Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Part I. Comparison of freshly cut...
 Part II. Factors influencing cattle...

Group Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Title: Cattle feeding in southern Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026810/00001
 Material Information
Title: Cattle feeding in southern Florida
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 23 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Kidder, Ralph W
Kirk, W. Gordon ( William Gordon ), 1898-1979
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1941
Copyright Date: 1941
Subject: Cattle -- Feeding and feeds -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: R.W. Kidder and W.G. Kirk.
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026810
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: ltuf - AEN5220
oclc - 18219718
alephbibnum - 000924593

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
        Page 5
    Part I. Comparison of freshly cut sugarcane and sugarcane silage, with and without molasses, and dallis grass pasture for fattening steers
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Part II. Factors influencing cattle feeding in southern Florida
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
Full Text

Bulletin 360 July, 1941


Fig. 1.-Grade Hereford steers fattening on Everglades pasture.

Single copies free to Florida residents upon request to

John J. Tigert, M. A., LL. D., President H. P. Adair, Chairman, Jacksonville
of the University3 W. M. Palmer. Ocala
Wilmon Newell, D.Sc., Director3 R. H. Gore, Fort Lauderdale
Harold Mowry, M. S. A., Asst. Dir., N. B. Jordan, Quincy
Research T. T. Scott, Live Oak
W. M. Fifield, M. S., Asst. to Director J. T. Diamond, Secretary, Tallahassee
J. Francis Cooper, M. S. A., Editor3
Jefferson Thomas, Assistant Editor3 BRANCH STATIONS
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Assistant Editor3 NORTH FLORIDA STATION, QUINCY
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian J. D. Warner, M.S. Agron. in Charge
Ruby Newhall, Administrative Manager3 R. R. Kinkaid, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
K. H. Graham, Business Managers Elliott Whitehurst, B.S.A., Assistant An.
Rachel McQuarrie, Accountant3 Husbandman
MAIN STATION, GAINESVILLE Jesse Reeves, Asst. Agron., Tobacco
W. E. Stokes, M.S., Agronomist' A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Horticulturist in Chg.
W. A. Leukel, Ph.D., Agronomist3 John H. Jeffries, Asst. in Cit. Breeding
Fred H. Hull, Ph.D., Agronomist Chas. K. Clark, Ph.D., Chemist
G. E. Ritchey, M.S., Associate3 V. C. Jamison, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
W. A. Carver, Ph. D., Associate B. R. Fudge, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
John P. Camp, M.S., Assistant W. L. Thompson, B.S., Associate Ento.
Roy E. Blaser, M.S., Associate F. F. Cowart, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
Fred A. Clark, B.S.A., Assistant W. W. Lawless, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist
ANIMAL INDUSTRY R. K. Voorhees, M.S., Asst. Plant Path.
A. L. Shealy, D.V.M., An. Industrialist' s EVERGLADES STA., BELLE GLADE
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Dairy Husbandman3 J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Biochemist in Chg.
E. L. Fouts, Ph.D., Dairy Technologist3 J. W. Wilson, Sc.D., Entomologist
T. R. Freeman, Ph.D., Associate in Dairy F. D. Stevens, B.S., Sugarcane Agron.
Manufactures Thomas Bregger, Ph.D., Sugarcane
W. M. Neal, Ph.D., Asso. in An. Nutrition Physiologist
D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Veterinarian G. R. Townsend, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
M. W. Emmel, D.V.M., Veterinarian3 R. W. Kidder, M.S., Asst. An. Husb.
L. E. Swanson, D.V.M., Parasitologist W. T. Forsee, Ph.D., Asso. Chemist
N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husb.3 B. S. Clayton, B.S.C.E., Drainage En-
D. J. Smith, B.S.A., Asst An. Husb." gineer2
P. T. Dix Arnold, M.S.A., Asst. Dairy F. S. Andrews, Ph.D., Asso. Truck Hort.
L. L. Rusoff, Ph.D., Asst. in An. Nutr.3 Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Associate Plant
L. E. Mull, M.S., Asst. in Dairy Tech. Pathologist in Charge
ECONOMICS, AGRICULTURE S. J. Lynch., B.S.A., Asst. Horticulturist
C. V. Noble, Ph.D., Agr. Economist' a E. M. Andersen, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
Zach Savage, M.S.A., Associate W. CENTRAL FLA. STA.,
A. H. Spurlock, M.S.A., Associate BROOKSVILLE
Max E. Brunk, M.S., Assistant
Max E. Br OMS, A MW. F. Ward, MS., Asst. An. Husband-
ECONOMICS, HOME man in Charge3
Ouida D. Abbott, Ph.D., Home Econ. m RANGE CATTLE STA., WAUCHULA
Ruth Overstreet, R.N., Assistant W. G. Kirk., Ph.D., Animal Husbandman
R. B. French, Ph.D., Asso. Chemist in Charge
J. R. Watson, A.M., Entomologist' FIELD STATIONS
A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Associate Leesburg
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistant M. N. Walker, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist' K.W. Loucks, M.S., Assistant Plant
A. L. Stahl, Ph.D., Associate Pathologist
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Truck Hort.3 Plant City
R. J. Wilmot, M.S.A., Asst. Hort. A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
R. D. Dickey, M.S.A., Asst. Horticulturist Hastings
J. Carlton Cain, B.S.A., Asst. Hort. A. H. Edding, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
Victor F. Nettles, M.S.A., Asst. Hort. E. N. McCubbin, Ph.D., Asso. Truck
Lee B. Nash, Ph.D., Assistant Horticulturist
F. S. Lagasse, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist2 Monticello
H. M. Sell, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturists A. M. Phillips, B.S., Asst. Entomologist2
W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist' 3 Jos. R. Beckenbach, Ph.D., Truck Horti-
George F. Weber, Ph.D., Plant Path. 3 cultust in Charge
L. 0. Gratz, Ph.D.,Plant Pathologist David G. Kelbert, Asst. Plant Pathologist
Erdman West, M.S., Mycologist Sanford
Lillian E. Arnold, M.S., Asst. Botanist R. W. Ruprecht, Ph.D., Chemist in
Charge, Celery Investigations
SOILS W. B. Shippy, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
R. V. Allison, Ph.D., Chemist Lakeland
Gaylord M. Volk, M.S., Chemist E. S. Ellison, Meteorologists
F. B. Smith, Ph.D., Microbiologists
C. E. Bell, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Chemist
J. Russell Henderson, M.S.A., Associates 'Head of Department
L. H. Rogers, M.S., Asso. Biochemist 21n cooperation with U. S.
Richard A. Carrigan, B.S., Asst. Chemist 'Cooperative, other divisions, U. of F.


Introduction __.__........... __-_...------- 5
Part I. Comparison of Freshly Cut Sugarcane and Sugarcane
Silage, With and Without Molasses, and Dallis Grass Pasture
for Fattening Steers-___---___-__... .--------.- 6
Method of Procedure______________ 6
Feeds _------_ _______---_______-----...- 6
Rations _.-_____._-__________.--.._.--......-. 7
Animals -_______....................- ---.- 7
Method of Feeding___-_____ .---------__--..---. 7
Minerals --____________.-..-------------.-- 7
Slaughter Data -._--.--.....-._--__ -_____-_-.-.. 7
Results of Experiments___ -______------ 8
First Trial_ ._._.. -.-__.___ 8
Second Trial_____ _____ 9
Third Trial ._______ ....___12
Three-Year Summary__ _____.__ 12
Minerals Consumed ________________.__.____.....- 12

Part II. Factors Influencing Cattle Feeding in Southern Florida. 13
Steer Fattening Rations -___-____ _--------------------- 14
Forage and Grain Crops Available.._ ...---___-__.___ ---- 15
Sugarcane 15
Concentrates ____ 16
Selecting Feeder Steers 16
Conformation __ _--................_ __ -16
Breeding 17
Quality and Thriftiness____________ 17
Age 17
Temperament _____.___...___ 17
Heads ___-_------....---........-....... 17
Uniformity _____.----------------------....- 18
Starting the Cattle on Feed _________.. 18
Method of Feeding___- ___ ----- 19
Equipment Necessary____ 19
Length of Feeding Period ___--_ -- 19
Feed Requirements __-_l_-----___-- 20
Estimating the Cost of Gains .._....... ._ 20
Gains --___- .-_______- _.----..---- 20
Feeder's Margin _----- _____--.................... 21
Grade of Slaughter Cattle -..___. ............--------- 21
Summary _____-_ 22


The beef cattle industry in Florida is in the midst of a
period of rapid improvement. Eradication of the cattle fever
tick and solving of some nutritional problems affecting Florida
cattle have made practical a greater use of improved beef sires.
Florida supplies a relatively small part of the local demand
for the higher grades of beef and large proportion of the lower
grades. The grade offspring from purebred sires have an inher-
ited ability to produce good beef if given an opportunity through
proper management to develop the finish and quality desired
by the consumer.
On the peat and muck soils of the Florida Everglades pas-
ture grasses, sugarcane and other forage crops produce excellent
yields of high quality roughage. A preliminary study of the
possibilities of fattening steers on these forages was conducted
at the Everglades Experiment Station during the winter of
1935-36. Results of this trial with 15 steers on three rations in-
dicated that cattle might be fattened successfully when these
forages were properly supplemented with grain or other con-
centrate feeds. Three years of experimental feeding, during
which 138 steers have been fattened and marketed, have sub-
stantiated the findings of this preliminary trial. A summary of
the results of these experiments is given in Part I of this bulle-

6 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

PART I.-Comparison of Freshly Cut Sugar-
cane and Sugarcane Silage, With and With-
out Molasses, and Dallis Grass Pasture for
Fattening Steers
While studying the possibilities of steer feeding at the
Everglades Experiment 'Station it was considered important to
determine the relative feeding value of several rations. Sugar-
cane was selected as the principal roughage because it is a very
palatable feed, yields 50 tons per acre frequently, and can be
used as a soiling crop or for silage. The cane harvesting sea-
son in the Everglades, November to March, coincides with that
part of the year when most Florida pasture grasses grow most
slowly, and when cattle can be kept on the mucklands most
This experiment, conducted for three consecutive years,
was started in November, 1936, and concluded in March, 1939.
At the beginning of each trial the steers were divided as un-
iformly as possible into lots of 10, according to weight, feeder
grade and breeding. Individual weights of steers were taken on
three successive days at the beginning and end, and at 28-day
intervals throughout the experiment. For a preliminary period
of 10 to 14 days preceding each trial the steers were fed their
respective experimental rations. Following this preliminary
period each feeding trial was conducted for 120 days. At the
conclusion of each trial the steers were graded as slaughter ani-
mals and marketed and slaughter data were obtained which in-
cluded carcass grades and dressing percentages. The steers
were fed under shelter. Each of the groups in the dry lot had
an area of approximately 900 square feet, one-third of which
was under roof.
Feeds.-The sugarcane used in these feeding trials was
grown at the Everglades Experiment Station, and included both
seedlings and selected varieties. The whole stalk was fed, in-
cluding mill cane, tops and leaves. The silage used in each
trial was ensiled the preceding season between January and
April. The sugarcane fed in the fresh state was harvested at
not longer than 3-day intervals. Immediately before feeding, it
was put through an ensilage cutter set for one-third inch

Cattle Feeding In Southern Florida 7

The permanent pasture which provided roughage for one
lot of steers consisted mainly of Dallis grass but included some
sedge, St. Lucie and Para grasses.
The ground snapped corn was grown in Alachua County,
Florida. It was ground in a hammer mill equipped with a one-
half inch screen.
The cane molasses (blackstrap) was obtained through the
courtesy of the United States Sugar Corporation, Clewiston,
Florida. It was used to replace one-half of the ground snapped
corn in the rations of two lots of steers. The molasses was fed
undiluted, being poured over and mixed with the roughage and
Cottonseed meal, 41 percent protein, was fed each year.
Rations.-Rations used were as follows: Lot I, freshly cut
sugarcane, cottonseed meal and ground snapped corn; Lot II,
sugarcane silage, cottonseed meal and ground snapped corn;
Lot III, sugarcane silage, cottonseed meal and equal parts mo-
lasses and ground snapped corn; Lot IV, freshly cut sugarcane,
cottonseed meal and equal parts molasses and ground snapped
corn; Lot V, Dallis grass pasture, cottonseed meal and ground
snapped corn.
Animals.-The steers used in these experiments were grade
Devons from the Everglades Experiment Station herd, grade
Red Polled from the West Central Florida Experiment Station,
and grade Herefords, Brahmans and Shorthorns from Alachua,
Clay, and Osceola counties. Most of them were yearlings,
though some were two-year-olds when the feeding trials be-
Method of Feeding.-Steers in dry lot were fed at 7:30 A.
M. and 3:30 P. M. each day. During 1937-38 the steers on pas-
ture were fed concentrates twice daily, but in 1938-39 they re-
ceived them only in the morning.
Minerals.-Three-compartment mineral boxes were provid-
ed for each lot of steers, giving them access to steamed bone
meal, "salt sick" mineral and common salt at all times. The bone
meal was "animal feeding" grade. The "salt sick" mineral was
composed of 100 pounds common fine salt, 25 pounds red oxide
of iron and one pound of copper sulfate.
Slaughter Data.-At the close of each feeding trial the steers
were marketed. Carcasses were weighed before and after

8 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

chilling and graded according to standard grades established by
the United States Department of Agriculture.
Variations in roughage consumption and rates of gain be-
tween the various lots were not great during any of the three
years because the concentrate portion of the ration, which car-
ried the major part of the total digestible nutrients, was kept
at approximately the same level in each ration.
First Trial.-Results of the first experiment, which was
started in December, 1936, and concluded on April 1, 1937, are
shown in Table 1.
120 DAYS.
"Lot I Lot II Lot III I Lot IV
Sugarcane Silage Silage Sugarcane
Without Without With With
Molasses Molasses Molasses Molasses
Number of steers fed 10 10 9 (
Av. initial weight per steer, pounds 530 551 549 553
Av. final weight per steer, pounds 774 758 758 761
Av. total gain per steer, pounds 244 207 210 208
Av. daily gain per steer, pounds 2.03 1.73 1.75 1.73
Average daily ration per steer
Freshly cut sugarcane, pounds 23.57 --.-. 25.49
Sugarcane silage, pounds 23.19 25.13
Ground snapped corn, pounds 8.33 8.33 4.16 4.16
Molasses, pounds- -- 4.16 4.16
Cottonseed meal, pounds 2.83 2.83 2.83 2.83
Amount of feed required to
produce 100 pounds gain:
Freshly cut sugarcane, pounds 1,161 1,470
Sugarcane silage, pounds 1,342 1,439
Ground snapped corn, pounds 410 482 238 240
Molasses, pounds --- -- 238 240
Cottonseed meal, pounds 139 164 162 163
Slaughter data
Market weight, pounds 751 736 736 738
Carcass weight cold, pounds 385 381 385 392
*Dressing percentage, percent 51.25 51.81 52.28 53.14
"**Slaughter steer grade, average Medium Low Med Medium I Medium
Carcass grade, average iLowMed LowMed LowMedlLowMed
*Dressing percentage calculated on the market Wt. and cold carcass Wt.
"**This lot of steers was not graded as feeders.
In this experiment 40 steers were divided into four lots of
_l.animals each. One steer was removed from each of Lots III
and IV at the end of 70 days, because of unthriftiness. All calcu-
lations for these two lots were computed on the- basis of nine
steers each. Because the roughage content of the feed mixture
was maintained at a high level, the steers did not consume
enough concentrates mixed with the roughage to produce the

Cattle Feeding In Southern Florida 9

rate of gain or degree of finish which was obtained during the
following years.
Second Trial.-Results of the second experiment are shown
in Table 2.

120 DAYS.
Lot I Lot II Lot III Lot IV Lot V
Sugarcane Silage Silage Sugarcane Dallis
Without Without With With Grass
Molasses Molasses Molasses Molasses Pasture
Number of steers fed 10 10 10 10 10
Feeder steer grade, avg. Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium
Av. initial weight per
steer, pounds 584 573 572 581 610
Av. final weight per
steer, pounds 812 804 806 827 859
Av. total gain per steer,
pounds 228 231 234 246 249
Av. daily gain per steer,
pounds 1.90 1.92 1.95 2.05 2.07
Average daily ration per
Freshly cut sugarcane,
pounds 21.28 25.56
Sugarcane silage,
pounds __ 17.64 22.15 --
Ground snapped corn, --- -- Pasture
pounds 10.92 10.9 5.46 5.46 10.92
Molasses, pounds
Cottonseed meal, --- --- 5.46 5.46
pounds 2.94 2.9 2.94 2.94 2.94
Amount of feed required
to produce 100 pounds
Freshly cut sugarcane,
pounds 1,118 ..- __ 1,247 -
Sugarcane silage,
pounds 917 1,136
Pasture ---- -- --- 0.2 A.
Ground snapped corn,
pounds 574 568 280 266 526
Molasses, pounds --- -- --- 280 266
Cottonseed meal,
pounds 154 153 151 143 141
Slaughter data
Market weight, pounds 787 782 783 804 832
Carcass weight cold,
pounds 433 438 442 454 463
restingg percentage, 55.01 55.98 56.42 56.49 55.64
Slaughter steer grade,
average Medium Low Med Medium Low Med Medium
Carcass grade, average Medium Medium( Medium I Medium Medium
*Dressing percentage was calculated on the market weight and cold
carcass weight.

10 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

This experiment was started in October, 1937, and conclud-
ed in March, 1938. Initiation of the feeding period in October
proved advantageous in efficient utilization of the sugarcane
and in marketing the steers. Results of the first year also
showed the importance of adding another lot of steers to the ex-
1939, 120 DAYS.
Lot I Lot II Lot III Lot IV Lot V
Sugarcane Silage Silage Sugarcane Dallis
Without Without With With Grass
____Molasses Molasses Molasses Molasses Pasture
Number of steers fed 10 10 10 0 10 10
Feeder steer grade, avg. Low MedLow Med Medium w ed MediumMed
Av. initial weight per
steer, pounds 498 481 477 485 480
Av. final weight per
steer, pounds 730 716 681 716 718
Av. total gain per steer,
pounds 232 235 204 231 238
Av. daily gain per steer,
pounds 1.931 1.95k 1.70 1.92 1.98
Average daily ration per
Freshly cut sugarcane,
pounds 15.95 ..---- --.---- 17.91
Sugarcane silage,
pounds 17.32 16.36 --
Pasture ._ __ ..._ Pasture
Ground snapped corn,
pounds 9.31 9.31 4.66 4.66 8.33
Molasses, pounds 4.66 4.66
Cottonseed meal,
pounds 2.88 2.88 2.88 2.88 2.86
Amount of feed required
to produce 100 pounds
Freshly cut sugarcane,
pounds 825 -- --_ 931
Sugarcane silage,
pounds 887 960 --- 0.1
Pasture --- ---- 0.21 A.
Ground snapped corn,
pounds 482 477 273 242 420
Molasses, pounds 273 242
Cottonsed meal,
pounds 149 148 169 150 144
Slaughter data
Market weight, pounds 701 687 656 695 683
Carcass weight cold,
pounds 390 379 373 377 395
*Dressing percentage,
percent 55.55 55.11 56.83 54.28 57.83
Slaughter steer grade,
average medium edium Medium Medium I Medium

High High High High Low
Carcass grade, average Medium Medium Medium Medium) Good
"*Dressing percentage was calculated on the market weight and the
cold carcass weight.

Cattle Feeding In Southern Florida 11

periment, designated as Lot V. These steers grazed on Dallis
grass pasture and were fed the same concentrates as Lots I and
Lot III Lot IV
Lot I Lot II Sugarcanel Fresh Lot V
Fresh Sugarcane Silage Sugarcane **Dallis
Sugarcane Silage With With Grass
_____Molasses Molasses Pasture
Number of steers fed 30 30 29 29 20
Feeder steer grade, avg. Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium
Av. initial weight per
steer, pounds 537 535 532 540 545
Av.: final weight per
steer, pounds 772 759 748 768 789
Av. total gain per steer,
pounds 235 224 216 228 244
Av. daily gain per steer,
pounds 1.95! 1.87 1.80 1.90 2.03
Average daily ration per
Freshly cut sugarcane,
pounds 20.27 .. 22.99
Sugarcane silage,
pounds 19.38 21.21 -
Pasture -- Pasture
Ground snapped corn,
pounds 9.52 9.52 4.76 4.76 9.63
Molasses, pounds __ _4.76 4.76
Cottonseed meal,
pounds 2.88 2.88 2.88 2.88 2.90
Amount of feed required
to produce 100 pounds
Freshly cut sugarcane,
pounds 1,035 --- 1,216
Sugarcane silage,
pounds ..... 1,049 1,178 -
Pasture .. -- ... 0.2 A.
Ground snapped corn, I
pounds 489 509 264 250 473
Molasses, pounds 264 250
Cottonsed meal,
pounds 148 155 161 152 143
Slaughter data
Market weight, pounds 746 735 725 746 757
Carcass weight cold,
pounds 402 399 400 408 429
*Dressing percentage,
percent 53.94 54.31 55.14 54.68 56.64
Slaughter steer grade,
average Medium Medium I Medium Medium Medium
S I High
Carcass grade, average Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium
*Dressing percentage was calculated on the market weight and the
cold carcass weight.
**Dallis grass pasture was included during the last. two years.

12 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

II. The steers in this year's trial were somewhat larger than
those fed in the first trial. The roughage portion of the feed
mixture was reduced to enable them to consume larger amounts
of concentrates, which resulted in a slightly greater degree of
finish and a higher rate of gain in Lots II, III and IV. The
steers on pasture gained more, and consumed less corn and
cottonseed meal per 100 pounds gain, than did those in Lots I and
II, which were fed the same concentrates.
Third Trial.-Results of the final trial, started in October,
1938, and concluded in March, 1939, are shown in Table 3.
The average initial weight was less; the steers were not as
uniform in size, and became adapted to feed lot conditions more
quickly than in the two previous trials. They were fed about
the same proportions of roughage and concentrates as in the
preceding year, and made quite uniform gains. The steers on
pasture developed more uniformly than those in dry lot. They
gained as well, but showed less finish when marketed, even
though their average carcass grade was slightly higher. The ex-
ternal fat, however, was slightly yellow.
Three-Year Summary.-The average results of the three
trials are summarized in Table 4.
There was little difference in average daily gain per steer,
roughage consumed, or in the amount of feed required to pro-
duce 100 pounds gain for all lots in these trials. Steers fed
freshly cut sugarcane gained slightly more than those receiving
sugarcane silage. The steers fed ground snapped corn made
slightly greater gains than did those receiving equal amounts of
ground snapped corn and blackstrap molasses. The steers on
Dallis grass pasture made a slightly higher rate of gain and less
concentrates were required to produce 100 pounds gain as com-
pared with those fed freshly cut sugarcane or sugarcane silage.
Minerals Consumed.-The average consumption per steer of
steamed bone meal, "salt sick" mineral and common salt for 120
days is shown in Table 5.
It will be seen from Table 5 that the steers in the dry lots
consumed several times as much mineral as did those on Dallis
grass pasture. There was very little difference in mineral con-
sumption among all of the dry lot steers.

Cattle Feeding In Southern Florida 13


Lot I Lot II Lot III Lot IV Lot V
Fresh Sugarcane Sugarcane Fresh Dallis
Sugarcane Silage Silage Sugarcane Grass
With With Pasture
Molasses Molasses__
Pounds Pounds I Pounds ) Pounds Pounds
Steamed bone meal 4.0 4.7 4.8 4.8 1.3
"Salt sick" mineral 5.2 4.7 3.0 3.2 1.6
Common salt 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.3 0.1

PART II.-Factors Influencing Cattle Feeding
in Southern Florida
The utilization of grasses and other forage crops which can
be produced in southern Florida is a major problem in the
Everglades. Experimental work with improved pasture grass-
es was started at the Everglades Experiment Station in 1924,
but there were no grazing experiments conducted prior to the
establishment of the purebred Devon herd in the fall of 1931.
In 1933 24 native Florida cows were added to the herd. Since
1935 feeder steers have been added annually for the experi-
ments reported in Part I of this bulletin.
The recommendations which follow have developed through
recorded observation and experiments while maintaining this
breeding herd of Devons, grade Devons and native cattle, and
from the steer feeding project.
Investigations have been undertaken to determine what
pasture grasses and forage crops were suitable in this area
for cattle, what supplementary feeds were necessary, and what
problems of nutrition and disease were prevalent.
In the Everglades region excess water is pumped from the
lands, as the area is too flat for gravity drainage. Cattle and
pastures, however, require somewhat less pumping equipment
than truck crops. Gateways and shaded areas in the pastures
become exceedingly soft during continued rainy weather. Because
of the soft nature of the muck soil when wet, it is not easy
to keep the wire fences well stretched.
Some nutritional disorders have been experienced in the
Everglades, which are not completely solved. However, by

14 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

giving the cattle free access to the "salt sick" mineral and
steamed bone meal, and by feeding a small quantity of cotton-
seed meal daily to the cattle on pasture, the situation has been
controlled effectively. Experiments have indicated that growing
animals require from one to two pounds of cottonseed meal or
cake daily from weaning age to maturity. It appears that one
pound of cottonseed meal daily will maintain a mature cow.
While the cost of supplementing pasture with cottonseed meal
for growing animals is not excessive, it may not be economical
to raise cattle according to this plan for meat purposes. Such
cost should not be prohibitive in raising beef breeding stock
or dairy cattle. The "salt sick" mineral formula now being used
on the muck land at the Everglades Experiment Station is made
up in the following proportion:
100 pounds common fine salt
25 pounds red oxide of iron
2 pounds "snow form" copper sulfate
1 ounce cobalt chloride
On the sandy and hammock soils of southern Florida min-
eral deficiencies often occur. It has been found that these de-
ficiencies are corrected in most instances by giving the cattle
access to the "salt sick" mineral and steamed bone meal.
Nearly all of the problems in cattle raising in the Everglades
are much less acute during the winter months and relate mostly
to maintaining a breeding herd and to calf raising. Steers or
other cattle can be brought with reasonable safety from other
areas in the fall, fattened from October until May, and marketed
before the rainy season starts in the early summer.

