AREC, ONA RESEARCH REPORT RC 84-3
CATTLE AND FORAGE
r INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH CENTER / ONA, FLORIDA 88865
ALTO "BUD" ADAMS, JR.
"Conservation means the wise use of the earth and its resources for
the everlasting good of man."
The best description of Alto "Bud" Adams, Jr. would be that he is a
conservationist-naturalist and a cattleman. As a rancher in the Ft.
Pierce area since the 1940s Bud recognized the importance of efficiently
utilizing the land for cattle production, yet conserving a natural
environment so unique to peninsular Florida. This interest in the
Florida environment is example by his excellent photographs of Florida
wildlife in their natural surroundings which are being published in a
book by the University of Florida Press. Because of his observations
of nature Bud was among the first to realize the importance of breeding
beef cattle that would be adapted to the environment in which they are
to be produced. This foresight led to his development of the Braford
breed in the mid to late 1940s. Braford cattle have subsequently become
one of the best breeds for Florida and are becoming increasingly
important in the warmer climates of the United States and around the
We honor Bud Adams at this field day because of his involvement in
beef cattle research in Florida. Like the great agriculturalist in this
state Bud recognized the value of research in his agricultural
enterprise and contributed to agricultural research programs with his
time and resources. It is with this spirit that beef production in
Florida has progressed over the years and will continue to make progress
in the future. The Ona Agricultural Research and Education Center will
always be indebted to Bud Adams for his unselfish assistance to this
research program. The 200 head of Braford cattle that he donated to
this center will prove to be an invaluable resource in solving problems
facing Florida cattlemen. Of course the ultimate beneficiary will be
the State of Florida and its citizens since the goal of research is to
develop techniques that will help farmers and ranchers produce and
market agricultural products of the highest quality, in the most
efficient manner to the Florida consumer.
WELCOME TO THE ONA-AREC FIELD DAY
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) extends a
cordial welcome to the Cattle and Forage Field Day at the Ona
Agricultural Research and Education Center and a special thanks to Alto
"Bud" Adams, Jr. for his generous gift of time and resources in helping
our research program. Nineteen-hundred-eighty-four is IFAS's 100th
birthday, and progress in Florida agriculture was made possible only by
the cooperative efforts of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations
and agricultural producers in the state. It is most fitting in this
centennial year of Florida agricultural research that the Ona field day
is dedicated to Bud Adams, a Florida beef cattle producer, who continues
the tradition of assisting the Florida research program. His gift of
Braford cattle to the Ona research center will be a valuable asset to
beef cattle and forage research for many years in the future. It is
with this spirit of cooperation between private citizens and IFAS that
progress in Florida agriculture will continue over the next 100 years.
F. Aloy ius Wood
Dean for Research
CATTLE AND FORAGE FIELD DAY
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EDUCATION CENTER
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 1984
WAYNE WADE, MODERATOR
9:20 WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS .... FINDLA
9:30 DEDICATION OF FIELD DAY. . KEN TE:
9:40 USE OF INFARED FOR RAPID ANALYSIS
OF FORAGES AND ITS APPLICATION BILL B
10:00 LEGUMES THAT CAN BE USED IN
PERMANENT PASTURES . . BUDDY
10:15 APPLICABLE RANGE MANAGEMENT
PRACTICES FOR FLORIDA. . ROB KA
10:30 PROCESSING AND STORAGE OF
FORAGES FOR DAIRY COWS . BARNEY
11:00 BEEF CATTLE BREEDING . MAC PE
11:15 WEED CONTROL IN PASTURES
AND HAY CROPS. . . PAUL M
11:30 LUNCH (DUTCH TREAT) SERVED BY
HARDEE COUNTY CATTLEMEN'S
1:00 WAGON TOUR AND DISCUSSION OF
CREEP GRAZING.LEGUMES AND
SUPPLEMENTATION OF GRAZING
CATTLE . . . DAVID
TROPICAL LEGUME RESEARCH . BUDDY
NATIVE RANGE RESEARCH. . ROB KA
FORAGE EVALUATION LAB . BILL B
Assistant Animal Nutritionist
(Extension Dairy Specialist)
Dairy Science Dept., Gainesville
(Forage Crops and Range Management)
(Beef Cattle Breeding)
(Pasture and Forage Crops)
Assistant Animal Nutritionist
Vice President of Agriculture
Institute of Food & Agricultural
University of Florida
Extension Agent III
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION CENTER
The Ona Agricultural Research and Education Center began in the
late 1930s with the efforts of the Hardee County Cattlemen's
Association, Hardee County Commissioners and many interested citizens of
Hardee County. They obtained 2840 acres of land and deeded it to the
State of Florida to establish a branch experimental station in Hardee
County. Legislative action in 1937 under the sponsorship of Senator H.
G. Murphy of Zolfo Springs and Representative W. A. Henry of Fort Green
authorized a branch experimental station in Hardee County. Subsequent
legislative action in 1939 provided the first state appropriated funds
for the experimental station.
It was through the pioneering spirit of Dr. W. G. Kirk, the first
research leader, and Hardee County citizens that a road was cut, and the
first buildings constructed in 1941. From the diary entry of Dr. Kirk
for April 20th of that year: "Mr. 0. C. Coker, old neighbors and
friends along with half of Wauchula built two houses, barn and
Dr. Kirk remained the research leader until his retirement in 1965
and was primarily responsible for the development of this experimental
station. Originally named the Range Cattle Station, considerable
research was conducted on range management problems, but over the years
a broad-based beef cattle and forage research program developed. This
coincided with the intensification of commercial beef cattle production
in central and south Florida.
The experimental station was renamed the Ona Agricultural Research
Center in 1971 and the Ona Agricultural Research and Education Center
(AREC) in 1984. Today, about one-half of the acreage is used for
research on pastures and hay crops planted to improved grasses and
legumes, cattle breeding and cattle nutrition, and the remainder is
still in the native condition. Research also involves row crops and
range management studies conducted on the center and in cooperation with
private land owners.
The land grant college system was established by the U.S. Congress
in 1862 to provide grants of public lands to the states for the
endowment, support and maintenance of colleges of agriculture. The
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station was established 100 years ago in
1884 and subsequently became a part of the land grant system which
includes the University of Florida. The Ona AREC is a unit of the
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Fortunately for the Ona AREC, staff members appointed to the unit
have devoted most of their careers to this center. After Dr. Kirk's 24
year tenure, Dr. H. L. Chapman, Jr. was Director and Animal Nutritionist
from 1965 to 1981. Dr. Paul Mislevy served as Acting Director from 1981
to 1983. Dr. F. M. Pate has been the Director since 1983.
Dr. Elver Hodges was the resident Agronomist for 41 years from 1941
to 1982. Mr. F. M. Peacock has been the Animal Genetist since 1951.
Dr. J. E. McCaleb worked in Agronomy from 1955 until his death in 1971.
Dr. C. L. Dantzman was a Soil Scientist at the center from 1959 to 1984.
Dr. Paul Mislevy, a forage Agronomist, came to the center in 1971 and
Dr. R. S. Kalmbacher came in 1975 to work as an Agronomist in range
management. Dr. W. D. Pitman joined the staff as an Agronomist in 1980
to work with tropical legumes. Drs. W. F. Brown and D. W. Sanson both
joined the staff in 1984 as Animal Nutritionists.
