Historic note
 Title Page

Group Title: Research report - University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences ; RC-1979-6
Title: Forage production in a south Florida multicropping system (a three year summary)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074251/00001
 Material Information
Title: Forage production in a south Florida multicropping system (a three year summary)
Series Title: Research report
Physical Description: 12, 21 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Mislevy, P ( Paul ), 1941-
Agricultural Research Center, Ona
Publisher: Agricultural Research Center
Place of Publication: Ona FL
Publication Date: 1979
Subject: Forage plants -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Cropping systems -- Economic aspects -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: P. Mislevy ... et al..
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: "May 1979."
Funding: Research report (Agricultural Research Center, Ona) ;
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00074251
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 85822782

Table of Contents
    Historic note
        Historic note
    Title Page
        Title page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

'7p-c ARC, Ona

Research Report RC 1979-6

Forage Production in a Sout]lfI
Multicropping System (A Three Year

P. Mislevy, C. L. Dantzman, J. Otte, A. J. Overman,
H. L. Chapman, Jr., M. F. Richter and F. M. Peacock

Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
University of Florida
F. A. Wood, Dean for Research

M ""ILAs

Agricultural Research Center *
Research Report RC-1979-6 May 1979



P. Mislevy, C. L. Dantzman, J. Otte, A. J. Overman

H. L. Chapman, Jr., M. F. Richter, and F. M. Peacock*

I. Plant studies

Florida has favorable temperatures, adequate moisture and high solar
radiation. The "Sunshine State" contains approximately 34 million acres of
land, with about 12 million acres in some form of native or improved pasture.
This pasture land provides feed for about 2.8 million cattle for an average
of 4.8 acres per animal unit.

Improved perennial grass forage systems generally provide abundant forage
throughout the summer growth period (June-September), while fall to spring
(October-May) forage production is quite low. Thus the carrying capacity is
limited to the cool season capability of the pasture.

About 600,000 weaned beef calves (averaging 350 to 400 Ibs) are shipped
out of the state annually to winter pastures and feed lots in other states.
Florida cattlemen could earn an extra $100 million if they fatten these cattle
within the state, but they do not have an adequate supply of economical feed.
Dairy producers, to a greater extent, need a continuous, uniform supply of
high quality feed.

The purpose of this multicropping system study was to explore the physical
and economic feasibility of annually producing two or three crops in succession,
on the same land area. In addition the cumulative effect of long-term continuous
cropping on nematodes, insects, soil nutrients, and soil physical condition was
investigated. Forage produced through this multicropping system was utilized
in livestock feeding studies. Where trade names are used no discrimination or
endorsement is intended.

* Associate Professor (Agronomy) and Assistant Professor (Soil Chemistry)
Agricultural Research Center, Ona; former Area Economist, Food and Resource
Economics Department, University of Florida and Professor (Nematology),
Agricultural Research and Education Center, Bradenton; Professor (Animal
Nutrition) and Center Director; Assistant Professor (Animal Nutrition);
and Professor (Animal Husbandry) Agricultural Research Center, Ona, Florida.

Materials and Methods

The study was conducted on 30 acres of land area made up of Ona, Smyrna
and Placid fine sand, located at the Agricultural Research Center (ARC) Ona,
Florida. Prior to 1976 the flatwoods site contained pine trees and saw palmettos
with approximately four acres of sand ponds. This discussion includes tillage,
irrigation, forage production and utilization practices, nematode and nutrient
status, and economics involved in a multicropping system. This paper contains
results from the first 3 years of cropping sequence studies.

Seed bed preparation.

The field was tilled once annually (late January) with a mold board plow
to a depth of 8 inches and disked twice. All other crops during the year were
no-till seeded into the residue of the previous crop.

Water control.

Irrigation was provided throughout the year when needed, from a 6 inch,
300 ft. deep well by a 15 hp motor on a turbine pump. The well supplied about
170 gpm which terminated at 6 risers. A traveling water gun connected to one
of the 6 inch risers distributed water over a 250 foot diameter circle. Water
was applied mainly on the corn at 1.0 inches per application as needed on a
weekly basis. The average yearly irrigation water applied was 7.5, 9.35, and
5.35 inches in 1976, 1977 and 1978 respectively. Total rainfall and irrigation
received by the corn for both 1976 and 1977 was 15.0 inches each year and 22.5
inches for 1978. No irrigation was applied to the Aeschynomene, however, the
oats received 1.1 inches to initiate germination in 1978.

A rim-ditch 7' deep and 16' wide was constructed around the entire 30
acre site removing an additional 4 acres of land from production. Two small
drainage ditches were constructed leading from two sand pond areas to the
rim-ditch allowing drainage of pond areas. The rim-ditch was sloped so that
all surface water entering after a heavy rainfall accumulated in one area.
An automatic low lift (8 inch 450 angle axial flow propeller pump, 1500 gpm
at 7 ft. tdh., 12 ft. discharge pipe and a 5 hp motor) pump was installed in
that area to remove water.

Cropping sequence.

The annual crop rotation for the past 3 years was corn, Aeschynomene
(Aeschynomene americana L.) and oats. However, in 1978 10 of 30 acres of
Aeschynomene was substituted with forage sorghum seeded in June followed by
a ratoon (a regrowth crop following harvest) crop during the fall. Corn,
Aeschynomene and oats or sorghum were seeded in succession on the same land
area. In 1976 'Dekalb XL 395' corn was seeded in 36 inch rows on February
28. Plant population at harvest was 18,000 plants per acre. Corn in 1977
was seeded in 30 inch rows on February 16 and populations at harvest were
22,000 plants per acre.

