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Publication #SS-AGR-381

Budgets for Pasture Establishment: Seeded and Vegetative1

Les Harrison, Jonael Bosques, and Yoana Newman2

Many factors should be considered before establishing or renovating a pasture. Producers must invest their time and financial resources wisely to remain economically viable in today’s competitive environment and achieve the best possible results for a sound, lasting pasture.

Budgets can be used to make rational decisions when establishing or renovating a pasture in Florida. This document is a guide for evaluating the costs of establishing a seeded-type pasture (such as bahiagrass or seeded bermudagrass) versus vegetatively propagated hybrid bermudagrasses (such as Tifton 85, Jiggs, or Tifton 44). For production, adaptation, and quality comparisons, refer to the Forages of Florida website, where a description of the different grasses is provided (http://agronomy.ifas.ufl.edu/ForagesofFlorida/index.php).

This budget is a starting point for the development of a cost versus benefits analysis. The development of a budget should lead to an economic conclusion and a business choice as it relates to an individual farming enterprise. After due diligence, the producer may decide to pursue pasture establishment or renovation if the anticipated returns clearly outweigh the forecast expenditures. Conversely, if the analysis indicates it is not efficient to proceed, then alternatives should be considered. These may include pasture rental and/or purchasing the appropriate livestock forage.

The Cost Presented throughout This Publication

The input costs provided are comprised of static, statewide composite figures and are likely to be different from those encountered in individual market areas, which are influenced by a variety of factors. These factors may include time of year, location within Florida, farm supply businesses (which are competing for sales), market dynamics (which can raise or lower cost by changing demand or supply), weather events, modification of the regulatory environment, or some combination of the aforementioned. The prices in the following tables were representative data in April 2014.

Tables

Table 1. 

Establishment Costs per Acre (Bahiagrass)—2014

         

Concept

Unit

Quantity

Unit Price ($)

Total ($)

         

A. Operating Costs

       
         

Soil Preparation

       

Plowing

Passes

1.00

2.60

2.60

Disking

Passes

2.00

3.30

6.60

         

Planting and Fertilization

       

Seed (early spring–middle August)

Lbs

20.00

2.70

54.00

Planter

Passes

1.00

1.76

1.76

Cultipacking

Passes

1.00

1.53

1.53

Nitrogen (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

30.00

0.40

12.00

Nitrogen (30 days AP)

Lbs

50.00

0.40

20.00

P2O5 (low-soil test) (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

40.00

0.33

13.20

K2O (low-soil test) (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

40.00

0.23

9.20

K2O (low-soil test) (30 days AP)

Lbs

40.00

0.23

9.20

Micronutrients*

Lbs

6.15

7.50

46.12

Lime (1 ton/acre)

Ton

1.00

28.00

28.00

         

Weed Control

       

Mowing (planting to 6 in)**

Passes

2.00

2.20

4.40

Herbicide after 6 in (forage plant height)

Gallons

0.25

7.00

1.75

Labor

Hours

2.00

9.79

19.58

Interest (operating cost)

$

191.48

0.09

18.92

         

Total Operating Costs

     

248.86

         

B. Ownership Costs

       

Tractor & Machinery

(depreciation, insurance, taxes)

Acre

1.00

26.38

26.38

Land charge

Acre

1

***19.50

19.50

Miscellaneous Overhead

(10% of total operating costs)

$

229.071

10.00%

22.91

         

Total Ownership Costs

     

68.79

         

C. Total Costs (A + B)

(Bahiagrass Establishment per Acre)

     

317.65

         

† This budget is for planning purposes only.

‡ Fertilization and liming should be based on a soil test. If P and K are in medium range, recommendations will be different.

* Includes 1.5 lb each of elemental Zn, Mn, Cu, & Fe from a sulfate source; 0.15 lb B & 5 lb S per acre.

** Two times, to control weeds. Weeds are mowed at 6″–8″ height back to 2″ height.

*** Unimproved pasture average, Florida land value survey (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe833)

Table 2. 

Establishment Cost per Acre (Tifton 85 Bermudagrass)—2014

         

Concept

Unit

Quantity

Unit Price ($)

Total ($)

         

A. Operating Costs

       
         

Soil Preparation

       

Plowing

Passes

1.00

2.60

2.60

Disking

Passes

2.00

3.30

6.60

         

Planting and Fertilization

       

Sprigging (incl. seeding material, 30 bu/acre)

Acres

1.00

160.00

160.00

Nitrogen (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

30.00

0.40

12.00

Nitrogen (30 days AP)

Lbs

50.00

0.40

20.00

P2O5 (low-soil test) (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

40.00

0.33

13.20

K2O (low-soil test) (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

40.00

0.23

9.20

K2O (low-soil test) (30 days AP)

Lbs

40.00

0.23

9.20

Micronutrients*

Lbs

6.15

7.50

46.12

Lime (1 ton per acre)

Tons

1.00

28.00

28.00

         

Weed Control**

       

Herbicide 7 days after sprigging

Gallons

0.25

30.00

7.50

Labor

Hours

2.00

9.79

19.58

Interest (operating cost)

$

378.82

0.09

34.09

         

Total Operating Costs

     

368.09

         

B. Ownership Costs

       

Tractor-Machinery

Acre

1.00

32.50

32.50

(depreciation, insurance, taxes)

Land charge

Acre

1

***19.50

19.50

Misc. Overhead (10% of total operating costs)

$

413.99

10.00%

41.40

         

Total Ownership Costs

     

93.40

         

C. Total Costs (A + B)

(T-85 Bermudagrass

Establishment per Acre)

     

461.49

 

† This budget is for planning purposes only.

‡ Fertilization and liming should be based on a soil test. If P and K are in medium range, recommendations will be different.

* Includes 1.5 lb each of elemental Zn, Mn, Cu, & Fe from a sulfate source, 0.15 lb B & 5 lb S per acre.

** Herbicide is 2,4 D plus dicamba at a rate of 2 pt/acre.

*** Unimproved pasture average, Florida land value survey (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fe833).

 

Footnotes

1.

This document is SS-AGR-381, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date August 2014. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Les Harrison, UF/IFAS Extension Wakulla County; Jonael Bosques, UF/IFAS Extension Marion County; and Yoana Newman, Agronomy Department; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.