The efficiency of beef production in the US has increased since 1977. It is estimated that beef production today requires 33% less land, 30% fewer cattle, 18% less feedstuff and 12% less water than in 1977. This increase in efficiency is due to improvements in beef management (controlled breeding), reproduction (improved genetics, pregnancy evaluation), nutrition (body condition scoring, using growth promoting implants, rotational grazing), and herd health (vaccine selection, handling, storage.)
The geographical location of St. Johns County affords its forage producers the opportunity to grow forage grasses year-round. Producers typically grow summer forages such as Bermuda grass and Bahia grass and winter species such as Rye, Ryegrass and Oats. Forages are a main component of livestock rations and must meet basic nutritional needs of the intended animal (mostly cattle, horses, sheep and goats). High quality forages are those that meet or exceed the nutritional requirements of the animal species to which it is being fed and is free of weeds, toxic plants and foreign materials. To remain environmentally sound, producers are encouraged to follow best management practices outlined by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Agricultural Water Policy.
The Production Agriculture Agent teaches forage managers how they can improve the quality of their forages, protect the environment and understand how to remain sustainable for future generations.