom land developers in
the area.

During the study period the acreage cleared for citrus pro-
duction increased also. Another development was the marketing
of lighter stumps when found in sufficient quantities, making
their removal from cutover lands an important activity of cus-
tom developers of land.
With large expanses of prairie and palmetto land in the
area, increased attention was being given in 1956-57 to the use
of undercutting plows followed by a heavy disk. After scat-
tered sapling pine or lighter stumps or both were removed, a
motor grader with V-plane blade covered two to three acres per
hour at a cost of approximately $3 to $8 per acre.
The upper limit of hourly custom rates for standard land-
clearing equipment in this area increased by $2 to $3 per hour
during the period studied (Table 24).

BEEF PRODUCTION REQUIRED TO MEET
DEVELOPMENT COSTS

The records reported here for the 1951-53 period, supple-
mented by interviews in 1957, indicate that per-acre average
costs of developing improved pastures ranged from approxi-
mately $30 to approximately 850 per acre in areas generally
having light stands of trees and stumps. Costs in areas some-
what more densely covered with trees averaged $50 to $60 per
acre. In this generalization the sites studied in Indian River,
St. Lucie and DeSoto Counties are considered to be lightly
stocked. The sites studied in Pasco County are considered to
be moderately stocked. In all areas there were some densely
wooded sites for which costs approached $100 per acre.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


Clearing land and establishing improved pastures is one
method of obtaining a larger volume of business on the farm
or ranch. The profitability of developing pastures in any area
depends on the relationship between added costs and added
returns. The added net return, of course, will differ with each
set of physical and economic conditions as they affect ranch
costs and returns. Improved pastures are most likely to pay
off when (1) established on soils with favorable moisture condi-
tions, (2) used for good grades of cattle and (3) used to extend
the grazing season.
Available estimates indicate that increases in inventory of
$40 to $150 per acre may be expected when native rangelands
are converted to improved pastures. The initial costs of clear-
ing land and installing improved pastures may be equaled or
exceeded by the added investment in livestock (Table 25).
With improved pastures, annual interest charges on land
and livestock rise, as do annual costs of soil amendments and
labor. Increases in per-acre annual operating charges of from
$18 to $38 per acre may be anticipated under conditions found
in many parts of central Florida (Table 26).


Fig. 15.-Pangolagrass-clover pasture in southern Florida.






Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures 37

TABLE 25.-ESTIMATED PER ACRE INVENTORY VALUES AND INDICATED
CHANGE WHEN NATIVE RANGELAND IS CONVERTED TO IMPROVED PASTURE,
BASED ON RECORDS OBTAINED IN 1952, 1953 AND 1957.

Item Native Improved
Rangeland Pasture
Dollars Dollars
1. Original investment in land ............... 20 to 40 20 to 40
2. Land clearing and pasture improvement 0 30 to 60
3. Livestock inventory ....................... ...... 3 to 10 40 to 65
4. Building, fences, machinery, equipment 2 to 5 5 to 10
Totals ... ............................... ........ 25 to 55 95 to 175

Change, extreme limits -................ +$40 to +$150 per acre


Production increases required to break even vary directly
with annual costs and inversely with the per-pound price of beef
(Table 27). Factors that make for efficient production responses
make for profitable use of improved pastures. As has been
stated, favorable soil moisture conditions, livestock of good
quality and a prolonged grazing season are important factors
(Figs. 15 and 16). With favorable conditions, production in-
creases of 150 pounds per acre should be readily attainable; this
is a larger increase in yield of beef than is required for economic
feasibility under 14 of the cost-product price combinations shown


Fig. 16.-Pensacola Bahiagrass pasture.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


TABLE 26.-ESTIMATED PER ACRE ANNUAL COSTS AND INDICATED CHANGE
WHEN NATIVE RANGELAND IS CONVERTED TO IMPROVED PASTURES, BASED
ON RECORDS OBTAINED IN 1952, 1953 AND 1957.


Item




1. Land charges, total .....................
a. Interest on investment in
real estate* .........................
b. Taxes on real estate ....---

2. Fertilizer and limestone .......

3. Interest on investment in
livestock* ......... .....-..

4. Other .... .....................

5. T otals .. ................


Native
Rangeland

Dollars

1.10 to 2.20

(1.00 to 2.00)
(0.10 to 0.20)

0


Improved
Pasture

Dollars

2.80 to 5.70

(2.50 to 5.00)
(0.30 to 0.70)

10.00 to 15.00**


0.15 to 0.50 2.00 to 3

0.75 to 3.30 9.20 to 1

2.00 to 6.001 24.00 to 4


.25

6.05

0.00


Change, extreme limits ......... +$18.00 to +$38.00 per acre
Interest at 5 percent per annum.
** Includes $1 to $2 for limestone and $13 to $14 for fertilizer.
t Includes: Labor, feed, gas, oil, repairs, veterinary and interest on working capital.
$ Based on $60 annual cost per cow, 10 to 30 acres of native rangeland or 11/o to 21
acres of improved pasture per cow.