The following three hybrids were seeded: 'Dekalb XL 80' and 'Asgrow RX 114'
(early maturing) and 'Dekalb XL 395' (full season hybrid). In 1978 five
corn hybrids were seeded: 'Asgrow RX 114', Dekalb XL 80 (early); Funks G4810
(mid-season) and Funks G5945 and Dekalb XL 395A (full season hybrids). Final
population averaged 22,600 plants per acre and was seeded February 10 in 30
inch rows. The low-sand pond areas of the field were seeded to early maturing
hybrids, facilitating an early June harvest before soil became too wet for
machinery operation. After the removal of the whole corn plant as forage,
hulled (naked) Aeschynomene seed was no-till seeded in late June with a grain
drill at a rate of 12 Ib/A in 1976 and 6 Ib/A in 1977 and 78, respectively.
In 1978 the 10 acres of forage sorghum was no-till seeded to the variety Dekalb
25A at 10 Ib/A in 30 inch rows on June 26. Following the removal of Aeschynomene,
'Fla. 501' oats was no-till seeded with a grain drill in mid-November 1976 at
a rate of 3 bu per acre. In 1977 twenty five acres were seeded with Fla. 501
oats and five acres with the experimental diploid oats, Fla. 70Q at 80 lb/A.
Oat planting in 1978 consisted of 15 acres of Fla. 501 and 5 acres of Fla. 70Q
respectively. The remaining 10 acres of forage sorghum developed a ratoon
crop. In late January 1976 when the oats were 12 inches tall they were grazed
for several days, and then plowed under due to the limited time remaining
before corn was to be seeded. In 1977 and 1978 when oats were 18 and 26
inches for Fla. 501 and Fla. 70Q, respectively, they were harvested as
haylage and ensiled. The ratoon crop of sorghum was removed and ensiled in
early January (1979) averaging 4 feet in height with grain at dough stage of

Lime and fertilizer practices

Three tons dolomitic limestone per acre were rotovated into the seed
bed in 1976 about 2 weeks prior to seeding corn. An additional two tons
of calcic limestone were applied in the summer of 1977. Fertilization practices
for corn in 1976 were 1 follows: 50-100-200 Ib/A N-P 20-K20 + 30 Ib/A
FTE 503 micronutrients- at seeding; 100 lb/A N was applied when corn was
8 inches tall; 100 Ib/A N when corn was 24 inches tall. Corn fertilization
practices in 1977 and 1978 were similar to 1976, however in 1977 10 lb/A
micronutrients were applied. Fertility practices for Aeschynomene in 1976 were
0-30-60 Ib/A N-P 0 -K 0 + 10 lb/A CuO and 10 lb/A ZnO when plants were
4 to 6 inches tal.~ In 1977 and 1978 only 300 lb/A 0-10-20 was applied on
the Aeschynomene. The forage sorghum in 1978 was fertilized with 40-80-160 lb/A
when plants were 10-12 inches tall. Several weeks later an additional 50 Ib/A
N was applied. Fertilization practices for oats in 1976 were 50-50-100 Ib/A
N-P^0,-K20 when oats were starting to tiller. In 1977 and 1978 the oat
fertilization was 75-50-100 lb/A annually with 10 Ib/A FTE 503 micronutrients
applied in 1977. Immediately after the initial sorghum crop harvest, the
ratoon sorghum crop was fertilized with N at 100 Ib/A. Before and after
each crop the soil in the area was tested to monitor soil organic matter,
major and secondary nutrients.

SFTE 503 have the following elemental content: Iron 18.0%; Zinc 7.0%;
Manganese 7.5%; Copper 3.0%; Boron 3.0%; and Molybdenum 0.2%.

Weed and insect control

The insecticide-nematicide Furidan 10G(R) was applied at rates of 16 and
20 Ib/A formulation when corn was seeded in X76 and 1977, respectively. In
1978 the insecticide-nematicide Dasanit 15G was applied in a similar
manner at 13 Ib/A formulation (as purchased). Both products provided systemic
insect (lesser corn stalk borer, armyworm, wireworm, etc.) control until (
plants attained a height of about 12 inches tall. The insecticide Mesurol
was used in a hopper box mix in 1977 and 1978 at the rate of 1 Ib (formulation)
per 10 ?Rb corn seed as a bird repellant. TM) herbicides used in 1976 were
AAtrex at 2 Ib/A (formulation) and Lasso at 2 qts/A (formulation)
applied pre-emerge over the en-tire 30 acre area. In 1977 and R58 twenty
acres of corn received AAtrex' at 2 lb/ (active) plus Lasso ()at 2 lb/A
(active) on the rei ning 10 acres Bicep' at 4.5 lb/A (AAtrex 2.5 Ib/A
(active) plus Duel 2 Ib/A (active)) pre-emerge. Corn was not cultivated.
No herbicides or insecticides were used on the Aeschynomene or oat crops.
Following the initial harvest of sorghum in mid-October of 1978, the stubble
was immediately sprayed with 0.5 Ib/A (active) paraquat to desiccate all
annual and perennial weeds. The entire 30 acres was sampled before and after
each crop to monitor nematode populations. Subsamples were collected from
various sites throughout the field and nematodes were extracted using the
modified Baermann technique.

Harvesting and ensiling practices

The corn plant was direct cut when the ear was at the dent stage of
maturity and plants contained approximately 28, 35 and 32% dry matter in
1976, 1977 and 1978, respectively. The entire corn plant was cut to a 4 to
5 inch stubble by a two-row forage harvester and chopped into 1/8 to 1/4
inch sections and preserved in sealed upright silos as silage. Aeschynomene
was cut in 1976 at a 3 inch stubble when at full bloom to seed stage. Plants
were harvested in 1977 and 1978 at the early bloom stage. Harvested plants
were allowed to dry in windows until moisture dropped from 72% in 1976 and
75% in 1977 to approximately 50%. In 1978 all Aeschynomene was preserved
as hay. No perservatives were added to either the corn, Aeschynomene or
oats forage during the ensiling process. Corn, Aeschynomene and oats were
sampled for percentage dry matter (DM), yield, in vitro organic matter
digestion (IVOMD) and crude protein in 1976, 1977 and 1978. Forage quality
data for 1978 will be presented later. Each wagon load of harvested corn,
Aeschynomene, sorghum and oats forage was weighed when it entered the silo
area to obtain total forage yield. Samples for DM and chemical analysis were
obtained by randomly selecting 10 to 15 subsamples from each wagon, placing
them into a large tub, mixing the material and selecting about 1 lb. Samples
from every 10th load of corn forage and every 5th load of Aeschynomene,
sorghum, and oats forage was analyzed for IVOMD and crude protein during 1976-
1978 and in 1976 for acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber and acid
detergent lignin. Corn grain yields for 1976, 1977 and 1978 in addition to
forage yield of oats for 1976 were obtained by random sampling the 30 acre
area. In 1977 and 1978 oat yields were determined by weighing the harvested
forage as it entered the silo area.

