FLORIDA IFAS EXTENSION
1303 1 *:. Street West Palmetto, FL Phone: ; i 722-4524 Fax: i I 1 722-6608
South Florida Beef Forage Program
Services and Products Directory
I receive many calls from small farmers looking for assistance for services and products.
The South Florida Beef Forage Program has a Service Directory on their website for your
convenience (http://sfbfp.ifas.ufl.edu). We are in the process of updating the site. If you
are currently listed in this directory please, take a few moments and review your
information to ensure the contact and service information is correct for your business. If
you are not listed and would like to be you can visit the website and register to be added
to the directory, free of charge. This directory is for all types of agricultural services.
Please take a moment to review this site.
Deer & Turkey Short Course
The 1st Annual Deer & Turkey Short Course will be held on Friday, August 18 at the
Turner Agri-Civic Center Exhibit Hall. The course will begin with registration at 7:45am
and conclude following field site visits and meetings with ranch managers at a local ranch
in the area.
This program is designed to educate landowners, managers, and hunters on the ecology
and management of Deer and Turkey in Florida. The science-based information will
come from a variety of sources, including landowners, the hunting industry, academia,
NGO's, and natural resource agencies, and be presented in layperson terms.
The cost of the program is $50 before August 11, 2006 and $75 at the door.
Grazing Management School
This course is sponsored by The South Florida Beef-Forage Program of the University of
Florida, Cooperative Extension Service. It is conducted with the volunteer assistance of
area livestock producers and Allied Industries. It represents separation of the original
Forage and Pasture Management School into subject components that can be taught in a
couple of days. It is part of a continuing multi-county education effort to help South-
Central Florida producers raise and market high quality beef cattle, per cow, per acre,
Grazing management is the manipulation of livestock grazing to obtain defined
outputs of livestock products. It involves careful management of both pasture and
livestock resources to meet desired objectives. This new course is offered in a two day
sessions. The theories of grazing management concepts and methods are discussed in a
classroom setting during the first day at the Hardee County Agricultural Civic Center,
and concepts taught are supported by practical applications in the field during the second
day tour to selected ranches in the area, and the Ona Range Cattle Research and
This is the first offering of a "Grazing Management School" and we encourage
you and your personnel to attend. Registration fee for this school is $ 60.00 if received
by Sept 15, 2006, and $ 80.00 if received after Sept. 15, 2006. Registration forms can
be obtained at the Manatee County Extension Office or by calling Christa L. Carlson.
Protecting Cattle in a Hurricane
Gary Mikulecky, Highlands County Extension Director & Livestock Agent
It is not recommended to evacuate cattle in preparation for a hurricane therefore we have
to prepare ahead of time to protect our cattle. Cattle are herd animals which mean they
like to stay together and this offers them added protection. They also have the ability to
avoid a lot of flying debris. Rescuers, in the past, have noticed that few cattle received
substantial injuries during previous hurricanes.
All cattle should have identification. Identification can be ear tag, ear notches, neck chain,
brand, microchip or EID (Electronic Identification Device). Make sure you secure the
paperwork that shows your ownership. If cattle can nott be identified and returned to the
owner they are awarded to the state. This is another reason to get a Premise ID and put
EIDs on your cattle.
Don't keep your cattle in the barn to prevent debris injury. If your barn collapses and
there is no way to insure that it won't cattle have no chance to save themselves and are
likely to panic if they can't follow their instincts. Relocate livestock to a predetermined
safe area. Ensure that they have access to hay, pasture, clean water, a safe area or high
ground above flood levels. Do not rely on automatic watering systems, because power
may be lost. Close barn and/or stall doors. If cattle are used to sheltering in a barn they
will try to enter it when threatened. Open all interior pasture gates. The safest place for
cattle to weather a storm is in a large pasture. Cattle may suffer debris injuries, but at
least they now have a chance. It should have as many of these attributes as possible: free
of exotic trees, no overhead power lines, be well away from areas that might generate
wind driven debris, have both low areas that animals can shelter in during the storm,
(preferably a pond), and higher areas that will not be flooded after the storm and have
woven wire fencing.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL CARE
Having the proper medical supplies will help with emergency medical care and
management of your cattle. Riders and horses will be needed to round up stray cattle.