TABLE 27.-PER-ACRE PRODUCTION INCREASES REQUIRED TO EQUAL ADDED
PRODUCTION COSTS ACCOMPANYING CONVERSION OF NATIVE RANGELAND
TO IMPROVED PASTURES BASED ON RECORDS OBTAINED IN 1952, 1953 AND
1957. (BEEF AT VARIOUS PRICES AND ADDED PRODUCTION COSTS AT
VARIOUS LEVELS.)*


Per Pound Price of Beef

I 150 18

ease per Acre Required to

120 100

147 122

173 144

200 i 167

227 189

253 211


214 24<

Break Even

86 75

105 92

124 108

143 125

162 142

181 158


Per-acre costs will vary among ranches due to factors such as soil productivity, size
of ranch and level of management. Furthermore, costs will likely change on a given
ranch as added conversion takes place.


Added
per Acre
Annual
Cost

Dollars

18.00

22.00

26.00

30.00

34.00

38.00


120

Incre

150

183

217

250

283

317


Pounds

200

244

289

333

378

422


I


I







Costs of Clearing Land and Establishing Pastures


in Table 27. Again, with production conditions sufficiently
favorable to permit a 200 pound increase in yield of beef, con-
version of native rangelands to improved pastures should prove
economically sound even though development costs are rela-
tively high and prices of beef are relatively low. High develop-
ment costs, unfavorable production conditions or low prices for
beef will reduce substantially the chances of increasing net
returns.
SUMMARY
Development of improved pastures in Florida was stimulated
especially during the period 1942 to 1952 by factors such as
high prices for beef cattle, new findings in agricultural research,
better equipment, improved grasses and government incentive
payments. After cattle prices declined, emphasis shifted (1952
to 1957) to clearing land for citrus groves and vegetable pro-
duction and for subdivisions and other non-agricultural uses.
The future rate of expansion of improved pastures depends
greatly upon the expected levels of beef prices and ranch oper-
ation costs. The cost of developing improved pastures is an
important factor in total costs and in the outlook for the beef
industry. Factors that make for efficient production response
make for profitable use of improved pastures. Low land-develop-
ment costs, favorable operating conditions and satisfactory beef
prices are conditions which will substantially enhance the
chances of increasing net returns to ranchers from clearing
land and installing improved pastures.
Total costs per acre for clearing land, preparing the seed-
bed, adding soil amendments and seeding forage plants depend
largely upon the density of cover of trees and plants that must
be eradicated and also upon the amount of drainage work re-
quired. Per-acre costs calculated from records for 1951-53, a
period of rapid pasture development, are as follows: $33 to $89
in the Pasco County area; $25 to $55 in the Indian River-St.
Lucie area; and $31 to $63 in the DeSoto County area.
The sites studied in the Pasco County area were moderately
stocked with trees and stumps; the sites in the other areas
were lightly stocked. Drainage is important in the Indian River-
St. Lucie area. The DeSoto County area contains much palmetto
land susceptible to clearing by use of an undercutting plow at
modest per-acre cost.
Per-acre costs of clearing comparable land for pastures in-
creased approximately 15 percent from 1952-53 to 1956-57.







Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations


This was largely due to higher prices for equipment, repairs,
fuel and labor. However, custom operators, many of whom are
presently clearing land for groves and subdivisions, have better
types of equipment and more experienced machine operators
than they had during the period of rapid expansion of pasture-
lands. In general, the clearing of cites for groves, vegetables
and subdivisions that is now going on is more difficult than
earlier clearing for pastures, because the sites now being cleared
are generally more rolling in topography, more densely covered
with trees or more in need of drainage.
Available ranch records indicate that increases in per-acre
inventory value of $40 to $150 may be expected currently when
native rangeland is converted to improved pastures under con-
ditions found in many parts of central Florida. The investments
in land and livestock increase, as also do annual operating
charges for items such as fertilizer and labor. Per-acre annual
operating charges may increase as much as $18 to $38 per acre.
Production increases in terms of pounds of beef per acre required
to break even vary directly with annual costs and inversely with
the per pound price of beef animals. Unfavorable production
conditions, high development costs or low beef prices will sub-
stantially reduce the chance of increased net returns from im-
proved pasture. The continued expansion of vegetable produc-
tion onto new lands, suitable thereafter for conversion to im-
proved pastures at nominal added cost, is a highly favorable
factor in the outlook for pastures in Florida.

LITERATURE CITED
1. BLASER, R. E., W. E. STOKES, J. D. WARNER, G. E. RITCHEY and G. B.
KILLINGER. Pastures for Florida. Univ. of Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta.
Bul. 409. 1945.
2. HODGES, E. M., D. W. JONES and W. G. KIRK. Grass Pastures in Central
Florida. Univ. of Fla. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 484. 1951.
3. JONES, D. W., E. M. HODGES and W. G. KIRK. Costs and Methods of
Pasture Establishment and Maintenance. Univ. of Fla. Agr. Exp.
Sta. Cir. S-33. 1951.
4. The Clay County Land Clearing Demonstration-Cost Report. The
Fleco Corporation, Jacksonville, Fla. 1952.
5. Land Preparation for Reforestation. The Fleco Corporation, Jackson-
ville, Fla. 1954.




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