Results and Discussion

Forage production and quality.

Dry matter percent and yield, IVOMD, protein and etc., of corn Aeschynomene
and oats for 1976 and 1977 are presented in Table 1 with 1978 data in Table 2.
The 'Dekalb XL 395' corn, was harvested in mid-June 1976 at 28.4% DM and produced
5.6 T/A DM or 19.3 T/A of green forage. As fertility and cultural practices
improved, average corn DM yields for 1977 (6.7 T/A) and 1978 (6.9 T/A) increased
about 1.2 T/A from 1976. Green forage yields for the first two years (1976 and
1977) were quite similar (averaging 19.2 T/A), however in 1978 yields increase
to 20.1 T/A. The DM % at harvest was low (28.4%) in 1976, however by using
early maturing varieties and seeding corn at an earlier date (February 9) dry
matter increased to 35.4% and 32% in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Corn grain
production from the multicropping system increased yearly, from 91.5 (1976) to
145.7 (1977) to 153 bu/A (1978) at 15.5% moisture. Yields of 5.6 T/A are
considered to be quite low, however as yields attain 6.7 to 6.9 T/A forage
production is average. When all production variables such as fertility, water
control, plant population, proper variety, weed and insect control are correct,
DM yields should range between 8 and 9 T/A in 120 days or less.

One of the problems with the 1976 corn crop was low pH (4.4). Since dolo-
mite was applied only 2 weeks prior to corn seeding, time was inadequate for the
lime to go into solution, react with soil particles, and raise pH. Perhaps
aluminum and manganese toxicity were responsible for various deficiency symptoms.
Because the soil pH averaged only 5.0 in 1977, the corn crop still showed a few
deficiency symptoms, and following that crop an additional 2 T/A calcic limestone
were applied.

In 1978 4.0 inches of rainfall was received (after corn was seeded and
before emergence) on soil already containing adequate moisture. This created
a serious oxygen shortage in the soil, especially soil containing an organic pan
at or near the surface. This lack of oxygen promoted phosphorus deficiency in
corn seedlings. As moisture decreased in the upper 2 to 3 inches of soil
and oxygen returned plus the application of 100 Ib/A N, purple leaves on corn
seedlings died and new developing leaves were normal (dark green) leaf color.
Forage production was reduced nly slightly in these low, saturated (oxygen
stress) areas.

Corn is a moderate to highly digestible crop as indicated by the 73.0 and
69.0% IVOMD for 1976 and 1977, respectively (Table 1). These crops produced
7829 and 9246 Ib/A digestible organic matter or estimated TDN. The crude pro-
tein content of corn averaged 9.0 and 8.1% with an average of 1008 and 1085 Ib/A
crude protein produced in 1976 and 1977, respectively. Grain to stalk ratios
were determined from the three and five corn hybrids grown during 1977 and 1978.
In 1978 (Table 2) grain to stalk ratios were much higher when compared with
1977 results. The high grain ratios in 1978 may be partly due to the high grain
(153 bu/A) yield for that year.

Dry matter yield of Aeschynomene averaged 2.6 T/A in 1976 with 41.7%
IVOMD. Dry matter yields for 1977 and 1978 were low (1.9 (Table 1) and 1.5
T/A (Table 2)) because of earlier harvesting (flower stage). Harvesting Aeschy-
nomene at a pre-flower stage (plants 12-20 inches tall) may average 58% IVOMD
and 16-18% crude protein. However, DM yields at this vegetative stage are quite
low. Therefore Aeschynomene is not a desirable selection of species to be
grown under an intensified harvest management system.

In 1978 forage sorghum was seeded on 10 acres of land in late June and
yielded 2.9 T/A DM by mid-October. Both Aeschynomene and sorghum forage produc-
tion may have been lowered by (annual) crabgrass and perennial common bermuda-
grass. By growing 2 to 3 crops per year in succession on the same land area,(R)
weeds problems increase. This can be partially overcome by applying Paraquat
at 0.5 Ib/A to the corn stubble just prior to seeding the next crop.

There was serious oat stand loss in 1976 when birds consumed both seed and
germinating seedlings. Following the seeding of oats, cool temperatures for the
next 60 days resulted in reduced plant growth. During the week of January 17
temperatures fell to lows of 19 to 24F and by late January the oats had only
attained a height of 12 inches. Forage at this stage of maturity contained 15.7%
DM and yielded only 0.8 T/A. Forage quality of the 1976 oat crop was exceedingly
high in digestibility and crude protein averaging 85.7 and 25.0%, respectively
(Table 1). Even though oat dry matter yields were only one third that of
Aeschynomene in 1976, pounds of estimated digestible organic matter per acre
(1160) and crude protein (334) were 56% and 74% respectively, of that produced
by Aeschynomene. The oats were seeded about 10 days earlier in 1977 and 1978
and along with more favorable weather conditions, resulted in vegetative growth
of 18-26 inches by late January. As oat plants become taller, and plants
attained maturity, forage quality (IVOMD and protein) dropped (Table 1).
Following the mid-October forage sorghum harvest, Paraquat(R) at 0.5 Ib/A
was immediately sprayed on sorghum stubble to reduce annual and perennial
weeds. The ratoon crop then developed and yielded 1.6 T/A DM by early January.

Soil organic matter and nutrient status.