Restraint equipment will also be needed: portable chutes and corrals, lariats, and rope
halters. Trauma cases may require veterinary assistance. Euthanasia may be the most
humane treatment option. This may require the use of controlled substances. Consult with
your veterinary and plan carefully. If you are forced to euthanize an animal use medical,
penetrating captive bolt, or a firearm. After euthanasia, be sure you record animal ID,
date of death and reason for euthanasia.
Animal carcasses should be disposed of by a commercial rendering service or other
appropriate means. Disposal should be made in accordance with all Federal, State and
local regulations. The Highlands County Landfill will accept animal carcasses from
Highlands County residents. There is one stipulation you must be able to unload the
carcass yourself by means of a dumping truck or trailer. County personnel are not
allowed to assist with the offloading of any material by hand or with machinery.
There are some things we can do ahead of time to help make it safer for our cattle. One of
these is fencing. Woven wire is the safest for livestock. It acts like volleyball net; in many
cases falling trees don't even take it down. It doesn't pull apart in high winds. Animals
are less likely to get caught or tangled in it. Board fencing blows down and becomes
debris. If you use it, back it with woven wire. Avoid using barbed wire. It cuts livestock
to ribbons and is easily torn down by flying debris. Lay out your fence lines to keep
animals away from power lines. Each year before hurricane season, replace rotten fence
posts and make fencing repairs so your fences are as strong as possible. While you're at it,
store up fencing supplies- extra wire, posts, staples, and gates. You know you're going to
use them sometime anyway. These supplies were in short supply during the last hurricane
season. Secure or remove all items that could become air borne during high winds. If you
can't remove these hazards tie them down with mobile home anchors or other devices.
Secure trailers, propane tanks and other large objects. Boats, feed troughs and other large
containers can be filled with water before a high-wind event. This will help prevent them
from blowing around; however, additional anchors may be needed. If you depend on a
well for water- have a standby generator or install a hand pump. Be sure to store the
gasoline in a safe location. Make sure your insurance is adequate and up-to-date.
Photograph or video all property and store film in a secure location. After the hurricane
how will you roundup or check on your cattle? A pickup truck, four wheeler or horse?
Whatever you plan to use make sure it is ready. My guess is only your horse will get you
where you need to be immediately after the hurricane. These are just a few thoughts on
cattle and hurricanes make your preparations now. Like my grandfather always said
"you don't have it done yet!"
What Makes For Good Horse Hay
Horse owners and hay producers don't always agree on how to identify safe, good quality
horse hay. Here is a list of seven key characteristics buyers should consider when
evaluating horse hay. Krishona Martinson and Paul Peterson, University of Minnesota
extension agronomists, spoke about these characteristics at recent Minnesota Horse Expo
1) Mold/Moisture Buy hay baled between 15-17% moisture and it should be free of
mold. "With small square bales, you can sometimes get away with baling at 18-20%
moisture without spoilage," notes Peterson. More-dense big square bales should be put up
below 16% moisture for safe storage. Hay baled above 25% moisture poses the threat of
severe heat damage or spoilage, mold growth, and/or hay fires. Hay put up at 20-25%
moisture and properly treated with organic acid preservatives can be fed safely to horses.
Horses, however, may require a short adaptation period to readily consume this hay.
2) Maturity Don't equate seed heads with "good" hay. Seed heads just indicate that
the plants are mature, with thick stems, more fiber, less protein and decreasing levels of
digestible energy. Horses that aren't working hard or lactating may be able to get by
with"stemmier" hay containing more seed heads, Martinson and Peterson say. But hay
with more leaves and softer, smaller stems are better quality. Consider grass hays that
have been harvested when seed heads have just begun to form. They have good fiber
digestibility and more available energy than more mature hay. Legume hay harvested at
about the 10% flower stage is usually leafy hay with extra protein that horses will convert
into ammonia. Mature legumes make hay that does not exceed a horse's protein level in
most cases, but also tends to be very coarse, according to Martinson and Peterson. Softer
hay will be consumed more readily, they explain. "If it feels rough to you, it will feel
rough to the horse," Peterson says.
