Dedication of Field Day
Herbert L. Chapman Jr.
The University of Florida, Agricultural Research and Education Center,
Ona, in recognition of dedicated service and outstanding contributions to
Florida and international agriculture dedicates this field day to Herbert L.
Dr. Chapman was reared on a poultry farm in east Hillsboro County and
graduated from Plant City High School. He enrolled at the University of
Florida in 1942. After serving in the U.S. Navy for 2 years, he returned to
the University to obtain a B.S. degree in agriculture in 1948. After
teaching vocational agriculture for 2 years he returned to the University of
Florida and received his an M.S. degree in agriculture in 4951 with major
emphasis in animal nutrition and agricultural education. He was first
employed by the University of Florida in July 1951, as Assistant Animal
Husbandman at the Belle Glade Agricultural Research and Education Center.
Following 2 years of animal research at Belle Glade he resigned to attend
Iowa State University where he obtained a Ph.D. degree in 1955. Dr. Chapman
then returned to Belle Glade as Assistant Professor (Animal Nutritionist),
was promoted to Associate Professor in 1957 and to Professor in 1963. During
his tenure at Belle Glade his research emphasized mineral nutrition and
supplemental feeding of brood cows and steers. He also conducted
post-doctoral research with copper at the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear
Science. Dr. Chapman has authored or co-authored over 200 scientific and
popular papers and has international experience in central and south America,
Hawaii, the Marianna Islands, Guam, Okinawa, South Vietnam, Pakistan,
Jamaica, Mexico, Canada and the Sudan.
He accepted the Center Director position at Ona in 1965. While at Ona,
he continued mineral and feed by-product research and promoted program
development emphasizing cooperative research between faculty at research
centers and the main campus. Dr. Chapman's major emphasis was to direct
forage and beef cattle research as it relates to commercial grower needs.
Dr. Chapman initiated the growth in personnel and programs at the Ona
Research Center between 1965 and 1982 when he retired. The faculty grew 60%
while career service personnel grew 50%. New laboratories, animal nutrition
facilities and office space were added under his leadership. The addition of
the near-infrared reflectance spectroscopic instrumentation for forage
analysis at the Ona AREC was a result of his vision and effort.
Dr. Chapman's support of faculty and their research programs have resulted in
numerous individual accomplishments.
He has always been active in church and civic affairs and is a member of
many professional and honorary organizations. Today he continues this
service while he is working as General Manager of Agricultural Operations for
Welcome to the Ona-AREC Field Day
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) extends a cordial
welcome to all ranchers, agricultural producers and industry representatives
attending the Ona Agricultural Research and Education Center (AREC) Field Day.
A special thank you is extended to Dr. Herbert L. Chapman (retired) for his 29
years of service and contributions to IFAS and the agricultural community.
Progress in Florida agriculture has been possible because of individuals such
as Dr. Chapman and the cooperation he fostered between IFAS and the
agricultural industries in Florida. Thus, it is fitting that the 1986 Ona
Field Day be dedicated to Herb Chapman, an animal nutritionist, whose research
and administrative skills opened new doors for the Florida cattle industry.
Florida agriculture will continue to grow and prosper because of individuals
who possess the spirit and dedication of Dr. Chapman.
/ James M. Davidson
Dean for Research
Cattle and Forage Field Day
University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Agricultural Research and Education Center
June 6, 1986
Jo Durrance Moderator
9:30 Welcome and Introductions Findlay Pate (Ona; AREC)
9:40 Dedication of Field Day to Dr. Herb Chapman Vernon Perry (Dean
of Research- University of Florida; Gainesville)
9:45 Use of Perennial Peanuts as a Forage in Florida Bob Stephenson
10:00 Production and Management of Small Grains in South Florida: 5
Year Average Rob Kalmbacher (Ona; AREC) and Ron Barnett
10:15 Aeschynomene Production, Quality, and Management Paul Mislevy
10:30 Producing High-Quality Hay Rick Dressel (Dressel Dairy, Avon
10:45 Sorghum Silage Production and Utilization Butch Jonischkies
(McArthur Dairy, Okeechobee)
11:00 Evaluation of Molasses Slurries as Winter Supplements for
Producing Cows Findlay Pate (Ona; AREC)
11:30 Lunch (dutch treat) served by Hardee County Cattlemans Assoc.
1:00 Wagon Tour and Discussion of Research Projects
Grazing-Evaluation of Tropical Legumes Buddy Pitman (Ona; AREC)
Mob-grazing Bahiagrass Paul Mislevy (Ona; AREC)
Ammonia Treatment of Hay Bill Brown (Ona; AREC)
3:00 Tour of IR and AA Facilities and Farm Equipment
Perennial Peanuts as a Forage in Florida
Rhizoma peanut is a common name given to species in section
Rhizomatosae of the genus Arachis. There are several species (both
annual and perennial), but the most commonly used one for forage
production is the glabrata. In the past few years attention has been
given to two cultivars 'Florigraze' and 'Arbrook' as possible legumes in
Florida. Both are long-lived, perennial, warm-season plants which can
be used in Florida as a hay or grazing crop. They can be used alone or
in a mixture with a warm-season perennial grass to provide a high
quality forage for cattle from spring up until freezing temperatures.
Florigraze Peanuts Florigraze has finer stems, narrower leaflets
and the rhizomes are smaller than the Arbrook peanut. Florigraze should
be planted in moderately well- to extremely well-drained soils of all
textures. A soil pH range of 5.8 6.5 is suggested for the rhizoma
peanut. Florigraze needs to be propagated from rhizomes since shoots
cut at the late hay stage and planted rarely survive. When planting,
the rhizomes should not be allowed to stand for long periods of time in
direct sunlight, but stacked loosely in piles and shaded. Inoculation
on the rhizoma peanut may be beneficial since some Florida soils are
very low in natural bacteria that will nodulate the peanut. However the
soil or rhizomes generally will have enough bacteria to establish the
rhizomes. If inoculant can not be obtained it is better to plant than
to wait a full year. Inoculant can be obtained at a reputable company.
Florigraze will tolerate low temperature because the rhizomes are
several inches below the soil surface. Once established, Florigraze is
drought resistant. During periods of drought stress the plants may go
dormant or tops may die, if so the plant will regenerate from rhizomes
In rhizoma peanut-grass mixtures the grass is generally planted in
rows between the existing peanut. If used in a mixture the grass should
not be planted on soils which need nitrogen fertilizer for the survival
of the grass. Applying nitrogen fertilizer to a peanut-grass mixture
could result in a flush of grass growth which may shade or outcompete
the peanut. Planting in existing grass sod is not recommended.
Weed control is essential during the first growing season of the
peanut. Cultivation can be used between peanut rows with care exercised
so not to hit or disrupt peanut rhizomes. No cultivation should take
place after July. Herbicides commonly used include Blan, Treflan and
tank mixtures (pre-plant incorporated). Planting should be delayed at
least 14 days after application of these herbicides or damage to the
peanut rhizomes could occur. A tank mixture of Lasso and dinoseb
(Premerge) at first emergence in the spring can be used to control both
winter and spring weeds. Basagran and 2,4-D applied postemergence can
be used throughout the growing season. Because rhizoma peanuts are a
new crop no herbicides are presently labled. The herbicides listed
above are those that have.shown to be effective experimentally.
Arbrook Peanuts Arbrook performs better than Florigraze on
excessively drained soils, under dry conditions and appears to be better
adapted to the deep drought sands of the Florida ridge area. Arbrook
is a larger plant, has bigger leaves and stems and rhizomes than
Florigraze. Arbrook makes a better spring growth than Florigraze.
