Chipley B .D. U. field day

Material Information

Chipley B .D. U. field day
Series Title:
AREC, Quincy research report
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Place of Publication:
Quincy Fla
North Florida Experiment Station
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
27 leaves : ; 28 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Beef cattle -- Feeding and feeds -- Florida ( lcsh )
Florida $z Chipley ( fast )
Florida ( fast )
City of Gainesville ( local )
City of Chipley ( local )
Alfalfa ( jstor )
Heifers ( jstor )
Herds ( jstor )
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Cover title.
General Note:
Chipley Beef Demonstration Unit Tenth Annual Meeting, March 24, 1982.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
71281926 ( OCLC )


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Full Text

Quincy AREC Research Report NP 82-1

Chipley Beef Demonstration
Tenth Annual Meeting
March 24, 1982

Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida, Gainesville
John T. Woeste, Dean for Extension

I ........



The Chipley Beef Demonstration Unit is an on-going commercial cattle opera-

tion sponsored by the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service. The

principal function of the unit is to demonstrate comprehensive animal-forage live-

stock systems for Northwest Florida beef producers. However, the unit also

serves as an educational center to instruct individuals in daily livestock manage-

ment practices. This is accomplished through field days, clinics, farm demonstra-

tions and individual visitation by producers. The unit is open to the public

weekly and dates of specific demonstrations can be obtained from your local

County Extension Director.

M. F. Cain
Extension Livestock Specialist


Cal Burns, Animal Scientist, USDA, Brooksville, Florida

Mike Cain, Extension Livestock Specialist, University of Florida, Quincy AREC

Gene Cope, Extension Veterinarian, University of Florida, Gainesville

Ed Golding, Animal Scientist, University of Florida, Quincy AREC

Al Warnick, Animal Scientist, University of Florida, Gainesville

David Wright, Extension Agronomist, University of Florida, Quincy AREC

Jim Clemmons, Farm Manager, CBDU, Chipley, Florida

Maurice Gasper, Farm Technician, CBDU, Chipley, Florida










Y .4

Calves born

Jan. 15 March 15

(60 days)



April 1 May 30

(60 days)

Replacement Heifers:
Vibrio Lepto
1) Herd bulls and
Post calving cows:
Vibrio Lepto
2) Breed heifers
March 15 April 30
3) Insert insecticide
ear tags first week
of April
4) Check cow herd for
repeat breeders

-' 4

1) Remove herd bulls
June 1

2) Check for Pinkeye
and Foot Rot and
treat as needed

Insert insecticide ear
tags first week of


1) Weigh and ear tag
new calves daily

2) Check for calving
difficulty; retained
placentas, etc.

3) Check calves daily;
treat for scours
as needed

Implant steer calves

Continue to check
for and treat sick

Heifers ST 19

Implant steer calves

Wean a1) Preg check cull Grub and louse control
Wean and open cows and poor
SEPTEMBEF producers
Grade calves 2) Grub & louse control


1) Purchase needed
NOVEMBER herd sires
2) Evaluate bulls for
-- ---- ----- """-" -----breeding soundness .-------
Select breeding soundnes 1) Deworm calves
DECEMBER Replacement 2) Implant all calves
Heifers except repl. heifers



Weigh and ear tag new calves daily; castrate and dehorn as soon as
possible; check calves daily and treat for scours as needed.
Check cows twice daily for calving difficulties; check for retained
placentas and prolapsed uteruses and treat as needed.
Continue supplemental feeding of breeding herd; increase amount of
feed and protein supplement in proportion to the number of calves
Keep first calf heifers separated from cow herd and provide them with
the best winter feed or rotate them on and off of small grain pastures.
Check mineral and salt feeders daily; watch for grass tetany on winter
pastures; feed high magnesium mineral.
Supplement cattle on winter pastures if cold weather limits pasture
Make up breeding herd lists.
Examine bulls for breeding soundness and semen quality prior to
breeding season.
Provide quality winter feed for herd bulls to condition for breeding
Buy only above average performance tested bulls.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.


Continue with January management procedures.
Apply nitrogen to winter pastures.
Plan forage program for coming year.
Prepare for Estrous Synchronization and Artificial Insemination.


Continue with January and February management procedures.
Prepare land for summer crops where possible.
Start Estrous Synchronization and Artificial Insemination.
Put bulls in with yearling heifers; observe bulls for success in mating.
Check for insect damage on alfalfa; cut for hay when ready.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.

Continue Artificial Insemination.
Put cleanup bulls in with cows.
Plant warm season annual pastures where and when possible.
Observe cows for repeat breeders; rotate bulls if necessary.
Check mineral and salt feeders.
Begin grazing warm season permanent pastures.
Harvest hay from winter annual crops and/or alfalfa.
Sell cows that have not calved or that have lost their calf.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.

Graze small grain pastures as long as possible.
Fertilize warm season pastures with 400# 13-13-13 per acre.
Check mineral and salt feeders.
Prepare land for summer millet and forage sorghum.
Remove cleanup bulls May 30; sell bulls that will not be used the
following season.
Continue close management of alfalfa.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.


Continue with May management procedures.
Control weeds in summer pasture.
Plant summer millet and forage sorghum.
Continue alfalfa management.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.


Graze millet when sufficient growth has taken place; rotationally
graze to avoid overgrazing.
Control weeds in summer pasture.
Check mineral and salt feeders.
Apply nitrogen to warm season pastures.
Continue alfalfa management.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.


Continue July management practices.
Cut excess perennial summer pasture for hay.
Make plans for winter annual forages.
Prepare alfalfa plots for fall grazing of weaned calves.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.


Continue to cut hay for winter feed.
Cut forage sorghum for silage.
Wean and grade calves; pregnancy test cows.
Send open and cull cows to market.
Let cow herd clean up millet and forage sorghum crop residues.
Assign weaned calves to alfalfa plots and other feeding treatments.
Start land preparation for small grain plantings.
Check mineral and salt feeders.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.


Continue to graze cow herd on crop and summer pasture residues;
start feeding silage and protein supplement when pastures become
Plant small grain pastures when moisture is adequate.
Mow weeds in permanent pastures.

October (Continued)

Continue to monitor alfalfa and other feeding programs for weaned calves.
Check mineral and salt feeders.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.


Maintain adequate nutrition level for cow herd; monitor condition of
cows closely.
Continue to monitor alfalfa and other feeding programs for weaned calves.
Check mineral and salt feeders.
Apply nitrogen to small grain pastures.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.


Continue December management practices.
Discontinue feeding programs for weaned calves and weigh them onto
small grain pasture when ready.
Prepare for calving season.
Separate first calf heifers from main cow herd for feeding and observational
Repair equipment for spring plantings.
Follow CBDU Herd Health Calendar.

Performance And Production Records For

Improving Female Productivity

M. F. Cain
Extension Livestock Specialist
AREC, Quincy


Performance records are information kept on each animal from birth to breeding

age or to the point where the animal is sold. Examples of performance records are

birth weight, weaning weight, yearling weight and the dates that each weight is

taken. On the other hand, production records are an estimate of an animal's breed-

ing value based on the performance of his or her offspring. For example, the pro-

duction records for an 8-year old cow would be the performance records for each of

her six calves; assuming she was bred as a yearling, had her first calf as a 2-year

old and calved every year thereafter.

The keeping and use of performance and production records has not been well

accepted by the beef industry, but recently, record keeping systems and their use

to increase herd production have received much more emphasis. With the prospects

of continued higher production costs, high interest rates, uncertain beef demand

and prices, and increased pressure from the packer as to type and degree of finish,

eventually, it may well be that breeds, breeders and commercial cattlemen that

operate without the use of herd records will not be able to compete. Higher genetic

ability, brought about by the use of proper animal identification and herd records

to identify and select superior animals, and less expensive management and feeding

programs will have to be emphasized in the future.


The major reason why performance and production testing have come slowly to

the beef industry is that genetic improvement through breeding and selection is

slow, and costs the producer money by having to identify each animal, by having to

retain his best animals for herd replacements, by having to purchase above average

performance tested herd sires and by increased labor requirements for keeping and

using herd records. For these reasons, many commercial cattlemen regard record

keeping as the job of the purebred breeder. However, genetic improvement is

important regardless of the objectives of the herd. The genetic ability of replace-

ment cattle in a commercial herd has a tremendous effect on gross returns. By

using superior performance tested bulls and keeping herd records, the commercial

cattleman can produce and identify above average replacement heifers and cull out

poor producing cows that do not wean a heavy calf every 12 months. Table 1

illustrates the importance of fertility and weaning weight as it relates to gross

returns in a commercial herd.

Table 1. Pounds of Calf Produced Per Cow

Percent Average Weaning Weight, Lbs.
Calf Crop 550 500 450 400

95 523 475 428 380

90 495 450 405 360

85 468 425 382 340

80 440 400 360 320

75 413 375 338 300

70 385 350 315 280

With the percent calf crop (number of calves weaned per 100 cows exposed to breed-

ing) in the southeast estimated at approximately 70%, table 1 clearly illustrates that

with a calf crop of 70% even a producer averaging 550 pounds at weaning would only

have 385 pounds of calf to sell per cow kept in the herd. Therefore, records are

essential to increasing fertility and weight in commercial herds.


Performance records for six of the 1981 commercial crossbred heifers from the

Chipley Beef Demonstration Unit and lifetime production records from their dams

are presented in tables 2 and 3, respectively.

Table 2. Performance Records for Heifers
Adjusted Adjusted
Weaning Weaning 205-Day 205-Day 205-Day
Heifer Dam Age, Days Weight, Lbs. Weight, Lbs. Weight, Lbs. Weight Ratio

101 326 259 525 433 433 97

125 947 239 370 326 375 84

128 228 237 490 433 433 97

130 908 235 470 420 483 108

142 703 221 540 507 532 119

146 602 216 490 468 468 105








Table 3. Production Records for Dams in Table 2

Average Adjusted
Average Adjusted 205-day Weight
Offspring 205-day Weight, Lbs. Ratio

7 420 95

1 375 84

8 426 97

1 483 108

3 496 109

4 494 109








In looking at table 2, assume that a commercial cattleman had these 6 heifers

and wanted to select 3 as herd replacements. Furthermore, assume that this cattle-

man had no records on these heifers and did not have a set of scales. Without a

set of records to indicate differences in age and without a set of scales to weigh the

heifers, selection is narrowed down to a visual appraisal of the heifers as they appear

that day. The first thing this cattleman would probably do is cull out any obviously

poor animals such as number 125 which weighs only 370 and would be an obvious cull

for most cattlemen even without a set of scales. However, once 125 has been eliminated

their remains only a 70 pound range in weight between the five remaining heifers.








Even an experienced cattle judge would be doing well to estimate the weight of an

animal to within 50 pounds of its actual weight. Therefore, assuming all five heifers

were structurally correct, the selection of the three replacements would probably be

a random choice. If the cattleman had a set of scales, he would probably select the

three heaviest heifers which would be 142, 101 and either 128 or 146. Now, use the

records that have been given in table 2 to select the three replacement heifers.

In order to accurately compare animals of different ages and from dams of differ-

ent ages it is necessary to adjust all animals to a constant age and a mature dam

equivalent. Research has shown that dams 4-years and younger have not reached

their full milk yield potential and, therefore, their calves need to be adjusted up-

ward. Research has also shown that dams 11-years and older start to fall off in

milk production and their calves must also be adjusted upward. To adjust all animals

to the same age, the Beef industry has selected 205 days as the standard weaning

age. The formula for calculating 205-day weights within sex is:

Actual Weaning Weight Birth Weight

Age at Weaning X 205 + Birth Weight

These 205-day weights are then adjusted for age of dam differences by multiplying

the 205-day weights by the following factors:

2-year-old 1.15
3-year-old 1.10
4-year-old 1.05
Mature Cow 1
11-year-old & over 1.05

The resulting weight is an adjusted 205-day weaning weight.

Getting back to Table 2, it can be seen that heifer 142 had an actual weaning

weight of 540 pounds and a 205-day weaning weight of 507 pounds. She received

an additional adjustment of 25 pounds because her dam (number 703;table 3) was

only 4-years old. Consequently, her adjusted 205-day weight of 532 pounds was

the largest of the group as indicated by her adjusted 205-day weight ratio. This

ratio (her adjusted 205-day weight herd average adjusted 205-day weight X 100)

indicates what percentage she is above or below the herd weaning weight average.

Her ratio of 119 indicates that she is 19% above the herd average. Likewise, heifers

130 and 146 were 8% and 5% above herd average for weaning weight, respectively.

On the other hand, heifers 101, 128 and 125 were all below average for weaning

weight (ratios below 100). Consequently, heifers 142, 130 and 146 would be the

three heifers to keep assuming that they were structurally correct and had a good

maternal background. Again, heifer 125 is the obvious bottom of the group and

probably could have been culled without the use of actual weights or herd records.

However, it is interesting to note that heifer 101, a heifer that was culled, was the

second heaviest heifer in the group and probably would have been kept by many

cattlemen. However, her records indicate that she is also the oldest heifer in the

group (259 days) and out of a mature dam (number 326;table 3). Therefore, her

adjusted 205-day weight is only 433 pounds which is the second lightest in the

group. In contrast, heifer 130, who was selected as a replacement, was the second

lightest heifer in the group for actual weaning weight (470 pounds) and would

probably have been culled by many cattlemen. Records indicate that she was in

the middle of the age range (235 days) but more importantly, her dam (number

908; table 3) was only 2 years old. This adjusted her 420 pound 205-day weight

an additional 63 pounds giving her the second largest adjusted 205-day weight of

483 pounds. These are the two most common mistakes made by cattlemen who select

replacement animals without the aid of records. Keeping animals that are heavy

simply because they are the oldest and no because they are genetically superior as

would have been the case with heifer 101 and/or culling genetically superior animals

that are light weight simply because they are younger and/or out of young dams

that have not reached their full milk potential as would have been the case with

heifer 130.


Once a preliminary selection of a replacement heifer has been made based on her


own performance records, it is important to check the production records of her dam

to make certain she has a good maternal background. Table 3 lists the production

records for the dams of the six heifers in table 2. Looking at table 3, the first item

listed is the dams identification number followed by her age and number of calves

born to date. Notice that in all cases, the number of offspring listed is one less than

the age. This indicates that all of the females were bred as yearlings and calved

for the first time as two year olds. It also indicates that each female had bred back

quickly after calving and has had a calf every calving season. Any female that does

not raise a calf to weaning or does not breed back after calving should be culled

from the herd. The next two items listed in table 3 are the average adjusted 205-day

weight and weight ratio for the number of offspring listed. The last item listed is

the MPPA or Most Probable Producing Ability. Much like calves, of different ages

and out of dams of different ages, have to be adjusted to be evaluated fairly, mature

females need to be evaluated based on the same number of offspring to be accurately

compared. The MPPA is derived from a formula that simply evaluates a set of dams

on an equal offspring basis and indicates how likely it is that a given dam will repeat

her past performance. The MPPA formula is as follows:

MPPA = 100 + r__nr X (Dam's average ratio 100)
1 + (n-1)r

where: 100 = herd average ratio
n = number of offspring
r = repeatability of weaning weight = .4

Looking at table 2 once again, the dams of the three replacement heifers

selected (130, 142 and 146) were 908, 703 and 602, respectively. Their production

records for adjusted 205-day weight listed in table 3 shows that all three of these

dams has performed above herd average and will probably continue to do so as

determined by their MPPA values. Therefore, the criteria for good material back-

ground has been met and these three heifers will be retained as replacements. It

is interesting to note that the dam (number 947) of the bottom heifer (number 125)


was a first calf heifer. However, even after she has been adjusted upward using

the MPPA formula, she still has a ratio value of 94 (table 3). This indicates that

she will most likely continue to have calves that rank 6% below the herd average

and that she should be culled from the herd. Consequently, it is easy to see how

information in table 3 can be used not only to check the maternal background of

potential replacement heifers but also to identify poor producing females and cull

them from the herd. The time is right to start using quality bulls, to start keep-

ing herd records, to place productive females back in the herd and to weed out

genetically inferior females that are costing more money to keep than their calf is

worth at weaning.


Hot Iron Hide Branding

M. F. Cain
Extension Livestock Specialist
AREC, Quincy


Reliable individual animal identification is necessary to establish a successful

genetic improvement program in a beef cattle herd. In addition, daily management

decisions such as breeding, culling, disease prevention and treatment, feeding and

selecting replacement animals are dependent on accurate identification of individual

animals. Hot iron branding is one of the oldest and most permanent approaches to

permanent animal identification. It has become the beef ranchers coat-of-arms. In

the past, it has been used primarily as a mark of ownership and a technique of

establishing legal title to cattle. However, hot iron branding can also be a very

practical method of permanent individual animal identification if numbers and/or

letters are used along with the ranch symbol.


Hot iron branding is a one shot proposition that produces a burn on the hide

in the shape of the iron. A burn is produced that will be sufficiently deep to

make a scab peel on the hide of an animal. As the burn heals, scar tissue is

formed, resulting in a permanent, hair free outline of the design, letter or number.

The major advantages of firebranding are that it is permanent; it provides a mark

that is easily recognized at fairly great distances; it is easy, fast and inexpensive

with the proper equipment; and once healed, there is no further danger of injury

or infection.


The disadvantages of hot iron branding are that it is often followed by open

wound infections and parasite infestations; the legibility of the brand is greatly


dependent on the construction of the irons and skill of the brander; hair around

the brand must be clipped in the winter to allow complete legibility; hot iron brand-

ing results in severe hide damage that is objectionable to the tanning industry and

results in a reduced value of this by-product; and the technique causes considerable

pain to the animal which is considered inhumane by some people.


There are two types of branding irons for hot iron branding; the solid metal

iron that must be heated and the electric. The most popular method of heating

branding irons is with propane gas. When used with an adequate iron heater,

propane gas usually results in more uniform heating of the irons than does wood or

coal fires. A good branding iron heater should be enclosed to confine the heat and

should have a rack to steady the irons while they are heating. The major advantages

of using propane, wood or coal as a heat source is that they are portable and can

be easily moved to where cattle are to be worked.

The electric branding iron is increasing in popularity due to its ease of use.

It has a self-contained heating element that heats to the pre-determined temperature

desirable for branding. This branding device has the disadvantages of requiring

electricity at the branding site; are usually more expensive than conventional type

irons; and generally require more time to reheat between animals.


Traditionally, the brand has been placed on the left side of the animal (left

as you stand behind the animal) either on the rump or high on the rib area just

behind the shoulder. These two locations are the easiest places to apply a hot

iron brand and are the most visible locations once the brand has healed. However,

they both are also located in areas where the hide is most valuable and result in

greater economic loss. Efforts to reduce the size of brands as well as to restrict

the locations of the brand to certain body areas such as the neck, shoulder, check

or hip will considerably reduce large losses to the leather industry; see Figure 1.


Figure 1. The shaded area indicates the most valuable portion of the hide.
The round spots within the shaded area represent the two tradi-
tional branding locations. The round spots outside of the shaded
area indicate points where brands could be located to reduce hide
damage and minimize the decreased value of this by-product.


1. A complete set (0 through 9) of irons made of material 1/4" to 1/2"

thick and 3" to 6" high; an iron 3/8" thick by 4" high with handles 21 to 3

feet is a good recommendation.

2. A good branding iron heater (propane, wood or coal); open wood or

coal fires are alright but not as effective as an enclosed heater (not needed with

the use of electric irons).

3. Adequate facilities to firmly secure the animal.

4. Hair clippers to clip heavy ordirty hair from the site to be branded.


These are a list of techniques that should be followed to ensure success when

hot iron hide branding:

1. Brand only yearling and older cattle.

2. Restrain the animal in a good squeeze chute.

3. Select the desired site for branding.

4. Clip long and heavy or dirty hair from the branding site.

5. Brand only dry cattle; wet or damp animals cannot be successfully


branded due to scalding and excessive scarring of the wet hide.

6. Brand when flies are not a problem.

7. Heat irons to the correct temperature; irons should be heated until

they glow a cherry-red color and then air-cooled until they appear an

ash-grey color before applying to the hide; an iron that is too hot

easily burns through the skin causing bleeding and excessive scarring.

8. Hold the hot iron firmly to the branding site until the branded area is

a rich buckskin or tan copper color (approximately 3-5 seconds).



Alvin C. Warnick
Department of Animal Science
University of Florida

The objective of pregnancy diagnosis is to know for certain if a cow
is pregnant or not pregnant early so constructive management decisions can
be made to increase herd production. Also, anatomical abnormalities may
be detected in the nonpregnant cow.

Facilities and equipment needed for pregnancy diagnosis are not
expensive and usually are available on most farms and ranches. Adequate
working pens and chutes are necessary in which individual cows can be
restrained for the examination. A squeeze chute is best so the cow cannot
move and her head is not put in the head squeeze. A gate which can be
closed in back of the palpator and allows easy access to the back of the
cow is important. If a squeeze chute is not available, a narrow chute
can be used where a gate is closed ahead of the cow and a small pole of
pipe is put back of the cow to avoid undue movement.

Palpation should be done in the early fall, about two to three months
after the end of the breeding season, when cows are being worked for other
reasons to avoid an extra handling. The examination consists of a rectal
diagnosis where the gloved hand and arm are inserted into the rectum to
feel the reproductive tract. The fingers feel the cervix and uterus
through the thin rectal wall. The pregnant uterus will be located beyond
the pelvic canal, filled with fluid and the fetus. The size of the fetus
will depend upon its age and after 90 days the head of the fetus will be
prominent. In some cases where the fetus is resting on its back in the
abdominal cavity you may feel the pulsation of the uterine artery to :
confirm pregnancy.

The nonpregnant tract will be located in the pelvic canal or just
over the pelvic brim and will be small with no fluid or contents in the
uterus. The two uterine horns will be equal size. An experienced
palpator should be able to check 400 to 600 cows per day depending on
handling facilities, labor and percentage of pregnancy. It takes
longer to do a nonpregnant cow.

After the diagnosis, the nonpregnant should be identified by some
means so she can be separated from the pregnant cows. It would be best if
all nonpregnant cows could be culled to avoid the cost of wintering a
nonproductive cow. Remember, if a nonpregnant cow is held to the next
breeding season, it will be two years before you get any calf income if
she gets pregnant the next breeding season.

The value of pregnancy diagnosis and culling the nonpregnant cows
was shown by work at the Beef Research Unit in Gainesville, where the
pregnancy percentage increased from 45% to over 90% during an eight year
period. Also, calf weaning weights increased over 100 pounds and there
was an increase in one full quality grade.



Proper Procedure of Vaccination, Dehorning and Castration

Vaccination: A specific vaccination program should be planned with your

veterinarian because they are familiar with disease problems in the area.

Diseases that occur frequently all over the state and, therefore, should

be vaccinated against are: 1) Three-way Clostridium, Clostridium chauvei

(Blackleg), septicum (malignant edema) and novyi (Black disease). If

grain will be fed to the calf it should be vaccinated with the Clostridium

seven-way vaccine.

Vaccinate calves anytime after 4 months of age. Revaccinate replace-

ment breeding animals the following year.

Vibriosis in breeding animals only. The immunity from this vaccine

is short (approximately 4 months), therefore, give vaccine 2 weeks to 1 month

prior to the breeding season. Vaccinate annually.

Brucellosis consult with your veterinarian regarding recommended time

but must be done before the heifer is one year old.

Leptospirosis in tests conducted by the School of Veterinary Medicine,

University of Florida, Lepto, harjo and Pomona were the species usually

found. Very rarely was Lepto grippotyplosa, icterohaemorrhagiae or canicola


To produce immunity vaccines must be of good quality when given to a

susceptible animal. Heat and sunlight cause deterioration of the product.

Precautions to minimize deterioration will insure a higher quality vaccine.

Modified live vaccines (IBR, BVD, PI3) are more fragile than bactrins and

should not be reconstituted more than one hour before use. Do not use dis-

infectants with modified live vaccines; they will kill the vaccine.

The best protection of all vaccines or bactrins is to keep them refrig-

erated in a styrofoam cooler until ready to be used.


The use of clean boiled needles and syringes for injecting modified live

vaccines, IBR, PI3, BVD is important. To reiterate, do not use any disinfectant

on this equipment as it will kill the vaccine. Disinfectants should be used on

castration equipment, dehorners and balling guns.

Dehorning: Calves should be dehorned young in order to minimize stress and

blood loss. Be sure to remove approximately inch of skin completely around

each horn. If all the horn is not removed deformed horn growth will occur.

If blood spurts from veins, blood loss can be reduced by grasping the vein

with forceps and pull it until it breaks off, or cauterize with a hot iron.

If stocker calves (300-500 Ibs) are purchased to graze small grain

pasture for a limited time. Remove just the tip of the horn (approximately

1 inch). Complete dehorning of an animal that size will cause reduction

of weight gain for approximately a month.

Castration: Remove of the scrotum, place an emasculator that crushes the

cord above the testicle. This reduces bleeding. Trim excessive fat to

insure good drainage. A blood clot in the scrotum will cause a severe



Minimum Tillage Concepts, Terminology and PJanting Equipment

D. L. Wright, Extension Agronomist

Many different phrases and terms describe no-till and minimum till planting
of crops. This type of farming has increased significantly in the Southeast since
more than one crop is grown on much of the land in the same year making time
saving practices important. Usually, the time, labor and energy savings received
from no-till planting are more important for the second crop planting during early
or mid-summer than on the crop planted in the fall or early spring. Besides,
adding extra days to the growing season of the summer planted crop, with no-tillage
practices, soil and water are conserved, machinery costs and maintenance are reduced,
and more acres can be farmed on more hilly land.

No-till planting can increase the nutrient holding capacity of soils as organic
matter bulds up in the top soil layer. The organic matter is highly charged which
holds nutrients in the root zone that might otherwise be leached out. Experiments
are underway where wheat is no-till drilled into soybean stubble after harvest, and
then soybeans are no-till planted back into the wheat stubble after harvest. This
practice allows year round soil cover and rotations with grain sorghum can be
accomplished. Corn may also fit into the rotation by planting in early spring after
fall harvesting of the soybeans.

Crops that have been successfully grown no-till after wheat harvest in May
include: soybeans, grain, sorghum, peanuts, and cotton. Where corn is to be
no-till planted the following year, residue from the previous crop may be used
to no-till into.

Acreage of no-till plant crops has increased rapidly in the past 4 years
in Florida. The increase in acreage has been due to better chemicals, weed con-
trol programs and better spray equipment such as the shielded directed spray rigs
that allows the grower to get back in to control weeds much earlier than before.

Conservation tillage terminology has developed over many years and may vary
in different regions of the country.

No-Tillage is a system where a crop is planted directly into a previous crop residue
without any tillage between harvest or kill down of the first crop and planting of the
next crop. Other terms for no-tillage are slot plant, sod plant, and zero tillage.

Conservation tillage is a system where a good crop growing environment is created
while minimizing soil and water loss through use of crop residues, and other physical
barriers to water and soil runoff.

Minimum tillage is a system where a minimum number of tillage operations are per-
formed between the last harvested crop and the crop to be planted to assure a good
seedbed for germination and growth. This system means less tillage than would
normally be used with conventional tillage systems.

Stubble or Mulch tillage is a system where mulch from the previous crop is
left on the soil surface both before and after crop establishment and may be used
interchangeably with no-tillage.


No-Till Planters (cont.)

Hiniker Company
Box 3407
Mankato, Minnesota 56001

International Harvester Company
401 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611

No-Till Drills

Great Plains
Great Plains Mfg. Inc.
Box 218
Assaria, Kansas 67416

Kelly Mfg. Company
Drawer 1467
Tifton, Georgia 31794

Hayb.uster Mfg. Inc.
Box 1950
Jamestown, North Dakota

Crust Buster
Box 337
Spearville, Kansas 67876

Box 1406
Jonesboro, Arkansas


The Tye Company
Box 218
Lockney, Texas 79241

Midland Mfg. Company
Electric Mills, Mississippi

John Deere
Deere and Company
John Deere Road
Moline, Illinois 61265




Production of Florida 77 Alfalfa for North Florida

E. J. Golding
Agricultural Research and Education Center
Quincy, Florida 32351


The word "alfalfa" comes to us from the Arabic language, where it means "best
fodder." This perennial legume, also known by the scientific name Medicago sativa
L., provides highly-productive stands of nutritious, palatable forage when grown
on well-drained soils of good water-holding capacity. As it is capable of develop-
ing a deep root system which makes it quite drought tolerant, alfalfa should not be
grown on soils which have a highly developed hardpan. It will tolerate neither
flooding, nor a water table which is close to the soil surface. Producing and main-
taining an economically productive stand of alfalfa requires close attention to field
and variety selection, seedbed preparation, seed inoculation, soil fertility, weed
and insect control and harvest management.

In 1969, the Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations released "Florida 66"
alfalfa, a highly-productive, persistent variety which unfortunately proved in-
capable of producing seed in the western seed-producing areas of Arizona and
California, due to its susceptibility to the spotted alfalfa aphid. Now, however,
"Florida 77" alfalfa has been developed, and its seed is available to producers.
This variety is resistant to the spotted alfalfa aphid, and is more productive and
persistent than its forerunner. "Florida 77" alfalfa exhibits an erect growth habit,
and develops purple flowers at blooming. It grows actively during the cool season
in Florida, rather than becoming dormant for the winter. It is described, therefore,
as a non-hardy variety, and is not suitable for areas which experience severe
winters. Heavy frosts will kill the new growth, but do not damage the crown or root
systems; thus, the plants recover rapidly Productivity of "Florida 77" alfalfa is
high in March, April and May, but tends to slow down in July and August due to
high temperatures and humidity. It has performed very well when tested against
other alfalfa varieties on Arredondo fine sand at Gainesville, on the flatwood soils
at Immokalee (here it behaves as an annual on the poorly-drained soils), in central
and southern Alabama, and in Georgia. At Gainesville, dry-matter-production
results were especially favorable to "Florida 77" during the second and third years
of the study (Table 1). This, together with its high stand percentage at the start

Table 1. Dry-Matter Production and Stand Persistence of Alfalfa Varieties Grown
for Three Years at Gainesville, Florida.
Dry-Matter Production (tons/acre)
1977 1978 1979 3-Year Total % Stand
Variety (7 cuts) (8 cuts) (5 cuts) (20 cuts) (January 1979)

Florida 77 3.86* 4.66** 3.95** 12.47 81
Florida 66 3.37* 3.88 3.10 10.35 65
Vangard 3.84* 3.72 1.97 9.53 38
Apollo 3.01 3.44 1.55 8.00 50
Hairy Peruvian 3.14* 2.87 0.95 6.96 13
*AII equal in 1977.
**Highest in 1978 and 1979.
From Horner and Ruelke, 1980.


of the third year, gives evidence of the good persistence of "Florida 77" alfalfa. As
plants die out, the remaining plants develop larger crowns which fill in the empty
space. Still, the better the initial stand, the better the chance that a stand will last
for three years or more.


If a stand of "Florida 77" alfalfa is to prove successful, careful attention must be
paid to its lime and fertilizer requirements. This holds true not only at planting
time, but also after harvests and throughout the life of the stand.

At the time of initial planting, the soil pH should be in the range of 6.5 to 7.0
in the top six to 10 inches, and available calcium as CaO must be at least 1200 pounds
per acre. Attainment of these levels probably will require addition of agricultural
limestone to the soil at least two to six months prior to planting. If available magne-
sium as MgO is less than 100 pounds per acre, dolomitic lime should be used. During
the two to six months prior to planting, it probably is best to split the required lime
into several applications, each of which is incorporated into the soil to plow depth.
This will produce a more uniform soil pH than one large application. An acceptable
alternative might be to first plow in one half of the required lime, and later disk the
other half into the top four to six inches of soil. Additional lime should then be
applied as needed throughout the life of the stand according to soil test.

Attention also must be given to attaining and maintaining the correct levels of
soil phosphorus and potassium, as these nutrients affect plant vigor, regrowth
after harvest, forage quality, early growth in spring and stand persistence. Prior
to planting time, 500 pounds per acre of 0-10-20 should be applied as starter fertilizer.
This is best applied in split applications and incorporated into the soil to plow depth,
though band application of phosphorus prior to seeding has given good results on
soils which normally are low in P. After a stand has become established, four tons of
dry matter per acre per year of "Florida 77" alfalfa have been produced at Gainesville
by applying 100 to 150 pounds of P205 and 150 to 200 pounds of K20 per acre per
year. One half of these amounts was applied in the spring and the other half in the
fall, and the higher levels were used if deficiencies were noted. As a supplement to
these amounts, it also is recommended that 250 pounds per acre of 0-10-20 be applied
after each harvest if the alfalfa is removed from the field as green chop, hay or
silage, rather than grazed. This practice should increase dry-matter yields and
stand persistence in the second and subsequent years of the stand. An alternative
to help cut production costs would be to apply 500 pounds per acre of 0-10-20 after
removal of every second harvest.

With regard to sulfur, 45 pounds per acre per year included in simple superphos-
phate or applied as potassium sulfate or magnesium sulfate probably will meet the
needs of "Florida 77" alfalfa, though more may be required on the sandier soils.
Application of one half of the sulfur in the spring and the other half in the fall is
probably the best method to follow.

The micronutrient needs of alfalfa also must be met if initial and continued pro-
ductivity of the stand is to be assured. These nutrients include boron, copper, iron,
manganese, molybdenum and zinc. Boron, which is deficient in most Florida soils for
alfalfa production, can be applied as borax at the rate of 20 pounds per acre per
year as a means of avoiding "alfalfa yellows", which is characterized by a general
yellowing and dropping of leaves due to boron deficiency. However, boron applied in
this form is quite soluble, and is susceptible to rapid leaching, especially in sandy
soils. Probably the best way to apply boron to alfalfa is in the fritted form, since this
allows it to become slowly available over a long period of time. Also, the other micro-


nutrients generally are included with fritted boron in a complete micronutrient mix,
though they are not necessarily fritted (see handout). The application of such a
mix at the rate of 20 pounds per acre prior to planting and then on a yearly basis
probably would be sufficient to meet all of the micronutrient needs of "Florida 77"
alfalfa, including boron. However, since the micronutrients, with the apparent
exception of molybdenum, are less available at high pH, higher rates of micronutrient
mixes may be required if soil pH is above 7.0 Frequent analysis of soil samples and/
or forage samples will be a great help in determining the amounts of micronutrients,
as well as other required nutrients and lime, which should be added to the soil to assure
a productive, persistent stand of "Florida 77" alfalfa.


In north Florida, alfalfa should be seeded between September 15 and November 1.
This generally will allow it to become well established before the time of first frost.
Seeding during a relatively cool, dry period will reduce the chance of damping off of
young plants; however, soil moisture should be adequate to support seed germination
within five days of planting.

The area to be planted to alfalfa needs to be well-drained, and should be fallowed
for at least 30 to 60 days prior to planting. Any plant material present from a
previous crop should be well-decayed. The seedbed should be well-worked, leveled
and compacted with a cultipacker or similar implement. The area may be disked
lightly between 15 and 30 days prior to seeding to control weeds, and if a pre-plant
herbicide is to be applied, it should be incorporated at this time and the soil firmed.
The area should not be disturbed again prior to seeding.

Just before planting, the seed should be inoculated with a fresh supply of the
alfalfa-sweetclover cross-inoculation group of bacteria. For seeding into sandy soils,
twice the amount of inoculant recommended on the package should be used. Use of a
sticking agent will help to adhere a sufficient quantity of inoculant to the seed. Care
must be taken when buying inoculant, and, apart from making sure to buy the correct
strain, inoculant which is out of date or in a bag with a broken seal should not be
purchased. Prior to use, inoculant should be stored in a cool, dry place, such as a
refrigerator. Alfalfa seed that has been pre-coated with inoculant is now being sold
by some seed companies. This seed apparently is acceptable only if the pre-coating
was done within 30 days of the planting date, so be sure to check the label for the
coating date before buying such seed.

The proper seeding rate for "Florida 77" alfalfa is from 10 to 13 pounds per acre
when the seed is drilled in in rows which are from six to 10 inches apart. The seed
should be placed at a depth of three-fourths of an inch (0.75 inch), and the soil
should then be firmly packed. If no drill is available, the seed may be broadcast,
lightly harrowed in and then cultipacked. With this method, from 18 to 22 pounds of
seed should be planted per acre, since much of the seed will be planted either too
shallow or too deep.