Several former staff members at Ona have made indelible marks in
the Florida beef cattle industry. Mr. Gilbert Tucker, who was at Ona
before and again after World War II, left to work with A. Duda and Sons
and later became a noted independent cattleman. Mr. Gene Felton, who
came to Ona on January 1, 1946, has been the longtime manager of Alico
Ranch in south Florida. Mr. Dave Jones, the well known Extension
Agronomist at Gainesville, worked at Ona from 1946 to 1957. Mr. Horace
Fulford left Ona in 1948 to become one of A. Duda and Sons top
The Ona AREC has also been blessed over the years with excellent
career service employees who were equally instrumental in its
development. In addition to 0. C. Coker, mentioned earlier, H. A.
Frazee, Julius Gause, Shelton Roberts, W. C. Hines, and Ralph Durrance
were long term employees from which the Ona AREC greatly benefited.
Current employees that have given most of their working career to the
Ona AREC are Marvin Richardson, Matthew Tomlinson, and Janice Moye, a
most faithful secretary.
CLIMATE AND SOILS
This area receives approximately 54 inches (137 cm) of rainfall
annually, with 62% falling during the 4-month period from June to
September. The winters are relatively dry. Average daily low and high
temperatures during the summer are approximately 70 F (21 C) and 90 F
(32 C), respectively. During the winter, average daily low and high
temperatures are 500 F (100 C) and 750 F (24 C), respectively. Winter
temperatures below 320 F (0 C) occur about three times a year. As
would be expected the summers are very humid because of the heavy
rainfall. The winter months are also relatively humid.
The research center has typical flatwoods soils (Immokalee, Leon
and Ona fine sand). These soils are very sandy and in the native state
have a low pH (less than 5.0) and are very low in natural fertility.
These factors relate to a low uptake of phosphorus and several trace
elements (primarily Cu, Co, Fe and Se) by forage plants which often
cause deficiencies in forages and/or grazing cattle unless corrected
with fertilization or mineral supplementation.
The general research program at the Ona AREC involves beef cattle
and forages. Currently, there are 10 specific areas under intensive
1) A premiere project at Ona has been the on-going forage
selection and evaluation program. Many prominent grasses now used by
Florida ranchers were initially tested at Ona. These include Ona
stargrass, McCaleb stargrass, and several Hemarthrias. In addition,
most varieties of ryegrass, sorghums, corn, and winter legumes used by
growers in central and south Florida were tested at Ona.
2) Tropical legume research is possibly the most important program
at Ona in terms of potential benefits to Florida cattlemen. Legumes
could greatly reduce the need for N fertilizer and provide higher
quality forage. Aeschynomene and alyce clover are two summer legumes
being extensively used by ranchers, and others look very promising.
3) A large problem in Florida is winter feed. Since forages can
be produced economically it is important that ways be found to process
and store them under our environment for winter feeding. Ensiling and
ammoniation are two methods being researched and others will be
4) The 9.5 million acres of rangeland in Florida is an important
resource. A major effort is underway at Ona to determine how rangeland
can be revegetated with higher quality native grasses. Other studies
concern the proper management of range to obtain maximum beef
production, and provide for the sustained yield of high quality forage
and protect the native environment.
5) One of the most successful programs at Ona has been research on
cattle crossbreeding, especially with the Brahman breed. This work
contributed greatly to the understanding of crossbreeding methods now
used around the world and has been extensively used by the Florida
6) By-products of other Florida industries, and particularly
molasses, are extensively utilized for beef production through the
efforts of past research. It is important that new methods of utilizing
this popular supplement be developed. The addition of ionophores and
liquid trace elements, and the mixing of slurries with corn meal and
natural protein are being researched with grazing cows and yearlings,
and other mixtures will be evaluated.
7) An intergral part of the Ona research program is forage
fertilization. The current effort involves determining the fertilizer
requirement of the major grasses and legumes, and to relate fertilizer
needs to soil and plant tissue tests.
8) Field crops are becoming increasingly important in central and
south Florida, particularly for the dairy industry. Besides testing new
corn and sorghum varieties, important research is underway to develop
multicropping systems that most efficiently utilize land, fertilizer and
9) An extensive research program is being conducted on ways to
utilize reclaimed phosphate mines. This effort has been directed toward
the development of high income row crop systems which could alleviate
economic problems in the phosphate mined areas.
10) The Ona Research Center has a near-infrared spectroscope which
can complete the analysis of forage samples within 24-hours after being
received. The program is currently capable of analyzing most hays and
silages used in Florida and procedures are being developed to analyze
fresh pasture forages.
The role of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station for the
past 100 years has been to conduct a research program to develop new and
improved technologies such that farmers and agribusinesses can produce,
process, transport and market agriculture commodities of the highest
quality in the most efficient manner.
This agricultural research also benefits every Florida citizen.
Food continues to be a bargain in the U.S. where the average family
spends less than 17 percent of its income for the most nutritious and
highest quality food in the world. The ability of the U.S. farmer to
efficiently produce food and fiber for himself and almost 100 others is
a tribute to the benefits of agricultural research by land grant
An example of a few research accomplishments by the Florida
Agricultural Experiment Station in which the Ona AREC played an
important roll include:
-- Developed cattle crossbreeding systems using the Brahman breed
which became the backbone of the Florida cattle industry and
greatly improved beef production.
Developed feeding methods which converted citrus pulp, citrus
molasses, and blackstrap molasses; by-products of the citrus
and sugar industries, into valuable feeds and eliminated
serious waste disposal problems.
- Developed improved pasture grasses and legumes that
revolutionized beef production practices from native range that
carried a cow on 15 to 30 acres, to tame pastures that carried
a cow on 1 to 2 acres.
-- Developed procedures to more efficiently utilize Florida
-- Developed mineral mixes to supplement cattle grazing rangeland
and improved pasture.
-- Developed fertilization practices to efficiently grow improved
grasses and-legumes in central and south Florida.
-- Developed agronomic practices to utilize reclaimed phosphate
Estimating Forage Quality with Near Infrared
William F. Brown
Cattle in the state of Florida receive a majority of their
nutrition from forage. During certain times of the year, forage quality
is not adequate to meet animal nutrient requirements. Feed supplements
must be utilized during this time to furnish nutrients lacking in the
forage. Because feed supplements are expensive, accurate estimates of
forage quality are necessary to determine the proper type and level of
Quantity and the pattern of change in forage quality are influenced
to a great degree by plant species and maturity, but can also be
affected to some extent by management decisions. Analysis of forages by
conventional wet chemistry procedures can be costly and time consuming.
Also, in a grazing situation, forage quality can change before results
of wet chemistry analysis can be obtained. Near Infrared Reflectance
Spectroscopy (NIRS) offers the potential for a less costly, more rapid
analysis of forages with a good degree of accuracy. This can provide
immediate forage quality estimates to enable beef and dairy producers to
formulate properly balanced supplemental feeding programs. In addition,
NIRS estimates should be useful when negotiating the price of hay or
silage which is being purchased or sold.
NIRS has the potential to estimate forage quality in a few days as
compared to weeks using standard laboratory procedures. The more rapid
"turnaround time" is an important consideration for extension forage
testing programs. An NIRS instrument has been used in a forage testing
program in Florida since January, 1982.