Arbrook may not tolerate grazing as well as Florigraze. If
continually grazed the plants take on a rosette type growth and forage
yield is reduced. Undergrazing of an Arbrook-grass mixture,
particularly if nitrogen fertilizer has been applied may result in a
reduced peanut stand. Arbrook does not produce as much ground cover as
the Florigraze peanut.
The quality and dry matter yield of Arbrook is comparable to
Florigraze with differences varying slightly depending on the soil type
(Tables 1, 2 and 3).
Table 1. Dry matter forage yields of selected cultivars of rhizoma
peanut grown on excessively-drained sandy soil at Gainesville,
FL over four growing seasons.
Dry matter yield
Cultivar 1976 1977* 1978 1979 average
Arbrook 4.3 2.2 3.8 4.7 3.8
Florigraze 3.8 1.3 2.4 3.9 2.8
Arb 3.4 1.4 2.3 4.1 2.8
Arblick 2.0 1.2 2.4 1.8 1.9
Hay cuttings per year 3 2 2 3
,Yields were average of 5 replications.
1977 was the driest year on record.
Establishment of both Florigraze and Arbrook are similar and is
1. Locate a commercial Florigraze or Arbrook rhizome grower and get
your name on the list to receive rhizomes during January and
2. Select a well-drained soil area as free as possible of perennial
grasses. Lime soil with dolimite limestone if pH is below 5.8.
Work soil into seed bed before January 1, preferably with a
moldboard plow. Grass sod should be plowed in August and fallowed
by harrowing during the fall.
3. Have your farm supply dealer special order peanut inoculant 2 months
before you need it, as dealers do not usually carry peanut inoculant
4. Fertilize according to soil test results or, if not tested, apply
300 pounds/acre (336 kg/ha) of 0-10-20 or similar analysis
fertilizer without nitrogen, and work fertilizer into soil with
tillage equipment and allow soil to stand through one or more
5. Plant 40 to 80 bushels/acre (3.5 to 7 m3/ha) of rhizomes (the more,
the better), as uniformly as possible at the proper depth in January
or February. Rows of peanuts'dug with bermudagrass sprig digger
should not be planted more than 24 inches (60 cm) apart.
6. Inoculate rhizomes with peanut inoculant at planting and incorporate
into the soil as soon as possible.
7. Fertilize in July or August with an additional 300 pounds/acre (336
kg/ha) of 0-10-20 fertilizer.
8. Control weeds during growing season through mowing and use of
herbicides (contact county extension office for latest herbicide
recommendations). Mow tall weeds just above peanut top growth or to
6 inches (15 cm) if peanut growth is above this height.
9. Irrigation during droughts, if available, insures better survival
and more rapid coverage of peanut.
Table 2. Dry matter forage yields of three perennial peanuts at three
fertilizer levels at SCS Plant Materials Center, Brooksville,
FL over three growing seasons.
Cultivar or Fertilizer Dry matter forage yield
accession (N-P205-K20) 1981 1982 1983 Average
-lb/acre-- ------- tons/acre--------
Arbrook 0-0-0 5.7 6.1 5.3 5.7
0-50-160 4.2 5.5 5.9 5.2
0-100-260 5.3 5.5 6.5 5.7
Average 5.1 5.7 5.9 5.5
Florigraze 0-0-0 3.2 5.7 4.9 4.6
0-50-160 3.0 5.7 5.3 4.7
0-100-260 3.3 6.5 5.1 5.0
Average 3.2 6.0 5.1 4.7
A. benthamii 0-0-0 3.8 4.9 1.6 3.4
(PI 338282) 0-50-160 2.6 3.7 1.4 2.6
0-100-260 3.8 4.9 1.6 3.4
Average 3.4 4.5 1.6 3.1
Precipitation (inches) 8.6 28.0 27.1
January through May
Total Precipitation (inches) 42.9 73.1 75.1
Table 3. Percentage of protein and in vitro organic matter
digestibility in three-perennial peanuts for three harvests
over three growing seasons at Gainesville, FL.
Year and Season Season-
cultivar June Aug. Oct. average June Aug. Oct. average
-------% protein------- --------% IVOMD-----
Arbrook 12.6 15.1 14.4 14.0 58.8 62.2 64.1 63.0
Florigraze 13.1 16.9 16.8 15.6 58.5 69.3 69.3 65.7
A. benthamii 15.8 16.5 17.2 16.5 57.1 63.5 65.5 59.0
Arbrook 15.0 12.0 16.0 14.3 63.5 69.9 70.6 68.0
Florigraze 14.2 16.1 12.9 14.4 60.7 63.8 60.9 61.8
A. benthamii 14.9 13.4 17.0 15.1 56.1 66.2 45.4 55.9
Arbrook 13.9 14.0 12.4 13.4 66.0 64.7 62.8 64.5
Florigraze 14.9 15.4 15.1 15.1 70.4 65.9 64.9 67.1
A. benthamii 15.2 14.2 14.6 14.7 61.1 64.7 58.4 61.4
Arbrook 13.8 13.7 14.3 13.9 62.8 65.6 67.4 65.3
Florigraze 14.0 16.1 14.9 15.0 63.2 66.3 65.0 64.8
A. benthamii 15.3 14.7 16.3 15.4 58.1 64.8 53.9 58.9
Production and Management of Small Grains
in South Florida: 5 Year Average
R. S. Kalmbacher, R. D. Barnett and F. G. Martin-
'Soil and climate in south Florida can make production of grain
crops, needed for fattening cattle, difficult, expensive and risky.
Growing corn and grain sorghum (milo) has been demonstrated to be
feasible, and it has been adapted primarily by dairymen, who grow these
crops for silage. The major disadvantages of growing corn or milo are
the relatively large amounts of fertilizer, and the fact that they are
harvested at the beginning or during the rainy season. Small grains
have the advantage of requiring less fertilizer, and they mature during
the dry season. In addition they could offer some winter grazing.
Several new varieties of wheat, oats, rye and triticale (a
wheat-rye hybrid) have been developed at the North Florida Agricultural
Research and Education Center (AREC), and performance there and in the
lower Southeast has been encouraging. The purpose of this study was to
evaluate grain yield of these new varieties in South Florida and compare
them with other commercially available ones.
Materials and Methods
Wheat, oats, rye and triticale were drilled in prepared seedbeds at
90 Ib/A at the Ona and at Immokalee AREC's (Table 1). The experimental
design was a randomized complete block with four replications. Seedbeds
were cultipacked and irrigated if needed with an overhead system
(seepage at Immokalee). Seed was treated with Mesurol in 1986 to
prevent birds from eatiu the seed. No herbicides were applied at
seeding, but Weedmaster at 0.5 pt/A of formulation was applied in
1986 to control broadleaf weeds. All experiments were covered with bird
netting when plants were in anthesis (flowering). Three rows, 17' long
were hand harvested and thrashed when individual varieties were in the
hard dough stage. Test weight (weight/bu) was determined for each
variety each year except 1981. Yield (bu/A) is expressed as a function
of actual test weight except in 1981, when standard test weights of 60,
32, 56, 56 lb/bu were used for wheat, oats, rye and triticale,
-/Professor/Agronomist Ona and North Florida AREC and Professor/
Statistician University of Florida, Gainesville, respectively.
Table 1. Agronomic information concerning small grain variety trials.
Date Varieties Fertilizationt Irrig- Range of
Location seeded tested Seeding Topdress (date) ation harvest dates
No. ------------lb/A------------- in.