Organic matter (OM) increases the moisture holding capacity, improves the
soil structure and reduces the leaching of fertilizer elements. When OM
decomposes, it releases many plant nutrients. The OM in the native condition
of the field was 3.7% (Figure 1). Following soil preparation and the first two
crops (corn and Aeschynomene) it measured 2.7% or a loss of one percent.
Much of the plant nutrients released by the decomposition of the OM were then
made available to the first two crops. Following the first oat crop and the
second year rotation (corn, Aeschynomene, and oats), the OM measured over 4%.
However, after the third corn crop (1978), OM dropped to 3.1%, and continued to
drop to 2.5% when sorghum was substituted into the rotation. The intense need
of sorghum for nutrients and possibly a lower amount or organic residue may have
contributed to the reduced OM conditions. When Aeschynomene was continued in
the rotation, the percent OM increased to about 4%.

Initially the soil in its native condition was very acid (pH 4.3) and
low in fertility. Before land preparation the CaO was 512 lb/A (Figure 2) and
MgO was 166 lb/A (Figure 3). These values were below the minimum level recom-
mended for the above crops. After liming with 3 T/A dolomite and the first
years' growth of corn, and Aeschynomene, CaO increased to 1022 Ib/A and MgO to
528 Ib/A. The need for additional calcium was evident by mid-1977 at which
time 2 T/A high calcic lime was applied, followed by a considerable increase in
CaO. After the corn crop in June 1978 CaO measured approximately 2000 Ib/A and
MgO 480 Ib/A. However, by February 1979 the sorghum had reduced the CaO and
MgO to somewhat lower levels averaging 1500 and 250 Ib/A respectively, compared
with 2300 (CaO) and 400 (gO) Ib/A where Aeschynomene was grown.

Soil K^0 and P205 for the native (initial) condition was 31 and 14 lb/A,
respectively (Figures 4 and 5). Following soil preparation and the first
years' crops these elements increased to 79 Ib/A K 0 and 42 lb/A P205. Following
recommended fertilizer practices the soil elemental content measured over 100
Ib/A for both K20 and P205 in June 1978. In October 1978 where sorghum was
grown, K20 measured approximately 40 Ib/A and P 0 110 Ib/A, but where
Aeschynomene was grown the K 0 was 140 Ib/A and P 05 140 Ib/A. This suggested
that sorghum can heavily deplete the soil's reservee of P205 and K20 as compared
with Aeschynomene.

Nematode populations.

Multicropping systems may be conducive to buildups of economically dam-
aging populations of nematodes in sandy soils. Monitoring nematode populations
after each crop in the drier portion of the field showed that three of the five
genera increased during the initial cropping year and continued to increase during
the second and third year of the rotation schedule (Figure 6 and 7). Regardless
of the crop planted the stubby root nematode, Trichodorus christiei, gradually
increased during the 3-year study. The spiral nematode, Helicotylenchus spp.,
was slow to become established, but developed heavy infestations in the second
oat crop and, except for a reduction during the corn crop of third year, remained
at a high level during 1978. The lance nematode, Hoplolaimus spp., began a
rapid rise in population during the second planting of oats, but during the
third year, settled to a average level in all crops. Although the lesion nema-
tode, Pratylenchus spp., and the stunt nematode, Tylenchorhynchus claytoni,
were not responsive to the crops during the first two years, the lesion nematode
increased in the corn and sorghum crops grown during the third year, however
subsided during the Aeschynomene and oat crop rotation. The stunt nematode
increased steadily during the third year on all crops. In the low sand-pond
areas Pratylenchus and Hoplolaimus sFp. have not yet been detected. T. christiei
increased in the oat crops in both 1977 and 1978, but unlike the drier areas
of the field, the pond areas did not support high numbers of the parasite on
corn (Figure 8). In February 1978 very high numbers of the spiral nematode
were recovered following oats; however, the population has subsequently declined
to merely detectable levels in the pond areas. The stunt nematode increased
gradually during 1977, but it also has almost disappeared from the soil assay
extracts, leaving the stubby-root nematode as the primary plant nematode in the
wetter areas.

Nematode infestations in a newly cleared flatwoods soil are usually
related to the plant mix and distribution in the native cover. Pine trees
and palmettos growing singly or in clumps in native cover support specific
nematode communities which use the plant root systems as a food source. During
land preparation these high concentrations of nematodes are diluted and somewhat
redistributed by the machinery used to manipulate the soil. However, during the
first few crop seasons, nematode densities were still spotty in the field. Culti-
vation, water flow, and root exploration of host plants eventually spread the
communities farther from the point of origin. The no-till management of the
30-acre block involved in this multicropping evaluation will probably delay
the equalization process which has been observed in other cultures.

This concept was supported by the variation in nematode counts which was
obtained among the stations sampled in the field. T. christiei occurred with
greatest frequency in the soil samples collected for assay: the nematode was
found in 80% of the replicates collected at all stations on all sampling dates.
In contrast, Hoplolaimus sp. was detected in only 23% of all samples. Localized
variation measured within single sampling dates emphasizes the difficulty en-
countered in determining population dynamics of any natural biological system.
Numbers of Helicotylenchus, for example, ranged from 0 to 1620/150 ml soil
among replicates collected January 1978 at one station following the second
crop of oats; Helicotylenchus was not detected in that block of the field until
October 1977.

No apparent plant or soil relationship has thus far been associated with
the level of nematode population found at the various stations. Although
nematode populations, in general, are increasing with time in the 30-acre
block, no data have been collected on economic damage caused by feeding of
the parasite on the crop roots. The genera under observation are considered
obligate plant parasites and must feed on living plant roots in order to repro-
duce. Infestations at levels attained in the study area during the third year
would be suspect, but further research is necessary to establish the importance
of these nematodes in the economy of crop production.

Production costs

Estimating production costs and yields are important steps in determining
the economic feasibility of a multicropping system. Tables 3, 4 and 5 show
corn, Aeschynomene and oats budgets for the 1978 season. Some practices and
costs were changed from 1976 and 1977. However, for yield and return analysis
the 1978 costs are assumed applicable for all three seasons to show the impact
of yield changes on cost per ton of dry matter.

Cash costs are out-of-pocket expenses required to perform individual
cultural practices. Once the cultural practices are identified and quantities
of supplies used are determined, costs to perform each practice are calculated.
For example, in Table 3, the corn crop was fertilized with 1000 Ib/A of 5-10-20
at $89.20/ton ($4.46/cwt), and 20 lb/A of FTE 503 at$0.23/lb. Both fertilizers
were mixed, then custom applied at $2.00 per acre. Total cost for the first
fertilizer application was $51.20 per acre. Costs for other practices and other
crops are budgeted in a similar manner.

Fixed costs generally include equipment depreciation, insurance, repair
taxes and interest on capital investment. Commercial growers would generally
own equipment and incur equipment fixed costs. However, in this report we
assumed no equipment was owned and all practices were performed by custom
operators. Therefore equipment fixed costs are not included.

Land ownership costs are not included, but depreciation and interest on
the well, pump, land clearing, initial lime, irrigation and drainage systems are
budgeted. Cash costs per ton of dry matter in 1978 ranged from $40.24 for corn
to $148.34 for oats (Table 8). Cash and fixed costs ranged from $50.30 for corn
to $247.41 for oats.

Value of harvested corn included total cash and fixed costs in three years.
Corn forage also had the highest return above cash and fixed costs per acre
averaging $140.96, $188.96 and $342.96 per acre for 1976, 1977 and 1978,

Aeschynomene return decreased in both 1977 and 1978 due to declining
yields. Aeschynomene quality and value per ton increased in 1977 because the
forage was harvested at an earlier stage of maturity. However, in 1978
quality and value dropped slightly, due to a sparse plant population.

Oats forage was valued at $110/T DM, and in 1976 was grazed, not mechanically
harvested. The 1976 oat crop resulted in a $33.86 per acre loss. In 1977 oats
produced higher yields, however the crop was mechanically harvested which cost
an additional $49.75 per acre, resulting in a $63.19 loss per acre. This loss
increased in 1978 to $96.19 due to a decrease in dry matter production.

Low Aeschynomene yields and quality in both 1976 and 1977 sparked interest
in other summer crops. Forage sorghum was seeded on approximately 1/3 or 10
acres of the multicropping system after the June 1978 corn harvest. Table 6
shows $121.33 cash expenses/A for growing forage sorghum in 1978. Forage sorghum
yielded 2.9 T DM/A, 1.4 T DM/A higher than Aeschynomene during the summer. Forage
sorghum cash costs were $41.84/T DM leaving a crop value above cash and fixed
costs of $41.32 (Table 8). Following the initial harvest of sorghum in October
the crop was sprayed and fertilized. The ratoon crop was harvested in January
(Table 7). This crop produced only 1.6 T/A DM resulting in a $15.00 loss/A
(Table 8). These data indicate that forage sorghum may be more beneficial than
oats since losses may be minimized.

The budgets presented here were derived from production practices, supplies
costs and custom rates. Individual growers may follow different practices, own
their own equipment or obtain supplies at different prices. These factors may
result in costs differing from those reported here.

II. Utilization studies.

Corn silage has been extensively used by cattle feeders in the midwest for
over 65 years. It is a high-energy roughage material that, when properly
supplemented, can furnish the bulk of a fattening or growing ration for beef
cattle. Cattle fed only corn silage will gain slower than cattle full-fed a
more conventional grain ration, but more income per acre is produced by utilizing
corn silage as compared to only the corn grain. Relative cost of gain is
dependent upon the comparative costs of corn silage and shelled corn.


Research has shown good quality corn silage is deficient in protein
and minerals, but high in energy. In order to produce maximum gains for beef
cattle the material must be properly balanced with protein, vitamin A, calcium,
and trace elements. It has also been shown that cattle on corn silage rations
will respond to antibiotics added to rations. The best quality corn silage
occurs when the corn contains from 30 to 45 percent dry matter at time of

It is important to assess the feeding value of more desirable varieties
of corn, sorghum and oats raised in south Florida. This is being done at the
Ona ARC in digestibility trials as well as in growing and fattening tests.
Major emphasis to date has been placed on corn silage, as this has been the
predominant forage produced in the multicropping program.

Feeding trials. In the first trial 42 head of two-year-old crossbred 2/
steers were fattened for 93 days in drylot. Corn silage and Ona mineral #2-
were fed, free choice. Three levels of concentrate were fed as shown in Table
9. The concentrate mixture contained dried citrus pulp, cracked corn, standard
cane molasses and urea. In this and subsequent studies the cattle had a 15-
hour shrink prior to initial and final weighing. In addition, each steer was
wormed with Tramisol prior to being placed on test. Carcass evaluations were
made at a commercial slaughter plant. Rate of gain increased directly with level
of concentrate feed (Table 9) but the additional gain was not sufficient to
recover the feed cost involved, being only 0.3 Ib/day more for group three as
compared to group one. As the level of concentrate increased, silage intake
decreased and dry matter (DM) intake required per pound of gain increased.
There were slight differences in carcass data related to increased concentrate
intake, with degree of fatness increasing with concentrate intake.

During a second trial, 136 weanling heifer calves of mixed breeding
averaging 467 pounds, were grown 126 days in confinement. Corn silage and Ona
mineral #2 were fed ad lib. Cottonseed meal (41%) was fed daily at the rate
of two pounds per animal broadcast on top of the corn silage.

Rate of gain and feed data are presented in Table 10. The heifers gained
1.77 Ibs a day on a daily DM intake of 12.78 lbs. The daily metabolizable
energy (ME) intake was 14.72 Mcal/day. National Research Council recommends a
daily intake of 16.5 Meal of ME and .65 Ib of protein for this type of animal
to gain 2.0 pounds daily. The heifers had adequate protein but the ME intake
was slightly lower than recommended, which was reflected in slightly lowered
gain. The rate of gain was slightly less than if the cattle had been on a full-
feed of concentrates, but was quite acceptable and the heifers were in excellent

2/ Ona mineral contained 127 calcium, 12% phosphorus, 25% salt, 1% iron,
.137. copper and .03% cobalt.


Metabolism trials

A metabolism trial measures the digestion or absorption of nutrients in
a ration. Animals are fed individually in raised stalls for complete collection
of feces and urine, to determine what the animal has "removed" or digested
from his feed. A metabolism trial was conducted on corn silage utilizing four
cross-bred steers averaging 830 Ibs in body weight. The chemical analysis of
the corn silage and the ration of corn silage plus cottonseed meal is shown
in Table 11. The purpose of the cottonseed meal was to increase the protein
intake since the level of 9% in the silage was too low to meet the needs of
the animals. With the cottonseed meal the crude protein of the total ration was
increased to 13.7%. The digestibility coefficients for the ration is presented
in Table 12. These figures are very close to expected values for corn silages.
The digestibility of dry matter and total digestible nutrients were 65 and 68%
respectively. These are moderate values in terms of feed digestibility. The
protein in corn silage was not highly digestible, as indicated by the digestibil-
ity figure of 56% due to reactions in the silo which tend to make the protein
less soluble. If the silage had been heat damaged, this figure would have been
around 20%. It was interesting to note the digestibility of the crude fiber
of the corn silage of 57%, which is high for crude fiber. The fiber in corn
silage is known for its relatively high digestibility.

In general these values conformed to expected digestibility coefficients
for corn silage, being medium for dry matter, relatively low for protein
and relatively high for fiber.


A successful multicropping system requires timeliness of crop seeding,
proper fertility, water control, proper variety, adequate plant population,
and weed and insect control.

In a year around highly intensified forage program, corn can be grown
successfully from February to June averaging 7.0 T/A dry matter, followed
by forage sorghum from June to January averaging 4-5 T/A dry matter. Oats
and Aeschynomene produce high quality forage but yields of these crops are
too low to be incorporated into a multicropping system.

Preliminary data suggest that soil fertilizer elements and % OM can
accumulate under some crops but can be sharply reduced (used) by others
such as sorghum.

In general, nematode populations are increasing with time in this
multicropping study. Infestations at levels attained in the study are
during the three years would be suspect, but further research is necessary
to establish the importance of these nematodes in the economy of crop


The costs and returns analysis indicate corn forage was profitable over
the three year period, with a crop value above cash and fixed cost ranging
from $140.96 in 1976 to $342.96/acre in 1978. Growing Aeschynomene and oats
in an intensified multicropping system may not always be profitable.

The corn silage produced was palatable and cattle performed well on growing
and fattening tests. Heifers grown on corn silage gained 1.77 pounds a day.
Steers fattened on the material gained from 2.72 to 3.03 pounds a day. Diges-
tibility coefficients for the corn silage grown were relatively low for protein
and high for fiber.

Table 1. Forage indices of corn, Aeschynomene and oats grown during 1976 and 1977 in a multicropping
system at ARC, Ona.

Grain to Forage
Harvest Dry matter stalk Dry
Crop time Harvest Ensiling ratio Green matter Grain IVOMDT Proteint NDF ADF ADL8
% % T/A bu/A % Ib/A %---lb/A -----%------

28.4 28.4
51.2 ---

Forage October 27.5 48.7

January 15.7

19.3 5.6 ---- 73.0 7829 9.0
-- --- 91.5 ---- --- --

2.6 ---- 41.7 2068 8.7

.8 ---- 85.7 1160 25.0

1008 55.0 26.2 3.0
---- ---- ---- ---

452 70.0 55.3 11.9

334 37.4 20.8 1.5


19.1 6.7 ---- 69.0 9246
-- -- 145.7---- ----

Forage October 25.8 50.7


January 11.0

7.4 1.9 ---- 45.1 1714 9.3

9.0 1.0 ---- 77.0 1540 13.4


t Corn grain yields
15.5% moisture.

were determined at time corn was being harvested as forage.

Grain yields based on

SValues were determined by averaging IVOND and crude protein collected from selected subsamples.
NDF=Neutral detergent fiber; ADF=acid detergent fiber and ADL=acid detergent lignin.
fRGrain to stalk ratio's were determined from subsamples taken in the field from each variety.









XL 80
RX 114
XL 395






Table 2. Forage indices for corn, Aeschynomene, sorghum and oats grown during 1978 in a multicropping
system at ARC, Ona.
Grain to Yield
Dry Matter stalk Forage
Crop Harvest time Harvest Ensiling or Hay ratio Green Matter Graint
% - % T/A -bu/A-

Forage June 32 32 49-51 20.1 6.9
Grain June 57 -- -- -- --- 153

Brand Variety
Dekalb XL 80 44-56
Asgrow RX 114 52-48
Funks G4810 50-50
Funks G5945 50-50
Dekalb XL395A 48-52

Forage October 24 85 -- -- 1.5

Foraget October 24 24 -- 12.0 2.9
Forage January 32 32 -- 5.0 1.6

Forage January 10.5 50 -- 6.9 .74

Corn grain yields were determined at time
on 15.5% moisture.

corn was being harvested as forage. Grain yields are based

SInitial harvest of forage sorghum following the June seeding.
Second harvest or first ratoon crop of sorghum.
Harvested for hay.

Table 3. Estimated cost for growing and harvesting corn forage under a
multicropping system, Ona, 1978.

Item Unit Quantity Price Cost/A
dollars- -

I. Cash expenses
Custom plow A 1 7.50 7.50
Custom disk A 2 3.25 6.50
5-10-20 cwt 10 4.46 44.60
FTE 503 lb 20 0.23 4.60
Custom application A 1 2.00 2.00
Ammonium nitrate cwt 3 6.91 20.73
Custom application A 1 2.00 2.00
Ammonium nitrate cwt 3 6.91 20.73
Custom application A 1 2.00 2.00
Limet T 1/6 12.00 2.00
Lasso(R) gal. 1/2 14.60 7.30
AAtrex(R) gal. 1/2 14.30 7.15
Custom spray A 1 3.00 3.00
Furadan lOGlR) lb. 20 0.64 12.80
Mesurol lb. 1/6 8.00 1.33
Seed unitT 1/3 50.00 16.67
Custom Plant A 1 6.00 6.00
Irrigation labor A 1 3.25 3.25
Harvest labor A 1 18.00 18.00
Fuel, oil, electricity A 1 16.00 16.00
Custom harvest A 1 65.00 65.00
Interest $ 269.16 .0317 8.53
Total cash expenses $277.69

II. Fixed costs (land clearing, water control, etc.) $69.35

III. Total cash and fixed cost $347.04

t 1.5 tons every 3 years, 3 crops/year, @ 12.00/T spread.
t 1 unit = 80,000 seeds.