The forage testing program consists of 5 phases:
1) Sampling The forage testing program begins on the farm. It
is very important that the sample obtained be representative of the
forage being considered. Hay samples should be obtained using the "Penn
State Forage Sampler". With the use of an electric drill, the sampler
is driven into the end of rectangular bales or into the rounded side of
round bales. Twelve bales should be sampled from each lot of hay in
order to insure a representative sample. The outer layer of weathered
bales should be removed before sampling and should not be a part of the
sample sent for analysis. Whenever there is a change in lot or species
of hay being fed, another sample should be submitted for analysis.
2) Identification and Handling Extension agents have a supply of
sample information forms, sample bags and mailing envelopes. Samples,
with completed forms and NIRS fee should be sent to the NIRS laboratory,
Agricultural Research Center, Route 1 Box 62, Ona, FL 33865. At the
present time, the tropical grass hays: bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum),
bermudagrass and stargrass (Cynodon), and digitgrass (Digitaria
decumbens) are being accepted for forage quality analysis utilizing
NIRS. Samples of other species are also requested so that the
capability of the forage testing program may be increased. Samples of
corn silage, and both grain and forage sorghum silage are being accepted
for analysis. The samples should be packaged so as to preserve them
while in transit to the Research Center. As much air as possible should
be excluded from the sample bag for both hay and silage samples. Also,
as much information as possible should be included on the sample
information form including species, harvest date, additives, etc.
3) Analysis Upon arrival of a sample at the Research Center, it
is dried for determination of moisture content, ground and analyzed by
NIRS. Once a sample is dried, ground and prepared for scanning by the
NIRS instrument, forage quality estimates are obtained in approximately
90 seconds. Therefore a major factor affecting turnaround time for
analysis is the time required to dry the sample, which is dependant upon
the initial moisture content.
4) Report and Evaluation Forage quality estimates provided by
the forage testing program include: moisture, crude protein (CP), total
digestible nutrients (TDN), and quality index (QI). Moisture, CP, and
TDN are variables that can be used to properly balance rations. Crude
protein is a measure of the nitrogen content of the forage. Total
digestible nutrients content is a measure of the energy value of the
forage. Quality index is an estimate of TDN intake when the forage is
fed alone and free choice. A forage with a quality index of 1.0 would
be expected to meet the maintenance energy requirements of a mature dry
beef cow. Heifers gaining 1.0 lb/day, and lactating cows require forage
with a QI equal to 1.6, or must be supplemented with protein and energy
to achieve this level of performance if forage with a QI less than 1.6
5) Follow-up Each sample that is analyzed by NIRS is also
analyzed by standard laboratory methods for the same variables that were
predicted by NIRS. These results are utilized to recalibrate the NIRS
equations. This helps to improve the accuracy of subsequent
On a regular basis, predication equations are recalibrated in an
attempt to increase the accuracy and precision of the forage quality
estimates. Future work also includes increasing the number of forages
that can be analyzed by NIRS.
Presently, only tropical grass hays are accepted for NIRS analysis.
Currently research is underway in an effort to utilize the NIRS
instrument to predict forage quality of grass pasture. The effect of
various drying treatments on the NIRS estimate of forage quality is
1. The forage testing program provides forage quality estimates
including moisture, crude protein, total digestible nutrients, and
quality index. These values can be used to properly formulate
diets, and give expected animal performance for a given forage.
2. The tropical grass hays bahiagrass, bermudagrass, stargrass and
digitgrass, in addition to corn and sorghum silages are currently
accepted for NIRS analysis.
3. In most cases, NIRS analysis provides a turnaround time of less than
one week from the time the sample is taken until the results are
Tropical Legumes for Florida Flatwoods Pastures
W. D. Pitman
Pasture management is the key to successful use of tropical legumes
in Florida flatwoods pastures. Special consideration must be given to
the growth requirements of these legumes for satisfactory performance.
Since these summer-growing legumes are grown in mixtures with
summer-growing grasses, livestock grazing must be manipulated by
adjustments in grazing period or stocking rate to minimize competition
from the vigorous growing and often less-palatable grasses. Frequent
observations of summer legume pastures along with any necessary
adjustments in grazing pressure will allow adequate use of pastures to
minimize grass competition and still not overgraze the legumes. Lack of
flexibility in stocking rate or time of grazing imposed by a ranch
manager due to labor limitations for moving cattle or lack of additional
pastures to move cattle into will greatly restrict the potential success
of tropical legume pastures. Obviously, every cattle operation and
ranch management scheme will not be suited to extensive use of tropical
Any use of the summer legumes, where they have not been
successfully used in the past, should be started on a small scale so
that a suitable management scheme can be developed to fit into the
overall management plan of the ranch. Plantings of the summer legumes
on small acreages can be effectively utilized for creep grazing to allow
calves access to the high quality legume forage. Limited early grazing
with both cows and calves will be necessary in a creep grazing pasture
to prevent the creep grazing area from becoming too coarse and to teach
the calves to use the area. Several small areas of legumes for creep
grazing distributed across the herd pasture will be more effectively
utilized than one larger creep grazing area. Access to -the creep
grazing areas should be restricted to only the.calves when they are able
to fully utilize the forage produced in the areas.
Creep grazing is only one method of using tropical legume pastures,
although it may be the one that will give the greatest return for the
additional investment of money and management. Where some rotational
grazing is currently being used, the smaller pastures in the system
would be the most desirable to plant to legumes initially. This would
allow greater flexibility in length of rest periods for legume plantings
while their management needs are being determined for the specific site
Tropical legumes currently available for flatwoods pastures:
AESCHYNOMENE is the most widely used summer legume in flatwoods
pastures. Aeschynomene is tolerant of waterlogged soil conditions,
widely adapted to flatwoods soils, highly palatable, and has excellent
forage quality. The major limitation of aeschynomene is that it is an
annual. Although it will re-establish through natural reseeding, warm
temperatures are required for seed germination. Thus, even when early
spring rains occur, aeschynomene stands will not generally establish
until adequate moisture is obtained in late spring or summer. Often
aeschynomene does not contribute to forage production until late July or
August. The best use of aeschynomene may be in a creep grazing pasture
where calves can take advantage of the high forage quality prior to a
late September or October weaning date.
CARPON DESMODIUM is a strong perennial legume that can remain in a
mixed grass-legume planting indefinitely once it becomes established.
Carpon desmodium is tolerant of moderately heavy grazing pressure and
can persist under continuous grazing. Probably the greatest limitation
to wider use of carpon desmodium is the frequent difficulty with stand
establishment. Excellent stand establishment sometimes occurs and at
other times almost complete failure results from carpon desmodium
seedings. The commercially available 'Florida' carpon desmodium
cultivar is susceptible to nematode damage which is partially
responsible for establishment problems (especially in old vegetable
fields). Also, poor seedling tolerance of flooded conditions and slow
development of Rhizobia nodulation and nitrogen fixation are involved.
Therefore, early seeding for plant establishment before excessive
flooding with a small application of 'starter' nitrogen fertilizer at
planting, or shortly thereafter, may sometimes be critical. Seeding
rates of at least 8 to 10 pounds per acre should be considered rather
than the 3 to 5 pounds per acre originally recommended on clean-tilled
PHASEY BEAN is a short-lived perennial legume that will persist for
a few years in moderately grazed pastures when opportunity is given for
seed production. Phasey bean forage is highly palatable and high
quality except when allowed to become excessively woody. Early spring
seedings can produce early growth when moisture is available. Regrowth
of perenniating plants also begins early in the spring although
production is not high during cool weather. Phasey bean works well as a
creep grazing plant, especially when forage is needed earlier than can
be anticipated from aeschynomene. Phasey bean may be most effectively
used in mixed legume seedings along with aeschynomene and carpon
desmodium to provide early grazing from the mixed planting. In mixed
seedings with other legumes, phasey bean probably should not be planted
at more than 5 pounds per acre to prevent the early phasey bean growth
from shading out the other legume seedlings.
