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Title: Range Cattle REC newsletter
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089215/00017
 Material Information
Title: Range Cattle REC newsletter
Series Title: Range Cattle REC newsletter
Physical Description: Serial
Creator: Range Cattle Research and Education Center, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida
Publisher: Range Cattle Research and Education Center, University of Florida
Publication Date: September 2003
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Bibliographic ID: UF00089215
Volume ID: VID00017
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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University of Florida, IFAS
Range Cattle Research and Education Center
September 2003
.Volume 6, Number 3

It r Cattle R IF Ne s ett
Id IdId I

Calendar of




Date(s) Event
16-18 Forage and Pasture Management
6-10 Cow-Calf Seminars

18 4H Foundation Clay Shoot
21-23 SFBFG AI School
3-4 3rd Annual International Ag and
Trade Policy Conference
4-5 FCA Quarterly

Sebring FL

Check with your local extension
office for seminar near you.
Orlando FL
Wauchula FL
Naples FL

Gainesville FL



S e e d S to r a g e ............................ ......... ......... ........... .............. ..... ..................... .......... 2
Development and Screening of Bahiagrass That Will Grow During Short Days ................................... 2
Summary of USDA's July 1, 2003 Cattle Inventory ......................................................... .............. 3
High-Protein, Salt-Limited Creep Feed .................................................................
Florida Flatwoods Forage Cost Budgets Released....................................... 4
M ole C rick ets on th e R u n .................. ............................................. ........ .......... .. ............ 4
Basic Energy and Protein Knowledge for Grazing Cattle ........................................ ....................... 5

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and
other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining
other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences/University of Florida/Christine Taylor Waddill, Director.

- N ---- -

Seed Storage

Seed storage should be a concern for
cattlemen when carrying unused portions of seed
over the summer for use the following year. I
have seen pallets of bahiagrass and aeschynomene
seed in open storage on ranches. In addition to
the initial cost of seed, the wasted dollars are
compounded considering the cost of seedbed
preparation and sowing. Even with the best seed,
pasture establishment is risky, so why add to the
uncertainty? All seed has a limited shelf-life.
Some seed, like Pensacola bahiagrass, may
improve in percentage germination over time, but
that is true if there was high dormancy after
harvest. In this case, dormancy breaks down over
time and high humidity aids in the process. For
most seed, germination declines rapidly in our
High humidity during storage is the
greatest cause of reduced seed viability. Research
has shown that storage in an environment
artificially dried to 12% relative humidity gave
excellent maintenance of viability over 1 year
even when temperature was 95 F. On the other
hand, cold, damp storage was lethal to seed. This
suggests that the primary consideration for storage
should be for dehumidified storage with
refrigeration a secondary consideration. On a
ranch, storage in a relatively small, sealed room
with an inexpensive dehumidifier is the minimum.
Air-conditioned storage may not better than
dehumidification alone because lowering the air
temperature may simply increase relative
humidity. Combining air-conditioning and a
dehumidifier would be ideal. Although it may
not be practical, a rule of thumb for good storage
is the sum of temperature (F) plus relative
humidity should not exceed 100.

Development and Screening of Bahiagrass
That Will Grow During Short Days

Bahiagrass is grown on about 70% of the
improved pastures in Florida. This grass is desired
by ranchers because of low fertility needs, persists
when fertilizer is reduced or omitted, is
established from seed, and is long lived.

Bahiagrass will persist under continuous close
grazing and can provide additional income from
seed and/or sod. The major problem with
bahiagrass is 90% of its yield is produced between
April and September with 10% forage production
during the winter season.
Studies indicate lack of winter production
is not due to temperature, rainfall, or fertility but
to day-length. Therefore, a 2-year cooperative
study with USDA-ARS was conducted at the
Range Cattle Research and Education Center,
Ona, to determine the influence of extended day-
length on winter forage production of 'Pensacola'
bahiagrass, 'Florona' stargrass, 'Florakirk' and
'Tifton 85' bermudagrass. Lights were installed so
70% of each grass plot was exposed to 15 hours
of day-length during the winter (October-March)
and 30% of the grass plot was exposed to normal
day-length. The extended lights trick the plants
into thinking that it is still summer in December.
Consequently the plants on the extended day-
length do not go dormant and continue growing.
The intensity of the lights is only 1% of the mid-
day sun, therefore no photosynthesis occurs from
the lights used to extend the day-length. Plants
were harvested year round.
Pensacola bahiagrass yielded a 2-year
average increase of 1.5 tons/A dry matter during
winter with little effect on forage quality when
exposed to the extended day-length. Breeding
studies were then initiated to develop a Pensacola
bahiagrass that would grow during winter (short
days). Other traits selected for include frost
tolerance, resistant to dollar spot, ample rooting,
and rapid seed germination. Plants were grown in
nurseries at Marianna and Ona, Florida. The most
desirable plants expressing the above
characteristics were selected from both nurseries
and crossed to develop a superior bahiagrass
population. Plants from this population produced
seed that were grown in nurseries at Marianna and
Ona and the selection process was repeated
annually for 3-years. After 3 breeding cycles