3) Cut or Crop Don't base nutritional value on when hay is cut, the agronomists say.
Maturity, followed by hay curing and storage, determine what nutrients a hay holds.
Because plants that grow under cooler temperatures build more digestible fiber, first crop
hay may have more digestible fiber than later cuttings but it is not a guarantee. First
cutting can often produce more coarse hay than later cuttings. But good and bad horse
hay can be produced in any cutting.
4) Grass Hay Vs Alfalfa Know how much digestible fiber and energy your horses
will need then find hay that will provide it. Alfalfa and clover generally have higher
protein content than grasses. So alfalfa hay is a good protein source for young developing
horses. But it may have more protein than what other horses need. Fiber from grasses is
more digestible than from alfalfa and other legumes at the same maturity stage, say
Martinson and Peterson.
5) Smell Not all sweet-smelling hay is good, caution the experts. Sometimes hay
smells sweet because sugars within it caramelize, which indicates mold presence. Horse
owners should look closely at the hay to make sure they aren't dealing with mold issues.
6) Color A green color is only a fair indicator of hay quality, Peterson says. "Bleached
color indicates exposure to sunlight or rain, and can mean vitamin A has oxidized. But
other essential nutrients are usually present in bleached hay." When only bleached hay is
available, horse owners should have it tested.
7) Storage Considerations/Spoilage Once you've bought it, keep stored hay away
from water and wild animals, which can contaminate it. Studies have shown that up to
50% of a hay bale can be ruined when stored where moisture can be wicked up into it
from the ground. Round bales should be dense and well-formed with twine or net wrap,
and less than 18% moisture to minimize storage loss potential. Martinson and Peterson
recommend that horse owners take representative samples of every hay lot to a forage
testing lab for an equine nutritional analysis.
Information about sampling and forage testing can be found at
SOURCE: eHay Weekly
Hay & Forage Grower
Release May 9, 2006
U.S. Cow Costs Increased By $36/Head In 2005
Cattle-Fax(R) says its 2005 cow-calf survey revealed cash costs/cow averaged $351 in
2005 $36/head more than the 2004 average of $315/head. In the past decade, annual
cow costs have ranged from $292 to $35 1/head, with a 10-year average of $307/head.
Cattle-Fax analysts attribute the increase largely to higher energy and fuel costs. The
costs cited above don't include depreciation, opportunity cost or returns to management.
Overall, 96% of producers selling weaned calves were profitable in 2005, a record-high
percentage, Cattle-Fax says. Of producers selling calves at weaning, 80% made a profit
of $100/head or more, 44% made $150/head or more, and only 4% were not profitable.
The results show a strong correlation between high-return producers and lower costs and
higher production performance. Average cow cost for those profiting $100/head or more
was $347. Those who profited less than $100/head had an average cow cost of $377/head.
The average cow cost for the low 1/2 (least cost) of producers was $267/head compared
to the high 1/2 (highest cost) of producers was $445, a $178/head difference. The results
also show a positive correlation between weaning percentage and profitability. Producers,
who made more than $150/head, weaned 4% more calves than those who broke even or
The survey also found 79% of producers use the Internet, 53% have registered a premise
ID, 84% precondition their calves, and 78% felt the market rewarded them for
Cattle-Fax(R) Update, taken from the Michigan State
University Beef Cattle Research Update
Release May 15, 2006
NAID and EID Management; Big Difference
Brantley Ivey, Polk County Extension
There seems to be much confusion nowadays between what is assumed to be required for
National Animal ID (NAID), and what can be accomplished by using Electronic ID (EID)
management. These subjects are two completely different topics that are tied together
merely by a little radio frequency ear tag. Over the next couple of years there will be
much debate on how to accomplish the overwhelming task of individually identifying
each animal that goes into the market system. It seems confusing, but the basic concept of
NAID is simple. The first step of NAID requires every producer in the state of Florida to
register his/her premise, and attain a premise ID number. This can be accomplished by
simply filing an application through the Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer
Science. The application is free and upon completion the producer will have registered
premise with the State. At this point, the producer requirement of this process has been
met. Presently, this is all that is required for cattle producers and nothing more. When and
only when, the federal government requires a tag in each animal that is entering
commerce will the electronic tag be required. The tag will cost about two dollars and will
have to be purchased by a certified dealer (that has yet to be determined). Consequently,
in two to three years each producer should have a registered premise ID, and when the
time comes each producer will have to place an electronic tag in the ear of those animals
that will be going to market. This does not mean that every animal in your herd will have
to be identified, just those animals that are entering commerce. In a nutshell, that is NAID.
Electronic ID management is the use of that electronic tag that will be required for NAID,
a computer program and a tag reader to keep electronic records of your cow herd. This is
not a requirement within the NAID program. The electronic tag itself is the only binding
tie between these two programs. You will be required have an electronic tag to comply
with NAID, but you can choose to use that tag along with computer programs in an
electronic management program. Producers that choose to collect data on their herd can
collect the data that is important to their management regiment. It can be as simple as
herd inventory, or as advanced as feed yard efficiency and carcass grades on the calves
they produce. The basic program (computer and reader) for herd data collection will cost
a minimum of $1,500 to $2,000 to start collecting electronic data on your animals, but
these programs will do the same thing that a pencil and paper will do for you. What EID
does is manage the data in a computer database that will easily organize the data that you
enter. The tag, along with the program, will allow you to keep a wide variety of records,
as well as analyze that data that you have collected on your herd. There is a host of
computer programs available to manage cattle, most of which require a radio frequency
ear tag. A common misconception is that the tag will automatically keep and maintain the
records on your herd. You as a producer will still have to collect and enter the data that is
important to you. EID management can be a useful tool for those who choose to utilize it,
but if you do not keep records now this program will not be beneficial. EID is exactly
what is says; it is electronic management of manually collected data.
Beef Management Calendar
* Last date for planting sorghum.
* Check mineral feeder, use at least 8%
phosphorus in mineral an not over 2 12 to
1 calcium to phosphorus
* Check pastures and hay field for
spittlebugs, mole crickets, and army
* Treat if necessary; best month for mole
* Check dust bags.
* Watch for evidence of pinkeye and
* Utilize available veterinary services
and diagnostic laboratories.
* Get heifers vaccinated for brucellosis if
not already done.
* Pregnancy check cows.
* Update market information and plans.
* Make first cutting of hay.
* Put bulls out June 1 for calves starting
* Re-implant calves at 90 to 120 days
with growth stimulant.
* Cut corn silage.
* Control weeds in summer pastures.
* Apply nitrogen to warm season
pastures, if needed.
* Check mineral feeder.
* Check for army worms and mole
crickets, and treat if necessary.
* Wean calves and cull cow herd.
* Watch for evidence of footrot and treat.
* Consider preconditioning calves before
sale including vaccination for shipping
fever and IBR at least 3 weeks
* Check dust bags.
* Update market information and plans.
* Revaccinate calves at weaning for
* Treat for liver flukes as close to August
15th as possible, if they are in your area.
* Cut hay.
* Apply lime for fall and winter crops.
* Harvest Bahiagrass seed.
* Check mineral feeder.
* Update market information and
* Check for army worms, spittlebugs,
and mole crickets, and treat if necessary.
* Check dust bags.
* Wean calves and cull cow herd.
* Watch for evidence of abortions.
* Observe animals regularly for signs of
* If cattle grubs were found on cattle last
winter or heel flies were observed in the
pasture, treat for cattle grubs
* Pregnancy test and cull open heifers
from replacement herd
Christa L. Carlson
Extension Agent I, Livestock
Return Receipt Requested
Independence Day, Extension Office Closed
Animal Science Day Camp
Final Ag Land Stewardship Public Meeting, 4:00 pm, Kendrick
1st Annual Deer & Turkey Short Course, Arcadia
Manatee County Fair Steer Weigh In
Labor Day, Extension Office Closed
Grazing Management School, Wauchula
FCA 12th Annual Heifer Sale, Arcadia Stockyards