Everglades Station Mimeo Report 61-11
GRAZING TRIAL RESULTS FOR ONE YEAR (1959-1960) 1
C. E. Haines and R. J. Allen, Jr.
Pasture studies have been conducted on the organic soils of south Florida
for many years with the kind of grasses and methods for determining their pro-
ductivity changing frequently. A report by Allen et al (1) in 1953 showed
that pangolagrass produced an average of 760 Ibs of animal gain per acre when
grazed for a one year period. A five year study by Kidder et al (4) compared
the productivity of Roselawn St. Augustinegrass, paragrass and caribgrass with
yearling cattle grazing several acres of each grass. The total weight gains,
per acre, averaged 1,004 lbs per year for Roselawn St. Augustinegrass, and
920 Ibs for paragrass and caribgrass. A recent study by Haines and Chapman
(2), at the same location, found that gains in weight per acre for one year
totaled 1077, 1070, 1053 and 861 Ibs for bahiagrass, paragrass, Roselawn
St. Augustinegrass and pangolagrass, respectively. The study reported herein
contained these same experimental plots, but previous management procedures
were modified to some extent. These data are from a one year test period
which ended in October, 1960.
Fifteen pasture lots consisting of four Roselawn St. Augustinegrass,
four paragrass, four pangolagrass, two Argentine bahiagrass and one Pensa-
cola bahiagrass were used in the study. Experimental lots were each two
acres in size and randomly located within a forty acre field. Heifer and
steer yearling calves were used for a 51 week period, beginning on October
29, 1959 and ending on October 20, 1960, to graze the grass in the experi-
mental blocks. Animals were assigned to the test plots on the basis of sex,
weight and breeding and averaged approximately 450 pounds at the initiation
of the trial.
The"put and take" system was employed for regulating the numbers of
animals on each block, above base animals. As the quantity of forage de-
creased or increased, pairs of animals were removed or added to the res-
pective block. However, the minimum stocking rate was two yearlings per
acre throughout the entire test period for each of the test plots. The
additional calves used in the blocks (above the base animals) were kept
in a "pool group" when not grazing their assigned test blocks. Test blocks
were examined weekly and animal numbers were adjusted at two week intervals
when the quantity and quality of forage warranted changes in animal-Ebpers.
During the winter, when grass production was poor, the base animals2i
two of the St. Augustine, para, pangola and one of the Argentine bahiagraoia',
blocks were supplied with sugarcane. Fifteen pounds of chopped sugarzane (,
was supplied per head daily for a 10 week period in feed troughs locatPed ,-
1. The assistance of J. V. McLeod during the conduct of the trial is a4-
2. Assistant Animal Husbandman and Assistant Agronomist, Everglades Experi-
ment Station, Belle Glade, Florida.
February 17, 1961
within the designated test blocks. The yearlings in the remaining eight
blocks were given no additional supplemental feed. All groups were pro-
vided with a salt-mineral mixture free choice, throughout the year.
All animals were individually weighed at 14 day intervals during the
year. The total gains made by the yearlings in each block were converted
to pounds of gain per acre of grass. Data from the blocks containing the
same kind of grass were combined for comparison. The annual mineral con-
sumption was obtained for each lot and converted to the average consumption
Forage samples were secured from each test block at monthly intervals
for proximate analyses and were obtained in the middle of each month.
Although the performance of the yearlings during the 10 week sugarcane
supplementation period have been reported by Haines and le Grand (3) a few
of the most pertinent facts should be repeated here. Sugarcane supplement-
ation benefited the yearlings but the kind of grass grazed affected the
degree of response. During the winter, the sugarcane either improved the
gains or decreased weight losses made on St. Augustinegrass by 34 pounds,
compared to 16 pounds for those from pangolagrass, 43 pounds for animals
on Argentine bahiagrass and 46 pounds for animals grazing paragrass. Of
the groups not supplemented with sugarcane, only those grazing St. August-
inegrass gained weight. A summary of this phase of the trial is shown in
Table 1. Average Weight Changes of Yearlings During 10 Weeks on Two Levels
of Sugarcane Supplementation.
Kind of Average weight change(lbs. per an.) Average
grass Chopped No difference
grazed Sugarcane Sugarcane (lbs.per an.)
St. Augustine 42.5 8.1 34.4
Fangola 14.4 -1.9 16.3
Argentine Bahia 33.8 -8.8 42.6
Para -10.0 -55.6 45.6
The supplementation of the pasture grasses with sugarcane affected the
total annual productivity of the blocks to a small degree. The annual gains
per acre for pangola, para and Argentine bahiagrass were 114, 35 and 140
pounds respectively greater on the supplemented pastures. However, gains
per acre for St. Augustinegrass were four pounds greater by the non-supple-
mented groups than for those that received the sugarcane. An analysis of
the weight gains of only the base animals for the year (those involved in
the sugarcane trial) showed that the 28 animals which had received the sugar-
cane, on the different grasses, gained an average of 280 pounds compared to
253 pounds by those not receiving the supplement (Figure 1).
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On a grass basis, the calves on paragrass realized the greatest benefit
from sugarcane. Differences within this group amounted to 76 pounds in
favor of sugarcane supplementation. This might have been suspected since
this same group recorded the most value from sugarcane during the 10 week
An important aspect of the study is the actual pounds of live animal
gain produced per acre for the year and the annual grazing days (carrying
capacity) which each grass provided. Since both Argentine and Pensacola
bahiagrass showed similar characteristics in productivity, the data for
these lots were combined. Data were also combined for the levels of sugar-
cane supplementation within the respective grass groups. A summary of the
annual productivity of each grass group is presented in the following table:
Table 2. Annual Productivity of Four Pasture Grasses.
Kind of Animal Days Total gain Ave. Daily Gain
grass per acre (lbs/acre) per animal (Ibs)
St. Augustine 1,029 915 0.89
Para 919 795 0.86
Fangola 828 625 0.75
Bahia 1,204 600 0.49
There were several periods during which groups of animals actually lost
weight. Between December 10th and 24th negative gains were recorded for
each grass group. The longest period of continual weight losses was ex-
perienced by the calves on paragrass (December 10th 1959 through March 31st
1960). Other periods of weight losses occurred during parts of September
which were probably due to excessive rainfall. A breakdown of the actual
gains produced for the year, into bi-weekly periods, illustrates a tre-
mendous difference in seasonal productivity for each of the grasses. This
data is shown in Figure 2.
The values illustrated in Figure 2 show that the greatest gains on each
of the grasses occurred during the months of April, May, June and July. Over
60 percent of the entire gains on paragrass were made during the three months
of May, June and July. The peak productivity for St. Augustinegrass occurred
during the months of April, May, June and July when over 65 percent of the
total gains were recorded. The largest weight gains from pangolagrass also
occurred during the same four months; 65 percent of the total gains. For
the bahiagrass, 56 percent of the total gains were made in a two months
period; April and May. Lowest productivity occurred in December, January,
February and September. Gains during the other months of the year were
erratic and not consistent among the grass groups.
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The rainfall was the highest in September and excessive enough to cause
water to stand in most of the blocks for days at a time. This situation
resulted -,n considerable damage to the forage by making it easy for the
cattle to pull up entire plants and to tear up the sod with their hooves.
It ap eared as if the growth of the Bahia grasses were depressed the most
by the excessive rainfall. The protein content of the grasses were gener-
ally lower during this period than at other times of the year (except
paragrass). A summary of the monthly rainfall, moisture content and per-
cent crude protein in the grasses is shown in Table 3 for comparison pur-
The average daily mineral consumption for all animals, regardless of the
kind of grass grazed, or season of the year, was 0.117 pounds. The yearlings
on St. Augustinegrass, paragrass, pangolagrass and bahiagrass consumed an
averaged of 0.121, 0.107, 0.115 and 0.13 pounds respectively, of the mineral
mixture per head daily. On a monthly brsis, the largest a:.ount of minerals
consumed per head was in December and the smallest amount in January.