(Cycle 3), plants were tested at Ona under a
clipping study during the winter of 2002-2003.
The new Cycle 3 bahiagrass out-yielded
Pensacola by 1.1 ton/A, Argentine by 1.8 tons/A,
and Tifton-9 by 0.4 tons/A.

Selection, breeding, and the development
of Cycle 4 continued. During the fall of 2003 both
Cycle 3 and 4 will be clipped in separate studies
to determine if Cycle 4 shows improvement over
Cycle 3 in winter forage production and frost
tolerance. Superior Cycle 4 plants will be tested
under a mob grazing study in 2004 to determine
plant tolerance to grazing. Forage quality is being
monitored continually for each cycle. Cycle 5 will
provide Florida and South Georgia growers with a
Pensacola-type bahiagrass that will grow during
the cool season. Our goal is for Cycle 5 to
produce about 1 ton/A more than Tifton-9, have
improved frost tolerance, be resistant to dollar
spot fungus, and be tolerant to grazing livestock.

Summary of USDA's July 1, 2003 Cattle

The USDA's July 1 cattle inventory report
showed a one percent decline in inventory.
However, there were a couple of significant
figures that will be of interest to beef cattle
producers as business plans are set in action for
the next calf crop.
All cows and heifers that had calved, at
42.7 million, were slightly below the 2002 level
of 42.9 million. This figure divides out to 33.6
million beef cows and 9.1 million milk cows.
Beef replacement heifers were even with 2002 at
4.6 million while milk replacement heifers were
down three percent to 3.6 million.
The shrinking inventories of the past
several years along with the closing of the
Canadian border have had an impact on the total
number of cattle and calves on feed. This figure
was down six percent to 11.7 million.
The fact that replacement heifers have
remained steady is an indication that a change
may be taking place. Be keeping an eye on the
level of heifer placements into feedlots. This has
been rather steady throughout the year near 35
percent. Should the figure begin to fall, it will be
a clear indication that herd rebuilding may be
beginning. The drought conditions out west will
continue to have an impact on herd expansion
potential however.

High-Protein, Salt-Limited Creep Feed

Conventional creep feeding that allows
calves free-choice access to creep supplement for
several months before weaning was found to be
uneconomical. The cost of creep feed consumed,
which can exceed five pounds per calf per day,
outweighs the returns in increased calf gain. The
possible exception is creep feeding calves nursing
first-calf heifers or all calves during a drought
period. Cows, as well as calves, benefit from
creep-fed calves in these situations.
Limited creep feeding, evaluated by Joe
Crockett and Findlay Pate in the 1970's, is a
practice that offers calves a grain-based creep feed
only a few weeks before weaning. An average
feed intake of less than one pound of creep feed
per calf per day minimizes cost. However, this
small amount of creep feed teaches calves to eat
before weaning, and results in better gains and
fewer health problems of calves after weaning.
Most Florida cattlemen market and ship their
calves at weaning and would not benefit from
limited creep feeding.
Another concept of creep feeding nursing
calves was evaluated by researchers in Oklahoma
in the 1980's. It involves a high-protein creep
supplement like cottonseed meal, with 5 to 10%
salt added to limit intake of creep supplement to
one pound or less per calf per day. This creep
supplement is offered from 2 to 4 months prior to
In four Oklahoma trials, nursing calves fed
a cottonseed meal, salt-limited creep feed
consumed an average of 0.72 pounds of creep
feed per calf per day. These calves gained 0.27
pounds more per day than calves not offered creep
feed. On today's market, a $7.20 investment in a
high-protein, salt-limited creep feed would return
$24.30 more calf when sold at weaning.
Dr. Bill Kunkle, Sid Sumner, Pat Hogue
and Ed Jennings conducted five trials in the
1990's in south Florida to confirm the response of
nursing calves to high-protein, salt-limiting creep
feed. Cottonseed meal with 8% salt was creep fed
for an average of 54 days.. Calves fed creep feed
ate an average of 0.68 pounds of creep feed per
calf daily, and averaged 0.31 pounds per day more
gain than calves not fed creep feed. On today's
market a $6.80 investment in a high-protein, salt-

