Forage-Based Heifer Development Program for North Florida
side image of gopher tortoise opening its mouth. Figure 4 from  Wildlife of Florida Factsheet: Gopher Tortoise: WEC396/UW441, 8/2018
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Beef Cattle Forage

How to Cite

Dubeux, Jose C.B., Nicolas DiLorenzo, Kalyn Waters, and Jane C. Griffin. 2018. “Forage-Based Heifer Development Program for North Florida: SS-AGR-424/AG424, 10/2018”. EDIS 2018 (5). Gainesville, FL.


Florida has 915,000 beef cows and 125,000 replacement heifers (USDA, 2016). Developing these heifers so that they can become productive females in the cow herd is a tremendous investment in a cow/calf operation, an investment that takes several years to make a return. The good news is that there are options to develop heifers on forage-based programs with the possibility of reducing costs while simultaneously meeting performance targets required by the beef industry. Mild winters in Florida allows utilization of cool-season forages that can significantly enhance the performance of grazing heifers. During the warm-season, integration of forage legumes into grazing systems will provide additional nutrients to meet the performance required to develop a replacement heifer to become pregnant and enter the mature cow herd. In this document, we will propose a model for replacement heifer development, based on forage research performed in trials at the NFREC Marianna.
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Schulmeister, T. M., M. Ruiz-Moreno, G. Medeiros, M. Garcia-Ascolani, F. M. Ciriaco, D. D. Henry, G. C. Lamb, J. C. B. Dubeux, Jr., and N. DiLorenzo. 2017. "Evaluation of Brassica carinata as a protein supplement for growing beef heifers." In 2017 Florida Beef Research Report. 107-110. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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