Title: Feeding beef cattle in Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00025524/00001
 Material Information
Title: Feeding beef cattle in Florida
Alternate Title: Bulletin 26 ; Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Black, W. H.
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Division, University of Florida
Publication Date: February, 1920
Copyright Date: 1920
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00025524
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aab7668 - LTQF
amt6357 - LTUF
47285600 - OCLC
002570051 - AlephBibNum


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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
of Florida

February, 1920

P. H. ROLFS, Director

One of the most important problems in connection with the
beef cattle industry in Florida is the feeding of the various

-- .. .- -_ .- --.in.:

Fig. 1.-Representative types of Hereford, Shorthorn and Angus bulls, upon
which depends the real improvement of the beef cattle of Florida

classes of cattle in the herd. More attention will have to be
given to this in the future, because better cattle are being intro-
duced, which means better care and management must be given
*Working cooperatively with the Bureau of Animal Industry, U. S.
Department of Agriculture, in Beef Cattle Extension Work.

Bulletin 26

Florida Cooperative Extension

them. More intensified farming will be resorted to and
to be successful the cattle must be of good quality, the larger
percentage of feed must be grown on the farm, and the farmer
himself must have a fair knowledge of the feeding of different
classes of cattle.
The farmer hears and reads a great deal of protein, carbo-
hydrates and fat and balanced rations, but very few know how
to combine various feeds to get the proper proportion to make
a desirable ration. A knowledge of the uses and functions of
different foods to the animal body will be of much assistance in
determining the proper feed for different animals.
Feed, as every one knows, satisfies the cravings of a hungry
animal, but is of no use to the animal until it has become digested
in the different organs of the alimentary canal, absorbed by the
absorbent vessels in the stomach and intestines and distributed
by means of the blood thruout the entire body. The body
utilizes the feed in two ways; first, for constructive purposes,
such as renewing worn tissues and building new tissue or the
making of milk, and second, for heat and energy.


Feeding Stuff
Alfalfa (green)...............
Alfalfa hay-.........- ............
Beggarweed hay..................
Beggarweed (green) ......
Bermuda grass...................
Bermuda hay ....................
Corn (dent) ............... ....
Corn (flint) -......................
Corn and cob meal..........
Corn fodder .............. .......
Corn silage .................. ......
Corn stover..................
Cottonseed meal ...........
Cottonseed hulls..................
Cowpeas (grain) .............
Cowpea hay.................
Cowpeas (green) ........
Cowpeas and corn (green)
Cowpeas and sorghum
(green) .............. .....
Cowpeas and sorghum
silage ...----
Cowpea silage................
Crab grass................

Total Dry
Matter in
100 Lbs.







e Nutrients in 100 Lbs. Feed*
Carbo- | Nutritive
hydrates Fat Ratio
10.4 0.4 1:3.4
39.0 0.9 1:3.9
36.2 0.7 1:3.3
11.6 0.2 1:3.9
17.0 0.5 1:12.9
37.9 0.8 1:10.7
67.8 4.6 1:10.4
66.1 4.6 1:9.9
63.7 3.7 1:11.8
47.3 1.5 1:16.9
15.0 0.7 1:15.1
47.8 1.0 1:22.7
21.8 8.6 1:1.1
23.7 8.0 1:0.9
54.5 1.1 1:2.9
33.7 1.0 1:2.7
8.0 0.3 1:3.8
11.4 0.3 1:9.3