limited creep feed would return $27.90 more calf
when sold at weaning.
Short term creep feeding of calves with a
high-energy creep supplement 2 to 3 weeks before
weaning will return dividends to cattlemen who
retain ownership of calves after weaning. Creep
feeding nursing calves with a high-protein, salt-
limited supplement for 2 to 4 months before
weaning will provide cost efficient gains before
weaning, and probably benefit creep-fed calves
after weaning.

Florida Flatwoods Forage Cost Budgets

For several years, the IFAS cost budgets
for establishment and maintenance of five key
South Florida forages had not been updated. With
work from Drs. Paul Mislevy and T. E. Anton at
the Range Cattle REC and Mr. Scott Smith in
Food and Resource Economics, the budgets have
been updated. As of this writing, they were
available only on the Florida Cattle Market
Update website, http://rcrec-
ona.ifas.ufl.edu/markets.html. However, they will
soon be available via EDIS,
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu, in a complete packaged
PDF file (if you lack internet access, ask your
County Agent for assistance). Additionally, the
Range Cattle REC will be releasing the budgets in
a hard-copy format on a limited basis.
The budgets include establishment on
native flatwoods, estabilishment on previously
established flatwoods, and maintenance of
bahaigrass, digitgrass, stargrass, bermudagras, and
limpograss. Each budget includes the operating
and ownership costs of each venture. A brief
narrative included in the EDIS and hard-copy
releases explains the equipment and methods used
in determining the prices allocated to each
activity. These forage budgets will be used to
establish pasture prices for the upcoming Cow-
Calf budgets to be released by year's end.

Mole Crickets on the Run

In the past 20 years mole crickets have
destroyed thousands of acres of bahiagrass pasture

throughout Florida. At first, the area most
affected in south Florida was from Pasco County
south into Hillsborough, Manatee, and Sarasota
Counties. Areas in Orange and Osceola Counties
were heavily infested with mole crickets. Today,
mole crickets are found in large numbers in
various spots throughout Florida.
In the late 1970's UF/IFAS research and
extension faculty studied methods to control mole
crickets. Chemical treatments were effective, but
for a short while. Only biological control methods
offered hope for long-term control. The most
promising organism was a nematode from South
America which specifically infects and kills mole
This nematode was produced
commercially in Florida and marketed to golf
courses in the late 1980's. The nematode was not
marketed to ranches because of the high cost
required to purchase and apply nematodes over
the entire pasture area ($400/acre). Subsequently,
commercial production of mole cricket nematodes
was discontinued.
In the mid 1990's a group of UF/IFAS
faculty met and discussed the ever increasing
problem with mole crickets destroying Florida's
bahiagrass pasture. Dr. Martin Adjei, a newly
hired extension agronomist at Ona, chose to
provide leadership for a second attempt to control
mole crickets in Florida and applying these
methods in the real world.
Over the past six years, Dr. Adjei has led a
group from Ona to evaluate mole cricket
populations and treatments that control them. Dr.
Adjei determined that the only effective treatment
for long-term control of mole crickets was
nematodes. Also, results suggested that effective
and cost efficient control was obtained by
applying the nematodes in strips (one eighth of
pasture area) rather than inoculating the entire
bahiagrass pasture.
Over the past two years Dr. Adjei has
applied nematodes to mole cricket-infested
pastures at over 20 ranch sites. Dr. Adjei has
shown that nematodes applied in strips at the
correct time in the fall and spring, and when
moisture conditions are adequate, the nematodes
will spread slowly across the entire pasture and
control the resident mole cricket population for a
long time.

