Everglades Station Mimeo Report 63-18 April, 1963
SUPPLEMENTS FOR FATTENING STEERS ON PASTURE a/
Herbert L. Chapman, Jr.
Factors affecting the choice of feed supplements to give steers on pasture
include kind of supplemental feed and pasture forage available, degree of special-
ization being followed, genetic potential, age and condition of the steers, physi-
cal facilities available and the relative price of feed and cattle. The infor-
mation reported herein will deal with.steer fattening programs on pasture.
Nutritional adequacy of permanent forage
The nutritional adequacy of permanent forages is affected by type of soil,
type of forage, fertilization program, degree of grazing, maturity of forage,
amount of rainfall and season of the year. For example, differences exist in
the chemical composition of pasture grasses on organic soils and mineral soils.
Generally, the crude protein of well-managed grass on organic soil will seldom
fall below 10 percent, on a dry matter basis. On mineral soils unless grasses
are provided heavy nitrogen application or planted with legumes the crude pro-
tein will more often be less than 10 percent and this will decrease sharply in
fall and winter months. Differences in mineral analyses also exist between
grasses grown on the two types of soils.
Differences exist in the productivity of grasses varieties, both on organic
and mineral soils. Also legumes have a different productivity. Grass-legume
mixtures on sandy soils generally will provide an increase in amount of avail-
able dry matter, crude protein and phosphorus per acre, than will grass alone.
Carrying capacity of permanent grasses is greatly reduced during fall and
winter months, both on organic and mineral soils. Changes in plant maturity
coincide with the fall and winter months and unless nitrogen application or
legumes are used on mineral soils the protein content of the grass will decrease,
fiber content will increase and total digestible nutrients will decrease. Unless
supplemental nitrogen is provided the protein content of permanent grasses.on
mineral soil should be considered nearly undigestible in the late fall and winter
months. Grass pastures on organic soils, if not severely damaged by cold, drouth
or excessive rainfall, will not have as large a change in chemical' composition
as those on mineral soils. However, carrying capacities will be 'reduced. 60 to
65 percent. Under extreme conditions protein and energy may both'be'li itiin
factors but generally it would appear that energy is the most important to con-
sider in a supplemental feed for cattle on organic soils.
SPrepared for presentation at 1963 Beef Cattle Short Course, University of
Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
The nutritive value of pasture forages is difficult to assess. Chemical
analyses of the forage can be used as an index. Another factor to consider is
the leaf-stem ratio. The digestibility of the forage is closely related to the
ratio of leaf to stem. More leaf than stem usually indicates a relatively high
digestibility. More stem than leaf usually indicates low digestibility.
Supplemental feeds to use
The type of production program followed will affect the supplemental
feeding program required. It is suggested that weanling steers in the 400 to
500 pound class not be on inventory more than 12 months and yearling steers
in the 600 pound class no more than 6 to 8 months. In order to produce 900
to 1000 pound steers on pasture, within this time period, it will be necessary
to feed 0.8 to 1.0 percent of the animals weight daily as supplemental feed.
The supplemental feed will increase gain, slaughter grade, dressing percent and
buyer acceptance. Some steers do not have the genetic ability to efficiently
utilize large amounts of feed, but can utilize pasture. Steers that are pre-
dominantly native and Brahman cross should probably not be given over 4 to 5
pounds of feed. This type of steer will not utilize feed efficiently and will
probably not move off of inventory within the time mentioned.
Protein supplements that can be used include cottonseed meal, soybean oil
meal, and linseed oil meal. Energy feeds available in Florida include dried
citrus pulp, blackstrap molasses, citrus molasses, corn, ground snapped corn
and sorghum grain. Other ingredients can be shipped in but consideration should
be given to the economics of utilizing the excellent feeds produced within the
state. It may be more economical to utilize a single ingredient or it may be
more desirable to use a combination of ingredients. This will depend upon the
adequacy of pasture forage, cost of feeds and whether feed additives are to be
administered. Results comparing various feeds are presented in Table 1.
The primary goal when feeding steers on pasture should be to utilize avail-
able pasture forage to the maximum and have the concentrate feed serve as a
supplement and not as a substitute. There are some general considerations that
can be used in determining the type of supplemental feeds to use.