Weed Control

The majority of the problems with weeds in a stand of "Florida 77" alfalfa will be
presented by warm-season grasses and broadleaf species between planting time and
bloom stage. This will be especially true if seeding is done early during a warm fall.
After the stand becomes established, well-managed alfalfa should compete very
successfully with weed species, though wild mustard also may present problems during
the stand's first winter.


A list of herbicides which are recommended for use with "Florida 77" alfalfa,
as well as the amounts which should be applied, is found in Table 2 of the Circular
S-271 handout (see page 7).


Problems with insects probably will be most numerous during the spring and
fall growing seasons, and stands should be checked regularly during these times
as insect populations can build up rapidly if not detected and controlled. Alabama
researchers feel that damage due to nematodes is one reason that alfalfa historically
has not performed well in the southeast. They have evidence of 25 percent stand
reductions due to nematodes at two years after planting, and 67 percent in the third
year. Thus, stands should be checked carefully for suspected nematode damage.

From February to June, the most serious insect problems may be presented by
the alfalfa weevil, as the blood-red lady beetle apparently checks other potential
pests during this time. During the fall, from September through November,loopers,
fall armyworms, corn earworms, beet armyworms and velvetbean caterpillars may
pose serious threats. Pesticides and recommendations for their use in controlling
these insects, including the alfalfa weevil, can be found in Table 3 of the Circular
S-271 handout (see page 10).

An alternative to the use of pesticides for controlling insect outbreaks in
alfalfa may be good harvest management. If a large buildup of pests is noticed a
few days before a scheduled harvest, cutting could be moved forward instead of
waiting for the scheduled date. Pests then generally will die before the new growth
of alfalfa begins.


Several diseases caused by fungi can damage various parts of the alfalfa plant
in Florida, but no control by use of fungicides is recommended currently. Though
rust may cause some problems, apparently it is not much of an economic problem
if harvest is not delayed beyond the early bloom stage. "Florida 77" alfalfa is
highly tolerant of Fusarium wilt.

Harvest Management

To achieve the highest forage yields and the longest stand life, the first harvest
of "Florida 77" alfalfa after planting should not be done until bloom stage, in order
to let the stand become well established. This means that if planting is done in the
fall, the first harvest should not be done until early spring of the next year. So
that stand persistence is not impaired, plants generally should be cut at two to four
inches above the soil surface when the stand has reached full bloom (Table 2).

Table 2. Effects of Stubble Height and Maturity Stage at Time
of Cutting on Persistence of "Florida 66" Alfalfa.
Treatment 1969 1970 1971
----living plants per 2 ft. row----
2-inch stubble 25.2 7.8 4.2
4-inch stubble 24.5 7.2 4.4
Cut at 1st bloom 25.6 7.5 2.8
Cut at full bloom 24.2 7.5 5.8
From Ruelke and Prine, 1972


Cutting at two inches above the soil probably will increase the annual dry-matter
(Table 3), TDN and crude protein production per acre (Table 4), but may result in
harvesting forage of lower quality. Thus, cutting height and stage at cutting may be
Table 3. Effects of Stubble Height and Maturity Stage at Time of
Cutting on Dry-Matter Yield of "Florida 66" Alfalfa.
Year 3-Year
Treatment 1969 1970 1971 Total
----------tons of dry matter per acre----------
2-inch stubble 6.6 6.6 4.6 17.8
4-inch stubble 5.0 5.3 4.1 14.4
Cut at 1st bloom 5.6 6.3 3.3 15.2
Cut at full bloom 6.0 5.6 5.5 17.1
From Ruelke and Prine, 1972.

Table 4. Effects of Stubble Height and Maturity Stag
ting on Quality and Yields of TDN and Cruc
"Florida 66" Alfalfa in 1970.

;e at Time of Cut-
ie Protein of

Organic Matter TDN Crude Protein Crude Protein
Treatment Digestibility (%)a (t/a)b (%of DM)c (tla)

2-inch stubble 56.4 3.4 16.0 1.1
4-inch stubble 61.1 2.9 17.4 0.9
Cut at 1st bloom 60.4 3.4 17.4 1.1
Cut at full bloom 57.0 2.9 16.0 0.9

From Ruelke and Prine, 1972.
aln-vitro. bTons per acre. CPercent of dry matter.

determined by the desires and situation of the producer. If high-quality forage is
desired at the expense of higher yields and more persistent stands, then cutting
will be higher and at an earlier stage; however, if high yields and long-lived stands
are desired, forage quality must be somewhat reduced by cutting lower and at a later
growth stage. In any event, cutting should be done no later than full bloom, since
this results in forage of quite low quality, and is also harmful to the stand as new crown
growth may be removed with the harvest, thus exhausting root reserves of carbohydrates.
During the active growing season, harvests generally will be made at four to six week
intervals. If hay is being produced, drying time may be reduced by as much as 50 per-
cent, and hay quality increased, by using a crimper or roller-conditioner when cutting.

At present, no information is available on the grazing of "Florida 77" alfalfa.
However, it almost certainly would be necessary to use rotational or strip grazing
in order to allow the plants to recover between defoliations. Also, fertilizer require-
ments probably would be reduced under grazing, since the animals would be recycling
nutrients while on the pasture.


As readily can be appreciated, economically successful production of "Florida 77"
alfalfa is an endeavor which requires a continued, high level of inputs and management.
Thus, it is recommended that first-year producers plant only small areas, and then in-
crease their acreages in following years as their knowledge and management skills also