Forage Management for Pasture Finishing

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1 Forage Management for Pasture Finishing 59th Florida Beef Cattle Short Course John Andrae Extension Forage Specialist

2 Southeast Beef Cattle Inventory Beef Cattle 7.64 M Cows that have calved 32.5 M US (23% Total) Calves exported for finishing (NASS, 2/1/2008)

3 Excellent climate for forage production

4

5 Irrigation is readily available in some areas

6 Millions of Neighbors- A good thing? Niche Market Opportunities Metropolitan Area Population State(s) Miami/Ft Lauderdale 5,422,200 FL Washington D.C. 5,290,400 VA/DC/MA/WV Atlanta 5,249,121 GA Tampa/St Petersburg 2,589,637 FL Charlotte/Gastonia 2,191,604 NC/SC Orlando/Kissimmee 1,977,437 FL Virginia Beach/Norfolk 1,700,000 VA/NC Nashville/Davidson 1,498,836 TN Raleigh-Durham 1,467,434 NC Jacksonville 1,348,381 FL Richmond 1,300,000 VA Memphis 1,260,905 TN/MS/AR Louisville 1,245,920 KY Greenville-Spartanburg 1,203,795 SC Total 33,740,000 >11M in FL

7 Forage Finished Market Share Grass-fed sector is tiny but growing 50,000 to 100,000 hd cattle estimated in 2008 Less than 0.5% of conventional beef (34,000,000 hd produced 26,000,000,000 lbs beef) Forage fed producers range from very small to very large (1 to >6,000 hd) How important can a 0.5% niche market be?

8 Animal Age at Slaughter Angus forage-finished cattle 3 slaughter times 2 Postmortem aging times, d 14 or 28 Tough Tender Duckett et al., In press

9 1200 lb 1.7 lb/d 15 mo 1.8 lb/d 7 mo 3.1 lb/d 4 mo 825 lb 1.5 lb/d 8 mo 1.1 lb/d 11 mo 450 lb mo of age 15-month growing finishing period Slide from Dr. Anibal Pordomingo, INTA

10 Energy requirements of medium frame steers gaining 2.6 lbs/day at various weights Protein g/d +20% NEg Mcal/d +69%

11 LW gain lb/day Young stock < 800 lb LW < 15 months Heavy steers >800 lb LW > 15 months Digestibility, % (TDN) Weight gain and digestibility relationships in pasture-fed cattle Data compiled from multiple grazing trials A. Pordomingo; INTA, Argentina

12 How are we going to keep adequate quantities of good quality forage in front of animals?

13 Grazing Methods Preweaning Rotational Grazing? Forward Grazing Base forages Creep Grazing Improved forages Postweaning Forward or Leader/Follower grazing Improved species Supplementation

14 Effect of rotational stocking on growth and weaning traits of Angus calves. Cows grazed Pensacola bahiagrass. Continuous Rotational Birth weight, lbs Weaning wt, lbs ADG, lbs BCS Hammond et al., 1997 Pensacola bahiagrass pastures near Brooksville FL.

15 Performance can decrease with rotational stocking Forces animals to consume stems after leaves are gone Can be detrimental to performance of high nutrient requirement animals (dairy cows, replacement heifers, finishing steers etc). DOES allow forage budgeting and flexibility and actually permits some forages to persist

16 Leader-Follower, First-Last, or Forward Grazing

17 Forward Grazing High requirement animals (leaders) get tops - leafy high quality forage Lactating dairy animals, replacement heifers, growing calves etc Last grazers get lowest quality stems Dry cows, mature animals Can have intermediate group(s).

18

19 Base perennial forage HQ forage

20 Standard Creep Gate

21

22 Effects of creep grazing treatments on average daily gain of calves. Creep Treatments Dams grazed bahiagrass. Calf ADG, lbs Aeschynomene 1.98 Hairy Indigo 1.80 Tifleaf 1 Pearl Millet 1.80 Alyceclover 1.70 Commercial creep 1.86 No Creep 1.50 Data by Bill Ocumpaugh. IFAS Circular S-318, Gainesville FL to 0.48 lbs/d

23 Creep grazing Excellent potential to improve calf gains Easy to implement into existing continuous grazing system Several addtnl forages have potential for creep grazing Pearl millet, chicory, small grains and ryegrass

24 What about improved forage species for the finishing phase?

25 Steer ADG on C & T85 Pastures in E. Texas (Rouquette et al., 2003; a-d, P <.05) Pasture ADG, Lb/day Coastal (C) 1.01d C + suppl 1.30c Tifton 85 (T85) 1.69b T85 + Suppl 2.02a Supplement= 2 lb/hd daily of 1:1 (corn:sbm; 28% CP)

26 A wide range of productive, improved legumes are adapted to the region Cowpea C. Desmodium Hairy Indigo Aeschynomene Stylo Alyceclover

27 Expanding the Grazing Season for Sustainable Year-Round Forage-Finished Beef Production S. K. Duckett, J. G. Andrae, J. Schmidt, and M. C. Miller Clemson University

28 Introduction Southeastern U.S. Cool season forage available Gains > 2 lb/d Support forage finishing of beef cattle Summers Hot temperatures, dry conditions Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon L. Pers.) and bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) Well suited for traditional cow-calf operations Limited gains and nutrient composition for forage finishing of beef cattle

29 Objectives Examine potential forage systems to expand grazing seasons for year-around forage-finished beef production. Determine the effect of these various warm season forages on beef carcass quality, composition and palatability

30 Forage Species for Summer Finishing Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) perennial legume September establishment Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon) warm season perennial grass Existing paddocks (c.v. Coastal ) were utilized Chicory (Cichorium intybus) short-lived perennial forb September establishment Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) warm season annual legume May establishment Pearl Millet (Pennisetum glaucum) warm season annual grass May establishment

31 Materials & Methods 30 Angus-cross steers per year; 2 yr study ( ) 5 ac paddocks; 2-reps per forage species Grazing began when adequate forage growth was present Alfalfa & Chicory: April - July Bermudagrass, Cowpea & Pearl Millet: June Sept./Oct. Slaughtered when forage mass inadequate or live weight exceeded 1250 lb Carcass data collected at 48 h postmortem

32 Alfalfa, 4/30/07 Pearl Millet, 7/22/07 Chicory, 4/30/07 Cowpea, 7/22/07

33 Average Daily Gains 3.0 ADG, lb/d AL BG CH CO PM AL = Alfalfa; BG = Bermudagrass; CH = Chicory; CO = Cowpea; PM = Pearl Millet

34 Carcass Data AL BG CH CO PM FT, in REA, in KPH, % Yield Grade Marbling score Quality grade MS: 400 = Slight, 500 = Small QG: 3 = Select-, 4 = Select+, 5 = Choice- AL = Alfalfa; BG = Bermudagrass; CH = Chicory; CO = Cowpea; PM = Pearl Millet

35 Warner-Bratzler Shear Force, d 14 AL = Alfalfa; BG = Bermudagrass; CH = Chicory; CO = Cowpea; PM = Pearl Millet

36 Animal Performance Conclusions Alfalfa and Chicory, > 2 lb/d Carcass Quality Higher dressing percents for Alfalfa, Chicory and Cowpea Increased quality grades for Cowpea Tenderness Greater tenderness for legumes, Alfalfa and Cowpea Fatty acid composition Chicory: greater linoleic acid and omega-6 to omega-3 ratio Grasses: greater CLA and TVA

37 Summary Population centers may offer multiple niche markets Forage fed beef can likely be produced on a year round basis throughout the region. Forage management and forage species selection will be critical for successful production of young, acceptable carcasses Utilize species adapted to your climate If you want to make the middle man s money, be prepared to do his work.

38 Summer Summer annuals Legume based pasture Spring Fall Legume hay Winter annuals hay Winter Small grain winter annuals

39

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