Homegrown Hillsborough: Beef Cattle
How do ranchers raise cattle in Hillsborough County?
Female cows are bred to produce calves, which then are grass-fed until reaching about 500 pounds. The young cattle are shipped to feedlots in Midwestern states, and fed grain until reaching market weight.
What types of beef cattle are raised commercially here?
Brangus, a cross between a brahma and a white or black angus; piney woods/Florida cracker; and brahma. Cows are white, black, or red, or any combination of the three.
Where are beef cattle most commonly raised in Hillsborough County?
East and South County.
How many acres are devoted to raising beef cattle?
About 77,000 acres of pasture.
How much beef is produced annually in Hillsborough County?
About 23,000 head of cattle were raised in Hillsborough County in 2016. That was 12th among Florida's 67 counties. The total sales value that year was more than $13.8 million.
Spanish explorers introduced cattle to Florida, beginning with Juan Ponce De Leon, who landed near modern-day Fort Myers in 1521. Many of the animals were left to roam throughout the state, including Hillsborough County. Florida imposed a mandatory fence law in 1949, ending open range.
Almost half of Florida's agricultural land is involved in cattle production, says Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.