Information Pertinent to
BEEF CATTLE PRODUCTION IN THE EVERGLADES
The particular divisions )df research are dealt with
by those persons directly responsible for that sec-
tion, with the report being compiled and edited by
Herbert L. Chapman, Jr., Assistant Animal Husbandman.
Mimeographed Report No. 52-1
Everglades Experiment Station
Belle GLade, Florida
October 10, 1952
COPPER DEFICIENCY IN CATTLE ON EVERGLADES AND OTHER 1UCK PASTURES
R. W. KIDDER, ASSOCIATE ANIMAL IUJSBANDMA
EVERGLADES EXPERImENT STATION
The principle key to successful cattle raising on Florida muck soils is preven-
tion of copper deficiency. It is recognized that copper requirements of cattle
are associated with molybdenum toxicity, that cobalt helps the animal to use what
copper is available and that any shortage of phosphorus makes copper deficiency
more acute. It has been found that cattle on muck soil must consume from 2 to 5
times as much copper as is required by cattle on most of the mineral soils of the
State. If the animal does not consume enough copper, it will develop bony rings
above its ankles, a severe diarrhea, a faded or bleached hair coat and will stop
growing. The more advanced cases of copper deficiency develop the pacing gait,
cows fail to conceive or else produce very weak calves and calves from such cows
have very soft or brittle bones. No animal has been observed that died from
voluntary consumption of salt mixtures containing relatively high levels of copper.
Cattle can be injured by force feeding too much copper sulfate or by getting
copper drenches in their lungs, or by putting too much copper sulfate in their
THE VALUE OF CITRUS PRODUCTS FOR FATTENING STEERS ON -EVLCLADDS PASTURE
R. W. KIDDER, ASSOCIATE ANIMAL HUSBANDMAN
EVERCLADES EXPERIMENT STATION
Pasture grass is the most economical feed for cattle and how to get the most re-
turns from the use of grass constitutes one of the major issues at the Everglades
Station. The feeding records indicate that the use of some supplementary concen-
trate feeds for fattening steers has increased the return from pasture over fin-
ishing on grass alone. In this series of trials citrus molasses was compared with
blackstrap and citrus pulp with ground snapped corn. The only feed used not grown
in Florida was the cottonseed meal fed during the third trial.
In each trial, 50 steers were divided into 5 lots of 10 steers each and given 4
acres of Roselawn St. Augustine grass for each 10 head. Lot I was given black-
strap molasses in a shallow trough from an inverted drum. Lot II received citrus
molasses in the same way. Lot III had a divided feeder with citrus molasses and
blackstrap molasses both available. Lot IV was fed 5 pounds of ground snapped
corn per steer daily and Lot V was fed the same amount of citrus pulp.
Blackstrap molasses was supplied by the U. S. Sugar Corporation, Clewiston, and
the citrus products were furnished by the members of the Citrus Processors Asso-
ciation. The corn was both grown on the Station and purchased locally.
In the first trial, (October, 1950 to January, 1951) the rate of gain was less
than anticipated in all 5 lots. In the first place there was a possibility of de-
ficiency of protein in the grass at that season of the year. Second, these steers
consumed enough molasses to make any protein deficiency more acute and to reduce
the consumption of grass. By trial and error it was determined that the removal
of the 1/2 inch plug reduced the flow of citrus molasses from the barrel, thereby
decreasing consumption rates, It was discovered at time of slaughter that these
steers had previously been affected with photosensitization from Bermuda grass,
which may have affected their ability to gain.
The second trial (February, 1951 to June, 1951) the cattle made a better gain
record and the methods of feeding citrus molasses worked out for the first trial
kept the rate of consumption about the same for citrus and blackstrap. When com-
bined as in Lot III the cattle ate the same amount of citrus molasses as Lot II
and 2 pounds per steer daily of blackstrap, also. The protein in the grass seemed
adequate so this increased their rate of gain to about the same as the corn grourj,
Grass consumption was about equal between lots.
In the third trial, (October, 1951 to February, 1952) cottonseed meal was added ti;
the rate of one pound per head daily to all 5 lots. This made possible about the
same rate of gain as was obtained in the second trial. Here again the steers in
Lot III having access to both kinds of molasses failed to consume as much grass al
the other lots and therefore did not gain as much as those on either molasses a:n.
Average result of the three trials are shown in the accompanying table. One
steer in each trial failed to complete the test but were in different lots each
time. There were no great differences between lots in average daily gain or in
total digestible nutrients consumed. When the cattle consumed more than 4 1/2
pounds of nutrients in the supplement they reduced their grass consumption. It
would appear that cattle in the 700 to 800 pound class on good pasture will use
economically 4 to 4 1/2 pounds of total digestible nutrients daily in the concen-
trate supplement with good pasture.
When calculated on the basis of feed required to produce 100 pounds gain the
steers in Lot IV on ground snapped corn were most efficient with the citrus pulp
group a close second. Steers on blackstrap molasses required 588 pounds with
pasture for 100 pounds gain while those on citrus molasses required 695 pounds,
The combination of blackstrap and citrus molasses was not as efficient as either
Fattening steers on St. Augustine Grass with Supplemental Ground Snapped Corn,
Citrus Pulp, Citrus Molasses and Blackstrap Molasses.
Average of Three Trials, Oct. 1950 to Jan. 1951, Feb. 1951 to
Oct. 1951 to Feb. 1952. Average feeding period 122 days.
June 1951, and
Hation Lot I Lot II Lot III Lot I Lot V.
Blackstrap Citrus Blackstrap Ground Citrus
Molasses Molasses and Citrus Snapped Pulp
Number of Steers per Lot 29 29 30 30 29
pounds pounds pounds pounds pounds
Av. Initial wt. per Steer 655.4 658.2 649.0 665.8 662.7
Av. Final wt. per Steer 795,5 794.8 800.9 809.2 794.7
Av. Total Gain per Steer 140.1 136.7 151.9 143.3 132.0
Av. Daily Gain per Steer 1.15 1.12 1.27 1.17 1.08
Average Daily Ration / Steer
Blackstrap Molasses 6.77 -- 2.73 --
Citrus Molasses -- 7.79 7.13 --
Ground Snapped Corn -- --- 5.06 --
Citrus Pulp 4.,92
Cottonseed meal* 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34 0.34
St. Augustine Grass 50.5 45.5 40.5 55.5 51.5
Av. Daily Ration per Steer in Total Digestible Nutrients:
Blackstrap Kolasses .10 -- 1.65 --
Citrus Molasses -- 4.2 l4.04 --
Ground Snapped Corn 3.71 -
Citrus Pulp 3.79
Cottonseed meal 0.21 0.21 0.21 0.21 0.21
t, Augustine grass 5.94 5775 4.85 6.56 6.10
lotal -0To25 10.3 ~I0 .75 "iTo0.U 10.1
Av. Feed Intake per 100 Pounds Gain:
Blackstrap Molasses 588.6 -- 21.8 --
Citrus -- 695.5 501.4 --
Ground Snapped Corn -- 32.5 --
Citrus Pulp 455.6
Cottonseed Meal* 29.6 30.36 25.98 28.2 32-,.8
St, Augustine grass 4351.3 4325.0 3217.3 4723.1 475%83'
R Cottonseed meal fed only in the third trial,
PUREBRED' AND CROSSBRED BEEF CATTLE IN TIE EVERCLADES STATION HERD
R. W. KIDDER, ASSOC. AN. HUS. AND H. L. CHAPMAN, ASSIST. AN. HUS.
Three purebred herds of beef cattle are maintained at the Station--Devon, Brah-
man and Anyis. The growth records of these are being compared with their re-
ciprocal crossbred progeny under as uniform a system of management as possible,
to evaluate any differences due to breeding, These crossbred cattle between
Brahman and Devon, and Brahman and Angus, are being carried to the third generation
in such ways as will produce animals which are 3/3 Brahman and 5/8 Devon or Angus.
In obtaining these third generation crosses the animals in the second generation
are necessarily either 3/4 Brahman, 1/h Devon, or 1/4 Brahman, 3/4 Devon. Thus to
get the pedigree desired in the third generation, it becomes necessary to breed
3/4 Brahman 1/4 Devon to purebred Devon or 1/ Brahman 3/h Devon to a selected
first generation crossbred sire. The accompanying chart will help to explain
the breeding programs in use. In the Angus crosses all of the second generation
females will be sired by purebred Brahman and these will be bred to Angus to get
the third generation. In the Devon herd a few first cross cows are being bred
to a first cross sire to find out whether or not the vigor, conformation and
growth rate can be maintained in second generation cattle which are half Brahman
and half Devon.