9 9.5% for 4 months.

Table 4. Estimated costs for growing and harvesting Aeschynomene under
a multicropping system, Ona 1978.

Item Unit Quantity Price Cost/A
-dollars- -

I Cash expenses
0-10-20 cwt 3 $ 3.74 $11.22
Custom application A 1 2.00 2.00
Limet T 1/6 12.00 2.00
Naked seed lb. 5 0.85 4.25
Custom seeding A 1 3.50 3.50
Custom window A 1 9.00 9.00
Harvest labor A 1 17.50 17.50
Fuel, oil A 1 7.50 7.50
Custom baling+ A 1 21.00 21.00
Interest $ 77.97 .0317 2.47
Total cash expense $80.44

II Fixed costs (land clearing, water control, etc.) 69.35

III Total cash and fixed cost $149.79

S1.5 tons every 3 years, 3 crops/year, @ $12.00/T spread

based on 60 bales/acre @ .35/bale
8 9.5% for 4 months.

Table 5. Estimated costs for growing and harvesting oats under
a multicropping system at Ona, 1978.

Item Unit Quantity Price Cost/A
-dollars- -

I Cash expenses
15-10-20 cwt 5 6.28 31.40
custom application A 1 2.00 2.00
Limet T 1/6 12.00 2.00
Seed bu 3 4.00 12.00
Custom seeding A 1 3.50 3.50
Custom window A 1 9.00 9.00
Harvest labor A 1 9.00 9.00
Fuel, oil, electricity A 1 8.00 8.00
Custom harvest A 1 23.75 23.75
Interests $ 100.65 .0317 3.19
Total cash expenses 103.84

II Fixed costs (land clearing, water control, etc.) 69.35

III Total cash and fixed cost $173.19

t 1.5 tons every 3 years, 3 crops/year, @12.00/T spread.
t 9.5% for 4 months.

Table 6. Estimated cost for growing and harvesting forage sorghum under a
multicropping system, Ona, 1978.

Item Unit Quantity Price Cost/A
dollars- -

I Cash expenses
5-10-20 cwt 800 4.46 35.68
custom application A 1 2.00 2.00
ammonium nitrate cwt 150 6.91 10.37
custom application A 1 2.00 2.00
Limet T 1/6 12.00 2.00
Seed lb 15 .40 6.00
Custom seed in A 1 6.00 6.00
Furadan 10G' lb 20 0.64 12.80
Harvest labor A 1 9.00 9.00
Fuel, oil, electricity A 1 8.00 8.00
Custom harvest A 1 23.75 23.75
Interest $ 117.60 .0317 3.73
Total cash expenses $121.33

II Fixed costs (land clearing, water control, etc.) $69.35

III Total cash and fixed cost $190.68

t 1.5 tons every 3 years, 3 crops/year, @$12.00/T spread.
S9.5% for 4 months

Table 7. Estimated cost for growing and harvesting a
crop in a multicropping system Ona, 1978.

forage sorghum ratoon

Item Unit Quantity Price Cost/A
dollars- -

I Cash expenses
Ammonium nitrate
Custom application
Harvest labor
Fuel, oil, electricity
Custom harvest
Total cash expenses




II Fixed costs (land clearing, water control, etc.)
III Total cash and fixed cost


S9.5% for 4 months

Applied after initial harvest, before ratoon crop started to develop

Table 8. Summary of costs, crop value, and crop value above costs.


Corn forage



Corn forage



Corn forage






SCrop value per

acre minus total cash and fixed cost per acre.

( ) indicate loss.

Total cash
Year Fixed costs

1976 $347.04

1976 149.79

1976 121.86

1977 347.04

1977 149.79

1977 173.19

1978 347.04

1978 149.79

1978 190.68

1978 173.19

1978 143.23

Dry matter












$/T DM












Cash and
Fixed cost
$/T DM












$/T DM
























Crop value above
Cash and Fixed cost












Table 9. Animal gain, feed intake and carcass data of steers
fattened on corn silage and different levels of concentrate
(93 days).

Group number
1 2 3

Number of steers 14 14 14
Initial weight, lb 708 729 718
Final weight, lb 962 994 1000
Total gain, Ib 254 265 282
Daily gain, lb 2.72 2.85 3.03

Daily DM intake/steer (lb)-
Corn silage 13.3 11.6 10.4
Concentrate mixture 4.1 8.0 12.3
Total 17.4 19.6 22.7
DM intake/lb gain, lb 2/ 6.37 6.88 7.49
Daily Me intake (Mcal)- 20.63 23.74 27.97
Daily protein intake (Ib) .74 .90 1.10
Dressing % / 54.6 55.4 55.8
Federal grade G G G
Fat over ribeye (in) 0.23 0.27 0.36

1/ Based on corn silage containing 28.4% dry matter and the concentrate
mixture containing 90% dry matter.
2/ Calculations are based on Nutrient Requirement of Beef Cattle. 1976.
National Academy of Science.
3/ Carcass data was obtained by Dr. A. Z. Palmer, Meats Laboratory,
University of Florida.

Table 10. Gain and feed intake data for heifers grown on corn silage (126 days)

Number of heifers 136
Initial weight (Ib) 437
Final weight (Ib) 660
Total gain (Ib) 223
Daily gain (Ib) 1.77
Daily DM intake/heifer (Ib)-
Corn silage 10.89
Concentrate 1.89
Total 12.78

DM/lb gain 7.22
Daily Me intake (Mcal) / 14.72
Daily protein intake (lb)- .79

Dry matter data used in these calculations were corn silage, 35.4%
cottonseed meal, 91.1%; hay, 88.0%; and mineral, 90.0%. Metabolizable
energy and crude protein were based on Nutrient Requirement of Beef Cattle.
1976. National Academy of Science.