Ona 10 Nov '81 16 60-50-10Q 50-25-25 (4 Feb) 2.5 21 Apr & 6 May '82
Ona 22 Nov '82 16 90-30-60 50-25-25 (1 Feb) 2.3 not harvested"
Ona 20 Dec '82 16 40-50-100 50-25-25 (1 Feb) 0.9 not harvested
Ona 17 Nov '83 20 40-50-100 50-25-25 (28 Dec) 0 17 Apr to 30 May '84
Ona 20 Dec '83 20 50-50-100 50-25-25 (24 Feb) 0 22 Apr to 6 June
Ona 30 Nov '84 20 50-50-11q 25-0-0 (31 Jan) 5.0 1l.Apr to 28 May
Ona 12 Der '85 12 60-30-60 45-0-70 (11 Feb) 0.4 #1I
Immokalee 13 Dec '85 12 60-50-100 41-0-65 (3 Feb) #
tN,-P2 0-K 0, respectively.
seepage irrigation with ditches on 40' centers.
total grain loss due to record Feb (8.4") and March (7.1") rain.
Inot harvested at time of this writing. (
ttthese trials were sprayed with 0.5 pt/A (formulation) of Weedmaste(R) mid-Feb 1986.
Results and Discussion
There were significant differences in yield among wheat varieties
within most years (Table 2). Some varieties like Coker 762, Coker 916,
Fl 302 were better yielding than others, such as Stacy or Arthur 71.
This difference in yield between November-seeded varieties was the
difference between early and late maturities. We feel that later
maturing varieties, or the more northern types, do not yield as well at
Ona. Even the better yielding varieties, such as Coker 762, which
produced a maximum yield of 43 bu/A in 1984, may not be profitable in
Florida. Considering today's prices for wheat and production costs of
$90 to $120/A, we feel that consistent minimum yields of 45 bu/A are
Table 2. Average oven-dry grain yield of selected varieties grown at
the Ona AREC. 1982 to 1985.
Gurly Grazer 2000
1982 1983 1984 1985
15 a 0 43 b-f 33 d
t + 33 c-g 35 d
20 a t 30 d-g 31 de
5 d 0 21 fg 38 d
t+ 27 d-g 30 d-
6 d 0 21 fg 35 d
+ t 23 edg 15 fg
t t 19g 9h
12 0 27 28
c-g 60 c
d-g 64 be
,not seeded in 1982 or 1983.
means within column followed
not grown for 4 years.
by the same letter are not different
Test weights for better yielding varieties ranged from 52 to 56
lb/bu were slightly less than the standard 60 Ib/bu used for wheat.
Grain was plump and well developed in good years, but in poor years or
for unadapted varieties, grain was shrivelled with test weights around
There was great year-to-year variation in yield within the same
variety (Table 2). Coker 762 produced 15 bu/A in 1982, 0.0 in 1983 and
43 bu/A in 1984. The January 1982 freeze was very hard on early
varieties because they were "jointing" at the time of the cold, so they
were injured. Record rain in spring 1983 completely eliminated the
grain crop because plants were drowned in standing water from
mid-February to mid-March. Lodging was a problem with some entries,
especially slower maturing, taller growing varieties. Bird damage was
severe in 1982, when the experiment wasn't covered with netting.
Disease (rust and anthracnose) was not a problem, nor was insect damage
in any year.
Earlier seedings (November) seemed to yield more than later
(December) seedings of slower maturing varieties, but there didn't
appear to be much response with early varieties (Table 3). Coker 797
and Fl 301 are early maturing and December seedings yielded +4% and -19%
of November seedings. Coker 702 is a mid maturity and December seeding
was -53% of the November seeding. Late seeded, late maturing varieties
did not produce grain. Wheat needs cool temperatures (under 750 F)
during grain filling, and whether they get such temperatures depends on
the particular year. However, late seeded, late maturing varieties are
really at a disadvantage because they are forced to fill during hot, dry
Table 3. Effect of seeding date on oven-dry grain yield
at Ona AREC.
of small grains
1983 Seeding Date
17 Nov 20 Dec Nov vs Dec
Coker 797 21 20 + 4
Fl 301 21 17 19
Coker 762 43 20 53
Coker 916 33 0 -100
Hunter 27 0 -100
Coker 227 58 52 10
Fl 501 50 38 24
Coker 820 55 31 44
Fl 502 74 23 69
Gurley Grazer 2000 10 13 + 30
Fl 401 25 36 + 44
Beagle 82 30 43 + 43
Fl 201 32 56 + 75
Fl 502 oats was consistently better in yield than other varieties
in 1984 and 1985, which were years of greatest production (Table 2).
Coker 227 and Coker 820 were also good grain yielders, but Fl 501 was a
poor grain producer. We feel that yields of 75 to 80 bu/A from Fl 502
would be profitable if they could be depended-upon. Unfortunately yield
of oats, like wheat, was dependent upon year and in some years oats was
Our test weights ranged from 26 to 32 Ib/bu, which indicates that
plumpness was average (32) or below. Grain filling in oats is less
sensitive to hot weather than grain filling in wheat. Consequently,
better adapted oat varieties may be more suitable than wheat for grain
production in south Florida.
Delaying planting date in 1983 seemed to reduce oat yield, but
yields of better varieties were reduced proportionately more than lower
yielding ones (Table 3). Coker 227 yielded 10% less grain when seeded
in December as compared to November, but Fl 502 seeded in December
yielded only 69% of that seeded in November. Earlier seeding appears to
be favorable and could give the advantage of additional grazing.
One of the major problems with oats was lodging. We don't feel
this was because of too much N fertilizer, but was more a characteristic
of the plant. Tall, grain-heavy stalks are susceptible, especially to
Rye and Triticale
Rye grain production was poor all years except in 1985 (Table 2).
Only Fl 401 approached a satisfactory yield at that time with 41 bu/A.
Test weight of 401 was 53 lb/bu, which was somewhat close to the
standard 56 Ib/bu. There were no production problems with rye, and
lodging was not a problem, but year-to-year yield was not consistent.
Triticale varieties were similar in yield within each year, but
like other crops the yield fluctuated greatly from year-to-year (Table
2). Best yields were 60 to 64 bu/A in 1985 with test weights of 49 and
48 Ib/bu, respectively. Rye and triticale were unique because both
crops had higher yields when seeded late (Table 3). This represents one
year's data, so caution should be used in its use.
Although production practices were not experimental variables,
other than planting date in 1982 and 1983, we feel that planting and
growing these eight trials has provided some insight. Seed should be
drilled between mid-November and mid-December. Planting too early
results in weed problems and poor growth of small grain plants. We have
experienced this in testing small grains for forage production for the
past 15 years. Planting after December results in low yield because
grain is forced to fill in the hot weather.
Soil pH should be 5.8 or better and, fertilizer application should
be split. Apply 40 to 50 lb/A of N, 50 lb/A P,05 and 50 Ib/A K 0 at
seeding, then apply an additional 40 to 50 lb/A of N and 50 lb/A of K20
in early February. Micronutrients and sulfur maybe necessary,
especially if these have not been applied in the past 3 to 5 years. If
crops are grazed, additional fertilization will be needed.
Irrigation is a must. Successful crop production is risky and a
dependable over-head irrigation system removes some of that risk.
Over-head irrigation could be useful for fertilization.
Production of small grain crops has proven to be highly variable
and perhaps marginal even in the best years because of excessive
moisture and low temperatures when plants are seedlings or because of
hot weather during the seed-filling period. We feel that oats and
perhaps triticale may have some value for grain production in the Ona
area. These conclusions are based on small plot trials and good
production practices. Therefore, it is not expected that large-scale
commercial operations would exceed these results or expectations.