In preparing a fattening ration it is necessary to include
roughage and concentrate feeds. Roughage feeds are bulky,
relatively high in fiber, and, therefore, low in fattening nu-
trients. Such feeds as silage, hay, sugarcane, and corn fodder
belong to this class. These bulky feeds are necessary for cattle,
since they keep the digestive system functioning properly.
Young tender grass is richer in some of the essential nu-
trients than more mature roughages. In addition, grass is very
palatable and has a conditioning effect not found in the drier
feeds. Thin animals on good grass make rapid and economical
gains. Such animals, however, will not become as fat as those
fed a heavy grain ration.

Cattle Feeding In Southern Florida 15

Concentrate feeds are those which are high in energy nu-
trients, low in fiber, and, therefore, are not bulky. Examples
of such feeds are corn, cottonseed and peanut meals, and black-
strap molasses. Corn and molasses are low in protein, while
cottonseed and peanut meals are rich in protein.
A good ration for finishing steers should include a large
amount of feed rich in fattening qualities, a small quantity of
protein-rich feed, and as much good quality roughage as the
animals will consume. When the fattening and protein-rich feeds
are combined in the correct proportion, the ration is said to
be balanced; that is, the animals will utilize the feed econom-
ically for body maintenance and for fattening.

Forage crops adapted to a cattle feeding program in south-
ern Florida are of three groups: Permanent pasture grasses,
temporary winter pastures and those forages adapted for soil-
ing or silage purposes. When the forage is to be supplied as
pasture such grasses as Para, Vasey, St. Augustine, Napier,
Carib, Dallis and Guinea are among the perennial varieties
showing promise. Italian rye grass, rescue grass, white Dutch
clover and some of the small grains, such as barley and oats,
show promise as winter pastures since they will withstand the
winter temperatures that prevail in this region. Forages adapted
for soiling or silage purposes include sugarcane, sorghum, Na-
pier grass, teosinte and corn.
Sugarcane.-Steer feeding experiments discussed in Part
I show that sugarcane is an excellent roughage for cattle. In this
region the'harvesting season for sugarcane coincides satisfact-
orily with the period of the year when most pasture grasses
either grow slowly or are subject to frost injury. Sugarcane
will produce excellent yields of forage and is injured less by
frost than the common grasses. For this reason it is desirable
to have a few acres of sugarcane to insure the feed supply if
the pasture should fail or become insufficient.
Freshly cut sugarcane is preferred for cattle feeding in
southern Florida to shocked or stacked cane or to sugarcane
silage. Regardless of how the cane is stored, it is necessary to
put the forage through some type of feed cutter before feed-
ing. Experiments have shown that a steer weighing 500 pounds

16 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

will consume, on full feed, between 20 and 25 pounds of freshly
cut sugarcane per day.
Concentrates.-Although corn and the grain sorghums pro-
duce excellent yields of forage, the yields of grain under pres-
ent conditions are uncertain. However, satisfactory yields of
ear corn and grain sorghums often are obtained. The best
yields of grain sorghum mature in the summer when drying
is difficult. Molasses is available locally as a by-product from
the sugar mills, and can be used to replace one-half of the
ground snapped corn in the fattening ration. Cottonseed meal
or cake is used commonly as a protein supplement and seems
to be especially beneficial to cattle grazing on muckland pas-
tures by preventing, in a large measure, occurrence of certain
nutritional disorders.

Feeder steers of a satisfactory type are available on the
ranges of southern Florida. To make steer feeding a successful
enterprise it is necessary to select animals having desirable
beef characteristics.

a =! -

Fig. 2.-A good type of feeder steer.

Conformation.-The conformation or form of the feeder
steer should receive close attention. High grade feeder cattle

"Cattle Feeding In Southern Florida 17

are low set, deep bodied, broad, compact, thickly and smoothly
fleshed. Animals of this type will produce maximum develop-
ment of the more valuable cuts in the carcass. The best feeders
have depth and fullness of middle, characteristics which indi-
cate capacity for feed. Cattle of inferior conformation are rangy,
narrow, paunchy and lack depth of body.
Breeding.-Breeding is an important factor in a feeder
steer, because conformation, quality and ability to fatten are
inherited characteristics. Steers sired by purebred or high
grade beef bulls grade higher as feeders than those having a
preponderance of native or dairy blood.
Quality and Thriftiness.-A thrifty, healthy steer shows his
condition in a clear, bright eye, sleek coat, pliable hide, and a
general alertness. A strong constitution is indicated by a wide,
deep chest and body; strong, straight legs, and a rugged, vig-
orous appearance. These characteristics should not be extreme
to the extent of coarseness, but are preferred to the delicate,
over-refined type.
Unhealthy cattle, including those heavily infested with
internal parasites, never make good feeders. Animals showing
physical defects such as blindness, lameness, large scars or
abnormal enlargements should be avoided.
Age.-Age is an important factor in the selection of cattle
for the feed lot. Generally, yearling cattle are more satisfactory
feeders than younger or older animals. Yearling steers are ma-
ture enough to make good use of roughage and concentrates for
fattening. Calves require a longer feeding period than yearlings
because they grow and fatten at the same time. Two-year-old
steers, in comparison with younger animals, when large amounts
of roughage and limited concentrates are available, will utilize
these feeds to better advantage for gains and will fatten in a
shorter time.
Temperament.-Nervous, restless, excitable animals seldom
make as good feeders as those that are quiet and not easily
disturbed. Steers with wild eyes, and ears constantly in motion,
that race around the pen at the slightest disturbance or charge
when being driven, fail to make good gains and keep the other
steers excited.
Heads.-Polled or dehorned cattle are preferred as feeders
because they are subject to fewer injuries, thereby reducing

18 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

the possibility of screw worm infestation and damaged car-
casses. Coarse, staggy heads and necks indicate late castration.
Meat from such steers tends to be coarse grained and dark.
Uniformity.-Steers uniform in size, color and grade ap-
pear more attractive in the feed lot, command more attention
from the buyers and usually bring a higher price when finished
than those lacking uniformity. Especially in dry lot feeding, it
is important to have steers of uniform size in each lot because
a few large steers may keep the smaller and more timid animals
from their feed.
Many cattle from the ranges of southern Florida have nev-
er been fed anything except pasture grass. When such cattle
are started on feed, they must be taught to eat the new ration
and must not be allowed to eat too much, as overfeeding may
cause serious digestive disorders. This can be done by dividing
them into lots of about 10 to 20 animals, giving a small amount
of feed at first, and gradually increasing the amount according
to consumption. Sometimes one or two animals that are used
to feed lot conditions can be placed with steers from the range
to get them started.
While each lot of steers is an individual problem, a sug-
gested schedule for feed increase is given in Table 6. The
amounts given are for steers weighing 500 pounds, being fed in
the dry lot on a ration of freshly cut sugarcane, ground snapped
corn, molasses and cottonseed meal.
SFreshly Cut
Days on Feed Sugarcane Corn Molasses Cottonseed Meal
SPounds Pounds Pounds Pounds
1 to 10 20 2.0 2.0 2.0
11 to 17 25 2.5 2.5 2.5
18 to 24 25 3.0 3.0 2.5
25 to 31 25 3.5 3.5 3.0
32 to 38 i 25 4.0 4.0 3.0
39 to 45 25 4.5 4.5 3.0
46 to 52 20 5.0 5.0 3.0
53 to 59 20 5.5 5.5 3.0
60 to 120 20 6.0 6.0 3.0
Steers will consume more roughage at first when the grain
ration is low than during the period when the grain is being
increased. When the grain ration becomes constant, the rough-

Cattle Feeding In Southern Florida 19

age allowance can be increased to about the same level as was
consumed in the beginning. Some lots of steers when on full
feed may consume more than six pounds of corn and six pounds
of molasses daily, during the last 30 to 50 days of the feeding
Considerable variation exists among practical cattle feeders
as to the frequency of feeding. It is a common practice to feed
cattle in the dry lot both morning and night, while those on
pasture are fed but once a day. Regularity as to time and
method of feeding and amount of feed given is essential to keep
the cattle gaining. Feed bunks should be kept scrupulously
clean. All refused feed should be removed at a regular time
each day. Any activity which disturbs this orderly daily rou-
tine will reduce the amount of feed consumed and may cause
some steers to go "off feed".
Adequate feeding space is essential to allow all of the
steers to eat at once, without crowding. The feed bunk should
be long enough to allow three feet for each steer. In the dry
lot, 90 square feet of lot per steer is considered adequate and
where shelter is used about one-third is usually under the
roof. Adequate provision is necessary for minerals and water.
In southern Florida feeder steers as well as breeding cattle
need the "salt sick" mineral and steamed bone meal as dis-
cussed previously.
The length of the fattening period is influenced by several
factors such as the season of the year that the cattle are being
fattened, the grade, class and age of the fattening stock, the
amount of feed available and its market value. The feeding trials
at the Everglades Experiment Station were conducted for 120
days. Some individual steers were ready for slaughter before
the trial was completed while others might have been fed longer.
Under practical feed lot conditions the feeding period may be
varied from year to year or fat steers may be removed for mar-
keting while others are fed longer.
Steers carrying a fair amount of flesh at the beginning of
the feeding period may be sent to market in 60 to 90 days,
while it may be desirable to feed young or thin animals 120

20 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

to 150 days. High grade feeder cattle can be fed successfully
for a longer period than animals in the lower grades because
they have a greater inherited ability to put on flesh.
The quality and quantity of feed available may determine
the length of the feeding period. Rations which are high in
fiber, low in digestible nutrients, or unpalatable, do not produce
satisfactory gains. Rapid and continuous gains are made when
animals consume regularly large amounts of a palatable, nu-
tritious, well balanced feed. When the feed supply is limited it
is considered good practice to feed generously for 60 to 90 days
rather than to feed a limited ration 120 days or longer.
In southern Florida the best period to feed cattle is the late
fall and winter months. At this season cattle gain rapidly because
there are fewer insect pests and more favorable weather con-
ditions. There is a good demand for well finished beef when
these cattle are ready for market.
Experiments have shown that good quality steers weighing
between 500 and 600 pounds will gain about two pounds per
day when fed a daily ration consisting of 20 to 25 pounds of
freshly cut sugarcane, 51/ pounds of blackstrap molasses, 5z2
pounds of ground snapped corn and 3 pounds of cottonseed
meal. By using these amounts the total feed requirements for
steers on any similar ration can be estimated readily.
The approximate feed cost of 100 pounds of gain can be
estimated from the market value of the feeds and the amount
of feed required to produce 100 pounds of gain. Assuming that
a steer gaining two pounds daily will gain 100 pounds in 50
days, such a steer will consume in 50 days approximately 1,000
pounds of freshly cut sugarcane, 275 pounds of blackstrap mo-
lasses, 275 pounds of ground snapped corn and 150 pounds of
cottonseed meal. The market value of this amount of these
feeds will give the approximate feed cost per 100 pounds of gain.
Feeder cattle differ in their ability to utilize feeds for rapid
gains in the feed lot. In one experimental lot of 10 steers which
showed an average daily gain of 1.70 pounds, individual gains
ranged from 0.99 to 2.82 pounds per day. While the amount

Cattle Feeding In Southern Florida 21

of feed consumed by the individual steers is not known, it is
considered that the animals which gained rapidly consumed more
feed and utilized it efficiently for maintenance and gains.
Fattening animals increase in weight in three ways. Du-
ring the first few days on feed considerable gains are made as
the result of "fill" which is the feed and water in the process
of digestion. Immature animals grow while in the feed lot. The
greatest increase in weight is due to the depositing of fat in
all parts of the body .
The value of a steer increases in two ways while on feed,
namely: by the gain in weight made during the feeding period
and by the increased value per 100 pounds due to improvement
in conformation, quality and finish. Since in most cases the feed
cost per 100 pounds of gain is slightly greater than the selling
price of the finished animal, a higher price per hundredweight
is expected for the finished steer than it cost as a feeder. This
increased value of the original weight of the animal which is
the result of fattening in the feed lot is called "feeder's margin".
The financial success of the steer feeding enterprise is largely
dependent upon the feeder's margin.
The price which any particular lot of cattle will bring de-
pends upon their grade in relation to current market values.
Slaughter cattle are graded as Prime, Choice, Good, Medium
or Common, according to their conformation, finish, quality
and yield of carcass.
Conformation is the form or structure of the animal and
indicates the proportion of the various wholesale cuts of meat
which can be obtained from the carcass. Steers with broad,
compact, deep, thickly fleshed bodies will give more desirable
carcasses than animals with rangy, shallow, narrow bodies.
Finish refers directly to the amount, character, and distri-
bution of external and internal fat. A well finished steer has
a uniformly thick covering of firm fat over all of the body, as
well as a considerable quantity around the internal organs,
pelvic region, cod and around various muscles. Fat distributed
between and around the muscles is known as "marbling".
Quality is a more general term which embodies some of
the characteristics considered in conformation and finish. Qual-

22 Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

Fig. 3.-A well finished slaughter steer.

ity in the fat animal is indicated by a desirable beef conforma-
tion, fine bone, soft hair, pliable hide and well covered with
firm fat. These factors in the live animal indicate the quality
of meat which may be expected in the carcass.
Dressing percent is the yield of carcass compared with the
weight of the live steer before slaughter. It is influenced by
the three factors discussed above. Well proportioned, highly
finished cattle will yield approximately 60 percent of dressed
carcass, while rangy, coarse, thinly fleshed animals yield about
50 percent.

The fattening of steers shows promise of becoming a suc-
cessful agricultural enterprise in southern Florida because
there is a definite need for such a program in Florida's growing
livestock industry. The range cattle of Florida have been im-
proved during recent years through breeding and management
Experiments were conducted at the Everglades Experiment
Station for three successive seasons, beginning in 1936 and con-
cluded in 1939, to determine if steers could be fattened suc-

Cattle Feeding In Southern Florida 23

cessfully on forage grown in southern Florida. The relative
feeding value of freshly cut sugarcane, sugarcane silage and
Dallis grass pasture were compared when supplemented with
cottonseed meal, ground snapped corn and molasses. Results of
these trials show:
1. Steers made very satisfactory gains in all cases where ade-
quate amounts of concentrate supplements were supplied. A
good quality beef, equal to similar grades grown in other re-
gions, was produced by all the rations fed.
2. Freshly cut sugarcane produced slightly greater gains
than sugarcane silage. When molasses was used to replace half of
the ground snapped corn, the roughage consumption was in-
creased, but the rate of gain was slightly lowered.
2. Dallis grass pasture supplemented with cottonseed meal
and ground snapped corn produced slightly more gains than
either freshly cut sugarcane or sugarcane silage, with the same
supplement. Although pasture-fattened steers were not quite
as fat at slaughter as were the dry-lot-fed steers, they were
more uniform in finish and yielded carcasses of somewhat high-
er grade. The tables in Part I show the amount of feed required
to produce 100 pounds of gain and the average daily ration per
steer. By using these amounts and the current price of each feed,
it is possible to calculate, with reasonable accuracy, the cost
which may be expected in feeding steers under similar condiitons.
Many pasture grasses and other forage crops can be grown
in southern Florida, giving excellent feed available for cattle
each month of the year. The climate during the fall and winter
months in particular is well suited and this season of the year
is a good period for fattening the feeder steers. Animals fattened
at this time of year are ready for market when the demands
for finished beef are good.
Some of the factors essential to a successful steer feeding
program in southern Florida have been discussed. A well chosen
ration, fed properly to a carefully selected lot of feeder steers,
should produce high grade slaughter cattle at a reasonable
profit to the owner.


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