10.0 0.3 1:15.3

166 0.6 1:20
10.1 0.6 1:6.4
14.2 0.5 1:11.8

_ I

Feeding Beef Cattle in Florida

Feeding Stuff
Crab grass hay.........---
Japanese cane silage........
Japanese cane fodder........
Johnson grass......................
Johnson grass -hay ..........
Kafir fodder ....... ..............
Kudzu vine (green)........
Lespedeza (green).........
Lespedeza hay........ .........
Linseed m eal...................... '
Millet hay .........
Milo fodder (dry)...........
Milo fodder (green)............
Molasses (blackstrap) .....
Natal grass hay................
Natal and cowpea hay......
Oats (grain) .......................
Oats (hay).......... ..-......
Para grass .............
Para hay ......... ........------.
Peanut with hull ...........
Peanut meal with hull......
Peanut meal without hull
Peanut hay without nuts
Peanut hay with nuts........
Rape (green)...........
Rhodes grass hay-..........
Rye (grain).........................
Rye (green).............
Sorghum (green)................
Sorghum fodder............
Sorghum silage..................
Soudan hay...............
Soy bean (grain)..............
Soy bean meal.................
Soy bean hay .......-......
Soy bean (green)..............
Soy bean silage.-.........
Soy bean and corn silage..
Teosinte (green) ...........
Teosinte hay....... ...............
Velvet beans green... ......
Velvet beans and pod......
Velvet bean hay.......-.. ......
Vetch, hairy (green)........
Vetch, hairy, hay..........
W heat grain ........................
Wheat bran ....-.......
Wheat middlings ...............

Total Dry! Digestible Nutrients in 100 Lbs. Feed*
Matter in Carbo- Nutritive
100 Lbs. Proteint1 hydrates Fat Ratio
90.5 3.5 40.0 1.0 1:12
22.4 0.6 11.2 0.3 1:19.8
93.2 0.5 55.0 1.2 1:115
29.1 1.2 14.7 0.5 1:13.2
89.9 2.9 45.0 1.0 1:16.3
91.0 4.1 45.0 1.7 1:11.9
30.6 4.2 13.9 0.5 1:3.6
36.6 4.5 17.1 0.6 1:4.1
88.2 8.6 41.1 1.1 1:5.1
90.4 31.7 37.9 \ 2.8 1:4
86.5 5.1 40.5 0.8 1:8.3
88.9 1.9 36.3 2.8 1:22.4
22.7 0.8 12.7 0.3 1:16.8
74.2 1.0 58.2 ....... 1:58.2
90.2 3.7 37.9 0.8 1:10.7
90.2 8.4 35.8 0.9 1:4.5
90.8 9.7 52.1 3.8 1:6.3
88.0 4.5 38.1 1.7 1:9.3
27.2 0.8 14.0 0.3 1:18.4
90.2 2.3 38.7 0.4 1:17.2
93.5 18.4 15.3 32.6 1:4.8
93.5 28.4 27.0 5.0 1:1.48
89.3 47.6 23.7 8.0 1:0.9
78.5 6.6 37.0 3.0 1:6.6
92.2 9.6 39.6 8.3 1:6.1
16.7 2.6 10.0 0.3 1:4.1
89.0 6.1 42.5 2.3 1:13
90.6 9.9 68.4 1.2 1:7.2
21.3 2.1 12.2 0.5 1:6.3
87.3 7.5 66.2 2.6 1:9.6
90.3 2.8 44.8 2.0 1:17.6
22.8 0.6 11.6 0.5 1:21.2
90.0 2.7 45.4 0.7 1:17.4
90.1 30.7 22.8 14.4 1:1.8
88.2 38.1 33.9 5.0 1:2
91.4 11.7 39.2 1.2 1:3.6
23.6 3.2 10.2 0.5 1:3.5
27.1 2.6 11.0 0.7 1:4.8
24.7 1.6 13.8 0.8 1:9.8
21.3 1.0 11.9 0.3 1:12.6
89.4 5.6 40.2 0.9 1:7.5
88.3 18.1 50.8 5.3 1:3.5
87.7 14.9 51.7 3.8 1:4
92.8 12.0 40.3 1.4 1:3.6
18.1 3.5 8.1 0.4 1:2.6
87.7 15.7 37.1 1.9 1:2.6
89.8 9.2 67.5 1.5 1:7.7
89.9 12.5 41.6 3.0 1:3.9
89.3 15.7 52.8 4.3 1:4

*The above analyses were taken in a large part from Henry and
Morrison's "Feeds and Feeding."
tVery often with commercial feeds the percentage of ammonia is given
in place of protein. In this case the protein can be determined by multiply-
ing the ammonia by 5.15. A feed having 7 per cent ammonia would have
7 X 5.15 or 36.05 per cent protein.

