Full text of Agricultural News Letter : Vol. 10, No. 2
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AGRICULTURAL NEWS L E T T E R F E D E R A L Vol. 10, No. 2 R E S E R V E B A N K OF DALLAS, TEXAS D A L L A S February 15, 1955 FASTER, CHEAPER CATTLE GAINS A new feed ingredient tested by the Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station has resulted in cheaper, faster gains on beef cattle in feed lots. The new drug is known as stilbestrol. The material is a synthetic chemical which has been manufactured for 15 or 20 years. Its principal use has been for physi ological effects in the treatment of certain human disorders involving the reproductive organs. More recently, it has been used to some extent in poultry, but only in the past year or two has the material been used in cattle feed. Federal and state regulations can use the material in cattle feeds. Use of stilbestrol in cattle feed tests in Iowa resulted in live-weight gains as much as 37 percent greater than on similar rations which did not contain the material. In highroughage rations, where cattle were being wintered to gain moderately, stilbestrol stim ulated gains of 10 to 15 percent above those of the check groups. Considering all costs and the increased rate of gain (and based on 1954 feed prices), the average result of six experiments using different types of cat tle was a saving of 2 to 4 cents per pound of live-beef gain. The material currently is available in cer tain commercial feeds, and its use, under certain specified conditions, has been ap An Illinois farmer using the material re proved by the Food and Drug Administra tion. Because of its harmful effect upon hu ported that his steers on rations containing mans when used in excessive quantities and stilbestrol gained an average of 3.46 pounds because of the small amount of the drug per head daily, or slightly more than 3A which should be used in proportion to total pound over the average of the control group feed in cattle feeding operations, the Food receiving no stilbestrol. Profits from the stiland Drug Administration has set up rela bestrol-fed steers were $27.15 per head tively strict control regulations. These apply more than from those in the control group. primarily to the feed manufacturer, who The material acts very much in the man must follow certain specifications in main taining control of the quantity included in ner of a hormone, stimulating some of the the feed. For example, the final cattle sup growth factors in the animals. The material plement using the approved mixture results is relatively inexpensive and does not add in only 5 milligrams of stilbestrol per pound substantially to the feed cost. of feed. There is no indication that the use of stil Because of the necessity for careful and bestrol is of value in dairy cows, bulls, or rigid control in mixing the feeds, farmers beef breeding cows and bulls. There is no are not permitted to purchase the material experimental evidence that low feeding and mix their own feeds. However, all feed levels of stilbestrol would be injurious to manufacturers who have adequate mixing breeding animals. Nevertheless, until proved and control facilities and who can meet the safe and beneficial, it should not be fed to 2 AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER any dairy or beef breeding animals. Also, it should not be fed to sheep, poultry, or swine, as feeding procedures have not yet been de veloped and approved for these animals. Wheat Pasture Poisoning Hits Mature Cows given aureomycin, states a recent release from Louisiana State University. Also, fewer pigs died during the first 3 days after far rowing in litters farrowed by aureomycinfed sows. Profitable Use of Diverted Acres in Louisiana Wheat pasture poisoning occurs primar Agriculturists at Louisiana State Univer ily in mature cows 2 years of age and over which are in the late stages of pregnancy or sity indicate that there are several general have suckling calves, research workers at possibilities for profitably using acres taken PanTech Field Laboratory at Panhandle, out of cotton, rice, and sugar cane. For ex ample, cotton acreage diverted to corn and Texas, have reported. soybeans may be hogged off. This practice Most of the cases of wheat poisoning de has proved profitable and is a good soil veloped after 60 days and before 150 days builder in the cotton areas of Louisiana. of grazing on wheat and before the calf was 60 days old. The symptoms of the poisoning Rice and beef pas were noted in beef and dairy, as well as tu re ro ta tio n h as been very practical crossbred, cows. in the rice areas and is now being adapted Salt, cottonseed meal, mineral mixtures, where sugar cane is silage, and various dry feeds—fed alone or grown. By using live in combination— gave little or no protection stock in connection against wheat pasture poisoning. It is pos sible that the supplements, because of their with his cropping operations, the farmer not diluting effect, may prolong the time re only produces pork and beef but also has higher yields when the land is replanted to quired for the attack to occur. cotton, rice, or cane. The best treatment seems to be the injec tion of a calcium gluconate solution fortified Not all farms with diverted acres should with magnesium and phosphorus. Removal go into livestock production or necessarily of the cow from the wheat pasture for a few increase existing livestock numbers. Many days may speed recovery. farms which already have livestock could use more pastures and grow more hay and There is little chance for the animal’s re silage profitably. covery if treatment is not begun before coma sets in, which usually happens 6 to On other Louisiana farms, the commer 10 hours after the appearance of the first cial production of hay may be profitable this symptoms. Beginning symptoms are undue year, since about twice as much hay and excitement, poor coordination, and loss of silage could be used as is being used now. appetite. There are many soil-building practices farm ers may use which can qualify for pay ments under the agricultural conservation Larger Litters with Aureomycin program. Results from recent tests show that, when sows get a little aureomycin in their rations, they farrow larger litters than those not The specialists indicate that, in those cases where profitable production can be combined with soil-building work and diver- AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER sification, the farmer with acres diverted from controlled crops may be better off in the long run. Blackstrap Used for Dairy Feed Blackstrap molasses can replace up to one-half of the concentrate in the ration of dairy cows, a recent release from Louisiana State University notes. In recent tests, three groups of cows were observed. One group of cows was fed 4 pounds of molasses per cow daily to replace one-fourth of the concentrate. Another group was fed 8 pounds of molasses to re place one-half of the concentrate. These two groups of molasses-fed cows produced as well as cows in the control group, to which no molasses was fed. The feed cost per 100 pounds of milk averaged $2.60 for the control group, $2.55 for the cows fed 4 pounds of molasses per cow, and $2.49 for the cows fed 8 pounds of molasses. Prickly Pear Used in Cattle Feeding A ration of singed prickly pear supple mented with cottonseed cake makes a satis factory maintenance feed for steers in poor condition, according to Leo B. Merrill of the Sonora Agricultural Experiment Station. The feed is not satisfactory for steers which have been on a high level of nutrition. For the test, two groups of steers were used. When placed on the prickly pear diet, steers weighing less than 640 pounds gained weight during a 3-month feeding period. Steers weighing 720 pounds or more actual ly lost weight on the ration. Both groups of animals were fed 2 pounds of cottonseed cake per head per day. