Basic Steps for
Seeding and Managing
Established from Seed
Leafy, Palatable, Perennial
High Cattle Gain
Excellent for Young Cattle
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Agricultural Experiment Station
Institute of Food and AgriculturalSciences
Suerte is a leafy, palatable, warm season,
perennial bunchgrass rapidly established from
seed. It is adapted to flatwoods soils that are sea-
sonally flooded and is not recommended for deep,
dry, sandy soils. Leaves are frost sensitive, but
plants have cold tolerance (170 F) and can be
grown from the Florida Panhandle to the Ever-
glades. Suerte can be an important part of a pas-
ture system for growing cattle. At the Range Cattle
REC, two-year average daily gain at 2.8 steers/A
over 168-day seasons was 1.2 Ib/head/day with
live weight gain at 580 Ib/A.
Prepare a good seedbed by plowing and
repeated disking in the dry spring. Soil pH should
be at least 5.5. Drill (5 Ib/A) or broadcast (8 Ib/A)
certified seed between June and mid-September
in central Florida or April to August in north Florida.
Pack the seedbed with a roller after seeding.
Fertilize with 50-30-40 Ib/A of N-P205-K20, re-
spectively, at or within 28-days of seeding. Apply
50-0-40 Ib/A of N-P205-K20, 6 to 8 weeks after
At establishment: Control broadleaf
weeds with 1 pint/A (0.5 Ib/A active ingredient [ai]/
A) of Banvel (dicamba). Apply Banvel before
weeds are 6" tall (about 28 days after seeding).
Do not use herbicides containing 2,4-D on Suerte
seedlings. Grasses and sedges a can be con-
trolled by mowing, preferably after dew is off the
grass in order to spread cuttings. Suerte seed-
lings will be easily injured or killed by equipment
tires, so minimize all traffic over the field in the
After establishment (second year): Banvel,
up to 3 quarts/A, is the preferred herbicide for
broadleaf weed control. Herbicides containing 2,4-
D will cause some leaf injury on Suerte in the early
spring. Brush and blackberry briars can be con-
trolled with Remedy (triclopyr) at 1 pint (0.5 ai Ib/
A), which may also cause some temporary leaf
burn. Smutgrass (Sporobolus spp.) can be con-
trolled with 1 quart maximum/A (0.5 Ib ai./A) of
Velpar (hexazinone) applied in July or August.
Management for grazing
Year of seeding: Suerte can be ready to
graze 75-days after seeding with good soil mois-
ture and fertility. Stock and graze pastures
rotationally with the equivalent of 1 to 2 yearlings/
A. Since Suerte produces little growth from No-
vember to March, keep cattle off pasture during
these months, even after Suerte is well estab-
Established pasture: Fertilize Suerte in
mid- to late March with 100-30-40 Ib/A of N-P205-
K20, respectively. Fertilize again in mid-June with
50-0-40 Ib/A, and in August with 50-0-0 Ib/A of N-
P205-K20,respectively. These recommenda-
tions are based on forage needs of cattle in pas-
tures stocked with two, 500 Ib yearlings/A or one
cow and calf/A from April to November.
When stocked as above, Suerte will pro-
duce little seed. Suerte can reseed itself, which
will improve the stand. To do this, remove cattle
from August through October every 2 to 3 years.
Graze or make hay in early November after the
seed has shattered. Burning in winter will en-
courage seedlings in the spring.
Suerte will yield about 4000 Ib/A of dry
matter when cut after 40 days regrowth between
June and September. During the cooler spring
and fall months, Suerte will yield about 2000 Ib/
A. Nutritive value will range from 7.5 to 10% crude
protein and 54 to 63% TDN. Mature Suerte cut
after seed-set in November yields about 4 tons/A
of hay with about 4% crude protein and 53% TDN.
When Suerte is cut for hay, do not scalp plants.
Cut to a 4-inch (or higher) stubble height, and do
not make hay in the year of seeding.
For more information about Suerte, see
IFAS Circular S 397, 'Suerte' atra paspalum: Its
Management and Utilization.
Seedsmen Marketing Certified
Hancock Farm & Seed. Dade City, FL.
Haile-Dean Seed Co. Winter Garden,FL.
Jack Melton Family, Inc. Dade City, FL.
C. M. Payne & Son. Sebring, FL.
Wise Seed Co. Frostproof, FL.
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Institute of Food and Agri-
cultural Sciences, University of Florida, Richard L. Jones, Dean for
Research, publishes this information to further programs and re-
lated activities, available to all persons regardless of race, color,
age, sex, handicap or national origin. For information about alter-
nate formats, contact the Educational Media and Services Unit,
University of Florida, PO Box 110810, Gainesville, FL 32611-0810.
This information was published April 1996 as BUL 896, Florida Ag-
ricultural Experiment Station.