Aeschynomene Production, Quality and Management
Aeschynomene (American jointvetch), aeschynomene americana L. is
an upright summer annual legume which grows rapidly on most improved,
moist subtropical soils. This legume can be grown on cultivated soil
or in association with a perennial grass. Once established,
aeschynomene will develop rapidly producing high quality forage
readily accepted by cattle. If aeschynomene is not managed properly,
its rapid growth will quickly develop into a fibrous, low quality
forage rejected by livestock. With proper grazing management,
aeschynomene could provide excellent grazing for 60 to 120 days,
depending on spring and summer moisture under peninsular Florida
Once a good stand of aeschynomene has been established, -adequate
seed production will be produced for spring re-establishment
(volunteer stands) if plants are properly grazed during September and
Establishment and Maintenance
The establishment of aeschynomene from seed is relatively easy,
however, seeding rate will depend on hulled or unhulled seed. The
unhulled seed, or segments of the fruiting body have a germination
rate of 5 to 10% and should be seeded at 20 to 25 lb/A. Hulled seed
(Pericarp or hull removed) have a germination rate of 85 to 90% and
can be seeded at 5 lb/A. If aeschynomene is seeded when a continuous
supply of soil moisture is guaranteed, hulled seed can be used,
resulting in a uniform emergence (80-90%) of seedlings. However, if
the supply of moisture diminishes immediately after seedling
emergence, most seedlings may die, resulting in a crop failure.
Seeding unhulled aeschynomene in moist soil, results in about 5-10% of
the seedlings germinating immediately, if moisture diminishes, plants
die, but a new supply of seedlings will develop when additional
moisture becomes available.
Successful stands of aeschynomene have been established via sod
seeding or cultivated soil. Establishing aeschynomene in a perennial
grass sod requires the grass to be grazed close to the soil surface (2
to 3 in.), scarification of the sod by a roller chopper, or disk,
seeding, followed again by light disking and rolling to provide good
seed-to-soil contact. Establishing aeschynomene in a cultivated soil
can be accomplished by seeding on clean (without vegetation) soil,
light disking and rolling. All land area that is disturbed with a
chopper or disk must be seeded and rolled the same day, regardless if
the cultural practice is conducted on sod or cultivated soil. This
practice conserves moisture resulting in more rapid emergence of
seedlings. Establishing aeschynomene on cultivated soil can follow
winter annual forages (ryegrass, small grains, etc.) in a pasture
renovation program. Advantage of seeding aeschynomene on cultivated
soil or after the death of a winter annual, is more rapid
establishment under moisture stress conditions, because seedlings do
not have to compete with perennial grasses or other plants for
Aeschynomene basically has a low to medium fertility requirement.
The application of 0-30-69R b/A N-P 0,- 20 + 6 lb/tR f/a complete
micronutrient mix IPI 303 TEM 300 or F 503 on a soil with
a pH of 5.5 to 7.0 annually after seedling emergence is generally
sufficient, if the land had grown aeschynomene previously or fertility
was good. Virgin soil with a known low-phosphorus level seeded to
aeschynomene should receive 115 lb/A each of P 05 and K 0 + 18 lb/A
micronutrient mix and contain 1000 and 135 lb/A of Ca 0 and Mg 0,
Seeding aeschynomene on a land area for the first time requires
all seed be inoculated with either cowpeaa" or special aeschynomene
rhizobium to insure early effective nodule development. Once an
aeschynomene crop has been grown on a specific land area, further
inoculation of successive crops is not necessary.
Production and Quality
Following the germination of aeschynomene, plants require 5 to 6
weeks to attain initial 6 in. growth, followed by an additional 6 in.
of growth weekly. For each additional 6 in. increase in plant height,
DM yield increased linearly an average 0.25 t/A (Fig. 1). With
adequate moisture and fertility this growth rate will continue until
about 10 October, followed by a 2-wk decrease in growth rate until the
later part of October at which time day-length has shortened
sufficiently to cause leaf drop and termination of growth. Generally,
no growth is obtained beyond November 1, under south-central Florida
Average in vitro organic matter digestion (IVOMD) for the whole
plant followed an inverse relationship to yield and decreased by 3.2
percentage units, with each successive 6 in. increase in plant height
(Fig. 2). The IVOMD tended to decrease uniformly over time as plants
increased in maturity and elongation.
Harvesting aeschynomene plants at ten, 6 in. height intervals (6,
12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, 54 and 60 in.) revealed vast differences
in plant quality (IVOMD and CP) as plants elongated. Forage IVOMD of
a 24 in. aeschynomene plant could range from 35 to 42% for the bottom
6-in. of the plant, to as high as 80% IVOMD for the top 6 in. of plant
growth (Fig. 3). Crude protein content of plant tissue was also
higher for the top 6-in. of plants averaging 24 to 30%. However, the
bottom 6-in. of plants ranged as low as 6 to 8% CP.
SIPI 303, TEM 300, or F 503 contain the following elemental
contents: iron, 18%; zinc, 7.0%; manganese, 7.5%; copper, 3.0%;
TIME AFTER SEEDING (wks.)
0 6 7 8 9 1 II 12 13 14 16
S1977 y= -Q2805 +0.2536H
1978 y= -00870 40.2336H
H plant height
I I I I : I I I I I
0 6 12 18 24 30 36 42
PLANT HEIGHT (In)
FIG. 1 INITIAL HARVEST DM YIELD OF JOINTVETCH
CUT AT 6-IN INTERVALS AS PLANT HEIGHT
INCREASED FROM 6 TO 60 INCHES.
48 54 60
TIME AFTER SEEDING (wks.)
0 6 7 8 9 10 II 12 13 14 16
I I I I I I I I
S50- 1977 y=78.6742-3.5434 H
S 1978 y=74.5370-2.8889 H 1978
40 plant height 1977
0 I I I I I I I I I I
0 6 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60
PLANT HEIGHT (in.)
FIG. 2 CHANGES IN INITIAL HARVEST IVOMD OF
WHOLE PLANT JOINTVETCH AS PLANT HEIGHT
INCREASED FROM 6 TO 60 INCHES.
TIME AFTER SEEDING (wks)
0 6 7 8 9 10 II 12 13 14 16
- .' ....... t/ ---
10 ~]E % IVOMD, 1978
6- -7 -5
5.- 76 69
4- 77, 72 62
3- 80 69 62 52
2, 70 71 61 52 52
S 77 67 65 50 44
oLI6 5 P,92/y 2 ^ 3?
EO % IVOMD, 1977
E IVOMD< 50%
6 64 56
5ry- 7 */' *-4
74 66 53 4//, 40;
180 66 57 39 3 33
82 70 56 5 3 '33 2 27
81 66 59 /t40 //27~2 4 6% 2 29'
58 4 / 6 2' 7/, ;274 4'/ 2 "': 26,
12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60
TIME AFTER SEEDING (wks.)
0 .6 7 8 9 10 II 12 13
i % CP, 1978
e CP < 7%
26 21 17
I 24 22 19 16
27 23 19 16 13
25 26 19 15 13 II
30 24 20
30 26 1 15
24 19 13 9 1
15 12 1 10 9
8 be^/ 5
16 1 14 12 8 8 ; /' 4 4 4
E % CP, 1977
E CP<7% Flowering
S 20 17
21 18 15
22 18 16 14
24 17 14 12 10
25 19 12 II 8 7,
24 19 14 10 8 43/.
26 18 14 9 4
27 16 12 8 /A Z //4'
PLANT HEIGHT (in.)
