MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, or IFAS, invite farmers to their beef unit about every 18 months to learn how to make the most profit on their cattle.

Thursday’s event was the first since March 2019.

There are normally 120 participants for Beef/Forage Day, but this year about 50 producers attended the seminar.

“The biggest problem I see is that we had so much rain, producers are on the field,” said IFAS Extension Beef Specialist Nicolas DiLorenzo. “This is the first week without any rain for a while, so the people are behind picking peanuts and hay.”

The University of Florida IFAS Extension specialists said they listen to the problems farmers are having throughout the year.

On Beef/Forage Day, they tailor what they’re teaching to help the producers solve their issues.

“We’ve had fluctuations in market prices for cattle and so we’re trying to continuously find the most efficient way to reduce input cost and increase sell cost,” said County Extension Director Nick Simmons.

Simmons said this year they’re putting a lot of emphasis on using what you already have on your pasture to feed your cattle.

Dilorenzo said adding some protein to the forage can help cattle gain a significant amount of weight.

“We have recorded the average daily gain in corn silages close to 1.6 lbs. a day,” said DiLorenzo. “Whereas, with the same diet and a little bit of protein, just 10% of cottonseed meal, for example, the average daily gain for that day could be three [lbs.].”

And while farmers said there are many valuable lessons to take home from Beef/Forage Day, local farmer Chanley Carter expressed his biggest takeaway.

“You can’t make a profit from feeding a cow out of a bucket,” said Carter. “You’ve got to make it on the ground.”