Agricultural Research Center
Jay, Florida 32565-9524
JAY, ARC RESEARCH REPORT WF-83-5 July, 1983
COOL-SEASON ANNUAL PASTURES STUBBLE-SEEDED (NO-TILL DRILLED)
FOLLOWING EARLY SOYBEANS AND GRAZED BY GROWING BEEF STEERS
J. E. Bertrand and L. S. Dunavina
Growing beef steers of British breeding grazed a pasture mixture of rye,
ryegrass, and crimson clover seeded by different methods following early soybeans.
Steers grazing stubble-seeded (no-till drilled) pastures gained 1.60 lb. per head
daily for a 146-day period compared with 1.52 lb. per head daily for steers
grazing conventional-seeded (prepared seedbed) pastures. Because of the slightly
higher daily gain, steers grazing stubble-seeded pastures produced 20 lb. more
gain per acre (395 versus 375 Ib.). The cost of gain was slightly lower ($0.03/lb.)
for steers grazing stubble-seeded pastures. No-till drilling reduced the cost of
establishing cool-season pastures by reducing the use of land preparation equip-
ment and required less labor and fossil fuel.
Cool-season annual pastures work well in a double cropping system with early
soybeans in northwest Florida. Farmers are interested in initiating the grazing
of these pastures as early as possible in the fall. Also, savings in time, labor,
use of land preparation equipment, and fossil fuel are of primary concern.
Stubble-seedirng with a no-till drill eliminates the preparation (breaking and
disking) of a seedbed. Additionally, seeding without breaking the sod is beneficial
in the preservation of topsoil because of less erosion from wind and water.
aAnimal Scientist.and Associate Agronomist, respectively, Agricultural Research
Center,,Jay, Florida 32565-9524.
The purpose of this study was to compare the animal performance and economic
data with growing beef steers grazing cool-season annual pastures seeded on a
prepared seedbed versus those stubble-seeded (no-till drilled) immediately after
harvest of early soybeans.
Thirty-two lightweight (average 479 lb.) feeder steers of British breeding,
each treated with a 36 mg ear implant of zeranol, were utilized. Prior to
initiation of the trial, the steers were allotted at random from weight groups
into four experimental groups of eight steers each. Two groups (replicates) were
assigned to each of two pasture treatments.
The cool-season pastures consisted of a mixture of 'Wrens abruzzi' rye,
'Gulf' ryegrass, and 'Dixie' crimson clover. Each group of eight animals grazed
four 1.25 acre pasture plots in a rotational system as required for utilization of
good quality forage.
The conventional-seeded (prepared seedbed) pasture plots were planted on
October 29, 1981. First, the ryegrass and crimson clover seed were broadcasted on
the seedbed with a tractor-mounted spreader at the rates of 14.5 and 9 lb. per
acre, respectively. The rye was then seeded in row widths of 7 inches with a grain
drill at the rate of 90 lb. per acre. All plots were then cultipacked to conserve
The stubble-seeded (no-till drilled) pasture plots were planted on October
28, 1981. FirSt, the ryegrass and crimson clover were broadcasted as stated above
in the soybean stubble at the rates of 17 and 10 lb. per acre, respectively. The
rye was then seeded in row widths of 10 inches with a no-till drill at the rate of
90 lb. per acre. All plots were cultipacked to conserve moisture.
A complete fertilizer (8-24-24) was applied at the rate of 250 lb./acre prior
to planting. Three applications of 100 lb./acre each of ammonium nitrate were made
during the grazing season to all pastures.
Grazing began on December 15, 1981 and was terminated when the forage was
essentially depleted on May 10, 1982. Supplemental feed (corn silage and hay) was
fed for a period of 13 days (January 14-27, 1982) because of inclement weather
(sleet, ice, and snow) and poor forage growth.
Individual animal weights were recorded after an overnight shrink (fast from
feed and water) at the beginning and end of the trial period. Additional grazer
animals of the same type and size were added and removed as needed to keep the
forage uniformly grazed. A complete mineral mixture, plain salt, and clean drinking
water were available to the animals at all times.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Performance and economic data with steers on pasture are presented in table
1. During the 146-day grazing period, growing beef steers on stubble-seeded
(no-till drilled) pastures had an average daily gain of 1.60 lb. while steers
grazing conventional-seeded (prepared seedbed) pastures had an average daily
gain of 1.52 lb. Because of the slightly higher daily gain, steers grazing stubble-
seeded pastures produced 20 Ib. more gain per acre (395 versus 375 lb.). Animal
performance parameters were not significantly different between the two pasture
The cost of gain was slightly lower ($0.03/lb.) for steers grazing stubble-
seeded pastures when compared with that of steers grazing conventional-seeded
pastures. This was due to slightly higher gains .by steers grazing stubble-seeded
with a no-till drill eliminated the breaking and disking of soil necessary for
preparation of a seedbed and thus required less labor, land preparation equipment,
and fossil fuel.
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Table 1. PERFORMANCE AND ECONOMIC DATA WITH GROWING BEEF STEERS WHEN GRAZING
COOL-SEASON ANNUAL PASTURES SEEDED BY DIFFERENT METHODS (1981-82)a
Item seeded seeded
Initial no. of animals 16 16
Length of trial, days 146 146
Initial wt, lb. 480 477
Final wt, lb. 702 710
Gain/animal, lb. 222 233
Daily gain, lb. 1.52 1.60
Animal days/acred 247 247
Stocking rate/acred 1.69 1.69
Gain/acre, lb.e 375 395
Gain/acre/day, Ib.e 2.57 2.70
Advantage (cost/lb.gain) ------ $ 0.03
aRotational grazing of a mixture of rye, ryegrass, and crimson clover.
bSeeded on a prepared seedbed after harvest of early soybeans.
CStubble-seeded immediately after harvest of early soybeans with a no-till drill.
dAdditional grazer animals of the same type and size were added and removed as
needed to keep the forage uniformly consumed.
eThe gain with grazer steers was considered at the same rate as that with
fCost of pastture plus. supplemental corn silage and hay.