University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #SS-AGR-381

Budgets for Pasture Establishment: Seeded and Vegetative1

Les Harrison, Chris Prevatt, 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 economical 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://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/agriculture/forages/).

An enterprise budget should be the starting point for the development of a cost versus benefits analysis. The development of a budget can help lead producers to make an economic conclusion and a business decision as it relates to an individual farming enterprise. After due diligence, the producer may decide to pursue pasture establishment or renovation if the future returns outweighs the forecasted expenditures. Conversely, if the analysis indicates it is not efficient to proceed, then alternatives can 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 June 2018.

Tables

Table 1. 

Establishment Costs per Acre (Bahiagrass)—2018

Concept

Unit

Quantity

Unit Price ($)

Total ($)

A. Operating Costs

 

Soil Preparation

Plowing

Passes

1.00

$10.60

$10.60

Disking

Passes

2.00

$8.75

$17.50

 

Planting and Fertilization

Seed (early spring–middle August)

Lbs

20.00

$3.75

$75.00

Planter

Passes

1.00

$10.50

$10.50

Cultipacking

Passes

1.00

$5.60

$5.60

Nitrogen (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

30.00

$0.67

$20.10

Nitrogen (30 days AP)

Lbs

50.00

$0.67

$33.50

P2O5 (low-soil test) (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

40.00

$0.31

$12.40

K2O (low-soil test) (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

40.00

$0.38

$15.20

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

Lbs

40.00

$0.38

$15.20

Micronutrients*

Lbs

6.15

$2.50

$15.38

Lime (1 ton/acre) Spread

Ton

1.00

$35.00

$35.00

 

Weed Control

Mowing (planting to 6 in.)**

Passes

2.00

$7.25

$14.50

Herbicide after 6 in (forage plant height)

Gallons

0.25

$12.00

$3.00

Labor

Hours

2.00

$12.25

$24.50

Interest (operating cost)

$

307.98

5.5%

$16.94

         

Total Operating Costs

     

$324.92

 

B. Ownership Costs

Tractor & Machinery

(depreciation, insurance, taxes)

Acres

1.00

$47.34

$47.34

Land charge

Acres

1

*** $19.50

$19.50

Miscellaneous Overhead

(10% of total operating costs)

$

$324.92

10.00%

$32.49

 

Total Ownership Costs

     

$ 99.33

 

C. Total Costs (A + B)

(Bahiagrass Establishment per Acre)

     

$ 424.25

† 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)—2018

Concept

Unit

Quantity

Unit Price ($)

Total ($)

A. Operating Costs

 

Soil Preparation

Plowing

Passes

1.00

$10.60

$10.60

Disking

Passes

2.00

$8.75

$17.50

 

Planting and Fertilization

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

Acres

1.00

$100.00

$100.00

Nitrogen (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

30.00

$0.67

$20.10

Nitrogen (30 days AP)

Lbs

50.00

$0.67

$33.50

P2O5 (low-soil test) (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

40.00

$0.31

$12.40

K2O (low-soil test) (7–10 days AP)

Lbs

40.00

$0.38

$15.20

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

Lbs

40.00

$0.38

$15.20

Micronutrients*

Lbs

6.15

$2.50

$15.38

Lime (1 ton per acre) Spread

Tons

1.00

$35.00

$35.00

 

Weed Control**

Herbicide 7 days after sprigging

Gallons

0.25

$12.00

$3.00

Labor

Hours

2.00

$12.25

$24.50

Interest (operating cost)

$

302.38

5.5%

$16.63

 

Total Operating Costs

     

$319.01

 

B. Ownership Costs

Tractor-Machinery

Acres

1.00

$22.50

$22.50

(depreciation, insurance, taxes)

Land charge

Acres

1

*** $19.50

$19.50

Misc. Overhead (10% of total operating costs)

$

$319.01

10.00%

$31.90

 

Total Ownership Costs

     

$73.90

 

C. Total Costs (A + B) (T-85 Bermudagrass Establishment per Acre)

     

$392.91

† 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. Revised July 2018. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Les Harrison, county Extension director and agriculture/natural resources Extension agent III, UF/IFAS Extension Wakulla County; Chris Prevatt, UF/IFAS Extension state specialized agent; Jonael Bosques, county Extension director and community resources Extension agent, UF/IFAS Extension Marion County; and Yoana Newman, former assistant professor & Extension forage specialist, 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.