Florida Cooperative Extension


It is important for the feeder to know that he must supply a
good amount of protein to his animals. The muscles, tendons,
ligaments, skin, hair and the digestive organs, in fact all cellular
tissues are made up largely of proteids. The importance then
of supplying the necessary amounts of protein for the develop-
ment of the above organs can not be over emphasized. The
younger the animals the more protein will be required, because
of the large amount needed for the development of muscle organs
and other tissue, as compared with older animals nearing


The function of carbohydrates is that of supplying heat and
energy to the animal. Every movement the animal makes, such
as walking, eating, digesting, breathing, etc., requires energy.
This energy comes from the oxidation of the carbohydrates.
The carbohydrates are also used in fat formation.

Fats are similar to carbohydrates in use to the body. They
are used as fuel for heat and energy and assist in fat forma-
tion. The amount of fat in the feed is much less than carbo-
hydrates, but the fuel value is much higher. Carbohydrates have
to undergo a change before they are of use as a fat former, where-
as fats taken in by the animal may be deposited without change.


A "ration" is the amount of feed given to an animal in 24
hours. A "standard ration" is understood to be for a 1,000-
pound animal, or for 1,000 pounds weight as in case of sheep
and hogs. A "balanced ration" is a ration that will give the
best results in work, meat or milk production, for a specific
animal under conditions then prevailing. It will vary accord-
ing to age, species and condition of the animal. A balanced
ration is not necessarily the most economical.
By "nutritive ratio" is meant the ratio of the protein to the
combined carbohydrates and fats present in a given ration. It

Feeding Beef Cattle in Florida

has been determined that one pound of fat is equal in heat pro-
duction to 2.25 pounds of carbohydrates. The fat is brought
to a carbohydrate basis by multiplying by 2.25. It is then added
to the carbohydrates and the ratio of the protein to the total


As rations should vary according to age of animal, the species
and condition of animal and upon the production sought after,
it is necessary to have some idea of what is approximately the
correct number of pounds to feed daily. It has been determined
by experiments that the 1,000-pound beef animal requires from
15 to 30 pounds of dry matter, from 2 to 312 pounds of protein,
from 1212 to 15 pounds carbohydrates and from a half to 11
pounds of fat daily, depending upon the object of the feeding.
Generally speaking, the younger the animal the more protein is
needed in proportion to the carbohydrates and fat. In other
words the younger the animal the narrower the ration should be.


Just how can the farmer figure out a ration that will be
approximately correct? He can do this only by knowing the
percentage of the digestible nutrients in his feeds. Table 1
gives the total amount of dry matter and digestible nutrients in
100 pounds of various feeds used in beef cattle feeding in
Florida. A daily ration that gave very good results in Florida
for 84 days of feeding during the winter of 1918 and 1919 was
as follows:
Thirty-five pounds of corn silage, 5.6 pounds of Natal and
cowpea hay (mixed half and half), and 2.4 pounds of cottonseed
meal. These steers averaged about 600 pounds at the beginning
of the feeding period, when photograph shown in Fig. 2 was
made. In determining the total dry matter and digestible
nutrients in this ration reference must be made to Table 1.
Table 2 shows pounds of dry matter and nutrients in 100
pounds of feed as taken from Table 1.

Florida Cooperative Extension


Digestible Nutrients
S Dry Carbo-
Feed Matter Protein hydrates Fat
Corn silage ................... 26.3 1.1 15.0 0.7
Natal and cowpea hay.... 90.2 8.4 35.8 0.9
Cottonseed meal ............ 92.5 37.0 21.8 8.6

To get the pounds of dry matter and digestible nutrients in
the ration given above: By looking at Table 1 it is seen that
there are 26.3 pounds of dry matter in 100 pounds of corn silage.
Then there will be 9.2 pounds of dry matter in 35 pounds of corn
silage. (26.3 X 35 100 = 9.2). Likewise there are 37 pounds
of digestible protein in 100 pounds of cottonseed meal. Then in
2.4 pounds of cottonseed meal there will be .88 pounds of protein.
(37 X 2.4 -- 100 =.88 pounds.)


Total Lbs. I Digestible Nutrients, Pounds
Dry Carbo-
Matter Protein hydrates Fat
Corn silage 35................ 9.20 .385 5.25 .245
Hay 5.6 .......................... 5.05 .470 2.00 .050
C. S. meal 2.4........... 2.22 .888 .52 .206
Total ...................... 16.47 1.743 7.77 .501

To find the nutritive ratio, as previously stated, multiply the
total fat by 2.25, then add to combined carbohydrates and divide
by the total protein.
By referring to the totals in Table 3 the total fat sums up
to .50 pound. Multiply this by 2.25 and add to the total
carbohydrates (7.77 pounds), which gives 8.89 pounds of com-
bined carbohydrates. Divide this by the total amount of protein
(1.74 pounds) and we get the ratio of one pound of protein to
5 pounds of combined carbohydrates and fat, or the "nutritive
ratio" of 1.5.


Many feeding standards have been devised, but in a definite
way, no standard will apply to all animals. Practically all

Feeding Beef Cattle in Florida

standards have been based on 1,000-pound weight. This means
that the 1,000-pound animal should consume twice as much
feed as the 500-pound animal. The necessary amounts of
nutrients can not be fixed for each class, as there is a big
variation in digestibility of nutrients, depending upon their
source. The individuality of the animal often makes it necessary
to modify the ration. Young growing animals require a frequent
change of rations. It is best not to follow any fixed standard in

Make the ration as nearly balanced as possible, being practical
and consistent as to price of feeds.
Even tho a ration of 1:6 might be termed a balanced ration
for a 1,000-pound steer, the feeds on hand might make the
proposition more business-like and practical to feed a ration of
1:8. The ration making the greatest gain does not always net
the greatest profit; it might be scientifically or theoretically
right but practically wrong. The feeding business is in reality
a commercial proposition, the feed is the raw material and the
animal is the finished product. The price of feeds therefore is
a very important factor.

The ration must be composed of feeds that are relished by the
animal. If an animal does not like its feed it will not eat enough
for maintenance and good gains in addition. A ration composed
of good corn silage, cottonseed meal, a little black strap molasses
to sweeten up the feeds and bright baggarweed hay would be
far more palatable than a ration of over-ripe corn stover, cotton-
seed hulls and velvet bean meal. Variety of feeds usually adds
to palatability.

Young growing animals require more highly concentrated
rations than do matured animals. The young animals should
be supplied with feeds rich in protein, such as milk, cottonseed
meal, peanut meal, velvet beans, soy beans or wheat bran and
leguminous hays, such as cowpea, peanut or beggarweed.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Matured animals will thrive and fatten well on rations which
are largely carbohydrates, such as corn and corn silage, or chops
and grass hay.
The eye of the feeder and the merits of the animal should play
a very important part in the selection of feeds and the com-
pounding of rations.

Economy must never be overlooked in making up rations.
Home grown feeds are usually the more economical. Leguminous
hays should be grown and utilized on the farm. Conditions
might warrant the selling of corn and buying cottonseed meal
or peanut meal. Velvet beans should be grown at home by all
means. If enough corn or sorghum can be grown to furnish
sufficient silage for the bulk of feed, and velvet beans and
leguminous hays grown to furnish the protein, as a supplement,
the buying of high priced concentrated and commercial feeds
can be overlooked.

Expensive machinery for grinding feed for cattle for beef
is not good economy. It has been proved quite conclusively that
grinding feed for fattening cattle is not profitable. With aged
breeding animals and the dairy cow the grinding of real hard
grain is sometimes advisable.
Experiments of the last ten years have shown that it does not
pay to grind velvet beans for fattening steers, as whole beans
have made greater gains and also more economical gains. The
soaking of beans for cattle has proved profitable but with any
other feed the profitableness from such a practice is questionable.
Shredding or cutting up coarse fodders such as corn, sorghum,
Japanese cane, Napier or Merker grass is good practice when
these crops are not put into a silo.

This phase of the beef cattle industry has been but little
practiced in Florida for the following reasons: Sufficient feeds
for dry lot feeding have not been produced; the cattle man has

Feeding Beef Cattle in Florida

made a nice profit by utilizing the free range and marketing his
surplus off of grass; the cattle have not possessed the quality
and conformation to warrant dry lot feeding and the cattle man
has not felt justified in undertaking the finishing of steers in
the dry lot, on high priced feeds.
The cattle industry is now changing in many respects. Better
cattle are taking the place of the scrubs, more feed is being pro-
duced, the large ranges are rapidly disappearing and more inten-
sive farming methods are inevitable. With these conditions
progressing as they are the practice of marketing crops in the
form of beef is certain to become popular a few years hence.

Fig. 2.-Common Florida steers that made a daily gain of 2.16 pounds for
a period of 84 days, under dry lot feeding


This will depend upon the economy of gain, the rate of gain
and upon the buying and selling price.
The rate and economy of gain will depend upon the age of the
animal. The younger the animal the greater and cheaper the
gains. The younger animal makes better use of his feed. Records
kept on rate of gains from birth, bear out the fact that younger
animals make cheaper and more rapid gains.
The mature steer tho, will make a more rapid gain in the feed
lot for a short feeding period.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Economy and rate of gain depend a great deal on the in-
dividuality of the animal. The animal must be capable of eating
large quantities of feed and at the same time make use of that
feed in the way of laying on flesh in the valuable parts. He must
show signs of early maturity and have good constitution and


Table 4 shows rations that should produce good results in feed-
ing for market.
Silage should be used in rations wherever possible, especially
with cattle two years of age or over. Older cattle will utilize
coarser and rougher, and necessarily cheaper feeds.


ILengthof Digestible nutrients
feeding Average Total in ration (pounds)
Weight and class period Idaily ration dry | INutri-
of cattle (days) per period matter Carbo- tive
I in pounds pounds Protein hydrates Fat ratio
Silage, 40;
(1) 900-1,150 lbs. whole velvet
Fattening steers. 90 beans, 10;
crab grass
hay, 5 ............ 23.82 2.1 13.17 .71 1:7
Silage, 35;
(2) 700-1,000 lbs. whole velvet
Fattening steers.. 120 beans, 8;
crab grass
hay, 3 ......... 19.00 1.68 10.58 .58 1:7
Ear corn, 10;
(3) 600-900 Ibs. velvet beans,
Fattening steers.. 150 6; cowpea
____l___ ay, 4 ............ 17.82 2.03 10.80 .65 1:6
Ear corn, 12;
(4) 600-1,000 Ibs. C. S. meal, 3;
Baby beeves -...-... 180 cowpeahay,5;
]_ molasses, 2..1 19.50 2.5 11.00 .75 1:5

Younger cattle require rations of a narrower ratio, hence more
concentrated food will have to be supplied in proportion to their
weight. The amount of velvet beans in a ration could be sub-
stituted by one-half that amount of cottonseed meal, and vice-
versa. That is, 10 pounds of velvet beans in pods could be sub-
stituted for 5 pounds of cottonseed meal, and 3 pounds of cotton-
seed meal could be replaced by 6 pounds of velvet beans.

Feeding Beef Cattle in Florida

Peanut meal of good quality is nearly equal to cottonseed meal,
pound for pound. The choice between peanut meal, cottonseed
meal and velvet beans should be determined largely by price and
The weights of cattle given in Table 4 are for initial and final
weights. For instance in ration No. 1 the cattle are considered
to weigh 900 pounds at the beginning and 1,150 pounds at the end
of the 90 days feeding period. The length of feeding period
should vary with the age and condition of the animal.
Mature feeders should be fed three to four months; two-year-
olds, five to seven months; yearlings, eight to ten months, and
calves ten to twelve months.

The daily ration given in Table 3 does not mean that the cattle
were fed the amount stated, every day alike, but means the
average for the feeding period. One pound of meal was fed per
day for the first week and gradually increased until 3 pounds
were reached, the average being 2.4 pounds for the entire period
of 84 days.

The steers shown in Fig. 2 were fed for 84 days as follows:
Pounds Corn Pounds Cotton-
Silage Pounds Hay seed Meal
First 28 days............. 30 5.8 1.2
Second 28 days.............. ..... 38 6.7 3.0
Last 28 days..................... 38 4 5 3.0
Average daily ration... 35 5 6 2.4
Getting steers on full feed requires careful observation on the
part of the cattle feeder. The rate by which the feed should be
increased is dependent upon the age of cattle, the length of the
feeding period and upon the composition of the feeds used.
Keep the cattle a little hungry so that they will be looking for
their feed at feeding time. Feed should not be found in the
troughs two hours after feeding. When an oversupply of feed
is left before the cattle, they become tired of it and less feed
will be eaten than where the cattle clean up their ration quickly
and still remain a trifle hungry.
Increasing the concentrates deserves more attention than the
bulk of the ration. Too much hay, or any roughage will not hurt
an animal. On the other hand, an overfeeding of some nitro-
genous concentrate such as cottonseed meal will sometimes

Florida Cooperative Extension

Fig. 3.-Three best fat Angus steers, including grand champion Florida
fat steer (shown at right) at the 1919 Florida State Fair
cause such a severe case of scours that the animal will never
again get back in good feeding condition.
The more mature the animal, the quicker it can be put on full
feed. The amount of time to be taken in getting steers up to
full eating capacity should be determined largely by the length of
time they are to be fed.
Mature steers, three years or over, if going to be fed for 90 to
120 days, should be on full feed in 30 days from the beginning.
With younger stuff such as yearlings, 45 days should be taken.
Table 5 shows the ration and just how the feeds were increased
during the last 84 days of the feeding of the fat Aberdeen-Angus
yearlings that won grand championship in carload fat cattle,
grand championship first three steers, and grand champion
Florida fat steer, at the 1919 Florida State Fair. These yearl-
ings are shown in Figs. 3 and 4.
Pounds of feed daily per animal
i First Month J Second Month Third Month

Ear corn with
husks, ground 6 8 9 10 10 11 12 12 10 10 10 10
meal ......... 1 112 2 2%/ 2Y 3 3 4 4
Cowpea hay ...... 3 3 3% 4 4 41/2 5 5 5 4 3 3
molasses ........ 2 % 1 1 1 1 1% 2 2 2 3 3
Oats .... ......... ......... .... . ------ .. ----. 3 4 5 5
Water and salt before cattle at all times.

Feeding Beef Cattle in Florida


Just what are "baby beeves"? Baby beeves are young cattle
of good quality that have been crowded or well fed from birth
until marketed, which is usually when they are from 12 to 20
months of age. To be baby beeves they must have the quality,
breeding and condition that will make them grade as prime.
They might weigh from 600 to 1,200 pounds and still be baby
This quality of beef can not be made on the range. As calves
they should have plenty of milk, and before weaning should be
eating a grain ration such as corn and peanut meal and some
legume hay. Starting on grain before weaning is quite essential,
in order to prevent any shrinkage or loss of milk fat during the
To produce calves that will make this class of beef requires
good pure bred bulls of the beef breeds and pure bred or grade
cows. As they must grade as prime on the market when finished,
it would be impossible to produce calves of such conformation,
quality and condition, that would come up to this standard, with-
out having behind them good blood of the beef breeds in both

Fig. 4.-Angus yearling steers that won highest honors at the 1919 Florida
State Fair and Exposition. This photograph was made at the beginning
of the feeding period.

Florida Cooperative Extension

While the yearlings shown in Fig. 4 would not class as baby beef
on the Chicago market, they approach very closely what is
desired in the baby beef animal.
Florida is not yet ready for baby beef production. The feeder
lacks experience, and desirable cattle are not yet in sufficient
numbers to warrant this class of feeding to any extent.

In all feeding the object sought is to produce the greatest
results with the least cost. The use of cheap raw materials is
the key to successful feeding.
For summer there is nothing that will take the place of good
pasture. If this can be supplied by Carpet, Bermuda or Para
grass the summer feeding is solved. The making of a good
pasture of one of these grasses is not an impossibility for any
section of Florida. If wire grasses are depended upon for
pasture, additional roughage, such as silage, hay or stover or
soiling crops such as cane, sorghum, Napier or Merker grasses
should be supplied. Wire grass is good for only a short period
in the spring, and additional feed is absolutely necessary for a
breeding herd after the wire grass becomes dry and woody.
There are certain places in the state where Broom sedge and
Maiden cane furnish sufficient pasture for the greater part of
the year.
By all means have a good pasture, even if it does take money
and labor to get it. Once a good permanent pasture is establish-
ed it will be good for years, and at the same time furnish the
most economical feed that can be produced. Good pasture fur-
nishes a ration which is nearly balanced for breeding cattle.

Plenty of good pasture should make up the bulk of roughage
during the summer. If best results are expected, bulls should
receive some feed in addition to the pasture, no matter how
good it may be. This is of course an impossibility on the large
ranges during the summer months. But where conditions do
make it possible, bulls should receive during the breeding season
a grain ration and some legume hay such as peanut, cowpea or
beggarweed. The grain ration should be fairly high in protein
and ash.

Feeding Beef Cattle in Florida

The following grain mixtures should give good results:
(1) Corn, bran and oats, equal parts by measure.
(2) Corn, 3 parts; oats, 2 parts; peanut meal, 1 part.
(3) Corn, 3 parts; oats, 2 parts; velvet beans, 2 parts.
(4) Corn, 3 parts; oats, 2 parts; cottonseed meal, 1 part.

Hay should be limited in amount. One to one and a quarter
pounds for each 100 pounds live weight is a liberal allowance.
(A 1,000-pound bull then should have 10 to 1212 pounds daily.)
From 1 to 11/2 pounds of the above grain mixtures should be a
reasonable amount. Some of the best breeders allow all the
grain mixture the bull will clean up in three feeds per day.
When the breeding season is over in the summer a third to a
half of the grain ration is sufficient. Easy keeping bulls while
not in service will do well on good pasture alone. During winter
use some grain ration, but increase the legume hay.


It should be borne in mind that pregnant cows require food
for the production of the foetus, in addition to food for their
maintenance and for extra energy involved in carrying and
developing the foetus.
Good pasture will usually be sufficient for summer, but in the
fall and winter grain and roughage should be supplied.
Corn or sorghum silage is a very good roughage for breeding
cattle. Well cured fodders are very good but not so valuable
as the legume hays. Twenty-five to thirty pounds of good silage
and one pound of cottonseed or peanut meal, or two pounds of
velvet beans and five pounds of cowpea hay should be a good
daily winter ration for a 1,000-pound cow.
Corn, bran and oats, equal parts by measure, make a very
good grain mixture for any breeding animal. Usually five or
six pounds of a grain mixture per 1,000 pounds weight is
Heifers should receive a more liberal ration of both grain and
roughage. Their ration should be narrower than that of the
mature cow, because they are growing, which necessitates more
protein for flesh building.

Florida Cooperative Extension


Young stock to be developed as breeders should be crowded
by liberal feeding from birth, so that such qualities as early
maturing, thick fleshing and feeding can be brought out at an
early age and the inferior animals discarded as a market class.
As superior breeding animals bring very high prices, it is
advisable and profitable to give them more expensive feed and
For the first two weeks, unless weather conditions are very
favorable, calves should not run out with their mother, but
should be allowed to nurse three or four times a day. After
two or three weeks, allow the calf to go out in a small pasture
with the cows. Do not start the calf to eating grains until four
weeks old. Ground corn, oats and bran, equal parts by weight,
make an ideal feed for young calves. Some of this feed should
be placed in a feed box in a lot where calves can get access, but
where the cows cannot go. The young calves will soon begin to
eat of this, and more quickly if some older calves already
accustomed to eating grain are put with them. Calves should
be allowed all of the mixture that they will clean up three
times a day.
The calves may be allowed to run with the mother at all times
or kept in a separate pasture and allowed to nurse night and
morning. If the latter method is followed more attention will
be given the herd and the calves will be more likely to get their
grain mixture. A little legume hay should be accessible to the
young stuff at all times.