Basically, if the crude protein content of available forage exceeds 10
percent on a dry matter basis the supplemental feed should be relatively high
in energy, with a maximum of 12 to 14 percent of crude protein. When the crude
protein is below 10 percent the crude protein content of the feed should be
increased, depending upon the level of protein in the forage and the amount of
supplemental feed provided. When fed at the level of 0.8 to 1.0 percent of body
weight the crude protein content should be 18 to 20 percent in feeds for steers
on permanent grass pasture on sandy soil during fall and winter months, if no
legumes or temporary pasture are provided. If legumes are provided a mixture
similar to that for organic soils may be used.
Table 1. Average weight change and carcass data for steers receiving
supplemental feeds on Roselawn St. Augustinegrass.
No Citrus Cane snapped Mixed
feed pulp molasses corn feed
Number of steers 8 8 "8 8 8
Final weight (lbs.) 839 931 875 914 923
Initial weight (Ibs.) 692 692 675 691 692
Total gain (Ibs.) 147 239 200 223 231
Daily gain (Ibs.) a/ 1.05 1.71 1.43 1.59 1.65
Intransit shrink () a/ 3.52 4.83 5.31 4.90 4.54
Cooler shrink (%) b/ 1.20 0.76 0.71 0.79 0.58
Dressing percent ( c) c/ 53.6 56.4 55.0 54.8 54.4
Change in grade (1/3) 1 2 2 1 1
Table 2. Average weight changes and carcass data receiving various levels of
concentrate intake on Roselawn St. Augustinegrass (summarized.from
Daily level of feed intake (Ibs.)
0 6.0 Full feed
Number of steers
Final weight (lbs.)
Initial weight (lbs.)
Total gain (Ibs.)
Average daily gain (Ibs.)
Intransit shrink (% a
Cooler shrink (%) b/
Final slaughter grade
Initial slaughter grade
Change of grade
Feed intake (Ibs.)
a/ Intransit shrink =
b/ Cooler shrink =
c/ Dressing percent =
Weight at experiment station weight at c~I1Ao gsose
Weight at experiment station x '
Warm carcass weight chilled carcass weight
Warm carcass weight
Warm carcass weight x 97.5 x 100
Weight at packinghouse
Table 3. Representative values for
pasture feeding programs.
major feed ingredients used in Florida
Dry Crude digestible
matter protein nutrients Ca P
Dried citrus pulp 90.0 6.3 74.9 2.04 0.15
Dried citrus meal 91.5 6.3 75.9 1.98 0.10
Corn, dent #2 85.0 8.7 80.1 0.02 0.27
Ground snapped corn 89.3 7.5 69.1 -
Cottonseed meal (41%)
a. Expeller process 92.9 41.6 71.7 0.20 1.11
b. Solvent process 91.5 41.1 63.3 1.19
Linseed meal (36%)
a. Expeller process 92.4 36.2 75.6 0.86
b. Solvent process 91.0 36.6 70.3 -
Molasses, blackstrap, grown
on muck soil 80.2 9.0 60.4 -
Molasses, citrus 70.4 4.1 53.6 1.08 0.08
Soybean oil meal
a. Expeller process 91.0 44.0 77.9 0.27 0.63
b. Solvent process 90.4 45.7 78.1 0.29 0.64
a/ Taken from Feeds and Feeding, 22nd edition by F. B. Morrison.
Table 4. Example of a few concentrate feeds that can be used in steer fattening
programs on pasture.
Ingredient 1 2 3 4 5 6
Ground snapped corn 45 30 85 40 30 80
Dried citrus pulp 40 30 40 25
Corn, #2 (Cracked, rolled or ground) 25 25
Cottonseed meal, (41%) a/ 15 15 15 18 18 18
Molasses (cane or citrus) b/
Urea-262 2 2 2
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100
a/ Soybean oil meal and cottonseed oil
meal can be used interchangeably in
b/ Molasses may be added up to 15 percent of ration, substituted for ground
snapped corn, dried citrus pulp, etc.
EES Mimeo 63-18