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CATTLEMENIS FIELD DAY PROGRAM
FLORIDA EVERGLADES EXPERIMENT STATION
January 31, 1956
This report contains a summary of information include.
ed in talks made by those participating in the Field
Day Program. Subjects covered in the report include
problems relating to cross-breeding and feeding of
cattle, feed supplements, winter forages, grass si-
lage, and sampling soils.
EVERGLADES STATION MIMEO REPORT 56-7
Belle Glade, Florida
January 31, 1956
John H. Causey, Assistant County Agent, Presiding
9:00 Assembly and Registration in Mayo
9:20 Welcome and Introduction - -
9:30 Producing Beef Cattle for
South Florida - - --
9:50 Winter Forage for Cattle - -
10:10 Use of Concentrates for
Fattening Steers on
Pasture and Silage - - -
10:20 Molasses Supplementation
for Breeding Cows - - - -
10:30 Use of Aureomycin in Weaned
Calf Rations - - - ----
10:0O Stilbestrol and Antibiotics
for Beef Cattle-- -- ---
10:50 Trace Mineral Nutrition
of Beef Cattle - - -
11:00 Sampling Organic Pasture
Soils -- - - -- - -
11:15 Question Panel -- --
W.T.Forsee, Jr., Chemist in Charge
R.W.Kidder, Assoc. Animal Husbandman
R.J.Allen, Jr., Asst. Agronomist
D.W.Beardsley, Asst. Animal Husbandman
H.L.Chapman, Jr., Asst. Animal Nutritionist
J.P.iinfree, Asst. Soils Chemist
IH.U.Mounts, County Agent, Moderator
11:30 Barbecue Served by Palm Beach County Cattlemen's Association.
$1.00 per person. H.L.Speer, Asst. County Agent in Charge of
H. L. Speer, Assistant County Agent, Presiding
1:00 Tour of Pastures and Grass
Plots - -- -- -- -- H.L.Speer and J.H.Causey, Leaders
3:00 Grass Silage Discussion Panel - R.W.Kidder, Moderator
(1) Mechanics of Making
Grass Silage -- -- - D.S.Harrison, Asst. Agricultural Engineer
(2) Silage Crops, Growth
Stages, Preservatives RJ.Allen, Jr.
(3) Feeding Studies with
Grass Silage --- -- - D.W.Beardsley
Questions and Discussion
PRODUCING BEEF CATTLE FOR SOUTH FLORIDA
R. W. Kidder
Whether in Florida or elsewhere, the beef market demands high quality
cattle. To most areas this means "grading up" the breeding herds with better pure-
bred sires of the beef breeds of European origin. In the subtropical climate of
South Florida these breeds have not shown "doing ability" equal to that of crossbreds
with the Brahman. There is also ample evidence to show that the crossbreds are su-
perior to the purebred Brahman in beef conformation and growth rates, and equal to
them in tolerance to the subtropical climate.
The importance of all of these established beef breeds as foundation stock
cannot be given too much emphasis. While new breeds adapted to this climate such as
the Santa Gertrudis, Brangus and Charbray, are being developed, slaughter cattle
will continue to come from other sources. The producer of commercial beef cannot
afford to produce inferior beef calves for today's market. The usual procedure in
Florida has been to produce crossbred cows by using Brahman sires with Native cows.
Only a few years ago many or most Florida cows weighed less than 600 pounds. The
Brahman breed has increased this size by 200 to 300 pounds. These grade or cross-
bred Brahman cows when bred to good Angus, Hereford, Shorthorn or Devon bulls pro-
duce the kind of steers that sell well on the Florida market, and that grow well in
South Florida pastures.
The problem in breeding begins at this point. How should a commercial
cattleman proceed using these cows essentially half Brahman and half European breed-
ing? The beef breeding project at this Station is designed to help answer this ques-
tion. There are several possible breeding programs which have merit. Three, which
are under trial at this time will be discussed first.
Program 1. This consists essentially of establishing a breed by selecting
crossbred cows and mating them to selected crossbred sires from the same parent
stock. Sires and dams are chosen on the basis of growth rate, conformation, size,
temperament, fleshing qualities and uniformity. This is the "Bravon" program in this
study and is being developed from Brahman x Devon crossbreds.
Program 2. This plan is referred to as "rotational breeding" or "criss-
crossing" and consists of breeding crossbred cows to selected purebred sires of the
two parent breeds. In the Station herd, all cows which are 3/4 Brahman are bred to
Devon sires and those which are 3/4 Devon are bred to Brahman sires. The female pro-
geny from the Brahman sires become herd replacements for the Devon sires and vice
versa. This program tends to produce cattle which are 2/3 the breeding of the parent
sire. It utilizes the best sires available in both purebred parent breeds and can be
easily adapted to most ranches.
Program 3. This is essentially a "grading up" process within a beef breed.
In the Station herd all cattle carrying Angus breeding, including purebred, half
breed, and other percentage Brahman cross are bred to selected purebred Angus sires.
The size, conformation and growth rates of these animals should give some information
as to what percentage of Brahman breeding is productive of best results. There is
also the possibility of developing a purebred Angus strain adapted to this area.
This program can be reproduced on any ranch, if it proves superior.
There are other possible plans which may have merit, but which could not be
included in this research but may or may not be useful to Florida cattlemen.
Plan 1. There is some evidence that a "three breed" combination including
Brahman might have some advantages. The "Beef Master" is the typical example of this
plan, and this combination of Hereford, Shorthorn and Brahman has been tried by many
Florida cattlemen. When used with a rigid selection plan, a herd could be "graded
up" with beef master sires. :Je have seen good calves produced from Angus bulls bred
to Braford cows.
Plan 2. In South Africa, the home of the Africander cattle, the practice
is to maintain purebred Africander and purebred Shorthorn herds. These are cross-
bred for meat producing animals and all first cross cattle are fattened for slaugh-
ter. This plan does not receive much encouragement in Florida. This program is more
or less included in the Station study since purebred Brahman, Devon and Angus herds
are being maintained and a few first cross calves are being raised each year from
Devon cows sired by Brahman bulls. This should help find out whether or not first
cross cattle are superior to successive generations from crossbreds of the same breeds.
Plan 3. Inquiries come frequently to this Station relative to the merits
of crossbreeding between the European breeds. ITe have no evidence to recommend this
practice under Florida conditions.
It has been our observation that the more successful cattlemen have select-
ed a breeding plan and continued with it long enough to see the results in the quali-
ty of calves produced. A program suited to one operator or ranch might not be work-
able for another.
In any plan, there are no substitutes for rigid selection, adequate feed,
sound management procedures and the best foundation stock available.
Selection: All cattle in the Station herd are weighed at birth and at 28-
day intervals. The calves are graded at 6 months and weaned at 7 months. All of
these records are being tabulated on I-B-M cards including breeds and pedigrees. By
analysis of what has been done a workable plan should be developed whereby the low
producing cows can be identified and culled earlier and the progeny of the high pro-
ducing cows selected for the herd.
From the data recorded on the I-B-M cards, which have been prepared by
Harold Clum, a graduate student at University of Florida, the 180 day weights have
been determined for 877 calves. With due allowance for sex and other controlling
factors,these weights have been grouped by breeds. Some of these averages are shown
in Table 1. From these data it may be noted that all Brahman crossbred calves are
above any of the purebred group averages in weight.
Table 1. Average weights of 180 day old calves of foundation
stock and crossbreds from Everglades Station herds.
Breed 180 day weight, lbs.
Brahman x Angus 349
Brahman x Devon 389
3/4 Brahman x 1/4 Devon 374
3/4 Devon x 1/4 Brahman 385
3/4 Brahman x 1/4 Angus 400
Since the capacity for rapid growth is highly inherited, the sires select-
ed, both purebred and crossbred, will be those which grow rapidly. Two "Bravon"
yearling bulls are in the bull feeding test at Brooksville, Florida. At the end
of 56 days these two bulls were 5th and 9th among the 77 bulls on test. One gained
at the rate of 3.2 pounds per day and the other at 3.0 pounds. (Number 1147, the
bull in 5th place, was the heaviest calf weaned last year. He weighed 605 pounds
at 7 months and now at 13 months weighs 882 pounds.) These bulls will be used in
the Bravon herds next year. The bulls in use this year in the Bravon herds are two-
year-olds, first cross, and weigh 1100 and 1230 pounds at present.
Adequate Feed: Most of our field day program is based on providing ade-
quate nutrition on a continuous basis for our cattle. We have found that a weaned
calf weighing 400 pounds would have to eat 50 pounds of grass daily to continue grow-
ing. They do not have rumen capacity for this amount of roughage, so we provide
them with 3 to 5 pounds of concentrates per day for 60 to 90 days. Results of this
feeding are discussed elsewhere in the program, however, it illustrates the fact that
inherited capacity for rapid gains cannot be obtained if the feed ration is inade-
quate. The cow must be fed adequately to produce her calf and enough milk for it
and be capable of repeating the process each year.
Management and Health Practices: To neglect those essential vaccinations
for Brucellosis, Blackleg, Halignant Edema or regular treatments against parasitism
could be the difference between profit and loss on the program. To have the cows
freshen at a regular time each year makes for greater economy in handling both cows
and young stock. These are mentioned to illustrate the necessity of having a well
prepared plan to follow. Thus an animal having an inherited capacity for good type
and growth will not be limited by the way he is handled.
1. Study the possible plans for conducting a breeding program and select one pro-
gram for your herd.
2. Do not change plans frequently, thereby losing the degree of progress already
3. Set up a rigid selection program for herd maintenance,for choosing replacements,
for culling, and for bulls.
4. Provide adequate feed including minerals whatever is necessary for all ages
of cattle through the whole year.
5. Practice all of the disease and parasite control measures known to be beneficial
in the region.
6. Use every means possible in handling cattle to reduce costs. TW-ith a low cattle
market the importance of an economical operation is especially significant.
WINTER FORAGE FOR CATTLE
R. J. Allen, Jr.
Interplanting of winter grazing crops into established pasture sod is a re-
latively new practice which is showing promise as a practical method of furnishing
forage for cattle during the winter months. The recent advent of sod seeding machines
has made it possible to plant seed into the ground and to place fertilizer beneath
the seed at the same time. This eliminates to a large extent the uncertainty of
broadcast seeding which is largely dependent upon favorable weather conditions for
germination and seedling establishment. The applied fertilizer also helps the seed-
lings to make faster early growth and to compete with the pasture grasses much better
than when both seed and fertilizer are broadcast.
Conclusions drawn from observations of work with sod-seeding are as follows:
Land preparation costs involved in planting supplementary winter pastures are elimi-
The weed problem which occurs on prepared ground is practically eliminated by sod
Entire permanent pasture acreage can be utilized for temporary winter grazing crops
while the permanent grasses are relatively dormant.
Drilling seed into the sod is a much more reliable method of planting than is broad-
casting on the sod.
Both seed and fertilizer may be applied in one operation and there are indications
that subsurface fertilizing may be more beneficial on organic soil pastures than
For 20 inch row spacing, 100 to 200 pounds of fertilizer of recommended analysis per
acre should be applied in the drill rows, and for 10 inch spacing, 200 to 400 pounds.
Some provision should be made to cover the fertilizer so that seed does not come in
direct contact with it.
Coulters on sod seeding machines should be as large in diameter as possible and
should preferably be of the cut-away type. They should be mounted to cut 1 to 2
inches deeper than the drill points.
Pastures should be grazed closely or mowed just prior to planting.
Planting should be done as early in the fall as possible but still late enough so
that the permanent grasses do not offer excessive competition to the seedlings.
Quick germinating, aggressive growing plants such as oats or ryegrass will compete
best with Everglades pasture sods.
Of the legumes, alfalfa which is upright in growth, or possibly vetch which climbs,
should perform best.
Water control should be such that adequate moisture can be supplied during the dry
season when forage provided by interplanted crops is needed most.
A rotational grazing program should be worked out so that interplanted crops can be-
come well established before they are grazed. This may require some feeding of si-
lage and/or delayed grazing in late fall. Rice stubble, if available, can furnish
good grazing in November and December.
Aphids may be a problem on seedling ryegrass and oats in any type of planting and
should be sprayed if necessary. This is especially important in pangola grass pas-
Short discussions of delayed grazing and temporary winter pastures, with
suggestions for forage management, may be found in Everglades Station Mimeo Report
55-10 (1955 Field Day Program).
USE OF CONCENTRATES FOR FATTENING STEERS ON PAS TURE AND SILAGE
D. W. Beardsley
Two steer feeding trials comparing the values of various levels of concen-
trates fed to steers being fattened on pasture and on grass silage in the drylot h2ve
been completed. The first was conducted in the spring of 1954 and was reported in
detail in Everglades Station nimeo Report 55-7 and discussed at the Cattlemen's Field
Day last year, Everglades Station Mimeo Report 55-10. The second was conducted dur-
ing the winter of 1954-55 and was reported in Everglades Station imeo Report 56-3.
The third trial of this series is being conducted during the winter of 1955-56 and is
now about half finished.
Seven lots of 10 steers each were included in the second trial. Lots I -V
had access to 4 acres of St. Augustine pasture for each lot, while Lots VI and VII
were fed St. Augustine silage in drylot. The supplements fed steers on pasture were
mixtures of approximately equal parts ground snapped corn, citrus pulp and straight
blackstrap or urea-fortified blackstrap molasses. Cottonseed meal plus extra urea
was included in the rations given the steers on silage in drylot.
During the feeding trial last winter heavy frosts in December and continued
cool weather drastically reduced the growth of grass. It was easy to see during Janu-
ary which lots were receiving supplemental feed by the amount of grass still available
in the pastures. Lot V on full feed of concentrates appeared to have adequate grass
available, even during Januaryo The lots on limited feed still had some grass avail-
able, while the ones receiving no supplementary feed were definitely short of grass
and lost during the second 30-d.y period what had been gained the first 30 days. Be-
ginning the latter part of January the lots were rcrated in the various pastures in
order to reduce the variation between lots due to thie grass shortage. This allowed
the steers on grass alone to gain a little during the last 60 days of the trial, and
may have reduced slightly the gains of the lots on full feed of concentrates.
The results of this trial and the previous one are given in Table 2 for
comparison. The differences due to lack of forage in the winter trial are obvious.
When grass was plentiful, as in the spring trial, all the steers made eco-
nomical gains, with the greatest return for the steers given limited feed. With a
shortage of grass, gains were poor and only the lots on the highest levels of concen-
trates gave a reasonable return. In neither trial did the feeding of a limited
amount of concentrates with grass silage prove to be a profitable fattening ration.
High levels of concentrates are necessary to properly fatten steers on grass silage.
This is demonstrated by the carcass grades and returns from Lot VII.
In the feeding trial now in progress the same seven lots are included. How-
ever, instead of ten steers per lot on the 4-acre pastures, only eight steers are be-
ing used. The lots on pasture have not been rotated, but are being supplemented with
grass silage because cold weather has reduced the available grass.
In addition to the seven lots in the regular trial, two lots of yearling
steers are being full fed concentrates on pasture. One lot is receiving 10 milligrams
3f stilbestrol daily per steer, with the other lot acting as control. It is planned
bo continue these two lots on test for a 150-day feeding period,
Table 2. Results of spring and winter trials comparing limited with full feed of
concentrates for fattening steers on pasture and silage for 120 days.
Lot Number I II III IV V VI VII
Av. daily gain, S* 1.45 1.81 1.94 1.85 2.11 1.45 --
Ibs. 0.29 0.93 1.68 0.83 1.78 1.05 1.95
Av. daily feed, S ---- 60 12.0 18.6* 17.4 7.9
lbs. W ---- 6.0 12.6 18.6* 17.4 6.5 17.8
Av. feeder grade S Med., Med. Med. Med. Med. Med. .
W H. Med. H. Med, H. Med. H. Med. Med. H. Med. H. Med.
Av. carcass S H. Util. Coml. Coml. Coml. H. Coml. H. Util. ---
grade W L. Util. L. Coml. H. Coml. Coml. L. Good Coml. Good
Av. dressing S 55.6 58.5 59.5 59.1 60.6 54.7
percentages-,f w 52.1 56.9 58.3 57.5 59.1 56.0 60.4
Feed cost/cwt.gain S $ 2.40 $ 8.10 $13.50 $13.10 $18.60 $20.30
(incl. pasture) W 12.06 14.29 15.03 23.96 19.34 23.71 $19.76
Av. selling S 13.90 16.05 16.24 15.89 17.32 13.12
price/cwt. W 12.45 14.77 16.70 15.45 17.57 15.37 20.05
Return above steer S 24.11 37.65 28.43 26.72 25.11 -13.37
and feed costs. W -16.12 0.99 14.95 -2.85 16.27 -6.85 3,.56
S* trial held during spring 1954.
W*= winter 1954-55.
4* Fed last 60 days only.
*H* Spring 1954 trial slaughtered at Ocala; winter 1954-55 at Miami.
MOLASSES SUPPLEMENTATION FOR BREEDING COWS
D. W. Beardsley
The second trial comparing the value of urea-fortified blackstrap molasses
with straight mill-run blackstrap molasses as a winter pasture supplement for breed-
ing cows was carried on from December 31, 1954 to April 2, 1955, a period of 92 days.
Urea-fortified (3% urea) blackstrap was given free choice to a group of Devon and 3/4
Brahman x 1/4 Devon cows with their calves while grazing Roselawn St. Augustine grass.
Unfortified molasses was given to another group handled similarly. A third group of
Brahman and Devon cows was given straight mill run molasses free choice on Roselawn
St. Augustine pasture with daily access to temporary winter pasture of clovers, res-
cue grass and ryegrass. A fourth group had access to the same temporary winter
pasture in addition to Roselawn St. Augustine, but received no supplementary molasses.
Because of the limits placed on the study by the breeding project upon
which this trial was superimposed, direct comparisons can be made only between Group
I, urea-fortified molasses, and Group II, unfortified molasses; and between Group III,
straight molasses, and Group IV, no molasses. The results are summarized in Table 3.
Table 3. Results of free choice supplementation of urea-fortified and straight
blackstrap molasses to breeding cows on winter pasture.
Group No. I II III IV
Kind of molasses 3% urea Straight Straight None
Acres of pasture 20 16 16* 20*
No. cows (incl. 1 bull) 31 25 26 26
Initial cow wt., lbs. 929 902 1013 1001
Gain or loss/cow, Ibs. -4h -23 -24 -57
Molasses consumption.cow/day, lbs. 10.2 13.1 8,6 ----
Additional grazing on temporary pasture provided
The pastures upon which Groups I and II grazed had been allowed to grow up
to a certain extent in the fall in order to have more forage available through the
winter. Although this forage was somewhat mature, the cattle appeared to consume the
leafy portions readily. It was felt that if the extra crude protein supplied as urea
would be of benefit to the brood cow it should show up under the conditions of the de-
layed grazing system. No beneficial effect of the extra protein supplied as urea was
observed. The apparent difference in weight gains may be due to differences in mo-
lasses consumption, 10.2 pounds per cow day in Group 1 and 13.1 pounds per cow day in
Group II, rather than any detrimental effect of the urea, During the first trial the
previous winter, no differences in weight gains or molasses consumption were noted
between the groups fed urea-fortified (4% urea) molasses and unfortified molasses.
Groups III and IV had access to permanent pastures of Roselawn St. Augustine.
In addition, 16 acres of temporary winter pasture including clovers, ryegrass, and
rescue grass were available for these groups. One group was allowed to graze this
supplemental pasture during the morning while the other group had access to the same
pasture in the afternoon. This system was used in order to provide plenty of high
quality forage for the animals, Group III received supplemental molasses and con-
sumed about 8.6 pounds of straight molasses per cow day,
Although the permanent pastures were grazed rather closely, the temporary
pasture grazed by alternate groups furnished an abundance of forage throughout the
trial. Group III receiving supplemental molasses lost an average of 24 pounds per
cow during the 92-day feeding period compared to a loss of 57 pounds per cow for Group
IV. This was reflected in the slightly better general appearance of Group III at the
end of the test.
In contrast to last year's trial, all four groups of cows showed an average
weight loss over the 92-day feeding period. Two principal differences between the
two tests may account for the results obtained. Probably the most important differ-
exce is that this year's trial was initiated four weeks earlier and was also termi-
nated two weeks earlier than the previous trial. Since most of the calves are drop-
ped from October through January, the weight loss due to calving would have more
effect on the over-all weight gain or loss in the earlier feeding study. Terminating
the study earlier would also have the sane effect on over-all weight gain since the
cows would have had less time to build up their reserves on the spring growth of
A second factor is the cold winter which was experienced in 1954-55. Heavy
frosts in December and scattered ones in January and February reduced grass growth
considerably. Just how much effect this had is not easy to determine.
The winter feeding study now in progress was initiated December 22, 1955,
and will continue until the first of April. Straight mill run blackstrap molasses
is being fed free choice to two breeding groups on pasture with two comparable groups
on pasture only. Since no response to extra crude protein supplied as urea was noted
during the first two wintering studies, this comparison has been omitted from the
From the results of the two winter trials using molasses with and without
extra urea added as a pasture supplement for breeding cows, it appears that molasses
can supply considerable of the energy needs of the cow during the winterseason. Breed-.
ing cows nursing calves can better maintain their general condition when supplied
with molasses, particularly when pastures are somewhat limited.
Molasses may replace part of the energy needs usually obtained from pasture,
but should not be considered as a total replacement. Considerable forage is needed
for efficient utilization of the molasses.
No advantage of supplying extra crude protein as urea has been observed.
Because of the relatively high protein content of forages grown on these organic
soils, it appears that where adequate forage is available this extra protein source
is not needed for maintaining breeding cows on pasture in the Everglades,
USE OF AUREOMYCIN IN WEANED CALF RATIONS
D. W. Beardsley
Observations for many years at the Everglades Station on the growth of
calves after weaning have led to the conclusion that the practice of weaning a calf
at seven to eight months of age and turning him immediately back to pasture leaves
much to be desired. In many instances calves weighing 400-450 pounds when weaned in
the early fall actually lose weight through the winter and may start on spring grass
weighing only 350-400 pounds. To overcome this stunting period often takes many
months. With the market demanding young cattle which finish at about 1000 pounds,
this slowdown or setback in growth must be avoided if these demands are to be met.
The surest way to prevent this setback in growth is to provide supplemental concen-
trates for 60 to 90 days after weaning or until the calves have had a chance to
develop their digestive system to utilize larger amounts of roughage to advantage,
Calculations based on the chemical analysis of St. Augustine grass indicate
that it would take about 50 pounds of fresh grass to supply enough protein and energy
to meet the requirements of a rapidly growing 400 pound calf. Our observations are
that this is about twice as much as the newly weaned calf has the capacity to take in.
The balance of nutrients between what the calf can consume as fresh grass and its
needs should be provided as supplementary concentrates. If available, good quality
hay can replace all or part of the pasture and most of the supplementary concentrates.
Because it was felt that the stress of weaning and adjustment to different
rations, particularly during the time of year when rainfall is often heavy and pasture
quite wet, might bring on subclinical disease conditions, a feeding study to compare
the value of adding aureomycin to weaned calf rations was initiated. It was thought
that at this period of growth aureomycin might be used to advantage in low level feed-
ing to reduce the health hazards commonly encountered. Two experiments have been com-
pleted, one utilizing calves raised under the breeding project at the Station and the
other utilizing calves purchased at a feeder calf sale.
- 10 -
Experiment I. All the calves raised under the breeding project were weaned
at approximately seven months of age. No calves were culled until after the feeding
test. As each group was weaned they were divided by sex, breed, age and weight into
four lots, two lots of heifers and two lots of bulls and steers. The calves were fed
fresh chopped grass plus concentrates for one week in drylot and then turned out to
pasture. The concentrate feeding was continued for a 98-day period. During the
first week of the test for each weaning group vaccination, branding, dehorning, and
castration of bulls not kept for breeding were accomplished.