Bull calves should be separated from the heifers when four
or five months of age, and given a separate pasture and allowed
to nurse night and morning. They should be allowed all the
grain mixture (corn, bran and oats) they will eat twice a day,
and all the cowpea, beggarweed or peanut hay they will eat in
addition to this pasture. Young bulls should be taught to steal
milk from cows not their mothers, as it is necessary to dry up
the mothers when they have nursed six to eight months. The

Feeding Beef Cattle in Florida

young bulls should then be placed on nurse cows, and if taught
before this to steal milk, there will be no difficulty when taken
from their mothers. Young bulls should nurse cows until they
are 12 to 14 months old, and if to be fitted for show purposes,
should be allowed milk until 18 to 20 months old. There is no
feed that will make as rapid and satisfactory gains as whole milk.
The grain ration, up to 10 months, should be of the same
mixture as previously mentioned. It is not necessary to grind
the feed after they begin to eat it well. Allow them all the
legume hay they will eat.


Heifer calves may be allowed to run with their dams until
weaned, which should be when they are seven to eight months
old. They should receive a light grain ration of the same
mixture as that used by the young bulls, but should not be
crowded as rapidly as bulls. If pushed too rapidly there is
danger of impairing their breeding value. From the time heifers
begin eating grain and until they are weaned, a half pound of
grain for 100 pounds weight is sufficient. After weaning and
during the fall the same rate of feeding is sufficient if they are
on good pasture. It might be necessary to increase the grain
ration to three-fourths of a pound per 100 pounds weight as
winter comes on.
The grain ration and good roughage will bring the heifers out
nice in the spring. Silage is valuable as roughage for this class
of stock during the winter. In the spring reduce roughage and
grain ration as pasture comes in, but continue feeding, a fourth
pound of grain ration for 100 pounds weight during summer and
fall. Handle thru the second winter as before.


While the young animals in the market herd are not so valuable
as those of pure bred herds, their handling is a more important
problem in Florida today. At least 90 per cent or practically
all the herds of cattle in this state at this time, are kept to fur-
nish beef for the market and not as breeding stock.
In the grade or market herd, the males are castrated and sold

Florida Cooperative Extension

as steers, the inferior heifers are fattened and sold on the
market and the choicest retained for breeding purposes.
In beef herds cows should be bred so as to drop calves in early
spring. By the time pastures are good the calves will be old
enough to eat grass.
The calves should be weaned when from six to eight months
old. A little grain and legume hay, in addition to good pasture,
will make better calves, but under the present conditions with a
great scarcity of grain, it would seem more advisable to keep
the grain and hay until winter. Winter is the trying time on
cattle in Florida, and young stock should not be stunted by
starvation, but should receive enough feed to keep in a good
growing condition.
The silo furnishes the cheapest and most practical way to
winter cattle. If silage is available, 10 to 15 pounds, with
1 pound of cottonseed meal or 2 pounds of whole beans and 21/2
to 3 pounds of legume hay, would be a good winter ration for
young calves 10 months old.
During the second winter when the young stock are around 20
months of age, 20 to 30 pounds of silage, 1 pound of cottonseed
meal or 2 pounds of beans and 5 pounds of good hay will bring
them thru the winter in good shape.
Where feed is cheap and pastures good and plentiful, the steers
or other surplus should be kept until two or three years of age.
Where lands and feeds are high in price the quicker the cattle
are gotten in marketable condition the more profitable will be
the industry.
The cattle may be marketed off of grass in the fall or finished
on higher priced feeds during the winter.
With average steers in Florida more profit will result in
marketing off of grass. Steers of good quality and breeding
should pay for their feed in the dry lot, providing the bulk of
feed is raised at home.
If silage and velvet beans can be raised on the farm, there
should be no hesitancy in finishing good quality steers in the
dry lot.
Any of the rations given in Table 4 should give good results
in winter feeding.

Feeding Beef Cattle in Florida 19

Steers may be finished economically on grass by supplement-
ing the pasture with some concentrate in a cake form. Cotton-
seed cake fed on the grass is being used very extensively in many
sections of the United States with very good results and should
be a good practice in Florida.
Finishing steers by pasturing corn and bean fields is more or
less of an experiment. It is a well known fact that cattle will
often eat more than is good for them, and for this reason it is
very questionable whether the self-feeder and the hogging down
system of feeding will ever be as popular with cattle as it is
with hogs.

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