When a large number of animals have been developed in the third generation the
plan is to select and mate within the group to establish beef conformation, adapta-
bility to the climatic environment of southern Florida, growth rates, size and
if possible a uniform type and perhaps color, In using the polled strain of De-
von there is a possibility that many of the animals will not have horns,
Diagram of cross breeding program for the Brahman and Devon breeds&
Devon Male x Brahman Female
F2 3/h Devon x 1/h Brahman
Brahman Male x Devon Female
-1/2Devon x 1/2 Brahman'
/" i Brahman
1/2 Devon x 1/2 Brahman
/1 3/4 Brahman x 1AP Devon
1/2 Devon x 1/2 Brahman
1/2 Devon x 1/2 Brahman
5/8 Devon x 3/8
-* *** **** *--
FERTILIZER REQUIREMENTS FOR PASTURE ON PEAT AND MUCK SOILS
%i.T. Forsee, Jr., C1e.ni.Tt
Everglades Experiment Station
The fertilizing of pasture grasses requires i.ore than maximum forage production.
The mineral requirements of the animals uri-.in;.v the grass must be satisfied
also and the requirements of the latter nay be more than that found in the forage
when only the amounts necessary for maximum forage production are used. This
is especially true on soils low in minera/contenb such as peats and, to a
lesser extent, muck soils. Since the minerals normally included in the mixed
fertilizers are the ones of primary interest in a discussion of fertilizer re-
quirements, these vill be discussed individually.
NITROGEN.--Everglades soils contain about 3 percent nitrogen but this is tied
up in the protein and other nitrogen compounds comprising the organic portions
of the soil. Its use by the grass is dependent upon the neutral oxidation of
the soil which releases the nitrogen in an ammonical form, which is in turn
converted by nitrifying organisms to nitrate. As nitrates, this element is
subject to rapid leaching by heavy rains and thus there may be periods of
temporary nitrogen shortage. Under normal conditions these natural processes
of nitrification take place rapidly enough to completely satisfy the require-
ments of pasture grasses. In fact on loose textured soils this process may be
so rapid as to cause a build-up of nitrates to such an Gxtont as to allow the
grass to become toxic causing nitrate poisoning. Older pastures may become
packed or high water tables may exclude air from the soil to such an extent that
nitrogen may become deficient. This has been observed at intervals primarily
on some areas of old St. Augustine sod and usually occu;'s during the early spring
when the growth rate speeds up and vhile the soil temperatures are still at
their winter time low. At this time such areas may respond to applications
of inorganic nitrogen. Also the same response may be induced by aeration of
the soil by some mechanical means to induce more rapid nitrification which has
been slowed down by a lack of oxygen and cold breather. Normally, no nitrogen
is recommended in fertilizers for pastures on peat and muck soils.
PHOSPHOROUS.--This element is present in sufficient quantities in most virgin
peat soils to give maximum growth response. However, the phosphate content of the
herbage will be increased by soil applications of some phosphate thus resulting
in a more nutritious forage. As the soils become more thoroughly decoruosed
certain minerals may be released that tend to fix phosphates. Under sucb ,*on-
ditions the phc-phate requirements of the grasses increase. Experiments are
now under way with St. Augustine and Pangola grasses to determine, the yield and
quality responses of these grasses to applications of superphosphate app'.ied
in whatever amounts that may be necessary to hold the soils af various phosphate
levels as determined by soil tests. At present a somrehat eri-trary soil test
value of 6 pounds per acre of water soluble phosphorous is being recommended
as the miniirmm level that should be maintained in the soil in order to have
macximm. forage production and a sabis.fas!.; r phosphate level in the grass. The
present standard fertilizer recommendations include 6 to 8 percent P2Og in
fertilizers for new peat soils and 12 percent for muck and older peat soils
POTASSIUM.-~Virgin soils are very low in potash and rather heavy applications
are required to ob-tin m-axin-un production of grasses. Due bo the very high
exchange capaciAt of peat soils, potash does not leach appreciably and grass
crops may utilize any amounts of residual potash that may be present on older
soils as a result of previous fertilizer treatments. Frequently on areas pre-
viously used for heavily fertilized vegetable crops no potash is required for
pasture grasses, sometimes for as long as five or six years. Previous fertility
experiments have indicated a minimum soil test level of 60 pounds per acre of
acid soluble potassium may be required for maximum growth of grass. Experiments
are now under way to determine more speciflc.a2ly the minimum soil test pntash
levels necessary for St. Augustine and PnargoJ.a grasses. The standard recornaen-
dations now include 2). percent P205 in fertilizer for pastures on virgin peat
and 16 percent Cor muck and older peat soilso
,-it-1 t5o, 1.5 3m, ,1.0 Z,0 d 0.
,---16 -16 00th 0 C.
dquate water ontro is a prime requi
is oni o th0 a les
Principle pasture problems are (1) Maintaining uniform summer and winter grazing,
especially during the Dec. Jan. period and after frost; and (2) Proper fer-
tilization with reference to amounts, balance, minor elements, and split applica-
tions in relation to soil type and available mositure.
Research in progress or planned which is directed at a solution of these problems
includes: (1) Introduction of fast growing and hardy winter annual crops, and
the testing of these crops under grazing; (2) study of methods of interplanting
these crops into established pastures; (3) Experiments to determine maximum
amounts of fertilizer which can be economically used,
Small plot results indicate that Red, Crimson, Subterranean and Ladino clovers,
and Alfalfa will outyield La. 1ihite clover by a considerable amount. These
clovers planted with Pangola do not suffer from grass competition during the
winter and they furnish nitrogen to stimulate the grass in the spring and to
carry it through most of the summer. Only the early Red Clover shown any
promise of natural reseeding. Haoever, increase in production may offset cost
of annual replanting, especially when economical and positive methods of
planting are worked out, and if adequate water control is available.
SUPPLEMENTARY CONCENTRATES FOR THE EVERGLADES
Victor E. Green, Jr., Assistant Agronomist
Everglades Experiment Station
At present there are about 1600 corn lines under test. Selections are
being made for resistance to Helminthosporium, shuck coverage, stalk height,
ear height, lodging, yield, hardness and keeping quality.
It is believed that samll on-the-farm dryers will be necessary to properly
dry and keep corn.
Early planting is usually necessary (Feb. 1-March 30). Yields drop drastically
when the crop is planted later.
Released varieties showing up well in Belle Glade-Corneli (Cuba) 11, Funk G-737,
Big Joe (if seed are not selected for characters), Texas 28 and Texas 30*
Light is a vital factor in obtaining large yields. More than 17000 plants per
acre are not recommended. A table for caldulating number of plants per acre for
different spacings and row widths follows:
Row Viidth Distance between Plants Liniar feet of No. of 4 mile
6" 9" 12" 15" row per acre. rows per acre
3 ft. 29010 21780 14520 10890 .14520 10
3- ft. 24890 18667 12144 9334 1214h 9.4
4 ft. 21780 16335 10890 8168 10890 8.3
Hill dropping with 2 or 3 plants to the hill with the hills further apart has
been shown to give plant that resist more wind damage.
Moving corn north-lengthens the stalk
Moving corn south--shortens the stalk
Moving corn east and wes--usually works better if climate is the same
in both locations.
2. Grain Sorghum
Characteristics for good grain sorghum:
1. Resistance to Helminthosporium
2. Combine ability--short, small stalks
4. Open head that discourages mold#
5. High yield.
80 bushels per acre of grain have been obtained from sorghum at the Experiment
Sha0 s yi0ldd e ahen plant so as to
hoee of corn, .e be wanted in 3-foot r Is,
0000000030 0 00.0
to be proitable in the Everglads If
i adItion to te muck; rice is an
W busohls er acre o
CGlifornia e.e.ago. 7
1.o is not suject 0 Aseek ad -oeases as mh as cn or sor...gh
o, -uner t.t..
No sitable haetig aMhnsr
e0t Pe0ter ,et
PASSTM ISGAOTIO, S-AT EVERLDES SEXPIEi STATION
une 25, 1951 Ju0e 24, 1952
St. Aousn0 5 548.7 l39.6 101o9 1,,6 9,684 2089
PaM la 3 97.9 17009.0 1070.6 I.08 67,556 1 0O
Carib 5 539.5 8.7 1030.3 1.3 61,812 1981
Para 5 55,.2 7777.3 8O0.9 1.08 5i,4o5 1056
Goast~rmuda 5 533.5 852.2 659.9 0.79 52,279 1396
00mal 0port oa0da Agri0 tedl m station 1948.
rese pasture trials cnaltd of a as.
elaeno puble thot -e ,o
o rder to offer forth- 2-ing a.a to t-tlrn of th e a hei
pest 0 -oo -
00asi5? .0 '0 -0 00.0.
t---- 5h... 2.. W 26
bA00t 54.a 73.50 2,42 575
5A 52.7 21.8 1.07 3754
0 .05 4W93
7 St, t- 98,6 2.95 W66
ai 567 8 .h 72
B A Cs g U"-
-- .M N'.03M.00 l~
-T. 1/-06, 00-
A0-- 0 Oaot 0
*RPir~J 00teni ~0:1 030,0 '-o000000
Another condition, Photosensitization, develops following a frost or mowing,
when a mold grows on the dead grass (especially Bermuda). When consumed by
cattle, the mold evidently inhibits the normal excretion of a by-product from
the digestion of chlorophyll called "phyloerythrin". This material is then passed
into the blood, through the liver and excreted ~trough the kidneys. While this
is in the blood the affected animal is very susceptible to sunburn. Areas
affected will be the muzzle, the eyes and then white spots, thin skinned areas,
ears, udders and flanks. The urine is very dark appearing as though bloody.
For want of a specific name this has been called "Bermuda photosensitization".
It can be controlled and avoided by proper precautions.
Some cattle fail to make satisfactory gains at certain times of the year. When
cattle, which do not have some degree of Brahman blood, are kept on Everglades
pastures during the summer months, they dhow extreme discomfort by their panting
and other actions unless thay have plenty of shade. Even with shade they do
not maintain their body weight at this season.
If the failure to grow properly occurs during the winter and there is no shortage
of pasture the trouble is most likely to be an inadequate supply of protein in
the forage. One pound per day per animal of a 4 percent protein feed or 2 pounds
of a 20 percent protein feed should correct the nutritional deficiency and im-
prove the rate of gain.
THE NEED FOR PROTEIN IN FATTENING STEERS ON EVERGLADES PASTURE1'2
Herbert L. Chapman, Jr.3, Everglades Experiment Station
It has been a practice since the beginning of the cattle industry in the Ever-
glades area to utiize the extraordinary pastures available as not only the cheap-
est source of feed but also as the only feed. The pasture forages, carrying
capacity and gains per acre have been compared with those found elsewhere in
the state and the practicality of supplementary feeding questioned.
However, experimental feeding trials conducted at the Everglades Experiment
Station over the past years indicate that there may be a need for a supplemental
feeding program that will furnish a sufficient quantity of protein during the
winter months, even when there appears to be an ample supply of pasture forage
available. Monthly weights have been kept of each animal that has been on the
Station since a beef cattle herd was established in 1931* A survey of these
weights from 1943 to the present indicated that weaning weights in the herd
were normal in comparison with weaning weights reported in other southeastern
portions of the country; however, the weights at twelve months of age were
below normal. It has been a practice to wean the calves during the fall months
of the year. They are removed from their dam and placed on pasture, with no
supplementary feed, just at the time when the forage is declining. both in
quantity and quality. As a result they have not bebn receiving a sufficient
daily nutrient intake to support their maintenance requirements and also provide
a maximum growth rate.
Approximately five years ago, there were a number of animals in the herd that
were fed a small ration of one pound-of cottonseed meal daily, during the period
from weaning to about 15 months of age. The-r. animals demonstrated a faster
than normal growth and maintained this advantage to maturity.
A series of three 120 day feeding trials were completed earlier this year,
compr~ ing the value of various carbohydrate feeds when fed as a supplement to
two year old steers grazing Roselawn St. Augustine pasture. The first trial
was conducted during the fall of 190 and the second during the spring of 1951.
The steers were comparable in weight, age, type and condition. The feeds were
the same. Yet the average daily gains in the fall were Oo? of a pound as com-
pared with 1.5 pounds during the spring. During the final trial one pound of
ll inrcrnt cottonseed meal was added to an otherwise duplicated trial. The
aver i:o daily gains were 1.27 pounds in the fall trial of 1951.
While these are preliminary observations it brings to mind several questions
that will be anresred with further experimental work. That is the protein con-
tent of the various pasture forages thrn.ughout the year? What percent protein
is needed in a concentrate feed :tpr.*.-?. fm at, different times of the year?
How much supple :'% is needed for the n:ort efficient, most economical and maximum
gains? Experimental work now planned will answer these and other questions.
Protein of good quality is very important in the growth and development of our-
young calves. Aside from water, the body increasss--the development of muscle,
body organs, and the various fluids of the body--are mainly derived of protein.
There is also a certain amount of protein required for body maintenance. While
reoughage is our cheapest feed and should forzm the major part of our wintering
ration, sufficient concentrate feed, of c 0:'.iLto prc*tein content should be
given, if necessary, to provide the necessary nutrients hr thrifty growth.
There have been numerous investigations throughout the country that have shown
rations to have their digestibility reduced when there is a too large proportion
of carbohydrates and too small proportion of protein. This reduction of digesti-
bility occurs in ruminants when the nutritive ratio is wider than about 1:8
to 1:10. Roughly speaking this means that for about 8 to 10 pounds of digestible
carbohydrates the ration should contain one pound of digestible protein. The
amount of protein would be dependent upon the type and amount of roughages fed
and also upon the protein content of the forages used. Dr. W.T. Forsee of
this Station has analyzed different pasture forages at various times of the
year and found St. Augustine grass to vary from 7.90 percent protein in the fall
of the year to 1lo69 percent in the spring.
Last spring the first of four feeding trials was conducted at this Station in
which the val of various protein feed supplements was studied, vhen added to
a carbohydrate fattenting ration, The animals used were grade Brahman steers
similar in age and weight. The results are presented in Table 1.
As can be' seen, there was a slight increase in the average daily'gain'with- the
addition of peanut.oil meal, cotUonseed meal or.'ureai to -te basal ration.' How-
ever; these,differences can .hardly be called significant. When either one of
these three supplements was added there was a more economical utilization of
feed, as is demonstrated by the feed consumption per hundred pounds of gain.
Since there has been work at'various stations in the south, including Georgia,
Florida, Tennessee and Texas, to show peanut oil meal ccmr parble with cotton-
seed meal as a protein supplement, it is planned to revise the remaining three
trials to exclude peanut oil meal and-include a lot on grass, alone. The five
lots will be as follows:
Lot 1. Grass alone
Lot 2e Grass and basal ration of carbohydrates
Lot 3. Grass and basal ration and urea
Lot oh Grass and basal ration and cottonseed meal
Lot 5. Grass and extracted alfafa meal.
Complete grass analycso will be continued in conjunction with the steer feeding
1. Urea 262 was supplied by E.I. duPont de Nemours & Company.
2. Extracted -afalfa meal was supplied by American Chlorophyll Company, West
Pain Beach. Florida,
3. AsEjistant Aninal Husbandmai.
TABLE l.---Sunmary of the Steer Foeding Trial from February 25 June 2, 1..
(120 days), Conparing th4 e.. -;'r.. Value of Various Protein Supple-
ments '1hicn Added to a Fatir ri:itice of Carbohydrate Feeds.
Number of Animals
Average Initial Wt.,
Average Final Ueight,
Average Total Gain,
Average Daily Gain,
Average Daily Feed Consumption, per steer
Ground Snapped Corn
Urea Mir (15% Urea 262 t
85% Ground Snapped Corn)
Peanut Oil Meal
Average Total Feed Con-
suLrnti n per crt. of Gain
338,03 352.08 456.25 348.67
--- --- --I- ---
_ ---- .~,------------------------ _-------_ .__ -------------,-t----;-- .^I~- ---