• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Copyright
 Introduction
 Stockpiled grass
 Hay
 Silage
 Cool season forages
 Other winter feed sources
 Summary






Group Title: Research report - Bradenton Agricultural Research & Education Center - GC1979-18
Title: Quality winter feed for beef cattle in central and south Florida (grazing, hay and silage)
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00067729/00001
 Material Information
Title: Quality winter feed for beef cattle in central and south Florida (grazing, hay and silage)
Series Title: Bradenton AREC research report
Physical Description: 6 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Chambliss, C. G ( Carrol Gene )
Agricultural Research & Education Center (Bradenton, Fla.)
Publisher: Agricultural Research & Education Center, IFAS, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Bradenton Fla
Publication Date: 1979
 Subjects
Subject: Cattle -- Feeding and feeds -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Grasses -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Forage plants -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: C.G. Chambliss.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: "December 1979."
Funding: Florida Historical Agriculture and Rural Life
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00067729
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Marston Science Library, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Holding Location: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Engineering and Industrial Experiment Station; Institute for Food and Agricultural Services (IFAS), University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: oclc - 73146669

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Introduction
        Page 1
    Stockpiled grass
        Page 2
    Hay
        Page 3
    Silage
        Page 4
    Cool season forages
        Page 5
    Other winter feed sources
        Page 6
    Summary
        Page 6
Full Text





HISTORIC NOTE


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
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(EDIS)

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.






Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida





`-6364) AGRICULTURAL R SEARCH & EDUCAtION CENTEk
CGS IFAS, hversity of Florida
Bradehtbn, Florida

Bradenton AREC Research Report GC1979-18 December 1979
QUALITY WINTER FEED FOR BEEF CATTLE IN CENTRAL AND SOUTH FLORIDA
(GRAZING, HAY AND SILAGE)
.. C.G. Chambliss

In central and sOuth Florida the growth of warm season perennial grasses slows
considerably during the cool's easinJTherefore, during the cool season other sources
of nutrition are needed. Several sources available for winter feed are:
b --*-.
1) Grazing stockpiled-or-peseQredgrkss.!
2) Feeding hay.
3) Feeding silage or haylage.
4) Grazing cool season forages such as ryegrass, oats, rye, white clover, red
clover, sweet clover or a combination of grass and clover.
5) Feeding other sources of energy from concentrates such as molasses, citrus
pulp, or grain (corn) along with various sources of protein.
One of the primary factors to consider when using any type of feed, especially
forage, is its quality. In the following discussion of the various sources of
winter feed the descriptive term "quality" is used several times. The terms "high
quality" or "low quality" in a general way describe the nutritional value of a feed
or forage for ruminant animals. Further explanation of the forage quality concept
may be in order. It can be broken down into two parts digestibility and intake.
Digestibility refers to the portion of a feed that an animal can use for its
own energy needs, for milk production, development of a fetus, and for other
productive functions. In simple terms, 'if an animal eats 50 pounds of dry hay
and eliminates 25 pounds as feces, then the animal was able to use only 25 pounds
of that particular hay. Thus, the hay was 50% digestible or contained 50%
digestible dry matter (DDM). The DDM among hays will vary considerably.
One common trait of all forages is that as they increase in age their
digestibility decreases. Leaf blades or stems that are two weeks old may be
70% digestible (high quality) whereas those that are 6 to 8 weeks of age may only
be 50 to 60% digestible (lower quality).
Intake is also associated with forage quality. Intake refers to the amount
of feed an animal will voluntarily consume in a given period of time. It is usually
measured on a daily basis. Intake, to some extent, depends on palatability or how
well an animal likes the feed. If an animal likes the feed it will usually eat more
of it (higher quality) than one that is does not like and eats very little of it
(lower quality).
Intake time digestibility equals the amount of digestible dry matter consumed
or digestible dry matter intake. Digestible dry matter intake (DDMI) is one of the
best concepts of forage quality available today.









Protein content of a forage also plays an important part in forage quality but
is of secondary importance to digestibility and intake. Usually when a hay or
reserved forage is low in protein, the deficit can be provided by a relatively
small quantity of high protein concentrate. Some animals eat less when forages
contain less than 7% protein. Research studies have shown that animals can be
encouraged to eat more (increase intake) if a protein supplement is provided in
amounts to raise the dietary level above 7%. When using a stockpiled forage or
feeding hay that has a low level of protein, a protein supplement may improve
animal performance.

Any of the previously listed sources of feed can be used to carry cattle
through the winter period. The extent to which these sources of feed are needed
is often dictated by the weather. Winters with mild temperatures and above average
moisture require less reserved or stored feed than "cold", dry winters. "Cold"
winters followed by a dry spring magnifies the need for reserved feed. A rancher
may go into the winter with what he believes to be an adequate supply of stockpiled
or reserved pasture, but if the winter weather is severe he may have to feed hay or
some other source of energy.

Perennial grasses and summer annual legumes produce most or all of their growth
during the warm season. Surplus forage produced during this period can be stockpiled
or harvested and preserved for feeding during periods of slow or no growth.


STOCKPILED GRASS
Stockpiling is simply letting pasture growth accumulate so that it can be used
at a later time. In central and South Florida this system works as follows: cattle
are removed from the "stockpile" pasture in mid to late August, the pasture is
fertilized to stimulate growth during the next four to ten weeks, and cattle are
put back into the pasture by mid November or the first of December when other
pastures have been grazed out due to the slowdown in growth. If possible the
stockpiled forage should be used before the first killing frost occurs. After
a frost the quality of the forage deteriorates rapidly.

The digestibility of 8-10 week old growth of any forage plant can be fairly
low, but researchers have shown that the digestibility of some grass varieties
decrease at a slower rate with increase in age, than that of other grasses.
Bigalta limpograss at 8 to 10 weeks of age maintains a digestibility rating greater
than 60%. Bahiagrass, bermudagrass, digitgrasses, and the other limpograsses will
usually fall below 60% at the same age. The digitgrasses (Pangola) have an advantage
over the bahiagrass and bermudagrasses in that they are more palatable, thus main-
taining a higher intake level when they are old.

If a new planting of grass is to be established for use as a stockpiled forage,
Bigalta limpograss or one of the digitgrasses may be more suitable than the bahia-
grasses and bermudagrasses. Bahiagrass and bermudagrass are not well suited for
use as a stockpiled forage because of their rapid loss in digestibility and lowered
intake with increased age. On the other hand, Bigalta limpograss and the digitgrasses
are more difficult to establish and maintain. Bigalta is especially restricted in
its adaptation and management.









After the stockpiled forage has been used, hay or other energy supplements
can be fed. Feeding of an energy supplement may need to be started before the
stockpile forage is completely used because of the decreased digestibility and
intake of the older forage.


HAY
Hay can be defined as a feed produced by dehydrating green forage to a
moisture content of 15% or less. It is fed to cattle primarily to provide
energy. This energy comes from the digestible dry matter that's in the hay.
Hay has much less importance as a source of protein, minerals and vitamins than
as a provider of energy.

The amount of productive energy in an animal's diet determines the size of
that animal's response in terms of giving birth to a live calf, milk production
and getting into condition for rebreeding. Therefore, it is desirable that hay
be made with as high a level of DDF or energy as possible. To produce high quality
hay, consideration should be given to the following conditions or characteristics:
1) the time during the season or the growth stage at which it is harvested,
2) leaf content,
3) extent to which the harvested forage is damaged by weather and handling,
4) physical form in which it is fed, and
5) forage species.

The first characteristic stage of growth at which the forage plants are
harvested is probably the most important because as plants get older their
digestibility decreases. Young hay is more digestible and animals will eat more
of it.

The leaf content of hay is a good index of its palatability. When animals
are fed enough hay to allow sorting, they tend to select the leafy material and
reject the stem. Therefore, hays high in leaf content are usually consumed in
larger quantity than those that are low. Leaf content is associated with DDM
content of hay since both the concentration of DDM and leaf content decline as
forage growth approaches maturity.

Damage by weather and handling the leafy portion of hay suffers from
drying and handling more than the stems. Thus the leaf content, and as a
consequence, the consumption of hay are affected by unfavorable weather.

Physical form of hay not so important to the beef-cow man, but the voluntary
intake of ground, pelleted hay is generally 10-30% greater than that of the same
hay fed in the long or chopped form.

Forage species various studies of bermudagrasses have shown that Coastcross-1
is more digestible than Coastal and, without severe cold damage,will produce more
digestible dry matter. Callie Giant bermudagrass produces a higher yield, and
digestibility is intermediate between Coastal and Coastcross-l. Alicia has been
shown to be less digestible and less productive than the other bermudagrasses. Some
of the new stargrasses also maintain a high level of digestibility up to six weeks
of age. The digitgrasses and Bigalta limpograss usually will have a higher digest-
ibility than the bermudagrasses or bahiagrasses when cut at the same stage of
growth. In general, legume hay is of higher quality than grass hay if cut at the
same stage of growth.








In central and south Florida, hay can be made from the perennial grasses, pri-
marily the stargrasses, improved bermudagrasses, digitgrasses and limpograsses. Also
alyceclover can be used as a hay crop. It may even be possible to use red clover as
a hay crop if rainfall is adequate in the winter and spring or if irrigation is
available.

Hay can be made in the spring or in the fall. The quality of hay produced
should be similar if the same fertilization and management practices are followed.
The fall period is more suitable for hay harvest because of the dry weather with
bright sunny days in October and November. In the spring, as the time for hay har-
vest approaches, the rainy season is also approaching. In some years it may be
questionable whether or not enough growth will develop to be worth harvesting before
the summer rainy season sets in. A warm spring with adequate moisture is needed to
produce a large spring hay crop. For a spring hay crop, fertilize early, keep cattle
out of the field, and plan to harvest before June 1. Hay harvested at this time, if
well fertilized, should be of high quality.
For fall hay production, remove cattle from hay fields in the latter part of
August or by the first of September and apply fertilizer. Fertilization at this
time will stimulate growth over the next 4 to 6 weeks. Hay then can be harvested in
October or the first part of November. Hay harvest can continue into December but
quality will be dropping as the forage becomes more mature. Hay made from forage
that has been allowed to accumulate through the summer into the fall is likely to
be of very low quality.

Another point to remember when selecting a date for hay harvest is that field
curing of pangola digitgrass is slow, requiring three days to obtain the same dry-
ness reached by bermudagrass in one day. Thus, in the spring you may have more
success in harvesting a bermudagrass hay crop than one of the digitgrasses. Also,
the bermudagrasses and stargrasses begin spring growth earlier than the digitgrasses
and thus will be ready for harvest earlier.
SILAGE

Proper curing of hay often is difficult due to poor drying conditions. Soil
moisture and humidity can be high and rains may be frequent. An alternative is to
store forage at a higher moisture content, thereby reducing the probability of rain
damage. Silage and haylage are probably the best alternatives.
Silage is made by fermenting green forage in the absence of air. The process
is called ensiling. It is usually done in some type of closed structure called a
silo.

There are three types of silage based on moisture content:
1) Direct cut, 70% plus moisture
2) Wilted, 60-70% moisture
3) Low-moisture silage (haylage), 40-60% moisture.

To make wilted silage, the forage is cut and permitted to dry in the swath for
1 to 4 hours until the moisture reaches 65%. There is less chance of seepage from
the silo with wilted silage than with direct cut. Low moisture silage or haylage
can be stored in gastight or conventional tower silos. Particular attention must
be given to air exclusion, fine chopping, rapid filling and a good seal. An air-
free condition must be maintained. Thus, low moisture silage is not stored'in
bunker, trench, or stack silos.







The advantage of making grass and legume crops into silage as compared to
field-cured hay are:

1) More nutrients are preserved for feeding.
2) Less hindrance results from unfavorable weather conditions.
3) Silage can be stored over prolonged periods with little loss of nutrients
if it is well made and properly protected.
4) Field losses are reduced with improved harvesting and handling equipment.
5) Costs and storage losses are reduced with use of larger silo structures.
6) Ensiled weed seed generally will not germinate.

Some of the disadvantages of silage are:

1) It will require additional investment in machinery.
2) Additional weight (as moisture) must be transported in both filling and
unloading the silo.
3) Hill require special facilities for feeding.
4) Silage must be fed soon after it is removed from storage to prevent
spoilage.
5) Commercial marketing of silage is limited.


Characteristics generally associated with high-quality silages are:

1) A high-quality forage harvested at the proper stage of growth.
2) A pH of 4.2 or below for high-moisture silages and 4.5 or below for wilted
silages. The pH is not an important criterion for low moisture silages.
3) Between 5 and 9% lactic acid on a dry basis in high-moisture silages.
4) Freedom from molds and objectionable odors such as ammonia, butyric acid,
and mustiness.
5) Absence of caramelized or tobacco odors, particularly in low-moisture silage.
6) A green color, not brown or black.
7) A firm texture with no sliminess.

Silage making practices:
1) Use a crop of high quality.
2) Harvest forage at the proper stage of growth.
3) Fine chop. Length of cut for unwilted material should be 2 to 10 inches
(6-25 cm) in length; for wilted material 2 to 5 inches (6-12 cm) in length.
4) Field-dry to 65% or less to produce either a wilted or low-moisture silage,
or use an additive.
5) Use a silo which excludes air and water.
6) Fill the silo rapidly and pack thoroughly.
7) Use a suitable seal to exclude air.
8) Leave silo undisturbed until ready to use the feed.
COOL SEASON FORAGES

Forage crops that endure frost and grow during cool winter weather are con-
sidered cool season forages. Dependence on irrigation limits the use of cool
season annuals, especially in south Florida where winter rainfall is likely to be
less than that received in other parts of the state. In some winters rainfall is
sufficient for acceptable production, but in others moisture is deficient and forage
production will also be deficient unless irrigation is provided.








Cool season annual grasses and legumes, such as ryegrass, rye, oats, red clover,
and sweet clover generally have not been economical for grazing beef cows. They may
have a place in some management schemes for short duration grazing to flush cows and
get them ready for rebreeding. These forages have found their best use in stocker
programs. Young cattle need high quality forage if they are to make rapid gains.
The cool season annuals provide high quality forage.

White clover in permanent grass pastures is probably the most ideal winter
forage available. Research has shown that cows grazing good white clover pastures
usually perform better than cattle that have only warm season perennial grass pas-
ture available. Calving percentage, conception rate and other measures of perform-
ance have been increased with white clover. Pastures with good stands of white
clover will need very little, if any, nitrogen fertilizer, since white clover adds
nitrogen to the soil through biological nitrogen fixation. Irrigation is needed in
south Florida to maintain consistent production from year to year and to increase
the amount of live-over clover. On some sites, clover plants will die during the
April-May drought period if irrigation water is not available. White clover grows
best on moist flatwood soils that are not subject to long term flooding.

OTHER WINTER FEED SOURCES

Grain, molasses, molasses fortified with urea, citrus pulp, and perhaps other
supplemental energy and protein sources can be used to carry cattle through the
winter period. The choice of feed would be relative to the quantity and quality
of available forage.

Cattle on native range have good grazing in the spring and summer months but
the forage is low in both quality and quantity during the fall and winter months.
Molasses has been used effectively to winter cattle on native range, provided
sufficient forage is available.

SUMMARY

Beef cattle (ruminants) have the ability to utilize many types of forages and
industry by-products to produce a desirable product beef. The principal source
of feed for beef cattle in central and south Florida comes from warm season peren-
nial grass pastures.

The supply of feed from these pastures decreases considerably during the winter
due to cooler temperatures and/or dryer soil conditions. A number of alternative
feed sources have been discussed. One or a combination of these feed sources can
be used by beef cattle during the winter period when production from the warm season
perennial grass pastures is low. Also, a general concept of forage quality has
been discussed. This concept of intake combined with digestibility can be applied
to any forage.

With prior planning, a producer can usually provide some type of high quality
winter feed for his beef cattle that will maintain them in a healthy, productive
condition through the winter season.








Cool season annual grasses and legumes, such as ryegrass, rye, oats, red clover,
and sweet clover generally have not been economical for grazing beef cows. They may
have a place in some management schemes for short duration grazing to flush cows and
get them ready for rebreeding. These forages have found their best use in stocker
programs. Young cattle need high quality forage if they are to make rapid gains.
The cool season annuals provide high quality forage.

White clover in permanent grass pastures is probably the most ideal winter
forage available. Research has shown that cows grazing good white clover pastures
usually perform better than cattle that have only warm season perennial grass pas-
ture available. Calving percentage, conception rate and other measures of perform-
ance have been increased with white clover. Pastures with good stands of white
clover will need very little, if any, nitrogen fertilizer, since white clover adds
nitrogen to the soil through biological nitrogen fixation. Irrigation is needed in
south Florida to maintain consistent production from year to year and to increase
the amount of live-over clover. On some sites, clover plants will die during the
April-May drought period if irrigation water is not available. White clover grows
best on moist flatwood soils that are not subject to long term flooding.

OTHER WINTER FEED SOURCES

Grain, molasses, molasses fortified with urea, citrus pulp, and perhaps other
supplemental energy and protein sources can be used to carry cattle through the
winter period. The choice of feed would be relative to the quantity and quality
of available forage.

Cattle on native range have good grazing in the spring and summer months but
the forage is low in both quality and quantity during the fall and winter months.
Molasses has been used effectively to winter cattle on native range, provided
sufficient forage is available.

SUMMARY

Beef cattle (ruminants) have the ability to utilize many types of forages and
industry by-products to produce a desirable product beef. The principal source
of feed for beef cattle in central and south Florida comes from warm season peren-
nial grass pastures.

The supply of feed from these pastures decreases considerably during the winter
due to cooler temperatures and/or dryer soil conditions. A number of alternative
feed sources have been discussed. One or a combination of these feed sources can
be used by beef cattle during the winter period when production from the warm season
perennial grass pastures is low. Also, a general concept of forage quality has
been discussed. This concept of intake combined with digestibility can be applied
to any forage.

With prior planning, a producer can usually provide some type of high quality
winter feed for his beef cattle that will maintain them in a healthy, productive
condition through the winter season.




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