Numerous other tropical legumes are now at various stages of
evaluation for flatwoods pastures. A limited supply of seed for on-farm
evaluation of some experimental accessions is expected by the coming
spring planting season. Excellent pasture potential has been exhibited
by two Vigna species which need wider evaluation to confirm the superior
value for flatwoods pastures which has been demonstrated under limited
Even though there are limitations and management restrictions with
the summer legumes currently available for flatwoods pastures, a much
greater potential value exists than is being used. Some of the limita-
tions to tropical legume production will undoubtedly be overcome in the
near future with development of additional cultivars, but increased
management will still be required to benefit from these forages.
Developing pastures of these legumes for use of the high quality forage
with stocker cattle, heifers with their first calf, and other classes of
cattle able to respond to the high quality forage should be given
consideration by cattlemen in peninsular Florida.
Applicable Range Management Practices
R. S. Kalmbacher
Range is part of a pasture system which should include improved
pastures and it is an inexpensive source of roughage for dry-pregnant
cows. Unlike improved pasture management, range is very extensively
managed, and it must be this way because animal production capabilities
are limited. At present liming, fertilization, herbicides, reseeding
of Florida range are not advisable. There are only three tools Florida
ranchers can use, and these are control of grazing, prescribed burning,
and occasional use of a tandem chopper or web plow. This discussion
treats the use of these tools for producing higher forage yield and
Control of cattle
Number of cows permitted to graze range should be based on pasture
productivity. Generally, an 800 lb cow needs 25 lbs of forage (dry) per
head/day, but because of waste and to avoid over grazing, forage
on-offer should be about 75 lbs of forage/head/day. Range in poor
condition producing 600 lbs/A of grass and other forages could only
support 1 cow on 15 acres for a 120 day period from December to March.
Another pasture in excellent condition dominated with creeping bluestem
and chalky bluestem and producing 2000 Ib/A of dry matter could support
a cow on 4.5 acres for 120 days. Unfortunately, most of Florida's range
falls into the first example, so don't over-estimate yield and
over-stock. Stocking rates can be increased only as range improves, but
range will not improve unless stocking rates are appropriate initially.
Don't graze by the calendar, that is for a certain number of days,
but rather gauge cattle movement by key plants. Creeping bluestem can
be heavily grazed in winter, but during the growing season graze no
closer than 6". This is equivalent to about of the leaves by weight
or 2/3 of this forage by height.
Time that range is grazed is important and will determine long-term
yield because of its influence on better grasses like bluestems and
maidencane. Winter grazing (December to February) is not detrimental,
and range can be repeatedly grazed year-after-year in these months.
This is not true with spring or summer grazing when repeated grazing of
the same plants results in lack of vigor. Research at Ona has shown
that repeated summer grazing of creeping bluestem resulted in slower
rate of spread and yield. If a range pasture is grazed continuously
through summer in one year, it may be best to defer its use during
summer of the next year. This becomes more important as stocking rate
or grazing pressure increases.
Marsh pastures with maidencane should be grazed at different times
of the year than pine-palmetto pastures. Because of higher quality of
maidencane in summer and lack of palatability and poor quality in
winter, fresh marsh pastures should be grazed in summer. Because of
maidencane's productivity, marshes should be stocked heavier than
pine-palmetto pastures. A good marsh producing 4,000 Ib/A of dry matter
could support a cow/calf pair on 2.5 acres for a 90-day period June to
August. An important point is to not progress from winter to summer
grazing on marsh pastures. Allow for spring recovery (March to May) by
turning cattle into the pasture only after forage has accumulated.
High intensity, short duration (Savory or cell grazing methods) are
untried on Florida range. These methods have advantages and have been
successful elsewhere. If they are applied on Florida range, a rule of
thumb or starting place for movement of cattle may be 65-day rest
interval for summer-grazed, pine-palmetto pastures and 35-day intervals
for maidencane. This is based on grazing and clipping trials at Ona.
Supplementation of cattle diets for both protein and energy is a
must on pine-palmetto range in winter. Research at Ona has indicated
that diets are marginal for crude protein (6.5 to 7.0%) but deficient in
energy, even for a dry cow. Since cows go through the last third of
gestation and often a month of lactation on this type of range, both
protein and energy need to be increased steadily in order to maintain
calf productivity and cow condition.
The major consideration for burning is when and how often. Like
most ranch operations it depends on weather or other needs, and often
gets done when convenient. Burning has a better effect and can be done
effectively when plants are winter-dormant (December to February).
Burning in the growing season is not only difficult, but wastes forage
and can be detrimental to plants as well.
Major objectives of burning should be to reduce the hazard of
wildfire and to improve forage quality, which can be accomplished by
burning once every three to four years during December to February,
preferably after winter grazing. Permitting laws, good technique, and
common sense are always part of the job.
A pine-palmetto pasture will never be greater in nutritional value
than after burning, but plants are also weak immediately after burning.
Allow for a 60-day recovery and forage accumulation periodon
pine-palmetto range, or winter-burned marsh with June to August grazing.
The improvement in forage quality brought about by burning does not
justify repeated burning and grazing because over-all pasture production
will decrease. Good grazing practices can keep-up forage quality in
intervening years between burns. Cattle diets must be supplemented
regardless of burning practices.
Burn when fuel moisture is greater than 10%. This is for reasons
other than safety, as a hot fire results in reproductive growth of
creeping bluestem. Better quality, more useable forage and more
vigorous stands are obtained from vegetative bluestem than when the
plant sets- seed. Back-fire burn after the passage of a cold front that
leaves to 1 inch of rain.
Use of the tandem chopper or web plow is probably the most
expensive operation that is applied to range pastures, so the expense
needs to be justified. As a rule of thumb saw palmettos shorter than 30
inches do not limit creeping bluestem yield enough to warrant control.
At this point canopy cover isn't dense enough to reduce grass yield
appreciably. A canopy cover of 40% (which looks like almost 100% cover
to the rancher) for 30 to 42" palmettos can result in little or no yield
of creeping bluestem. Chopping followed by resting for a growing season
can result in an improvement in grass yield.
Chopping or web-plowing is made easier if it is done in early
summer after a winter burn. It is easier on the operator and his
machinery because he can travel faster, avoid stumps and holes. It is
more effective because there is more soil disturbance due to removal of
trash which had been burned. Palmetto plants are weaker after burning,
but this may be of academic importance because research at Ona has not
established a relationship between kill by chopping and plant
Do not chop during drought because soil disturbance leads to death
of desirable grasses along with the palmettos. Web plowing during
drought has less serious consequences, but it's still best to wait for
adequate soil moisture for both operations. Always follow
recommendations for proper machine operation, such as chopper-drum
adjustment, speed, and with the plow, depth.
Always remove cattle from the pasture the growing season after
treatment. If control is applied in June, keep cattle out until
December. Stock cattle according to forage yield, and increase stocking
rate in succeeding years only as forage productivity improves.
PROCESSING AND STORAGE OF FORAGES FOR DAIRY CATTLE
B. Harris, Jr.
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
The reason for conservation of any crop is the desire to preserve
the crop at its best nutritive value for use when the crop itself is not
available. Ensiling is a means of preserving a feed by fermentation.
However, during fermentation there are chemical changes and some loss of
nutrients. The object in silage-making is to keep these losses to a
minimum. The extent of loss as shown in Table 1 is influenced by the
crop, its moisture content, chemical composition, harvesting and
ensiling techniques, and type of storage unit used.
Table 1. Nutrient Losses in Silage Making and Their Causing Factors.
Process as losses (%) Causing factor
Residual respiration unavoidable 1-4 Plant enzymes
Fermentation unavoidable 3-8 Micro-organisms
Effluent mutual 3->7 DM content
Field losses by wilting unavoidable 3->7 Crop, weather,
Secondary fermentation avoidable 0->5 Crop DM content
Aerobic deterioration avoidable 0->6 Crop, filling
during storage time, silo, and
Aerobic deterioration avoidable 0->10 As above plus
after unloading unloading tech-
(heating) nique and season
The plant cells of fresh green or partially dried material continue
to respire after chopping, that is, they take in oxygen from the
surrounding air and give off carbon dioxide. Fermentation starts
quickly, and this plus the cell respiration uses up the oxygen in the
mass and replaces it with carbon dioxide in a few hours. If no
additional air (oxygen) enters, molds cannot grow. Also, during.this
initial phase, water exchange, mechanical compression and evolution of
heat occur. Initial temperature rise in the silage largely results from
plant respiration. Very high initial temperature reduces the nutritive
value of ensiled materials.
Acid-producing bacteria rapidly increase in numbers when the
conditions are correct. The production of acetic acid in small amounts
by coliform and other bacteria is quickly followed by lactic acid
production from soluble carbohydrates. Lactic acid production will peak
in 3 to 9 days, depending upon moisture level, initial exclusion of
oxygen, and available carbohydrate. Some protein is broken down to
amino acids, ammonia and other non-protein nitrogen compounds during
this period. There is a loss of carotene due to oxidation. When acid
production peaks, most bacterial action stops and further breakdown of
nutrients and spoilage is prevented. The silage will keep for long
periods of time provided oxygen is excluded. If oxygen is not excluded
or if it penetrates the mass after peak lactic acid production, mold
growth occurs. If adequate lactic acid is not produced, butyric
acid-producing organisms multiply and attack both residual soluble
carbohydrates and the lactic acid. This combined action along with
putrefaction causes loss of dry matter, produces offensive odors and
reduces the nutritive value and palatability of the remaining silage.
Criteria used for evaluation of silages include pH, lactic acid,
dry matter recover, total acids, ratio of lactic to total acids, butyric
acid, ammoniacal nitrogen, total nitrogen, ratio of ammoniacal to total
nitrogen, percent of nitrogen in the acid-detergent fraction and
bacteria counts. No single criterion totally measures quality. Final
judgment must come from the actual nutrients preserved, acceptability
and utilization of nutrients for productive purposes.
Moisture content of ensiled material has a marked effect on the
fermentation. If over 70% moisture in corn silage or 65% in legume-
grass silage, the fermented product may be less palatable due to poor
fermentation and the possible presence of butyric acid. Also, at
moisture levels over 70%, greater seepage losses will occur. The ideal
moisture level for corn silage is 62-70%; high moisture ear corn,
28-32%; and 40-60% for legumes and grasses. The lower the moisture
level, the more precautions must be taken to exclude oxygen so that mold
growth is inhibited.
Research work shows that a variety of micro-organisms are present
on fresh plant material. Some are aerobic and soon die out as oxygen is
used up and conditions for anaerobic organism predominates. Facultative
(coliform bacteria and others) organisms may play some minor role early
in the fermentation, but soon give way to lactic acid-producing
organisms. These organisms-are present in large numbers on fresh plant
material or become established very quickly. If the material is
harvested at the correct stage of maturity and proper techniques are
used during ensiling, all ingredients essential for a good fermentation
Since silage is a product of anaerobic fermentation, the primary
objectives in making it are to achieve and maintain oxygen-free
conditions and to produce enough lactic acid to conserve the crop. When
made by suitable techniques, silage should be well-preserved and lose a
minimum of nutrients. That has been the goal since silage making was
introduced in the U.S. over a century ago.
There are a number of materials marketed and available for adding
to forages at the time of ensiling to improve preservation and hense
quality or palatability. The idea of using an additive, preservative or
conditioner is not new. Florida dairymen have used molasses, citrus
pulp and other carbohydrates for may years to enhance the rate of
fermentation and the energy content of the forage. The many products
now available include lactic acid-producing micro-organisms, nutrients
required by these lactic acid producers, enzymes and/or micro-organisms
that increase the availability of fermentable carbohydrates, nitrogen
compounds, and various acids. Some of the common additives available
and being used are briefly discussed.
1. Bacterial and yeast cultures -- There are conflicting views on
the value of microbial inoculation, cultures of acid-forming bacteria
(selected strains of lactobacilli), for improvement of silage
fermentation. This may be due in some cases to unsuitable types of
bacteria being added. The reason for addition of such inoculum is to
increase the numbers of desirable bacteria to insure rapid fermentation.
If other factors essential to good fermentation are missing, the added
bacteria cannot survive and multiply. Several researchers suggest that
there are sufficiently large numbers of active organisms already present
on ensiled plants for completion of acidification. Some investigators
have obtained satisfactory results with an inoculum of lactic acid
bacteria, some have obtained no improvement and some have reported
partial success depending on other factors.
Table 2. Feedable Dry Matter Recovery for Control and Additive-treated
Corn, Alfalfa, and Forage Sorghum Silages in 19 Farm-scale
Trials Conducted from 1975 to 1983 in Kansas.
Year & Recovery Year & Recovery
silage Additive of feedable sialge Additive of feedable
DM (%) treatment DM DM (%) treatment DM
corn forage sorghum
all 16 silages
Foraee Sorehum Summary
all 26 silages
2. Enzymes -- Since bacterial and plant enzymes play a role in the
silage-forming process, attempts have been made to regulate fermentation
by the addition of crude cultures of molds and other organisms to
provide a source of enzymes. Cellulose added to ensiled forage is
suggested to have a two fold purpose--as a predigestor of the cellulose
fiber, and as an aid to preservation by releasing carbohydrates for
fermentation. Aspergillus oryzae produces enzyme activity capable of
reducing starch, thus providing simple carbohydrates which acid-
producing bacteria might use more efficiently.
Florida workers compared the feeding of sugarcane silage treated
with enzymes of Aspergillus oryzae at time of ensiling to untreated
sugarcane silage. The sugarcane forage (30% DM) was stored in a
silopress plastic bag with half the forage treated with enzyme product
(10 lbs/ton). An 18% grain mixture was mixed in equal amounts (weight
basis) with the sugarcane silage at time of feeding. Corn silage stored
in a bunker silo and fed in a 2:1 ratio with grain was used as a third
comparison to better evaluate sugarcane silage. Quality of corn silage
available deteriorated slightly toward the end of the experiment. The
results are in Table 3.
Table 3. Least Squares Means Comparing Aspergillus
oryzae Product Addition to Sugarcane Silage
(T), Sugarcane Silage (C), and Corn Silage.
DMI MY Fat FCM
(Ib/day) (%) (Ib/day)
Treated 52.6 55.7 3.71 57.2
Control 51.9 54.3 3.61 55.2
Corn Silage 51.3 55.2 3.51 55.2
No difference was significant for any measure among any of the
silage treatments. Both milk yield (55.7 vs 54.3 lb/day) and fat test
(3.71 vs 3.61%) were slightly elevated for enzyme treated sugarcane
Wisconsin studies using a bacterial enzyme additive (Si-Lo-Fame) in
3 trials over period of three years to study its effectiveness as a
silage preservative on high producing cows.
Their studies with lactating cows in peak lactation showed greater
DM intake (53.9 vs 51.8 lb/day) increased milk production (79.2 vs 73.9
lb/day) and slightly more fat (3.86 vs 3.71) with the feeding of treated
silage. A significantly higher level (P_1%) of lactic acid was found in
the treated than the untreated silage.
Nebraska workers reported that adding a preservative containing
Aspergillus oryzae and lactic culture to direct-cut alfalfa ensiled in
an above-ground stack reduced dry matter losses and improved nitrogen
utilization. However, when the treated silage was blended with grain
and fed to lactating dairy cattle, milk production was not different
from that when control silage was fed (43.8 vs 44.2 Ib/day). Milk fat
percent of the cows fed the treated silage was higher, but no difference
in 4% fat-corrected milk was noted. Since the cost of treated was about
70 cents per ton of ensiled product and since this was added to direct-
cut forage rather than material ensiled as low moisture silage, its
value is open to question.
3. Ammonia Ammonia treatment of forages has proven to be an
effective and economical means of preserving, increasing palatability
and supplementing its protein value. Nebraska studies show an
improvement in bunk life of treated silage because the ammonia inhibits
mold and yeast growth and also heating of silage after it has been
exposed to the air. Research since 1967 shows that several forms of
ammonia can be beneficial.
Forms of ammonia that have been used include anhydrous ammonia (82%
N), aqueous ammonia (21% N), and various ammonia-mineral-molasses
suspensions. In the past, aqueous ammonia has primarily been used but
in recent months due to advanced technology, anhydrous ammonia has
become more popular because of ease and simplicity of application.
Ammonia-mineral-molasses suspensions continue to have some use due to
their mineral additions and easy form to handle. Anhydrous ammonia is
by far the most economical source of ammonia.
A mix of ammonia-minerals-molasses termed "ProSil" has been
marketed in various areas of the country. Trials in Michigan comparing
silages treated with urea or ammonia solutions have generally favored
ammonia treatment. Some of the experimental results from a 90-day
feeding trial in Michigan are shown in Table 4.
Table 4. Milk Yields and Feed Intake of Holstein Cows Fed
Corn Silage with Various NPN Additives.
Urea & Aqua
Control Urea Minerals ProSil Prosil Ammonia
(32)* (31) (32) (31) (42) (42)
Milk Yield 59.4 59.7 55.2 59.9 59.4 59.0
lb/cwt 2.85- 2.80 2.72 2.69 2.79 2.74
*Dry Matter % of Silages
Compared to control silages, those treated with ammonia solutions
were higher in lactic acid and water insoluble nitrogen and more stable
when exposed to air. The increased lactic acid apparently extends the
period of bacterial fermentation. Ammonia-treated silage is more
resistant than untreated silage to heating and mold growth when exposed
The addition of ammonia to silage haylage and hay has shown some
advantages. Studies have shown that it raises the crude protein level
of corn silage from 8-9% to 13-14%, depending on rate of application.
Ammonia also reduces silage dry matter losses from 4-6% and reduces
energy losses from 6-10% when compared to untreated silage. Treating
silage also protects the natural corn plant protein from degradation
during the ensiling process. In untreated corn silage, roughly half of
the protein in the corn plant is degraded to non-protein nitrogen
compounds during fermentation. It has been estimated that ammonia
decreases this protein deamination by 20-40%. The lactic acid content
of treated silage has been shown to increase 20-30% over untreated
silage during ensiling since more soluble sugars in the plant are
converted to lactic acid. In this case, the ammonia is acting as a
buffer and allows more of the acids to build up in the silage.
Ohio studies have tested additions of anhydrous ammonia to corn
silage at two different levels compared to untreated silage material
from the same fields (Table 5). Results have shown anhydrous ammonia to
be a very satisfactory source of non-protein nitrogen.
Table 5. Composition of Ammonia Treated and
Untreated Corn Silage.
Silage % Dry Matter Protein pH
Untreated 37.67 8.49 3.84
7 lb/ton 35.96 13.60 4.73
10 lb/ton 34.46 15.20 4.95
100% Dry Matter Basis
Three recent studies on the feeding of ammonia-treated silage to
lactating dairy cattle is summarized in Table 6.
Table 6. Milk Yields, Dry Matter Intakes of Cows Fed, and Milk
Components of Control Or Ammoniated Silages.
Purduea Ohio Michigan
State State Average
Cont NH3d Cont NH3 Conte NH3 Cont. NH3
Milk, Ib/d 57.3 58.9 69.0 67.0 77.8 78.7 68.0 68.2
DM intake, lb/d 39.9 39.7 42.6 43.7 42.6 44.5 4.1.7 42.4
Milk fat, % 3.63 3.41 3.04 3.21 3.00 2.95 3.22 3.19
Milk prot., % 3.15 3.17 2.97 3.01 2.90 2.96 3.01 3.05
aJ. Animal Sci. 55:525 (1983); J. Dairy Sci. (in press); cJ. Dairy Sci.
66:227 (1983); dean of 12 cows; eMean of 24 cows.
Care must be exercised in handling ammonia due to its volatile,
pungent and corrosive nature. Ammonia is highly soluble in water and
readily binds to many organic compounds. The higher the moisture of the
silage, the better will be ammonia recovery.
Poor ammonia recoveries might be expected when silages are in
excess of 40% dry matter 6r poorly chopped (which decreases the surface
area for ammonia-binding). Recovery estimated should always be made on
silage which has undergone at least 3 weeks of fermentation because the
organic acids (mainly lactic) combine with the ammonia to form salts
which are retained during chemical analysis. Otherwise, large ammonia
losses may be falsely indicated.
B. Silo Structures
The primary silos that are used by farmers are: (1) stack, (2) pit
or trench, (3) permanent bunker, (4) portable bunker, (5) large plastic
bag, (6) concrete stave upright silo, (7) poured concrete upright silo,
and (8) oxygen limiting silo.
The economics of choosing between various types of more advanced
silos is not near as vivid as between some structure versus no
structure. The type a farmer should have depends on overall situation
and long range goals.
A silage forage program must be managed from the planting of the
crop until consumed by the cow to be of greatest profit to the dairy
operation. Both quantity and quality are important to maximize returns.
Priority considerations include harvesting, storage and feeding.
Harvesting at the proper moisture content and rate of filling seriously
affect silage quality. Type of structure influences dry matter losses
and quality. Keeping the silage fresh before the cows affects intake
and performance. A total program must be designed to minimize losses
throughout the total period.