The annual productivity of Roselawn St. Augustinegrass, paragrass, pan-
golagrass and two bahia grasses w-ere compared by us.ng yearlings in test
blocks of each grass. During the winter, part of the anirmn.ls were also
provided with sugarcane. Productivity was determined by carrying capacity
and the live weight gains produced on the respective grasses.
Sugarcane supplementation benefited the calves on paragrass pastures the
most both during the supplementation period and for the entire year. Bahia-
grass had the highest carrying capacity and pangola the lowest stocking rate.
The total gains per acre for the year were 915, 795, 625 and 600 pounds for
Roselawn St. Augustine, para, pan ola and bahiagrass, respectively. The
highest daily gains were recorded for Roselamw St. Au7ustinegrase and the
lowest for bahiagrass. By monthly periods, thl large:'t gains occurred in
May and were at least 20 percent of the yearly gains for each grass. Less
than three percent of the yearly gains were recorded in either December or
February and gains were very low in January for all grasses.
The total rainfall for the year was 76 inches. The average moisture
content, of monthly samples, from all grasses was 72.4 percent and the crude
protein content averaged 16.1 percent.
Table 3. Total Rainfall a:-d Average Moisture and Protein Content of
Monthly P-. 1c... _/
Four Grasses by
Month of Total Percent Moisture Percent Protein 2
collection Rainfall(in.) St. Augustine Para Faiigola Bahia Sc, Augustine Fara Pangola Bahia
November 1959 8.16 77.8 82.7 77.8 74.3 16.1 19.4 17.2 16.5
December, 1959 0.47 75.4 78.2 66.7 71.5 14.9 16.3 15.2 14.2
January, 1960 0.11 78.9 3/ 80.5/ 72.1 / 72.6 16.6 18.9 17.3 15.2
February, 1960 2.81 68.8 34.6 36.3 62.5 15.2 11.7 15.5 14.4
March, 1960 1.99 73.1 39.3 48.5 74.3 17.1 12.0 15.9 18.6
April, 1960 3.22 77.1 69.4 69.2 75.4 16.6 16.8 17.1 18.5
May, 1960 5.36 77.3 81.6 76.4 73.9 17.3 20.2 19.4 17.4
June, 1960 9.20 74.6 81.7 73.0 74.0 17.9 18.0 17.1 15.6
July, 1960 10.80 80.4 81.4 75.5 74.4 15.1 18.1 15.5 13.2
August, 1960 11.85 81.1 81.3 73.3 72.9 13.7 19.5 15.5 12.0
September, 1960 19.50 78.8 79.2 73.8 72.6 11.9 15.4 13.5 12.9
October, 1960 2.48 77.0 80.6 71.2 72.5 15.5 18.4 16.8 15.0
1. Samples secured in the middle of each month, from four separate lots of each grass.
2. Protein expressed as percent of crude protein in dry matter content.
3. Frosted in January, 1960.
1. Allen, R. J. Jr., H. L. Chapman, Jr., and R. W. Kidder. 1953. Fla. Agri.
Exp. Sta. Ann. Rpt. p. 234.
2. Haines, C. E. and H. L. Chapman, Jr. 1960. Results of Grazing Experiments
With Yearling Calves on Four Major Pasture Grasses of the Everglade.
For One Year. Everglades Sta. NMmeo Rpt. 60-16.
3. Haines, C. E. and F. le Grand. 1960. Sugarcane as a Pasture Supplement
During the Winter for Yearling Cattle. Sugar Journal 23:13.
4. Kidder, R. W., R. J. Allen, Jr., H. L. Chapman, Jr., and D. W. Beard.ley.
1957. Yield of Everglades Pasture as Measured by Growth of Yearling
Cattle. Jour. An. Sci. 16:1058.