Title: Present status and future of cattle industry in Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073001/00001
 Material Information
Title: Present status and future of cattle industry in Florida
Physical Description: 12 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cunha, T. J ( Tony Joseph ), 1916-
University of Florida -- Dept. of Animal Science
Publisher: University of Florida, Animal Science Department
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1965
Copyright Date: 1965
Subject: Cattle trade -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Beef cattle -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by T.J. Cunha.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: "A review of the University of Florida Beef Cattle DARE Committee report brought up to date for presentation at Manatee County Cattleman's Day, October 26, 1965."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073001
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: oclc - 78790181

Full Text


By |
T. J. Cunha, Chairman*
Animal Science Department Au5 U I 0 J
University of Florida

The beef cattle industry in Florida has been grow aLg-rip4-d4l-y-r- --hgr wtf ,

however, is only in the beginning stages of what its future potential can be. To

give an idea of this growth, following are some figures which show the increase in

numbers and quality of Florida cattle since 1929.

Year Number of Cattle

1929 355,000
1939 623,000
/ 1949 926,000
1959 1,294,000
1963 1,449,000
1965 1,607,000
1975 2,124,000 (DARE Prediction)

The figures in table show over a four-fold increase in beef cattle numbers

since 1929. The DARE Committee has predicted that beef numbers will increase to

2,124,000 by 1975. This is a reasonable prediction in view of past increases in

numbers. It means a 32% increase in numbers or about a 3% yearly increase from

1965 to 1975.

Table 2 shows the increase in beef produced in Florida since 1929.

A review of the University of Florida Beef Cattle DARE Committee report
brought up to date for presentation at Manatee County Cattleman's Day,
October 26, 1965.



Year Pounds of Beef

1929 42,000,000
1939 71,000,000
1949 154,000,000
1959 341,000,000
1962 342,000,000
1964 399,000,000
1975 700,000,000 (DARE Prediction)

The figures show that beef production in Florida has increased about 900%

since 1929. The DARE Committee has estimated about a 75% increase between 1964

and 1975. This seems reasonable in view of past increases in beef production.


Year In Florida In U.S.A. Percentage value of
Florida cattle as
compared to U.S. cattle

1929 23.40 58.47 40
1939 20.50 38.44 53
1949 74.20 135.00 55
1959 106.00 153.00 69
1965 92.00 114.00 81

The figures in table 3 show that there has been great progress in the increase

in quality of cattle in Florida since 1929. Florida cattle have increased almost

four-fold in value. Moreover, they have increased from 40% to 81% the value of

U.S. cattle. However, there is still much room for improvement since Florida

cattle are below the national average in value and our goal should be to exceed

this value as soon as possible. The biggest emphasis in the future needs to be on

continually improving the quality of Florida cattle. This will result in the pro-

duction of more pounds of better quality beef per acre which is a must for Florida

in the future.


Table 4 shows the tremendous increase which has occurred in income from the

sale of beef in Florida.


Year Sales

1929 $ 3,560,000
1939 3,589,000
1949 22,245,000
1959 78,890,000
1964 66,850,000
1975 133,000,000 (DARE Prediction)*

The figures in table 4 show about a 20 fold increase in beef cattle sales since

!929. This is indicative of the increase in weight and quality of Florida cattle.

Income from beef cattle sold on the farm will about double by 1975.


Grade 1951 1955 1960 1962

Fancy ---- --- ---- .2
Choice --- --- 3.0 2.2
Good 1.3 0.7 14.4 21.4
Medium 7.1 8.4 34.6 45.0
Common 31.1 47.0 33.6 25.0
Inferior 60.5 43.9 14.5 6.2

The data in table 5 show the great increase which has occurred in the quality

of feeder-stocker cattle sold at auction markets in Florida since 1951. It must be

realized, however, that a large number of feeder-stocker cattle are also sold by

private treaty through direct sales. The quality of all these cattle is usually

higher than that of those sold through the auction markets. While the figures

* Based on the value of 1960 dollars.


shown in table 5 are very encouraging in showing the increase in quality occurring

in Florida cattle, they also indicate that we have a long way to go to produce more

feeder-stocker cattle in the good and choice grades for which we have a very good

demand for our own feedlots in Florida. Last year feedlot operators purchased

about 55,000 head of feeder steers out-of-state to be fed in Florida. There is

no reason why we cannot produce these steers in Florida instead of having to go out

of state to buy them.