A commercial supply of the mole cricket
insecticidal nematode named Nematac S is now
available. Purchase information can be obtained
from Becker Underwood at 1-800-232-5907, or
their local representative at (941) 350-7291.
Ingram Grove Service, Inc. at Winter
Haven will apply the nematodes commercially.
Call (863) 422-4918 (office) or (863) 287-3438.
Cost is $25 per acre for the nematode and from $7
to $15 per acre for the application on sizeable
Information on nematode application can
also be obtained from Dr. Adjei at the Range Cattle
REC at Ona (863) 735-1314.
Now is the time to apply nematodes to
infect mole crickets. We have a tool to do the job
at a reasonable cost. Let us apply this new
technology and put mole crickets in their place like
we did screw worms in the late 1959's.

Basic Energy and Protein Knowledge for
Grazing Cattle

Energy (TDN)
Energy is the major nutrient required by cattle.
It is the fuel that drives all body functions. In
grazing cattle we commonly measure energy as
units of TDN (total digestible nutrients). Grazing
cattle obtain the majority of their energy from the
ruminal digestion of forage. Therefore, forage
quality becomes a primary consideration when
balancing a grazing cow's diet. Intake of energy,
through forage, is limited by the gut capacity of
the cow. As forage quality decreases, the ruminal
digestion and passage rate also decrease.
Therefore, cows will consume less low quality
forage compared to higher quality forages. This
creates a negative associative effect, which is a
major consideration when balancing a cow's diet
(Table 1).

As shown in Table 1 lower quality bahiagrass
results in less forage consumed, which further
translates into less TDN consumed. The result is
an energy deficiency in the cow's diet. This cow
must be supplemented with at least 2.6 lb of TDN
per day or she will lose body weight.
Another uniqueness of the ruminant is its
ability to synthesize protein using non-protein
nitrogen such as urea. Ruminal microbes utilize
non-protein nitrogen, along with much of the
natural protein consumed, and produce microbial
protein. Microbial protein is an important
component in the grazing cow's diet.
Like TDN, the forage protein concentration is
the most important contributor to meeting the
cow's protein requirement. As forage quality
declines, most likely due to maturity, levels of
TDN and protein also decline. Therefore, the
example used above could also be duplicated with
protein. Low quality forages may often lack
adequate protein to meet the cow's requirement.
In these situations, protein supplementation must
be considered to maintain cow performance.
As shown in Table 2 lower quality bahiagrass
results in less forage consumed, which further
translates into less protein consumed. Like TDN,
this protein deficiency will need to be
supplemented to maintain adequate nutrition and
cow productivity.
The use of NPN is an important economic
consideration when designing protein
supplements. Mature cows are able to readily
utilize NPN, which is a less expensive source of
nitrogen compared to natural protein alternative.
However, growing cattle or cattle in low body
condition should be supplemented with natural
protein (i.e. cottonseed meal or soybean meal),
which will improve their performance compared
to NPN.

Table 1. Effect of forage quality on meeting the energy requirements of a 1000 lb cow in
late gestation.
Bahiagrass Pasture
Parameter High Quality Med. Quality Low Quality
(55 % TDN) (52 % TDN) (45 % TDN)
Voluntary Intake, % body wt.1 2.25 2.00 1.75
Dry Matter Intake, lb 22.5 20.0 17.5
TDN Intake, lb 12.4 10.4 7.9
TDN Requirement, lb 10.5 10.5 10.5
Deficit, lb 1.9 -0.1 -2.6
'Voluntary intake assumes there is adequate pasture forage available.

Table 2. Effect of forage quality on meeting the protein requirements of a 1000 lb cow in
late gestation.
Bahiagrass Pasture
Parameter High Quality Med. Quality Low Quality
(9.0 % CP) (7.0 % CP) (5.0 % CP)
Voluntary Intake, % body wt.1 2.25 2.00 1.75
Dry Matter Intake, lb 22.5 20.0 17.5
Protein Intake, lb 2.0 1.4 0.9
Protein Requirement, lb 1.5 1.5 1.5
Deficit, lb 0.5 -0.1 -0.6
'Voluntary intake assumes there is adequate pasture forage available.


Adjei, Martin B.
Anton, T. E., Ed.
Arthington, John D.
Blount, Ann R. S.1
Kalmbacher, Rob S.
Mislevy, Paul
Pate, Findlay M.

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