Table 11. Proximate chemical analysis of corn silage, alone and
with cottonseed meal (CSM).

Item, % Dry matter basis

Dry matter
Crude protein
Crude fiber
Ether extract
Gross energy, Mcal/kg

Corn silage


Corn silage + 13.67 CSM


Table 12. Digestibility of corn silage plus cottonseed meal.


Dry matter

Crude protein

Crude fiber


Total digestible nutrient

Grass energy

Digestibility Coefficients
-%- -




:s 68.0




/9i7 : '7- :: !' g 9 /9
1 .. . .. .. .

Figure 1.

Effect of 37 months of multicropping
on soil organic matter.





I- -i--:


i-- -I'-


/9J77 /7,78

on the level of CaO. -

"=mF~ rc-+ LH- A- -1m-- rk--i ts or Ir -~-~

~i-------------- ----


4 ,. ____ 1 .-

-I- 4-"- -'---4- -- -


- ,-

- 71T77y7T

. 4

..... i

r ;..-4i -.

JI e--Il- ~,L
I--- ;:-

tel~ l---
f- 4.'F

* i c' -
'r T :



-. I-

I- a

: '1


c. rB I !
r- :
~I I.i..
...~ ~~.._ ..1. i...;
I..~ti;S~: ,.Y t
).. iI

r ..~i.~._:...i--. ---
i r.
-' ~-i -e----1-----C- -1-
i-I ---- i ~-rl-l-- -r.-,..r

-r-,---c--- --i
._1....~ ...,.,
`-~ ` -:-~-~-- -: --;-t~-i


L L-- L _ __ 1


'4 -



.~ '`'
~.... ...~ .~,..

itirel 3. E fece of 37 iouthi 6fulfa- eticropp-ing..

UL~----_ o::SZ.the-~ei~e~et- I~0 MO.-l 1_tri,-s-. ifcl TCL
7'- .4 .- 4 4,!.L.Lb.

-A i-

--- .- --. ~- --- -------




-S-L-C-I~HYI---c-^III- 3-l-~~----L -,.,_i~--i~---




I ---I I -

K-o-........ ;

7211; .

I -

' "

4 -

ti~T t
'1 -Ii- r-- L -C21 i- -

--1 -.4--
- :-- P ___ 1

... -t ci. ~. I. -. .-~ .'- --





--- -.1

- -.-j ; ." -.-i .
/9 --

'-I- tT- A4~s~ MF~ ".

,-4 -;w, -9

thc 1-evel ofP Kv.
ri -t

:-'--f -- -"
-- --


r ---t-



... I

4 AftA


.LE .7c I


4J57m fltl r~ u1iri3li via
i /Y ~ /Y~/ -- -! ~Y~Y I .L- ---IE --. -

Sth~ level o:POf P :*
7 ~* ,

-o4 I
gu e 6. -E -ft 'dei~~- Ot 'he e ii r d

Fil -Q --4i 1i~e~r-1-- -

HUI_ -l AL .%-L
_r__t.. _~----77 -t-
T~u jeetlrpig .niis it~~heod
o--~- '----~Te~~brf-~rt~b~ttt-f~- Ie~k~F~


-i Itt-- 4-


0& OA L .L... T L I -l ki I I -

C-- I



v1 F
-J I. f _..

- ii.- -



IV-h T-i -

*~ -4

I 1-t t-i---I-i




I L .



J7 0-77 F-7g



-~ ij



I: Ii :1.X

I' I


:Ijh1 I '

1Yi- i T



Bir-i- i :' I-i- i







F -t i iI





- -




-------- --

ML- -

A,& AlQ--- I------ ------"


i. ii




i i i






- i

----I -




!- i

i.i. _i
i i

i' 'j i i

i ,
i i i i


jq-- -

1- i-;



i ,-

i I


p FT


I i-

- ; -- i

I I i .I i I

--L- i--


::.1. : :

-c~- '~~'~'

CT-- -!--I-

- i-~- i-

i r

: ; I

Ua tfle ILOWI-BI

4 '4

-n---- na-por--

_777 4

4 4:.I.

q p

; --' _. .I i l

L41- i

ii 1-;-
-c 1< ;

I He

i-i --~----- I: -~

I~' 1:_

V~i Ir:, -- L-ii -_I
1-: .1-11 j. _i,



i i







I- i -I-- -- -i

~i~gir ~ ct n'vm tirojipihg_

.-- -t- .
q!------ r-y


I ~

~- -i-- -~


,- r-

~ti~ il-
I- i




I i-
i _
I i



This research project has been supported by a number of commercial
organizations. Grateful appreciation is expressed to the companies
and individuals listed below who have contributed gifts, grants, or
assistance, during the past threeyears.

Asgrow Florida, Plant City, Florida
Henry Boyd, Lakeland, Florida
Hollis Brannen, Dundee, Florida
Chain O'Lakes Groves, Inc., Winter Haven, Florida
Chemagro Agr. Div., Mobay Chemical Corp., Kansas City, Mo.
Tom Christian, Bradenton, Florida
Ciba-Geigy Corporation, Deland, Florida
Cloverdale Dairy Farm, Myakka City, Florida
Dekalb Seed Company, Dekalb, Illinois
Dixie Lime and Stone, Ocala, Florida
E. I. Dupont de Nemours Company, Inc., Wilmington, Delaware
FMC Corporation, Tampa, Florida
Funks Seeds International, Bloomington, Ill.
Harold Fauver, Sanford, Florida
Florida Irrigation Service, Alturas, Florida
Harry Gause, Limestone, Florida
Gehl Company, West Bend, Wisconsin
Hardee County Agriculture Soil Conservation Service
Charles F. Hinton, Hillsborough County, Florida
International Minerals & Chemical Corporation, Libertyville, Ill.
J & J Hauling, Nocatee, Florida
Monsanto Company, St. Louis, Missouri
C. M. Payne & Son, Inc., Sebring, Florida
Shepard Spreader Service, Plant City, Florida
Smitty Groundhog, Inc., Sanford, Florida

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs