Bainum, C.1
1Livestock Extension Agent, University of Florida, Ocala, FL, 34470


Management of livestock can often be an area that leaves money on the table, particularly with winter feeding. Supplementation during the 120-day cool season in Florida poses an economic threat to many cattle producers. Cool-season forages cost an average of $100-300/acre to establish and can supply adequate nutrition to many classes of beef cattle through the winter. In most scenarios when cost/ton is less than $150 for cool-season pasture that will prove cheaper than purchasing supplemental feed (Prevatt, 2014). This project was a collaboration with University of Florida Agronomy specialists who provided the Marion County Extension agent with cool-season forage seeds for both beef cattle production interests and wildlife food plots for deer farm interests. The agent worked with a local cattle producer and deer farmer to plant the cool-season forage demonstration plots on the cooperators land. The primary objective was to showcase the results of the forages adapted to the region for the 120-day cool season, the planting and establishment methods, fertilization regime, and grazing management best suited for maximum forage production. 90 days post planting the agent held a field day for ranchers in the area. 54 people attended the program, representing over 3,500 acres and 1,000 head of cattle in Marion County. The agent partnered with University of Florida wildlife researchers to provide deer health topics at the field day, an ancillary benefit many of these forages in the demonstration possess. Post program surveys were conducted, of which 80% reported to expect to see reduced costs to their production or a higher return on their investments, 44% of people plan to implement a cool-season forage this coming year, and 80% reported a better understanding of forage management to achieve greater yield from their pastures. With an average daily gain of 1lb. / cow per day to be expected from cool-season forages, 120,000 pounds of gain can be expected from this group of producers

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