14 I 9 //5, / .4//3'"Y// / '//:
12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60
PLANT HEIGHT (in)
FIG. 3 PERCENTAGE IVOMD AND CP OF JOINTVETCH IN
6-INCH INCREMENTS AT 10 CONSECUTIVE
,' ' '
Generally the IVOMD and CP in the top 18 to 36 in. of the plant
followed a similar pattern over years (Fig. 3). The line of
demarkation used to separate the high quality plant material (50% or
higher IVOMD and 7% or higher CP) from the low quality plant material
revealed that the upper 18 to 24 in. of the plant averaged 65% IVOMD,
whereas the basal portions averaged 35%. The upper 18 to 36 in. of
the plant was also highest for CP, averaging 17%, which was about 12.5
percentage units higher than the basal part of the plant. Both
percentage IVOMD'and CP of the upper portion of the plant remained
uniform over the 10 wk harvest period, except week 16 when IVOMD
decreased considerably as compared with earlier harvests. Plants at
the last harvest stage were very mature and contained a considerable
number of seed pods.
Grazing and Animal Performance
When aeschynomene is seeded directly into a perennial grass sod,
close grazing (2 to 3 in.) should continue until the legume seedling
is 1 to 2 in. tall or until seedlings are grazed by cattle. All
livestock should then be removed from the pasture and allow
aeschynomene plants to attain a height of 15 to 18 in. At this stage,
cattle can again be allowed to graze the perennial grass-aeschynomene
pasture or aeschynomene-grass combination seeded in tilled soil.
Grazing can be accomplished through some controlled method, that
is, rotational grazing or continuous grazing, utilizing some variation
of the put-and-take method.
Regardless of grazing method, cattle should be removed or their
numbers reduced drastically when plants have been grazed down to 8 in.
If rotational grazing is practiced, allow regrowth of 10 to 12 in. or
plants attain a height of 18 to 20 in. before cattle are allowed to
Aeschynomene is a highly palatable legume readily consumed by
beef and dairy cattle, however its palatability to horses is very low.
Animal performance of beef and dairy livestock has been good.
Ocumpaugh (1), indicated aeschynomene used in creep grazing studies
resulted in a 2-year average of 2.0 lb average daily gain (ADG) with
suckling calves. In a study comparing animal breeds Ocumpaugh
indicated creep grazing Brahmai calves (2.1 lb ADG) out yielded Angus
calves by 17% ADG.
Aeschynomene seeded into a bahiagrass sod and grazed by 600 Ib
Braford yearling heifers produced 1.3 Ib ADG compared with 0.95 lb for
bahiagrass plus 50 lb N/A, Pitman (2). In this study aeschynomene
stands contributed improved forage quality over the bahiagrass + N and
produced similar forage yields.
Grazing 550 lb Holstein dairy heifers on aeschynomene-perennial
grass mixtures yielded ADG of 0.25 lb/head above those animals grazing
perennial grass alone.
Aeschynomene can be established in a perennial grass sod or
cultivated soil. If moisture is limited at seeding the probability of
a successful stand is enhanced when aeschynomene is seeded into a
cultivated soil. Grazing plants when they attain a 18-in. height back
down to a 8-in. stubble contributes to a continuous supply of high
quality forage over a 90 to 120 day period. Aeschynomene is highly
palatable to both beef and dairy cattle resulting in good animal
1. Ocumpaugh, W. R. 1979. Creep grazing for calves. Proc.
Twenty-eight Annual Beef Cattle Short Course. 180 pp.
2. Pitman, W. D. 1983. Initial comparisons of tropical legume-
bahiagrass pastures and nitrogen-fertilized bahiagrass pastures in
Peninsular Florida. Soil and Crop Sci. Soc. Florida Proc.
Molasses-Cottonseed Meal-Urea Slurry
as a Winter Supplement for Brood Cows
Molasses is the most important supplemental feed in Florida. It
is a Florida produced feedstuff, thus it is our least expensive feed
supplement and is widely used by many ranchers. It is important that
we continue to search for ways to improve molasses based supplements
such that they are most efficiently utilized in beef cattle
The most common additive to molasses based supplements is urea,
added to provide crude protein to the cow's diet. Although urea
nitrogen can be converted into usable protein nitrogen in the rumen, a
number of research studies have shown that natural protein, like
cottonseed meal and soybean meal, is superior to urea as a source of
crude protein for cattle grazing low quality forages. Of course, this
would be the normal situation in central and south Florida where poor
quality bahiagrass pasture and other stockpiled forages are utilized
to winter the brood cow herd.
Research studies are in progress at the Ona AREC in which natural
protein (cottonseed meal) is mixed with molasses and urea to form a
molasses based slurry. The objectives of this study were to determine
if a molasses-natural protein-urea slurry would improve calf
production over molasses alone or molasses-urea when these mixtures
were fed as winter supplements to brood cows grazing poor quality
winter pasture and hay.
The Research Trial
In the fall of 1984, 147 Braford and crossbred cows were divided
into 9 herds with 14 to 18 cows each. Three herds were placed on each
of the following winter supplementation treatments.
1) Fed 2.9 Ibs/head/day of standard molasses.
2) Fed 3.2 lbs/head/day of a standard molasses-urea mixture
containing approximately 20% crude protein.
3) Fed 2.8 lbs/head/day of a standard molasses-cottonseed
meal-urea slurry containing approximately 16% crude protein.
Cows were wintered on 10 acres of bahiagrass and 10 acres of
stargrass pasture. There was not much stargrass pasture available
from December 15 to May 1. Stargrass hay was provided free-choice
from December 17 to May 1. Cattle were rotated among pastures every
14 to 28 days to remove the effects of pasture differences. A
complete mineral was available free-choice year-round.
Supplements were fed 5 times weekly for 112 days from December 17
to April 5. Supplements were fed such that the same quantity of
energy was offered to each treatment group.
The breeding season was for 92 days beginning March 1. Cows were
weighed in November, March, June and August. Calves were weighed at
birth and at weaning on August 19. Cows were palpated in August.
Forage samples were obtained from pastures and hay throughout the
study and analyzed for crude protein and TDN.
Analyses of the pasture and hay samples showed that bahiagrass
pasture averaged 7.5 percent crude protein and 40% TDN from January
through March, and the stargrass hay contained 6.2% crude protein and
42% TDN. Thus, forage quality was quite low during the winter
supplementation period. From December 17 to May 1, each cow consumed
approximately 2000 lbs of stargrass hay or an average of 15
lbs/cow/day. This was probably about 60% of their diet.
The animal results presented in Table 1 show that supplementation
treatment had little effect on cow weights. Cows in all treatments
lost about 200 lbs during calving and the winter season when the
supplements were fed. Cows in each treatment tended to gain similar
amounts of weight during the following spring and summer.
The biggest effect of supplementation treatment was on cow
reproduction. Conception rate, over the control treatment (standard
molasses), was increased 3.7 percentage points with the urea additive
and 16.5 percentage points with the addition of cottonseed meal and
Weaning weights of calves from cows on the molasses-urea and
molasses-cottonseed meal-urea were 25 and 23 lbs heavier,
respectively, than calves from cows fed only standard molasses.
Calf production/cow in the breeding herd (exposed to bull)
accounts for both cow reproduction and calf weaning weight. This
production measure showed that cows fed the molasses-cottonseed
meal-urea slurry weaned 101 lbs more calf/cow than cows fed molasses
alone. *Cows fed molasses-urea weaned 38 lbs more calf/cow than cows
fed molasses alone.
First of all, a word of caution. This is one year's data (the
first) of a project that will be conducted for 3 or more years.