One-half pound of blackstrap molasses and four pounds of the dry mix listed
in Table 4 were fed daily per animal. This provided each calf with 2 grams of pheno-
thiazine and the antibiotic treated calves with I4 milligrams of aureomycin daily.
Table 4. Dry feed mixtures used in weaned calf feeding studies,
Experiment I Experiment II
Basal Basal + Aureo, Basal Basal + Aureo,
Ground snapped corn, Ibs. 200 200 400 400
Citrus pulp, lbso 200 200 -- -
41% cottonseed meal, Ibs. 100 100 100 100
Phenothiazine, grams. 250 250 250 250
Aurofac 2A*, grams. --- 711 --- 946
Feed Supplement containing 3.6 grams aureomycin per pound furnished by
American Cyanamid Company.
The total of 112 calves used in the study were weaned at four different
times. The first group of 24 calves, Group A, was weaned June 7, 1955, and started
on the basal ration. The second group was weaned June 21 and the third and fourth
groups on July 5 and August 30, respectively. Aureomycin supplementation began on
July 5, four weeks after Group A and two weeks after Group B were weaned. The other
two groups received aureomycin for the complete 98-day feeding period.
The data are summarized in Table 5* No consistent differences between the
gains or general appearance of the control and aureomycin supplemented animals were
observed although there appears to be a tendency for the aureomycin supplemented
calves to gain slightly faster.
Table 5. Summary of weight gains of calves with and without antibiotic
Experiment I Experiment II
I II III IV V VI
Days on test 98 98 98 98 90 90
Sex Hfrs. Hfrs. Bulls & Strs. Bulls & Strs. Strs. Strs.
Number per lot 31 31 25 25 18 18
Aureomycin -, + + +
Initial weight, lbs. 410 412 t47 459 374 369
Final weight, Ibs. 497 503 542 563 475 473
Total gain, Ibs. 87 91 95 104 101 104
Av. daily gain, Ibs. 0.89 0*93 0.97 1.06 1.12 1.16
Experiment II. In another test, 36 grade Hereford steer calves purchased
at a feeder calf sale were divided into two equal lots and fed for 90 days. The calves
were started on the feeding test September 23, 1955. After one week in drylot all
- 11 -
calves were eating well and were continued on feed on pasture. Three pounds of the
ration listed in Table 4 plus 0.25 pounds of blackstrap molasses were fed daily to
each steer. This amount provided a daily intake of 1.5 grams phenothiazine per ani-
mal plus 45 milligrams of aureomycin for the antibiotic treated calves.
The results of this 90-day feeding study are given in Table 5. Again the
weight gains of the control and supplemented groups are about the same with an appar-
ent slight advantage in favor of the lot receiving the antibiotic. No obvious differ-
ences in general appearance between the two lots were observed.
In general, no appreciable advantage in weight gains was noted for the
three lots supplemented with 45 milligrams of aureomycin daily over the three control
lots. However, in each case there was an apparent slight advantage in favor of the
antibiotic which may indicate a tendency in that direction. The over-all average
daily gain for the three control lots was 0.99 pounds and for the three aureomycin
supplemented lots, 1.05 pounds.
Further studies will be necessary to determine whether the slight response
obtained to the low level of antibiotic supplementation under the good calf growing
conditions during 1955 will be different under less favorable conditions.
STILBESTROL AND ANTIBIOTICS FOR BEEF CATTLE
H. L. Chapman, Jr.
Neither a nutrient nor a hormone, Stilbestrol is instead a chemically pro-
duced compound which when taken into the animal body produces effects which are simi-
lar to those of certain estrogenic hormones. It is not a new compound but was first
produced successfully approximately twenty-five years ago. It was little used until
the early 1940's when research workers became interested in the response of livestock
when pellets of this material were implanted under the skin. Results of this type
of study with beef animals were quite inconsistent. In the early 1950's the dis-
covery that certain plants demonstrated estrogenic activity led to the eventual in-
vestigation of the use of Stilbestrol in beef cattle rations. During the past two
or three years interest in this practice has mushroomed and sufficient experimental
results have been reported to allow certain conclusions to be drawn concerning the
value of Stilbestrol in beef cattle fattening rations. A summary of these experi-
ments is presented in Table 6.
Method of Feeding. Pure Food and Drug officials have approved the prepa-
ration and sale of Stilbestrol in feed supplements for cattle being fed for slaugh-
ter which weigh 600 pounds or more. They also request Stilbestrol be withheld from
cattle 48 hours prior to slaughter. In the pure form Stilbestrol is a drug that if
managed incorrectly may be a health hazard. The pure Stilbestrol is blended thor-
oughly into a carrier, such as soybean meal before being sold for mixing into con-
centrate feeds. Commercial supplements are available at the present time and if
handled with the proper precautions are completely safe in respect to human health
hazards. At the present time many farmers and feeders may not be able to buy the
supplement itself due to lack of adequate mixing and laboratory facilities to be
sure of satisfactory dispersion of the Stilbestrol in the feed mixture. Concentrate
feed mixtures are also available with Stilbestrol added.
- 12 -
Animals to Feed. At the present time it is recommended that only slaughter
animals, of either sex, weighing 600 pounds or more, be fed Stilbestrol. At present
inadequate information is available to recommend feeding Stilbestrol to poultry or
How Much? It is recommended that Stilbestrol be fed to fattening beef
cattle at the rate of 5 to 10 milligrams per animal per day. Do not feed more than
10 milligrams per animal. This is a very small amount when one considers that one
6pund of Stilbestrol is enough to feed S5,400 animals for one day.
Stimulation of Gains. One of the most consistent benefits reported from
the use of Stilbestrol in beef cattle fattening rations is that of an increased rate
of gain. Weight increases in experiments reported have ranged from O to 37 percent,
with the majority of the figures falling in the 10 to 30 percent range. The average
stimulation of gain from Stilbestrol reported in experiments to date, is 15 percent
with the amount of stimulation apparently affected by the type of ration fed. Great-
er gain stimulation has usually been obtained from cattle on a high grain ration as
compared to a high roughage ration. There also appears to be a tendency for the
heavier cattle to respond to Stilbestrol to a larger degree than light-weight calves.
Results are limited regarding the use of Stilbestrol by cattle under a pasture fatten-
Feed Costs. Besides gain stimulation the other principal benefit from
feeding Stilbestrol to beef cattle is a consistent lowering of the amount of feed re-
quired per pound of gain. The average feed saving has been approximately 10 to 12
percent. While feed saving is realized with both high concentrate and high roughage
rations, it appears to be greater when animals are fed a high grain ration as com-
pared to a high roughage ration.
Effect on Carcass and Dressing Percentage. Data obtained from various ex-
periment stations and seven industrial concerns indicate that the feeding of Stilbes-
trol at the recommended levels has no consistent effect upon carcass grade or dress-
ing percentage. This includes color of the meat, fat, and bone, percentage of each,
area of rib eye, and cooler shrink. Differences were of little practical importance.
Further research is being conducted at the present time.
Effect on Meat for Human Consumption. Stilbestrol in the pure form is dan-
gerous to human health if not properly handled. This has resulted in concern about
possible traces existing in the edible portion of livestock fed the compound. The
most sensitive tests available at present indicate that the tissue of animals fed
Stilbestrol at the recommended rates is perfectly safe for human consumption.
Interest has increased during the past two or three years concerning the use
of low-levels of antibiotics in rations for beef cattle. Table 7 presents a summary
of the results of experiments which have been reported by various experiment stations
during the past two years.
The data show that there apparently may be some advantage in weight gains
and feed efficiency derived from feeding beef cattle antibiotic-supplemented rations.
The increase is small, however, and indicates that the practice at this time may not
be economically feasible. It appears that low level supplementation of antibiotics
may be of more benefit to beef cattle fed low quality rather than high quality rations.
Table 6. Summary of Stilbestrol Feeding Experiments,
Experiment Date Kind Type of No. Cattle Average Daily Gain Feed Dressing % Fed. Grade* Expt,
Station of Ration 0 + 0 + 7 in- Saving 0 + 0 + Length
Cattle crease (%) (Days)
Fla. (BG) 1956 Steers Pasture + Grain 7 6 2.03 2.02 0 0 -- --- --- -- 60
Fla. (Ona) 1955 Steers Grain 3 3 2.24 2.49 11 12 --- -- 7.0 6.0 10O
Fla. (Gvl.) 1955 Steers Grain 6 6 2.78 3.09 11 2 58.1 57.8 3.7 4.1 109
Fla. (Qcy.) 1955 Steers Citrus Mol. 5 5 2.12 2.40 13 6 61.4 60.8 7.6 7.6 88
Fla. (Qcy.) 1955 Steers Blackstrap 5 5 1.76 1.79 2 4 61.4 61.3 7.5 6.8 117
Fla. (Qcy.) 1955 Steers Grain 5 5 2.64 2.91 10o 61.6 61.3 8.0 7.6 96
Av. Florida Expts. 2.26 2.45 8 5 60.6 60.3 6.8 6.6
Colorado 1955 Steers Grain 9 8 2.30 2.90 26 21 ---- ---- --- -- 84
Illinois 1955 Steers Grain 7 7 1.99 2.34 18 64.4 63.4
Iowa 1954 Steers Grain 8 16 2.13 2.67 25 13 60.7 61.1 8.0 8.4 43
Iowa 1954 Steers Grain 8 24 2.23 2.72 22 12 60.0 60.4 6.5 6.6 112
Iowa 1954 Heifers Grain 8 16 2.03 2.29 13 13 58.4 58.0 7.0 7.0 113
Iowa 1954 Steers Roughage 20 20 1.10 1.21 10 10 ------- -- 127
Iowa 1954 Steers Half + Half 8 8 1.71 1.99 16 11 61.3 61.5 7.0 6.6 243
Iowa 1954 Steers Grain 8 14 2.36 2.53 8 7 61.8 61.2 7.0 6.4 120
Iowa 1955 Steers Roughage 40 40 1.00 1.08 8 8 ----- --- 119
Iowa 1955 Calves Grain 9 18 2.22 2.s4 10 6 --- -- -- 22k
Iowa 1955 Steers Corn Silage 10 10 0.96 1.32 37 -- -- 119
Iowa 1955 Steers Grass Silage 10 10 0.88 0.89 1 -- ---- --- 119
Kansas 1955 Calves Roughage 20 20 1.91 1.90 0 0 140
Kansas 1955 Calves Roughage 5 5 1.72 1.82 6 6 ------ -- --- 10
Michigan 1955 Steers Grain 14 14 2.30 2.60 13 20 61.9 62.0 6.7 7.k 98
Nebraska 1955 Steers Grain 15 15 2.02 2.40 19 12 64.0 63.2 8.8 8.6 112
Ohio 1955 Steers Grain 21 21 2.17 2.47 14 13 -------- -- --- 84
Purdue 1955 Steers Grain 10 10 2.33 2.64 13 11 --- -- 7.3 6.6 123
Purdue 1955 Steers Grain 9 9 2.71 3.30 21 18 -- -- -- 98
Purdue 1955 Calves Grain 9 9 2.37 2.84 20 15 --- --- 98
Tennessee 1955 Steers Grain 24 16 1.38 1.77 28 18 57.5 57.8 5.0 5.0 98
Texas 1955 Steers Grain 10 10 2.38 3.03 27 11 59.8 59.8 5.8 5.4 120
Av. other Expts. 1.92 2.23 16 13 61.0 60.8 6.8 6.8
Av. all Expts. 15 11 60.9 60.7 6.8 6.7
* A Federal grade of 6.0 to 7.0 is equivalent to a high-good carcass grade.
of Experiments Concerning Feeding Antibiotic-Supplemented Rations to Beef Cattle
Kind of Kind of Number Kind of
Cattle Ration Cattle Anti-
per lot biotics
Av. Daily Gain
Fla. (BG) 1956
Fla. (BG) 1956
Fla. (BG) 1956
Av. Fla. Expts.
Steers Grain 9
Steers (2 yr.) Hi-CHO 8
Steers Roughage 10
Steers Roughage 10
Steers Roughage 10
Steers Roughage 10
Steer Calves Roughage 10
Steer Calves Roughage 10
Steers Grain 16
Steers No Grain 9
Full Grain 9
Steers Corn 24
Steers Corn Silage 10
Steers Roughage 14
4.6 Mg/lb. feed
9,2 Mg/lb.. feed
9.2 Mg/lb. feed
Table 7, Summarsr
ANTIBIOTIC-STILBS TROL RATION
The possibility that a combination of antibiotics and Stilbestrol might be
of additional benefit to beef cattle prompted several experiment stations to investi-
gate this problem. A summary of the results of these experiments is presented in
Table 8. From the data available it does not appear that a canbination of the two
production supplements in beef cattle feeds is of any more benefit than Stilbestrol
alone, However, more study is needed concerning this.
Table 8. Summary of Stilbestrol-Antibiotic feeding experiments conducted during 1955
Number Level Fed
Experiment Kind of Cattle Kind of mg/day Average Daily Gain (lb.)
Station Ration per lot Ab Ab St -O0 Ab Stil Ab + St.
Fla. (Gvl.) Grain 6 Aureo 10 2.7 2.6 3.1 2,8
Fla. (Qcy.) Citrus Mol. 5 Aureo 75 10 2.12 --- 2.40 2.27
Fla. (Qcy.) Citrus Mol. 5 Terra 75 10 2.12 --- 2.40 2.37
Iowa Corn Silage 10 Aureo 72 10 0.96 1.15 1.32 1.18
Grass Silage 10 Aureo 72 10 0.88 103 0.89 0.90
Nebraska Grain 8 Aureo 150 10 2.09 1.94 2.47 2.32
TRACE MINERAL NUTRITION OF BEEF CATTLE
H. L. Chapman, Jr.
The nutrition of ruminant animals, such as beef cattle, is closely related
to the nutrition of the many bacteria found in the rumen stomach. Much of the effi-
ciency with which beef cattle can utilize large amounts of roughage feeds is ap-
parently dependent upon supplying an adequate amount of the nutrients needed by the
bacteria for the synthesis, in the rumen, of protein, all of the B-vitamins and cer-
tain fatty materials. Nutrients which must be provided for this purpose include an
available source of nitrogen, an available source of energy, phosphorus and trace
elements; thus offering a possible explanation as to why ruminants require larger
amounts of trace minerals than do non-ruminant animals.
While much is understood about the functions which trace minerals serve in
the body, very little is known concerning the actual amount of these mineral elements
needed to guarantee optimum performance by beef cattle. The trace mineral studies
planned for this Station include determining the needs of beef cattle in this area
for these minerals as affected by age, sex, breed, pregnancy, lactation, and inter-
relations with other minerals, as well as providing the cattleman with information
concerning mineral consumption as affected by the age and breed of cattle, stage of
lactation, season of the year, type of pasture forage, and type of supplemental feed-
ing program. Factors we need to know in order to determine intelligently if beef
cattle are obtaining sufficient amounts of each of these minerals include:
1. Amount of each mineral element needed by animal. (This may be affected by stage
of life cycle of the animal and interrelations of various minerals.)
2. Mineral analysis of forage.
3. Amount of forage available for consumption.
4. Analysis of mineral mixture fed.
5. Amount of mineral consumed.
6. Previous nutritional history of animals.
- 16 -
Amount of each mineral needed by animal. In the majority of the State 7 p.p.m. of
copper in the forage will reportedly satisfy the needs of beef cattle for this miner.
al. However, this is not true for cattle grazing pastures in muck and peat soils of
the Everglades. The principal reason for this has been attributed to the fact that
forages commonly used in the area have had relatively larger amounts of molybdenum
than that found in various forages on mineral soils in the State. It now appears
that there may be other minerals) involved in the copper-molybdenum interrelation-
ship. The currently recommended daily intake of several mineral elements is shown
in Table 9.
Table 9. Recommended minimum daily intake of phosphorus, calcium, iron, copper,
manganese and cobalt for beef cattle in the Everglades area.
Element P Ca Fe Cu Mn Co
Daily intake 12 15 .30* 125 .08* .001"
It is entirely possible that other interrelationships exist between miner-
als which will affect future recommendations. Also, studies are now underway to in-
vestigate the effect of stage of the life cycle of the animal upon mineral require-
Mineral analysis of forage. A survey conducted at this Station has thoroughly demon-
strated the differences which exist in the mineral contents of different forages.
For the purpose of this discussion, however, Roselawn St. Augustine will be used as
an example. The average mineral analysis of this grass, as determined by the survey,
is given in Table 10. This analysis will be used in our further discussions.
Analysis of mineral mixture used. It is quite obvious that the analysis of the miner-
al used by the cattlemen will be very important. Since it has been shown that more
copper is needed for cattle in this area as compared with other areas care should be
taken to see that the mineral mixture contains sufficient copper. For the purpose
of later discussion a partial analysis of a mineral mixture which has been used to
some extent by the Experiment Station is given in Table 10.
Table 10. Partial mineral analysis of Roselawn St. Augustine grass and of
a mineral mixture used at the Everglades Stations
Roselawn St. Mineral
Element No. of Average $ in Mixture
P 52 .27 % 6.00
Ca 44 .44 % 13.00
F 29 66 p.p.m. 3.00
Cu 30 8 p.p.m. 1.27
Mn 26 30 p.p.m. 0.50
Co 16 0. .p.pm. 0.03
Forage consumption. Experimental results at the Everglades Station have shown the
great variation which exists in the amount of grass produced in this area at differ-
ent times of the year. Analyses of grass samples from experimental pastures indicate
- 17 -
that Roselawn St. Augustine contains approximately 23 per cent of dry matter. Based
upon the mineral contents given in Table 10, the daily intake of minerals for differ-
ent levels of forage intake (Roselawn St. Augustine) is shown in Table 11. Also
shown is the amount of fresh material which would have to be consumed to provide each
level of dry matter intake*
Daily intake of mineral elements as affected by consumption of well
fertilized Roselawn St. Augustine grass.
Daily Daires grass Daily intake of various elements from grass, (grams)
Dry Matter Fresh grass
Intake Intake P Ca Fe Cu Mn Co
8 35 9.8 13.1 .24 ,029 .11 .00018
10 43 12.3 16.3 .30 .036 .14 .00022
12 52 14.7 19.6 .36 .0o4 .16 .00027
14 61 17.2 22.9 .42 .051 .19 .00032
16 70 19.6 26.2 .48 .058 .22 .00036
Mineral consumption. Records kept from January to April of 1955 indicate the average
daily mineral consumption of cattle on the Experiment Station for the period was 0.17
pound per head. The average daily mineral consumption of the Station herd from Sep-
tember 1955 to January 1956 was 0.12 pound per head. Table 12 shows the daily intake
of the various elements as affected by different rates o: consumption. It should be
noted that when the animals consumed 0.12 pound of mineral per head per day the daily
consumption of iron, copper, manganese and cobalt greatly exceeded the mineral recom-
mendations shown in Table 9.
Daily intake of mineral
of mineral mixturesused
elements (in grams) as affected by daily intake
at Everglades Station.
intake (lb.) P Ca Fe Cu Mn Co
- -I ,-
During periods of adequate pasture forage if cattle consume 4
fresh St. Augustine per day the level of mineral mixture consumed would
termine the total amount of each mineral ingested by the animal daily.
an example of what this daily intake would be theoretically when cattle
ent amounts of mineral, based upon the analyses presented in Table 10,
3 pounds or
Table 13 gives
- 18 -
Table 13. Average daily mineral intake (in grams) when cow consumes 43 pounds
of Roselawn St. Augustine grass and different levels of mineral
mixture.used at Everglades Station.
Daily Mineral p Ca Fe Cu Mn Co
.03 13.11 18.07 .71 .206 .21 .00o
.08 14.46 21.02 1.39 .U96 .32 .011
.12 15.54 23.38 1.93 .726 .41 .017
Some of our current mineral mixture recommendations are based upon early
work, during which less palatable mineral mixtures were fed. The daily mineral con-
sumption during these earlier studies was .028 pound per head. Currently used miner-
al mixtures are generally more palatable with a resultant higher daily consumption of
mineral by the animal. It is entirely possible if more palatable mixtures continue
to be used that future recommendations of the per cent of each mineral to include in
the mix may be lower. However, until well controlled investigations have been con-
ducted we still suggest a mineraTl mixture similar to that discussed, h' the maor
emphasis being placed on an adequate copper level.
There are several reasons to suggest that current recommendations be con-
tinued until current studies are finished. First, during certain periods of the
year it may not be possible for cattle to consume 45 pounds of fresh grass. With
certain supplemental feeding programs mineral consumption drops off sharply. Also
certain feed stuffs may possibly cause a temporary unbalance of different minerals
during periods of minimum mineral consumption. It is important that the mineral mix-
ture used contain levels of the trace elements sufficient to enable the animal to do
well during these times of deficient intake.
Previous nutritional history. During the twelve months previous to August, 1955 six
mature Devon cows were placed upon a pasture which received no copper applications in
the fertilizer. They were given 0.25 grams of copper per week. Liver and blood
analyses indicated this level of copper intake to be sufficient to prevent drastic
copper deficiency symptoms but not sufficient to prevent a gradual depletion of the
body copper stores.
In August 1955, six mature Devon cows were taken from the Station herd and
placed with the former six, and all twelve deprived of supplemental copper. Within
two weeks the six Devons which had been receiving the low level of copper during the
previous year depleted their body reserves to a dangerously low level, with the sub-
sequent loss of two of the animals. The calves from these cows depleted their body
copper stores within 4-6 weeks after birth. The other six animals are still on the
program of no supplemental copper. Their copper stores are being gradually depleted,
but they are still above the point where they are considered deficient, and they have
maintained normal, healthy calves.
This is a convincing demonstration that if cattle are provided free access
to an adequately formulated mineral mixture there will be no "sudden" failure due to
mineral deficiencies during times of short intake. If cattle are provided marginal
or inadequate mineral at all times, however, it is quite possible that deficiencies
will develop during times of stress such as periods of short pastures, calving time,
or perhaps a lack of mineral intake during periods of supplemental feeding.
- 19 -
SAMPLING ORGANIC PASTURE SOILS
J. P. Winfree
For Everglades pastures to provide maximum forage it is important that
they be maintained at optimum levels of soil fertility. The productive capacity of
peats and mucks, as for mineral soils, depends in great part upon the available nu-
trient they provide forage crop plants. In established pastures, following nutri-
ent removal by plants, fertility levels can best be maintained by fertilization
with P-K fertilizers according to recommendations based on chemical soil tests.
As a result of investigations on Experiment Station pastures and commercial
pastures in the region, we are suggesting that the following steps should be taken
for obtaining representative soil samples for Station analysis and fertilizer recmu-
mendations: (1) Take three composite soil samples (with a soil tube) from each
similarly treated pasture area. Each composite sample should be made up from five
or six individual borings to six-inch depth from an area of one to two square feet.
The locations from which the composite samples are drawn should be chosen from repre-
sentative areas well distributed over the field. (2) Carefully avoid obvious urine
and manure spots when taking the three samples. This is, of course, relatively easy
in the case of fresh manure spots, but somewhat more difficult in the case of urine
and "older" manure spots, (3) As in the past, submit with the soil samples a summary
of past crop and fertilization history. This record is of considerable importance
especially as it regards the trace elements, Cu, Mn, Zn, and B.
It will be noted that step (1), above, indicates a change in previous samp-
ling procedure. This particular modification is r commended as an important means
of overcoming the difficulties caused by contamination from mature and urine deposits
in a single composite sample made up of individual borings taken from spots distribe
uted. over the entire pasture, Jhen only one composite sample is taken, this con-
tamination in one or more borings of the composite prevents an accurate estimation
of the fertility status because it gives an average level of analysis somewhat higher
than the true average for uncontaminated areas. This makes fertilizer recommenda-
tions too low. When recommendations are to be determined on chemical analyses of
soil samples that may have becn affected by such contamination, it is not difficult
to see that to base a fertilizer recommendation for a pasture on a single soil sam-
ple becomes a most difficult task, Experience has shown that it is virtually im-
possible to make sound recommendations when the samples analyzed do not accurately
reflect actual fertility conditions as they exist in the pasture itself.
It is expected that by increasing to three the number of composite soil
samples from each pasture, and by carefully obtaining the samples so as to avoid, in
so far as possible, areas of contamination,the chances of obtaining at least one en-
tirely representative sample will be increased. Using the analytical results from
the sample, or samples, selected as perhaps more nearly representative, should re-
sult in more accurate recommendations and bring about marked improvements in Ever-
glades pasture fertility and forage productivity.
- 20 -
MECHANICS OF MAKING GRASS SILAGE
D. S, Harrison
In the summer of 1955, this Station harvested some 550 tons of grass si-
lage in an attempt to determine the feasibility of silage for winter feed in the
Everglades. Some of the first and foremost problems to investigate were (1) what
type machinery was needed, (2) how would the costs compare to the feed obtained, (3)
what must we do to add the conditioners or preservatives economically and (4) how
much would it cost the rancher or farmer per ton of cured grass silage?
Late in 1954, after purchase of a forage harvester and two PTO unloading
wagons, preliminary investigations were run in grass silage harvesting. It was not
until the summer of 1955, however, that full scale studies were begun. Wagons for
unloading the silage were modified with hardware cloth overhead to prevent blowing
of the silage as it left the discharge pipe. Airplane tires were used and the rear
wheels were "dualed" to give greater flotation on wet pastures and for pulling upon
the field type "above the ground" bunker silos. The forage harvester was also fitted
with airplane tires and was dual-wheeled on the engine side for more flotation.
A two-plow tractor was used to pull the harvester. A Viking H124-S bronze
fitted, internal gear pump, fitted with a relief valve was mounted on a frame attach-
ed to the rear axle of the tractor. This pump was chain driven from a sprocket on
the PTO shaft to the pump shaft. A 55-gallon oil drum was mounted on the rear of the
tractor and a 1i" Intake line from this drum fed undiluted molasses to the pump, A
1" Neoprene hose, connected to the pump, was run along the top of the harvester dis-
charge chute. A bracket on the end of the discharge chute held a i" galvanized pipe
T, in which were drilled two 1/8" holes through which the molasses was discharged
into the stream of chopped grass as it was blown into the wagon. As the temperature
rose during the day and the molasses became less viscous, another T with three 3/32"
holes was used in order to add the molasses to the silage at approximately the rate
of 100 lbs. per ton of silage. Although the molasses could not be added in a spray
form,it covered the silage at a uniform rate and the method worked satisfactorily.
A star.Wheeltype, fertilizer hopper was mounted on brackets just over the
feed roll table of the harvester for delivery of sodium bisulfite to the silage just
as it entered the blower. The drive shaft of this hopper was extended over the end
of the drive shaft housing of the harvester feed roll. The collar of the forage
harvester feed roll drive shaft was taken off and a V-belt pulley was installed to
drive the shaft of the hopper. A counter shaft was used to get the desired reduction
of 10:1, The speed of the hopper drive shaft was 7 rpm, and the hopper delivered
approximately one pound of sodium bisulfite per minute or about 8 to 10 pounds per
ton of chopped grass.
The wagons were pulled to the silo with a crawler tractor, equipped with
a PTO, and unloaded in the bunker silo. This system allowed the wheel tractor pull-
ing the harvester to continue harvesting without any unnecessary stops. Only three
men were necessary for the forage harvesting operation: a driver on the tractor
with the harvester, one on the crawler pulling and unloading the wagons, and one com-
bination "supervisor and laborer" to assist in spreading grass and keeping the pre-
servatives added to either the bisulfite distributor or the molasses tank. A rela-
tively cheap, double gear, cast iron, I1" pump fitted to a molasses tank-trailer
serves well in filling the drum of molasses.
To keep the operation moving on schedule, knives on the sickle bar of the
harvester should be sharpened at 50-75 ton intervals; knives on the harvester fly-
- 21 -
heel sharpened and adjusted every 100-150 tons; ledger plates on the sickle bar
tightened and checked at frequent intervals. All fittings on the harvester should
be greased daily as prescribed by the manufacturer. Reel unit should run only as
fast as the tractor travels. These directions are in keeping with the manufacturers
prescribed instructions and prove to be essential to an efficient operation.
The following tables give the operating costs and amount of silage harvest-
ed or prepared at this Station during the fall of 1955, and may serve as a useful
guide to those who anticipate use of grass silage. From Table 2 it can be seen that
even with a small capacity (40 ton per day average) a rancher can provide winter feed
at a cost of $3.13 per ton, excluding initial cost of equipment. From this data it
is evident that two or three ranchers could cooperatively purchase the equipment,
make it pay for itself in one to two years of operation, and get winter feed for as
little as $5.00 per ton.
Cost of Equipment Used
2-10,000 lb. capacity wagon Chasis @ $175.00
2-7,000 lb. capacity wagon boxes @ )1l0.76
Extend rims on Chasis, and lumber for boxes
Dual 1-wheel of forage harvester
15-Airplane tires for wagons & harvester 9 ";2.00
Hardware Cloth for top of wagons
1-Fertilizer Hopper for Bisulfite Distributor
1-Viking Pump Model H-1245, bronze fitted, with
11" 10 gpm, 200 psi
1-Gould Rotary Gear Pump, Cast Iron 1-"
1-250 gallon tank, mounted on trailer
Silo Covers (for 4 silos 1l' x 48' x 6')
1-Roll 175 yds. x 72" wide, .008" thick, clear Ultron
Flexible Vinyl Plastic
144-Yards Scotch Plastic Electrical Tape #471, 2" wide,
for splicing covers
Cost of cover per silo
Table 2. Operating costs for harvesting grass silage
Grass Fuels Preservative Labor Tons Total tons Total
Variety & Lub. Mol./Bisulfite per Hr. Harvested Cost/Ton
Para $22.25 $71.95 $68.85 3.3 90 $1.81
St. Augustine 18.U5 69.30 49.73 4.3 84 1.64
Pangola 23.05 115.37 76.50 3.5 106 2.04
Carib 20.75 140.73 60.13 4.3 118 1.87
Av. cost/ton $ 0.21 $ 0.99 $ 0.64 --- --- $1.84
Per cent of
Total cost 11% 54% 35% --- ---"
* This was an estimate by weighing one wagon and filling all others correspondingly
Table 3. Amounts and Cost of Cured Silage Available for Feed (Not including
Compaction, Approx. Number Percent of Cost
Grass Ibs./cu.ft, of lbs. Available Initial Fill Per Ton
Para 55 100,265 60% $3.26
St. Augustine 50 123,250 72% $2.23
Pangola 65 108,200 58% $3.98
Carib 60 145,800 60% $3.04
Average 7.5 ---- 62.5% 3.13
This was done by actually cutting cu. ft. samples from each silo weighing
them, then taking an average.
SILAGE CROPS, GROWTH STAGES, PRESERVATIVES
R. J. Allen, Jr.
Any crop which is considered good forage for cattle can be made into silage
if the proper conditions for preservation are met. The primary requirement of the
crop for a natural ensiling process is that the carbohydrate content, that is, sugar
and starch, be sufficient to produce enough lactic acid under bacterial action to
lower the pH to less than 4.S. Corn, sorghum, some grasses, and sugar cane meet this
requirement. For other corps, especially those high in protein, such as the legumes,
some form of carbohydrate must be added, or other type of preservative used.
Recent work on silage at this Station has been confined to our regular
pasture grasses, St. Augustine, pangola, para, and carib, These grasses produce an
excess of good quality forage during spring and summer which is literally "there for
the harvesting" at practically no cost for growing the crop, except possibly some
To provide high quality silage the crop must be harvested in the growth
stage at which quality is highest. It is a well known fact that leaves of forage
plants are.higher in nutrient value, especially protein, than are stems. Also cut-
ting too often in an attempt to get only leaves will seriously weaken the plants and
will result in low yields with high harvesting expense. These facts must be taken
into consideration and balanced against each other when deciding on the growth stage
at which to harvest grasses for silage.
A "rule of thumb" to follow is to cut when the lmoer leaves start to turn
yellow. Do not let any silage crop become over mature. Silage can be of no better
quality th-n the material from which it is made.
Preservatives most readily available-in this area are molasses and sodium
bisulphite. Molasses should be applied at from 60 pounds per ton of material of
about 65% moisture and relatively low protein, up to 100 pounds per ton of high mois-
ture, (80%), high protein material. It adds some feed value to the silage. Molasses
furnishes the necessary carbohydrate for certain bacteria to utilize in production of
lactic acid. It is the lactic acid which is the actual preserving agent. If not
enough is formed to bring the pH below 4.5, unfavorable bacteria start to function,
producing butyric acid and breaking down protein, resulting in a strong smelling,
relatively unpalatable, lower quality silage.
- 23 -
Sodium bisulphite should be applied at about 8-10 pounds per ton. It adds
no feed value to the silage. It reacts with the moisture of the chopped grass and
forms sulphur-dioxide which acts primarily as a sterilizing agent. Only a relatively
small amount of bacterial action takes place and the material does not go through a
true ensiling process. The resulting silage is usually greener in color, of a higher
pH, and has a quite different odor. It is about equal to molasses silage in palata-
bility and is of good quality,
Other possible preservatives are ground grains and citrus pulp. These act
about the same as molasses, that is, by supplying carbohydrate for the lactic acid
production, and they add some to the feed value. They also absorb some moisture from
succulent, direct cut crops, and tend to bring the moisture content down toward the
optimum of around 65%.
It should also be mentioned that no preservative will be satisfactory unless
the crop being ensiled is well packed as it is put into the silo to exclude as much
air as possible from the material.
FEEDING STUDIES WITH GRASS SILAGE
D. W. Beardsley
At the start of the grass silage program at the Everglades Station, the
basic idea was and still is how to fit silage into breeding and feeding opera-
tions based primarily on grass. Bunker-type silos were used in the various pastures
to provide supplemental roughage during the winter season for breeding cows and grow-
ing animals maintained on pasture with a minimum of investment and expense. Bunkers
were designed to hold what was estimated to be about half feed for 100 days for 30
cows grazing on 20 acres of pasture. The feeding face, i.e., width by height, is
large enough to allow 4 to 5 cows to eat at once and yet small enough so that the
cows eat enough silage every day to keep the material fresh.
Last winter the bunker silos were opened December 23, 1954, and the silage
ran out during the last week in February, 1955, except for the St. Augustine which
provided feed a couple of weeks longer. Because of the hard winter, very little
grazing was obtained from the pangola, carib and para grass pastures, and consequent-
ly, the bunker silos provided practically all of the feed eaten during January and
February. Most of the cows receiving the silage remained in good condition even
while nursing calves and receiving no other supplementary feed. A few of the smaller,
timid cows did not appear to be getting their share until all cows were dehorned about
the end of January. Proximate analyses of the fresh and ensiled material are given
in Table 4 for the for the various grasses used. *
Table 4- Proximate analyses of forage samples taken before and several weeks after
Type Forage Preservative Dry Protein* Fat* Fiber* Ash* N.F.E.*
Analyzed Used Matter, % % % % %
% Crude Crude Crude
Para Grass (Bunker Silo)
Freshly cut 20 15 1o9 30 13 40
Ensiled (16 wks.) Bisulfite 19 11 3.0 33 12 41
Ensiled (11 wks.) Molasses 21 14 3.0 28 10 45
St. Augustine Grass (Bunker silo)
Freshly cut 26 10 2.1 30 8 50
Ensiled (15 wks.) Bisulfite 26 11 2.7 27 10 49
Ensiled (20 wks.) Iolasses 25 10 2.7 29 8 50
St. Augustine Grass (Upright concrete silo)
Freshly cut 26 10 2.1 29 7 52
Ensiled (16 wks.) Molasses 28 10 2.5 28 8 52
Ensiled (20 wks.) Molasses 26 10 2.7 28 8 51
Pangola Grass (Bunker silo)
Freshly cut 19 14 2.4 26 8 50
Ensiled (13 wks.) Bisulfite 24 15 3.9 25 10 46
Ensiled (18 wks.) Molasses 25 14 2.8 26 9 48
Carib Grass (Bunker silo)
Freshly cut 14 15 2.5 29 8 46
Ensiled (19 wke.) Bisulfite 15 10 2.9 33 11 43
Ensiled (14 wks.) Molasses 17 10 3o9 32 11 43
* Reported on oven-dry basis
The amount of roughage provided by the St. Augustine bunker silo was enough
to supplement the pasture forage until early spring growth became adequate. Another
3 to 4 weeks supply of silage would have been desirable for the herds on the pangola,
carib and para grass pastures. Estimates of the amount of silage self-fed are given
in Table 5,
Table 5. Preliminary estimates of self-feeding grass silage to'breeding cows
on 20-acre pastures during winter of 1954-55.
Kind of Date Est. Tons No. Days Number Ave Ini- Av. Cow Est. % In-
Silage Feeding Available Silage Cows tial Cow Gain or take from
Begun Fed Wtj,lbs. Loss,lbs. Silage
Para 12/23/54 50 68 19 831 -51 80
St. Augustine 12/23/54 40 72* 29 985 9 50
Carib 12/29/54 50 56 30 1007 -87 90
Includes 14 days estimated feed not used.
In order to explore the possibility of utilizing grass silage for wintering
and fattening steers, St. Augustine grass was ensiled in an upright concrete silo ad-
jacent to drylot steer feeding pens. Here again, the basic idea was to utilize grass
silage for the major portion of the ration.
During the spring of 19L5 one lot of ten steers was fed limited concen-
trates plus St. Augustine silage in the drylot. This was the sixth lot in a steer
feeding trial, the other five lots being fed on pasture. During the winter of 1954-
55, two lots of steers were fed St. Augustine silage to which 80-100 pounds of black-
strap molasses per ton of green material was added during ensiling. One lot received
limited concentrates while the other received full feed of concentrates. Five simi-
lar lots were fed on pasture at the same time.
The results of these steer feeding studies are given in Table 2, page 7
The silage fed in the spring of 1954 was only fair quality. The following winter
the silage was somewhat better, but sill could not be considered above average. It
is obvious from the results that using fair quality grass silage for the major por-
tion of a fattening ration is not an economical method of fattening steers. On the
other hand, when full feed of concentrates are given, it appears that the silage can
adequately supply the roughage needs of fattening steers.
Similar silage feeding studies are now in progress utilizing the forages
ensiled during July September 1995. Feeding was begun from the para and St. Augus-
tine grass bunkers December 19 and from the pangola grass bunker December 23. Open-
ing the carib grass bunker was delayed until January 5 since adequate grazing was
available until then. The silage appears to be of good quality and the cattle eat it
readily. Consumption varies somewhat from day to day, depending to a large extent
upon the amount of green grass available in the pasture. It appears that the animals
graze whatever grass is available and fill up on silage.
The steers being fed St. Augustine silage in the drylot at the present
time are about half through the 120-day feeding period and appear in better condi-
tion than similar lots fed last winter.
Assuming a need of 2 tons of silage per cow during the winter, about $300.00
should cover the cost of providing adequate silage for winter feeding 30 cows in a
20-acre pasture. During cold winters such as the one we are now experiencing this
means an increased carrying capacity of one-half to one brood cow or more per acre,
Ten dollars spent for silage for each cow may return considerably more than that in
the amount of beef which can be produced per acre under a commercial cow and calf
This same 'P300.00 spent for silage for wintering yearling steers may pro-
vide enough extra feed to carry as many as 60 head on a 20-acre pasture. With this
program calves can be purchased in the fall when the supply is greatest and the price
lowest, wintered on pasture and silage, and be ready to make good gains as soon as
the grass begins the spring flush of growth.
From the results of these preliminary studies on making and using grass
silage in this area, the system of making[ silage from permanent pasture grasses
during seasons of lush growth, and feeding it during seasons of short growth has
considerable promise. At the present time it appears that grass silage can be used
to best advantage as a supplemental or emergency source of feed for growing and breed-
ing animals and to supply roughage for a high concentrate steer fattening ration.