Last year Florida shipped out-of-state over 200,000 head of lightweight calves

weighing from 225 to 250 pounds. These calves went primarily to the Southwestern

states with some of them going to the Midwest. Florida is not producing all of

the feeder calves it needs for its own feedlots. This means that Florida needs to

concentrate on increasing the quality and weight of its calves so that it will pro-

duce more 400 to 600 pound calves and less of the lightweight 225 to 250 pound

calves. Then it can eliminate going out-of-state to purchase feeder calves and can

have more available for feedlot fattening in Florida.

The use of higher quality bulls, better management practices and better improved

pastures will easily make it possible for Florida to increase the weight and quality

of its feeder calves. This has been happening steadily and should continue in the



1940 1950 1960 1963 1975

Florida beef production as
percent of Florida consumption 33.8 58.1 36.9 36.8 41.9

Florida beef production as
percent of U.S. consumption 0.48 1.06 1.01 1.08 1.43


Even with the rapid growth which has occurred in the beef cattle industry in

Florida we produced only 36.8% of the beef consumed in the state in 1963. With

the expected 85% increase in beef production in Florida between 1963 and 1975 we

still will be producing only 41.9% of Florida's beef consumption (Table 6). This

is assuming that all beef produced in Florida is consumed in Florida. Actually,

Florida produces more of the low quality beef than it consumes and less of the

higher quality beef it consumes. It is estimated that presently Florida produces

only about 20% of the beef grading standard and above which it consumes. Thus,

Florida is shipping in about 80% of the high quality beef consumed in the state.

Even if Florida increases beef production to 700,000,000 pounds by 1975 it will

still be producing only about 20% of the high quality beef consumed in the state.

This is because the human population will increase almost two thirds and per capital

beef consumption will increase about 13% by 1975.

The data in table 6 show that Florida produced only 1.08% of the beef con-

sumed in the U.S. in 1963. If Florida almost doubles its beef production between

1963 and 1975 it will only be producing 1.43% of the beef consumed in the U.S.

These figures indicate that Florida can increase its beef production many times

without having much affect on the total beef supply or its price in the U.S. Thus,

Florida has a splendid opportunity to increase its beef output as a means of pro-

ducing more of the beef it consumes. Even by 1975 Florida will still need to ship

in 184 million dollars worth of beef to meet its needs (table 7). Since there is

plenty of room for expansion of the beef cattle industry in Florida there is plenty

of opportunity for cattlemen in Florida to produce more of the 184 million dollars

worth of beef which will be shipped into the state in 1975. So long as Florida is

a beef deficit area, Florida cattlemen should receive the national price level for

beef, plus the freight for shipping beef from outside the state to Florida. This


is an important advantage which cattlemen have in Florida and which should help

stimulate the growth of the beef cattle industry in the future.

Table 7 gives information on the beef needs in Florida by 1975. Florida will

be producing 700 million pounds of beef then, but will still need an additional

972 million pounds to supply the beef consumption needs of its population. Per

capital consumption of carcass beef in 1964 was 100 pounds per person. It is esti-

mated that this will increase to 113 pounds by 1975 (table 7).


1940 1950 1960 1963 1975

U.S. per capital beef con-
sumption, lb. 114 129 165 170* 204*

Beef consumed in Florida,
million pounds 216 356 815 929 1672

Beef produced in Florida,
million pounds 73 207 301 379 700

Deficit of production from needs,
million pounds 143 149 514 550 972

Value of beef shipped into Florida
to meet needs, million dollars 7 30 92 120 184

* The 170 and 204 are pounds of liveweight beef and are equivalent to 95 and
113 pounds of carcass beef, respectively.

By 1975, Florida will be consuming 1,672,000,000 pounds of beef worth

$317,000,000. It will produce 700 million pounds worth 133 million dollars and

will import 972 million pounds of beef worth 184 million dollars. Part of the

beef produced in Florida will come from dairy cattle, as is shown in table 8. Pre-

sently, 82% of the beef produced comes from beef cattle. This will increase to 90%

in 1975 and only 10% of the beef will come from dairy cattle (table 8).



1962 1975

Million Ibs. j Million Ibs.

Beef from beef cattle 281 82 628 90

Beef from dairy cows 50 15 56 8

Beef from dairy calves 10 3 16 2

341 100 700 100

Reduced rail freight rates now make it possible to bring in Midwest corn to

north Florida for $5 to $6 per ton. Since it takes about 1500 to 2000 pounds of

corn to fatten a steer this means that for $4 to $6 one can ship in the corn needed

to fatten a steer in Florida. This cost of shipping in the corn should be more than

made up by the extra return one should obtain for fattened steers in Florida. If

one markets these cattle correctly he should obtain the national price level plus

the freight for shipping in the beef carcasses from other areas to Florida. This

freight rate amounts to about $1.50 to $2.00 per 100 pounds of carcass depending on

where it is shipped from. A 1000 pound steer has about a 600 pound carcass. The

freight for shipping in the carcass would be from $9 to $12. This should more than

pay for the cost of bringing in the corn to Florida for fattening steers here.

It should also be mentioned that corn is being barged into Tampa for about $6

per ton. It is also being brought into Florida by trucks on back-hauls for about

$6 per ton. Thus, there are a number of ways to ship corn into Florida at reasonable


Not only can corn be brought into Florida but corn production can also be in-

creased in the state. Corn yields in Florida in 1963 were 38 bushels per acre.

Russell Henderson, University of Florida Extension Agronomist, estimates that this

yield can easily be increased to 55 bushels per acre by 1970 or earlier by the use


of better production practices. This increased production on present corn acreage

would yield an additional 8 million bushels of corn. This is enough to fatten

320,000 head of steers. Thus, corn for fattening steers should not restrict ex-

pansion of steer feeding in Florida since more of it can be produced in the state

and more of it can be shipped in at reasonable rates. Moreover, a great deal of

corn is actually being shipped out of many localities in north and northwest Florida

to other states north of Florida especially to Georgia.

Following are six advantages which Florida has for the expansion of its steer

feeding industry in the future:

1. It has a large market for beef which is rapidly expanding. It is now

shipping in 80% of the high quality beef (grading standard and above) which it

consumes. Moreover, its human population is increasing at the rate of about

250,000 yearly which makes it one of the most rapidly growing states in the nation,

At the present beef consumption rate, we are increasing our needs for beef in

Florida by 25,000,000 additional pounds each year. It takes 41,666 steers weighing

about 1,000 pounds to supply this amount of additional beef needed each year.

2. Florida already is one of the important beef cattle states in the nation.

It is now ranked 16th in the U.S. in beef cattle numbers and third east of he

Mississippi river. Moreover, it is just in the beginning stages of develop ing the

size and quality of the beef cattle industry it will eventually have.

3. The Florida cattle industry will expand greatly because presently only

about 1,900,000 acres of its land is in improved pastures. Moreover, much of this

improved pasture is not being fertilized and managed properly. There are also an

additional 5 to 6 million acres which can go into improved pastures. Anyone who

travels extensively throughout Florida can readily see the many large areas which

are available for putting in improved pastures.


4. Florida is only producing about 50 pounds of beef per acre. Many cattle-

men are already producing 200 to 500 pounds of beef per acre. This indicates that

Florida has the potential to increase its beef production 4 to 10 times if it

increases production to the level which its top cattle producers are already ob-


5. Florida already produces much feed such as pasture, corn, citrus molasses-

citrus pulp and blackstrap molasses for feeding steers. Moreover, it has the poten-

tial for increasing the production of these and other feeds in the future. Further-

more, corn can now be shipped in at a reasonable rate from the Midwest.

6. Florida can excel in pasture production because of its mild climate and

availability of water in many areas. Thus, Florida has much undeveloped potential

for fattening steers or conditioning young calves for the feed lot by using pasture

as a large part of the ration with only a minimum amount of concentrates being fed.

Thus, Florida has all the ingredients necessary for developing a much larger

beef cattle and steer feeding industry in the future. The opportunities are avail-

able for those with know-how, facilities and the necessary financing. It is hoped

that these opportunities will not go unheeded.

In predicting that Florida will increase its beef production from 379 million

pounds in 1963 to 700 million pounds in 1975 we are making the following assumptions'

1. Our calf crop is now 75% and we feel it should increase to at least 80%

by 1975. An 80% calf crop will still be below the present national average of

about 85%. We need to reach 85% and then surpass it as soon as possible.

2. Beef cow numbers will increase from 821,000 head in 1963 to 944,000 head

in 1975. This will be a 15% increase in cow numbers. This increase in beef cow

numbers will result in a total beef cattle population increase from 1,449,000 in

- 10 -

1953 to 2,124,000 in 1975. This will be a 46% increase in total numbers of beef


3. At the present time, about 150,000 head of steers are being fed out in

Florida. It is estimated that this number will increase to 300,000 head by 1975.

In 1948, only 5,000 head of cattle were being fattened in Florida. Thus, a doub-

ling of steers being fed by 1975 seems realistic.

4. At the present time about 200,000 head of lightweight calves weighing

an average of 225 to 250 pounds are being shipped out of Florida. By 1975 it is

estimated this number will be reduced to 80,000 head with an average weight of 400

pounds. Florida needs to increase the size and quality of its feeder calves and

keep more of them at home for feedlot feeding.

5. By 1975 better feeding, breeding, management and disease control practices

will be followed by beef cattle producers. These improved production practices should

result in heavier calves at weaning, as well as less death losses. All these and

other factors should result in increased beef production from 379 million pounds in

1963 to 700 million pounds in 1975.

in arriving at the predicted production figures for beef cattle in 1975 the

following assumptions were also made:

1. About 7,425,000 acres are now being used by beef cattle for grazing pur-

poses. It is assumed that the same acreage will be used in 1975. Some of the im-

proved pasture acreage now being used will be taken out of production by industrial'

development or housing. This will be counteracted, however, by some pasture land

being developed from present acreage listed under "Forest and Woodland".

2. Presently, about 1,900,000 acres of improved pasture are used for beef

cattle. It is estimated this acreage will increase at least 10% to 2,090,000

acres by 1975.

- II -

3. At the present time about 250,000 acres of the 1,900,000 acres in improved

pasture are in clover. It is estimated the clover acreage will increase to at least

500,000 acres by 1975.

4. At the present time 120,000 acres are planted to annuals such as oats,

rye and millet for beef cattle (this 120,000 acres comes from cropland and is not

part of the 1,900,000 acres of improved pasture). It is estimated this acreage will

be the same in 1975.

5. The following increases will also be needed by 1975:

Percent increased needs

(a) Seed for pastures 10

(b) Nitrogen fertilizer 40

(c) Potassium fertilizer 25

(d) Limestone, phosphorus, copper
manganese and zinc fertilizer 20

(e) Machinery needs 15

(f) Labor needs 15

(g) Feed needs 76

In thinking of the future of the beef cattle industry there are many problems.

However, problems will be encountered in any state of the nation by the beef pro-

ducer. Thus, the fact that we have problems should not deter us from developing

the full potential available in Florida. Some of the problems to be met in Florida

are as follows:

I. Increase quality of cattle. This is one of our biggest problems but it

can be met by the use of better quality bulls and better culling and selection of

the cow herd.

2. Improve all production practices. This means a better job of feeding,

12 -

breeding, management, disease and parasite control, marketing and all phases of

beef production.

3. Rising land values. Rising land values and taxation rates will force

the cattleman to produce more and better quality beef per acre. The inefficient

producer will be squeezed out. Cattleman will need to work with their tax assessors

in order to keep tax rates fair and in line with making it possible to raise beef

cattle profitably by the efficient producer.

In spite of these and other problems, Florida has unlimited possibilities for

cattlemen who will use quality animals and up to date production and management


200 copies

" *

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