Subsequent results will allow for drawing sounder conclusions relative
to the use of natural protein in molasses supplements. However, the
results are supported by other information on the feeding of natural
proteins to cattle fed low quality forage, and they do give promise
that molasses based supplements can be.improved to substantially
increase cow/calf production.
Table 1. Weight change and conception
and weaning weight of calves
rate of brood cows and birth
for various molasses
Standard Molasses cottonseed meal
Item molasses + urea + urea
Number of cows 48 52 47
Cow weight, (Nov.), Ibs 1114 1125 1138
Cow weight change, lbs
Nov. April -189 -210 -201
April June + 78 + 99 + 77
June Aug. + 12 + 12 + 18
Total change 99 99 -106
Conception rate, % 77.1 80.8 93.6
Calf birth weight, lbs 64.2 66.8 63.7
Calf weaning weight, lbs 481 506 504
Calf production/cow, lbs 371 409 472
2Based on number of cows exposed to bulls.
Calculated as: Production/cow (conception rate/100) x calf weaning
Grazing Evaluation of Tropical Legumes
W. D. Pitman
Excellent forage quality and suitability to most flatwoods sites
have made aeschynomene the major summer legume in peninsular Florida
pastures. Over the past five years at the Ona AREC, gains of yearling
cattle on aeschynomene pastures have ranged from just over one pound per
head daily to over 1.5 pounds per head. Proportion of aeschynomene in
the pasture stand and grazing pressure have proven to be key factors
determining performance level of these cattle. However, regardless of
grazing pressure or other management factors, aeschynomene stands are
dependent on late spring and summer rains. During the past five years
at the Ona AREC, aeschynomene grazing was available as early as the
first of June in one year and not until the middle of August in another.
It is obviously difficult to base a grazing program for cattle
production on such an unpredictable feed supply.
For the summer-growing, tropical legumes to make a substantial
contribution to pasture programs their dependability must be improved.
At this time the commercially available summer legumes do not include an
individual legume which can be expected to provide all of the qualities
desired in a pasture legume. However, there are several legumes which
can be combined in mixed plantings to overcome some of the deficiencies
of the individual legume components. On flatwoods sites a planting
mixture of aeschynomene, carpon desmodium, and phasey bean has potential
to provide a persistent, quality legume component in grass pastures.
'Florida' carpon desmodium is a long-lived perennial legume
developed by Dr. Al Kretschmer at the Ft. Pierce AREC. This legume has
been available since 1979, and some excellent stands have persisted for
a number of years under commercial use. This legume can persist under
heavy grazing even though its contributions of both forage and nitrogen
fixation are reduced by overgrazing. A limitation of Florida carpon
desmodium has been establishment difficulties on some sites. Thus,
seeding a mixture of legumes has made it possible to develop legume
pastures with early grazing provided by more rapidly-establishing
species and pasture continuity over several years provided by the carpon
The major contribution of phasey bean in mixed plantings has been
early stand establishment which has allowed earlier grazing in the year
of establishment. Phasey bean is a weak perennial which can persist
through south Florida winters when plant energy reserves are allowed to
build up by deferring from grazing prior to frost. Under these
conditions both carpon desmodium and phasey bean can provide grazing in
late spring or early summer in years following the establishment year.
For such legume mixtures to contribute nitrogen and quality forage
to grass pastures, management of grazing is critical. Either reduced
grazing pressure or rotational grazing is needed to allow the legumes to
maintain a leaf canopy for light interception and energy production
In a grazing trial at the Ona AREC where pastures containing either
aeschynomene or phasey bean were stocked for utilization of bahiagrass,
the legumes were overgrazed to the extent that phasey bean failed to
contribute to individual animal gain beyond the level of pastures of
bahiagrass alone and aeschynomene increased gains only by 0.4 pounds per
head per day (see Table 1). Where mixed legume plantings were managed
for high legume yields, average daily gains of yearling cattle were high
but carrying capacity was greatly reduced. The resulting total animal
gains were essentially the same for the two approaches. A little higher
stocking rate or extended grazing period to allow somewhat greater
utilization of the legumes would likely have given only a slight
reduction in average daily gains on the pasture managed for high legume
production. However, the general result of lower carrying capacities
for legume based pastures versus grass pastures must be recognized.
Thus, the extra management necessary to make the legumes work must be
offset by an additional product. Additional gain of yearling cattle and
especially extra gain of calves prior to weaning by utilizing creep
grazing are more likely to return a profit to the inputs of legume
pastures than are cow herds that may add condition temporarily with
little actual product.
There is potential for the summer legumes which are currently
available to contribute to cattle production in peninsular Florida.
However, they will be successfully utilized primarily where individual
effort is expended to make them work. And they will generally fail to
contribute substantially where someone does not expend the effort to
make them work.
Table 1. Performance of crossbred yearling cattle grazed on various
bahiagrass pasture treatments at Ona, Florida.
daily Carrying Total
Pasture Treatment gain capacity gain
lbs/head/day animal-days/ac lbs/ac
Bahiagrass (no N-fertilizer) 0.7 305 215
Aeschynomene (bahia mgt.) 1.1 240 265
Phasey bean (bahia mgt.) 0.8 325 260
Legume mixture (legume mgt.) 1.5 175 260
Bahiagrass (50 lbs/ac. N) 0.7 410 285
Bahiagrass (200 lbs/ac. N) 0.7 555 390
Forage Quality and Ammoniation of Low Quality Forages
William F. Brown
In many years, producers can make a cutting of good quality hay in
the spring. During the summer, however, when grasses are growing
rapidly, weather conditions do not allow hay production. In .some cases
during the summer, high quality forage is being produced from inmature
(approximately 4 to 5 weeks regrowth) forage harvested and stored as
silage or haylage. If pastures are not grazed properly during the
summer period, large quantities of low quality forage accumulate. This
forage is often so low in energy and protein content that beef cattle
cannot consume enough to meet maintenance requirements. Low quality
forage negatively affects cattle performance in two ways: feed intake
is reduced,-and digestibility of the consumed forage is low.
In trials conducted at the Ona AREC, the influence of maturity and
season on the yield and quality of tropical grass has been studied.
Some of the results are presented in tables 1 and 2. During both the
spring and fall, increasing maturity resulted in increased yield,
however rapid reductions in crude protein and digestibility. An
important conclusion from this study is that the quality of tropical
grass declines at a faster rate than yield increases. During the spring
and fall harvesting digitgrass and stargrass at approximately 5 to 6
weeks of regrowth provides acceptable quality. Harvesting bahiagrass
can be delayed until approximately 6 to 7 weeks of regrowth only because
this grass grows at a slower rate than the other two. A problem is that
yield is low at the time when forages should be harvested to obtain
acceptable quality. Delaying harvest to obtain additional yield results
in reduced forage quality.
Table 1. Influence of maturity on the yield and quality of tropical
grass during the fall.
2 4 6 8 11
Pensacola bahiagrass 500 900 1030 1380 1820
Pangola digitgrass 260 1530 1660 1860 2260
Ona stargrass 390 2280 4060 4700 5670
--------- Crude protein (%)--- -----
Pensacola bahiagrass 18.15 15.18 11.47 &.17 4.06
Pangola digitgrass 30.80 11.87 8.73 5.50 5.87
Ona stargrass 30.30 12.72 9.65 8.28 6.23
-In Vitro Organic Matter Digestibility (%)-
Pensacola bahiagrass 59.59 54.48 53.77 47.75 42.00
Pangola digitgrass 65.87 60.88 55.83 31.24 47.09
Ona stargrass 71.22 59.29 49.96 47.19 31.67
Table 2. Influence of maturity on the yield and quality of tropical
grass during the spring.
2 6 10 14 18
-------------Yield (lbs/acre)---- ----
Pensacola bahiagrass 240 810 2190 3120 4740
Pangola digitgrass 400 1260 2810 3730 5310
Ona stargrass 820 2200 3310 4950 6100
-- ------- Crude Protein (%)-- --------
Pensacola bahiagrass 21.7 13.1 6.7 4.4 3.5
Pangola digitgrass 21.4 9.0 3.5 3.2 3.1
Ona stargrass 14.0 7.1 4.8 3.8 3.3
-In Vitro Organic Matter Digestibility (%)--
Pensacola bahiagrass 67.6 63.2 58.0 52.5 40.2
Pangola digitgrass 77.5 71.7 67.3 62.7 54.2
Ona stargrass 61.4 59.5 46.1 39.8 29.7
Anhydrous ammonia treatment offers an opportunity to increase the
feeding value of tropical grass hay. Harvesting can be delayed, either
by poor weather or intentionally to obtain additional yield, and
ammoniated to increase the quality.
Treating Hay with Anhydrous Ammonia
Anhydrous ammonia treatment of forage has developed from two stand-
points. Low levels of ammonia (.50 to 1.0% of the forage dry matter)
have been used with wet material like silage and haylage to help in
controlling mold growth. This practice improves forage crude protein
content, and reduces heat damage in wet forages, however other
improvements in forage quality are minimal when low levels of ammonia
are utilized. Higher levels of ammonia (3.0 to 4.0% of the forage dry
matter) have resulted in increased crude protein content and energy
value of low quality forages. Also, cattle fed ammoniated forages
consume more feed, and gain more weight than those fed untreated forage.
Small rectangular bales, large round bales, dry hay, or hay that
was baled too wet can be treated with anhydrous ammonia. Specific
ammoniation procedures depend upon the quantity of hay to be treated,
equipment availability, and cost of different materials. The key is to
minimize costs of materials and labor per bale. Large numbers of round
bales can be treaed according to procedures shown in the figure.
Bales are arranged in a pyramid shape with 3 bales on the bottom, 2
in the middle and 1 on top. Seven rows of this 3x2x1 configuration are
stacked, a 2 foot space is left, and seven additional rows are stacked.
Bales become soft during ammonia treatment, and in some cases top end
bales have fallen and ripped the plastic that is used to cover the
stack, allowing ammonia to escape. Therefore, top end bales are not
placed. A large capacity open-top-container (55 gallon drum) is placed
in the middle of the two foot opening left in the stack. Supporting
material (lumber, etc.) is wedged between the top two bales in the
opening of the stack to keep these bales from falling into the opening.
Piping (we use 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter PVC) for the anhydrous ammonia
is run from the container to the outside of the stack. A small trench
is dug around the stack. A 40 feet x 100 feet sheet of 6 mil thickness
plastic covers this stack configuration. Edges of the plastic are
placed into the trench, and covered with dirt to seal the stack. Piping
from the container should be long enough to come underneath the plastic
to the outside of the stack. An anhydrous ammonia tank is parked next
to the stack, the hose from the tank attached to the piping and the tank
turned on so that the ammonia can flow in liquid form from the tank into
the container. The container acts as a reservoir to hold the liquid
ammonia until it volatilizes and fills the area under the plastic. Many
anhydrous ammonia tanks have capacity meters to estimate the quantity of
ammonia injected under the plastic. Treatment time (time between
ammonia injection and feeding) depends upon environmental temperature,
however approximately 30 days is sufficient in most cases. If smaller
quantities of hay are to be treated, different stack arrangements and
sizes of plastic can be used.
Hay should be treated at 3.0 to 4.0% of the forage dry matter. A
good estimate of bale weight, and percent dry matter of the hay should
be known, so that the proper quantity of ammonia will be applied.
82 bales x 100 lbs/bale x 85% dry matter x 3% ammonia = 2090 lbs of
anhydrous ammonia would be applied to this stack configuration.
Approximate material costs are listed below.
Plastic (clear or black) 12x100:$25 32x100:$68 24x100:$40 40x100:$100
Anhydrous ammonia: $.14/lb = $280.00/ton
Total material costs, and cost per ton to treat a stack of 82, 1000
lb bales of 85% dry matter hay are shown below.
82 bales Per Ton DM Per Ton as fed
Anhydrous ammonia (3%) 293.00 8.40 7.14
Plastic (40 x 100) 100.00 2.87 2.44
Total $393.00 $11.27 $9.58
Results from laboratory, digestion, and feedlot studies indicate
that cattle fed ammoniated forages perform as well, or better than those
fed untreated hay plus a molasses-based liquid supplement. Laboratory
studies show that the crude protein content of 'Bigalta' hemarthria and
rice straw was increased after the forage was ammonia treated (Table 3).
The increase in crude protein content of ammoniated forages is due to
non-protein-nitrogen addition from the anhydrous ammonia, and is similar
to nitrogen contribution from a urea supplement. Ammoniation increased
the in vitro organic matter digestibility of both forages (Table 3).
Anhydrous ammonia treatment increases the digestibility of forages by
chemically reacting with, and breaking down the plant cell wall. Parts
of the cell wall that are not digestible in untreated forage are made
digestible by ammonia treatment. Cell wall content of both forages was
reduced by ammonia treatment (Table 3). Cellulose, hemicellulose and
lignin are the major components of the plant cell wall. Ammonia
treatment did not influence the cellulose content, however both the
hemicellulose and lignin contents of the cell wall were reduced in both
Table 3. Chemical composition and in vitro digestion of untreated and
ammoniated 'Bigalta' hemarthria and rice straw.
'Bigalta' Hemarthria Rice Strawa
Item Untreated Ammoniated Untreated Ammoniated
Crude protein, % 3.19 10.31 5.63 11.00
In vitro organic matter
digestibility, % 46.20 62.52 37.03 54.37
Cell wall, % 88.86 80.85 76.91 72.70
Cellulose, % 38.45 40.88 39.71 40.59
Hemicellulose, % 41.04 31.19 29.56 25.56
Lignin, % 9.37 8.78 7.64 6.55
aRice straw ammoniated study was conducted at the Belle Glade AREC in
cooperation with Dr. David B. Jones and Mr. John Phillips.
Digestion and feedlot studies were conducted at the Ona-AREC and
the Belle Glade-AREC comparing ammoniated forages to untreated forage
plus a molasses-based liquid supplement (Tables 4 and 5). In all
trials, urea and cane molasses, in amounts calculated to equal the
increase in crude protein and digestibility, respectively, due to
ammoniation were sprayed onto the forage at feeding time. Therefore,
those treatments containing urea were equal in crude protein content to
the ammoniated forage treatment, and the treatment containing molasses
was calculated to be equal in organic matter digestibility to the
ammoniated forage treatment. For both trials, ration composition was
approximately 65% untreated forage, 25% molasses, 10% supplement for the
molasses treatment, and 90% untreated forage or ammoniated forage, 10%
supplement for the other two treatments.
Table 4. Performance of cattle fed, and digestibility of 'Bigalta'
hemarthria ammoniated or supplemented with cane molasses.
Untreated hay + urea Ammoniated
Itema hay + urea + molasses hay
Daily intake, lbs OM 7.63 7.63 7.81
OM digestibility, % 48.85 47.92 57.45
Cell wall digestibility, % 56.99 50.95 68.65
Initial weight, lbs 485 485 481
Daily intake, lbs OM 9.46 11.42 11.44
Daily gain, lbs .59 .86 1.19
Feed/gain 16.03 13.28 9.61
aOM organic matter, DM dry matter.
Molasses plus urea addition to the untreated hay or straw resulted
in similar organic matter digestibility to the untreated hay or straw
plus urea (Table 4 and 5). It was expected that molasses addition would
improve overall diet digestibility compared to untreated forage plus.
urea. Similar organic matter digestibilities were obtained, because
cell wall digestibility was reduced on the untreated forage plus urea
plus molasses diet. All of the added molasses was digested, however
digestibility of the forage was reduced on the molasses treatment
compared to the untreated forage plus urea diet.
Urea supplementation of untreated rice straw did not improve feed
intake, organic matter or cell wall digestibilities compared to
untreated straw alone (Table 5). Energy value (organic matter
digestibility) of the untreated straw was not great enough to utilize
the non-protein-nitrogen addition from the urea. Crude protein content
of the untreated rice straw was approximately 6%, which is higher than
that of rice straw produced in other parts of the country, probably due
to the high organic matter soils in the Belle Glade area where the rice'
Ammoniation improved organic matter and cell wall digestibilities
of the Hemarthria and rice straw, compared to untreated forage plus
urea, or untreated forage plus urea plus molasses (Tables 4 and 5).
This is consistent with results from the laboratory study showing
reduced cell wall content and increased in vitro organic matter
digestibility due to ammoniation.
Table 5. Performance of cattle fed, and digestibility of rice straw ammoniated or supplemented with
urea or cane molasses
Untreated Untreated straw + urea Ammoniated
Item straw straw + urea + molasses straw
Ad lib daily intake, Ibs OM 7.81 7.92 9.75 10.00
Restricted daily intake, lbs OM 7.02 6.88 6.97 7.00
OM digestibility, % 50.52 46.34 47.75 59.00
Cell wall digestibility, % 56.08 51.89 46.20 73.04
Initial weight, lbs ---- 609 607 612
Daily intake, lbs DM ---- 11.48 14.23 14.63
Daily gain, lbs --- .51 .90 .88
Feed/gain ---- 22.51 15.81 16.63
aRice straw ammoniation study was conducted at the Belle Glade AREC in cooperation with Dr. David B.
Jones and Mr. John Phillips.
OM = organic matter, DM = dry matter.
In the feedlot trials, molasses plus urea addition to untreated
Hemarthria or rice straw resulted in increased feed intake and daily
gain compared to untreated forage plus urea (Table 4 and 5). Molasses
plus urea addition to Hemarthria did not improve feed efficiency
compared to'Hemarthria plus urea (Table 4). Therefore, the increased
gain observed when molasses plus urea was added to untreated Hemarthria
compared to untreated Hemarthria plus urea was due to increased feed
intake by molasses'addition. Molasses plus urea addition to untreated
rice straw resulted in improved feed efficiency compared to untreated
straw plus urea (Table 5).
Ammoniation of Hemarthria or rice straw resulted in increased feed
intake, daily gain and feed efficiency compared to untreated forage plus
urea (Table 4 and 5). Cattle consuming ammoniated Hemarthria had
similar feed intake, but greater daily gain and improved feed efficiency
compared to those consuming untreated hay plus molasses plus urea (Table
4). Cattle consuming ammoniated rice straw had similar performance
compared to those consuming untreated straw plus urea (Table 5).
Ammoniation offers a practical and economic way to improve the
feeding value of tropical forages. Due to weather conditions,
harvesting forage for hay at 6 weeks regrowth to obtain acceptable
quality is not possible in all cases. Harvesting can be delayed, either
by poor weather or intentionally to obtain additional yield, and the
forage ammoniated to increase the quality. Tropical grass hay should be
treated with ammonia at 3 to 4% of the forage dry matter to obtain
Cattle fed ammoniated hay consume more feed, waste less hay from
the round bale, gain more weight, and are more efficient than cattle fed
untreated hay. Cattle fed ammoniated hay perform at least as well as
those fed untreated hay plus a molasses-based liquid supplement.
Approximate daily feed cost for a cow under these two feeding conditions
is presented below. Cost of individual feedstuffs can be adjusted based
upon current price.
Hay + liquid Ammoniated
Untreated hay ($50/ton as is) 20 lb .50
Ammoniated hay ($50 + $9.58 = 59.58) 23 lb = .69
Liquid supplement ($150/ton) 4 Ib .30
Total .80 .69
ONA AREC FACULTY
Bill Brown Assistant Animal Nutritionist developing and conducting
.research for evaluation and utilization of forages with cattle. Bill is
in charge of the Infrared Spectrophotometer forage analyzer and
coordinator of the forage analysis laboratory.
Rob Kalmbacher Professor in Range Management with areas of production,
management and utilization. Rob is involved in no-till research and
certain phases of variety testing at the Ona AREC.
Paul Mislevy Professor in Agronomy, Paul conducts annual and perennial
forage grazing and clipping studies at the Ona AREC. Other areas
include forage production and management, herbicides, biomass production
and research on phosphate land reclamation.
Findlay Pate Professor of Animal Nutrition with research in molasses
and sugar cane by-products. Dr. Pate is station director of the Ona
Mac Peacock Mac is a professor of Animal Breeding and has conducted
research in the area of silage production.
Buddy Pitman Associate Agronomist with emphasis in management of
annual and perennial legumes. Buddy is actively involved with
evaluation of several tropical legumes and evaluates new perennial grass
species as pasture forages.
Bob Stephenson Assistant Agronomist/Extension Specialist with emphasis
in variety testing of winter and summer annuals and evaluation of
perennial legumes. Bob works closely with county extension agents and
helps ranchers and producers more effectively manage their operations.
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., La Belle, Florida
American Cyanamid Co., Agricultural Division
American Hoechst Corp., Somerville, New Jersey
Asgrow Florida, Plant City, Florida
Babcock Ranch, Punta Gorda, Florida
Mr. Mabry Carlton, Sarasota, Florida
Clover Dale Dairy, Myakka City, Florida
Dazie Dairy, Okeechobee, Florida
Dekalb Seed Co., Dekalb, Illinois
Deseret Ranch, Melbourne, Florida
Douglas Fertilizer, Lake Placid, Florida
Dow Chemical Co., Tampa, Florida
E. I. DuPont de Nemours Co., Inc., Wilmington, Delaware
Fearing Manufacturing Co., St. Paul, Minnesota
Mr. Gene Felton, La Belle, Florida
Florida Fertilizer Co., Wauchula, Florida
Funks Seed International, Bloomington, Illinois
Furst-McNess Co., Freeport, Illinois
Gas Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois
Haile Dean Seed Co., Winter Park, 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
Imperial Products, Inc., Altamonte Springs, Florida
International Minerals and Chemical Corp., Libertyville, Illinois
Dave Jones, Gainesville, Florida
J.L.B. International Chem., Inc., Vero Beach, Florida
Lykes Brothers, Inc., Brooksville, Florida
McArthur Dairy, Okeechobee, Florida
The Nitragin Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Northrup King Co., Minneaplis, Minnesota
C. M. Payne and Son Seed Co., Sebring, Florida
Jim Phillips Groves, Inc., Clermont, Florida
Pioneer Hi-Bred Int., Tipton, Indiana
Harold L. Terzenbach, Wauchula, Florida
Edwin Thompson, Bartow, Florida
Bayard Toussaint, Punta Gorda, Florida
United States Sugar Corp., Clewiston, Florida
Velsicol Chemical Co., Chicago, Illinois
Westby Corp., Zolfo Springs, 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