WEED CONTROL IN PASTURES AND HAY CROPS
Dr. Paul Mislevy
Perennial and annual weeds are found in most of Florida's 3-3.5
million acres df improved pasture costing producers millions of dollars
annually, through loss of grazing land, plant nutrients, water, etc.
Weeds are generally controlled by two methods:
1. Mechanical (mowing, chopping, etc.)
2. Chemical (herbicides)
The mechanical control is generally temporary requiring several
trips over the field each year, utilizing considerable energy and time.
Chemical control generally requires one application of herbicide
per year, and in many cases, a repeat application may not be necessary
for 2 to 3 years.
Weeds are controlled for the following reasons depending on an
1. Aesthetic purposes: Along driveways, sidewalks, roads, etc.
2. Fire control: Eliminating weeds in fence lines helps prevent.
fires from destroying fences.
3. Weed-free fence lines helps preserve wire fences from rust by
4. Save fertilizer and increase forage production: Many weeds
will utilize as much or more fertilizer than perennial grasses.
5. Increase forage quality: Weeds found in forage crops harvested
for hay can reduce forage quality considerably.
6. Increase sod quality: Premium prices for weed-free bahia and
St. Augustine sod can be obtained.
The purpose of this paper is to address some of the improved
pasture weed problems facing commercial growers in south central
Florida. The following weeds and their control will be discussed:
Chemicals and rates:
Dalapon @ 4 lb/A formulation and 30 gal/A water when smutgrass
plants are actively growing. This rate is acceptable for both
pangola and bahiagrass. Two weeks following the herbicide
application, pangola grass should be chopped and 4 weeks after
herbicide application, the pangola pasture should be fertilized
with a complete fertilizer ratio, unless the soil test indicates
differently. The pasture should be ready for grazing about 5
weeks after fertilization.
Research has indicated mowing was more desirable than chopping
in bahiagrass recovery following the 4 Ib/A Dalapon application.
Fertilizer applied 4 weeks after the herbicide application was
also best for bahiagrass.
Roundup has also done well in controlling smutgrass when lied
through a wick applicator at a rate of 3-1, water-Roundup
mixture. However, a 12-15" height differential must exist in
favor of the smutgrass so desirable forage plants are not
damaged. For best control, 8 hours or more of a rain-free
period should follow herbicide application.
Regardless of what chemical is used to control smutgrass, good
fertilization practices must follow weed control to establish a
good ground cover and prevent smutgrass seedlings from
2. Blackberry briers
Chemicals and rates:
Dicamba @ 2 qts/A (active) in the spring when briers are in
flower to early fruit stage followed by a second application of
2 qts/A (active) in early to mid-September. This procedure will
generally result in 95 to 99% control. Since 1 to 5% of the
plants still remain alive, care must be taken not to allow these
few plants to develop into a new plant stand.
Follow the second herbicide application with a recommended
amount of a complete fertilizer ratio to encourage complete
perennial grass ground cover. During the winter following the
herbicide application, it may be desirable to rotary mow the
dead briers for more rapid decomposition.
3. Soft Rush
Chemicals and rates:
Preliminary information indicates Weedmaster( @ 1.5 2.0
qts/A (active) will control soft rush, if herbicide is applied
in early spring (March).
Weedmaster(R) applied through a wick applicator at a 3-1 or 5-1,
water-chemical ratio will result in 95 to 99% control, provided
the wick is drawn over the soft rush clumps in two directions
(east to west and west to east).
Chemical and rate:
Roundup(R) applied through a wick at a 3-1, water-chemical ratio
appears to be the only presently known method to control
vaseygrass, when the weed is found growing in perennial grass.
However, as mentioned with smutgrass, a height differential of
12-15" must exist between vasey ass and the desirable grasses.
The wick application of Roundup about 1-2 weeks following a
hay crop removal, appears to provide the desirable height
differential, since vaseygrass regrowth is much faster than
improved perennial forages.
Chemicals and rates:
Dicamba @ 1.5 lb/A (active) in late February or early March when
plants are in the rosette (very short stem bearing a dense
cluster of leaves, prior to the development of an upright stem)
stage of growth. If thistle plants are not sprayed until they
develop an upright stem of 4 to 5 ft. tall along with flowers,
the above rate will not control the weed.
6. Dog fennel
Chemicals and rates:
Weedmaster(R) @ 1.0 lb/A (active) when dog fennel is 6" tall or
less. If POnts are above 6" tall, 1.5 Ib/A (active)
Weedmaster is required to obtain 95 to 99% control. Research
has demonstrated that the application of 2.0 lb/A (active)
Weedmaster will provide excellent control of dog fennel 5-7
ft. tall. Remember when applying any herbicide with a boom
sprayer, the boom must be positioned 12-24" (depending on nozzle
type) above the highest plants one is trying to control.
Broadleaf Weed Control in Aeschynomene-perennial Grass Pastures
Chemical and rate:
Weedmaster(R) or Dicamba @ 1.5 lb/A (active) respectively,
depending on the target weeds in Yved. If dog fennel is the
target weed, 1.5 lb/A Weedmaster or Dicamba @ 1.5 Ib/A if
thistle is the weed. IMPORTANT: When trying to control
broadleaves in a pasture or hay field which contains
aeschynomene seed, the above herbicides must be applied in
March. If herbicide application is delayed until April or
later, a major portion of the aeschynomene seedlings can be
destroyed. The objective is to control broadleaf weeds when
aeschynomene is in the seed stage, under cool conditions, prior
to the germination of aeschynomene.
Broadleaf Weed Control in Perennial Grass Establishment
Chemical and rate:
Weedmaster(R) @ 1.0 lb/A (active) about 2-3 weeks following the
planting of vegetative material or when weeds are 1-2 inches
tall. This herbicide will control most broadleaf weeds
germinating from seed and many sedges (water-grass) will be
controlled if sprayed at a very early stage..
Chemical and rate:
Dicamba @ 3/4 Ib/A (active) when Hemarthria tillers are 2-5
inches tall and when broadleaf weeds an=R-edges (water-grass)
are 1-2" tall. Do not apply Weedmaster" on Hemarthria.
It is best to apply fertilizer first on newly established
Hemarthria, followed by the herbicide, since the herbicide
causes Hemarthria tillers to become brittle for 2-3 weeks. The
reverse of this process will result in many tillers being broken
by the fertilizer applicator.
Timing is the most important factor in weed control, resulting in
the use of less herbicide. This is followed closely by good forage
management practices (proper fertilization, grazing, etc.) which reduce
future weed infestations.
Breeding Beef Cattle
F. M. Pecock
The objective of commercial beef production should be to maximize
the additive genetic (breed) values unique to the specific breed and
also in crossbreeding programs to utilize hybrid vigor in both cow and
calf to produce a desirable product.
The wide variations in genetic traits among the conventional breeds
allows the utilization of desirable traits unique to each breed into a
The conventional breeds can be grouped into three categories: 1)
large European breeds noted for fast growth and large size, but
generally lack carcass quality such as the Charolais and Semental; 2)
British breeds, which lack the size of the large Europeans but noted for
carcass quality; 3) Brahman, good general combining ability with other
breeds resulting in hybrid vigor and adaptability to areas not generally
suited to some of the other breeds.
In straightbreeding programs, whether the conventional or the
American breeds derived from a crossbred foundation, improvement or
maintaining production standards are achieved through bull selection and
culling of females based on their own performance. However, in
crossbreeding, selection of breeds and also individual within breeds to
be crossed are important as additive breed traits determine the value of
the crossbred population. Crossbreds will generally show a blend of
parent breeds, with production performance improved through hybrid
vigor. The foremost consideration in crossbreeding is the production of
a desired product. This product must be saleable and also conform to
production standards for females to be kept for replacement, as good
maternal performance of the cow herd is one of the most important
genetic traits necessary for high production. Breed crosses containing
some Brahman blood generally show good maternal performance.
Utilizing the additive breed traits of different breeds by crossing
will produce a product that is average for the breeds. Crossing the
Brahman with the other breeds will also result in hybrid vigor plus the
average of the additive traits. To fully utilize hybrid vigor, the
crossbred cow needs to be in production and bred to a bull breed that
carries the additive traits desired in the offspring.
The blending of the additive breed traits and the need for hybrid
vigor in the cow has led to the establishment of several new breeds such
as the Brangus, Beefmaster and Braford. The straight breeding of these
breeds that combine the additive traits and hybrid vigor simplifies
management in that selection can be concentrated toward production
rather than that of maintaining a number of sire breeds as well as cow
There are a number of procedures (systems) for crossbreeding;
two-breed rotation, three-breed rotation and three-breed terminal. All
of these systems emphasize hybrid vigor in the cow, and sire breeds for
additive effects in offspring. In terminal systems offspring are sold,
with replacement females produced from another program, whereas the
rotation system emphasizes maintaining varying degrees of Brahman blood
in offspring for female replacement. The American breeds can be used in
these systems as extremes in genetype from the use of some of the
conventional breeds can be minimized and still maintain a degree of
Brahman in the cow herd.
The Effects of Liquid Trace Minerals on
Weight Gains in Yearling Heifers
D. W. Sanson
The use of feed additives in supplements for cattle on grass may
result in improved performance. Several types of additives are
available that alter the efficiency of animals under feedlot conditions,
however whether these improvements will be similar when additives are
fed to ruminants on a high roughage diet is not fully realized.
Although several studies have shown improvements in performance of
animals on pasture when fed various additives, other data indicate
little improvement. This study was conducted to determine the influence
of the addition of Liquid Trace Mineral to a supplement fed to yearling
heifers on their weight gain.
Materials and Methods
Thirty-six crossbred yearling heifers were randomized with respect
to breed type into 6 groups. These groups were then randomly assigned
to either a control molasses supplement (CON) or a similar supplement
fortified with Liquid Trace Minerals (LTM) to supply 7g of the solution
head/day, resulting in 3 blocks of each of two treatments. Animals were
maintained in 5 acre stargrass pastures and rotated within blocks every
two weeks. Heifers were supplemented twice weekly to supply 3 Ibs of
standard molasses head/day throughout the 112 day study. During the
first 60 d of the study, a low quality stargr ss hay (6% CP, 50% IVOMD)
was offered ad libitum. A mineral supplement was available to all
animals during the entire trial.
Animals were shrunk for 16 hours prior to recording initial and
final weights. Weight gains and average daily gains were subjected to
an analysis of variance appropriate for a randomized block design to
determine differences between treatment means.
Results and Discussion
There was no difference in hay intake nor in mineral consumption
between treatment groups. Heifers consumed 3 lbs of the supplement
head/day in the first 72 d of the trial, however during the last 40 days
supplementation was cut to 2 lbs head/day because of decreased intakes.
The diminished intakes of molasses was probably due to an increase in
forage availability. During the initial 60 days of the study, the
forage was dormant with little production; however, forage production
increased dramatically during the last half of the trial, resulting in a
high quality roughage available for grazing.
Mineral supplement contained 12% Ca, 11.5% P, 25% NaCl, 1% Fe, .15% Cu,
.03% Co, .03% Mn, .09% Zn, .02% I, .0016% Se, .15% Fo and 240,000 USP
units/lb of vitamin A.
Performance data are shown in table 1. The addition of LTM to the
supplement resulted in a increase (P<.05) in 19 lbs of weight or a 15%
improvement over the control supplement. This corresponded to an
increase in average daily gain of .17 lbs head/day. These data indicate
a significant improvement in weight gains due to the addition of LTM in
supplements for growing heifers may be realized where conditions are
similar to the ones in this study.
TABLE 1. PERFORMANCE OF HEIFERS SUPPLEMENTED WITH EITHER STANDARD
MOLASSES (CON) OR THE STANDARD MOLASSES FORTIFIED WITH LIQUID
TRACE MINERALS (LTM)
Itema CON LTM SE
Initial wt. 472b 475
Weight gain 123 142c 6
Average daily gain 1.10 1.27c .06
aAll weights are in lbs; to convert to kg multiply by .4536
bCRow means with different superscript differ (P<.05)
The following have provided support to research programs at the Ona
AREC. Their contributions are sincerely appreciated.
Adams Ranch, Inc., Ft. Pierce, Florida
ALICO, Inc., Labelle, Florida
AMAX Chemical Corporation, Lakeland, Florida
American Cyanamid Co., Agricultural Division
Asgrow Florida, Plant City, Florida
Babcock Ranch, Punta Gorda, Florida
Albert Carlton, Wauchula, Florida
Chevron Chemical Co., Orlando, Florida
Dekalb Seed Co., Dekalb, Illinois
Deseret Ranch, Melbourne, Florida
Douglas Fertilizer, Lake Placid, Florida
H. C. Douglas, K-Bar Ranch, Zephyrhills, Florida
Dow Chemical Co., Tampa, Florida
E. I. DuPont de Nemours Co., Inc., Wilmington, Delaware
Duval Sales Corp., Houston, Texas
Eli Lilly and Co., Greenfield, Indiana
Fields Equipment Co., Zolfo Springs, Florida
Florida Fertilizer Co., Wauchula, Florida
Funks Seed International, Bloomington, Illinois
Furst-McNess Co., Freeport, Illinois
Gas Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois
Glades Fertilizer Co., Moore Haven, Florida
Hardee County Cattlemen's Association, Wauchula, Florida
Hardee County Commissioners, Wauchula, Florida
Hardee County Extension Office, Wauchula, Florida
Hardee County Soil Conservation Service, Wauchula, Florida
Hoffman-La Roche, Inc., Nutley, New Jersey
Imperial Products, Inc., Altamonte Springs, Florida
International Minerals and Chemical Corp., Libertyville, Illinois
J.L.B International Chem., Inc., Vero Beach, Florida
Lykes Brothers, Inc., Brooksville, Florida
Derrill McAteer, Brooksville, Florida
Microlife Technics, Sarasota, Florida
Monsanto Chemical Co., St. Louis, Missouri
The Nitragin Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Northrup King Co., Minneapolis, Minnesota
C. M. Payne and Son Seed Co., Sebring, Florida
Peace River Electric Coop., Wauchula, Florida
Pioneer Hi-Bred Int., Tipton, Indiana
Seminole Tribes of Florida, Brighton, Florida
Southeastern LTM Corp.
Robert Stokes, Bartow, Florida
Bayard Toussaint, Punta Gorda, Florida
,Lat Turner, Sarasota, Florida
'Union Carbide Agri. Products, Research Triangle Park, N.C.
U.S. Sugar Corporation, Clewiston, Florida
Velsicol Chemical Co., Chicago, Illinois
V.M.S. Inc., Montgomery, Alabama
Charles Williams, Avon Park, Florida
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
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University