Explore the pros and cons of forages that are options for Florida ranchers to grow for their herds.

Florida ranchers have many options when it comes to forages to grow for their herds. A South Florida Beef-Forage Program article shares the pros and cons of forages. See the details below.

Pros and Cons of Forages

The article maintains that ranchers must first decide what the goals are for their forages. The pros and cons of forages from the article include:

Stargrass “is known for its rapid establishment and significant yield in the summer months. It produces a high quality forage.” However, “The quality can rapidly decrease after 6-7 weeks of regrowth. Therefore, it is advisable to rotationally graze or cut within the target maturity. Stargrass does require slightly higher fertility application than a bahia, or limpograss, mainly due to greater production and extraction of nutrients from the soil.”

Limpograss “is known for its high yield and adaptability to poorly drained soils,” and it “is infamous for its ability to retain digestibility as it matures (better than most grasses), making it ideal to stockpile for the winter months.” Yet, “the crude protein may decrease to around 3-5% (when stockpiled) which is below the requirement of all beef cattle categories in Florida.” Also, other disadvantages include “lower protein levels and the difficulty to dry for hay due to high yield, large stems, and the soil moisture of where it prefers to grow. In addition, limpograss is sensitive to 2-4D herbicides and the herbicide options are limited.”

Bahiagrass has a “superior persistence under low management and low soil fertility,” and it “is a versatile forage that can offer grazing opportunities as well as hay, seed, and sod production.” Cons include its “nutritive value can vary by the month and management level…”

Bermudagrass is a “persistent perennial commonly used in hay production.” However, disadvantages include “higher fertility requirements (than Limpo and Bahia) and less tolerance to poorly drained soils.”

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.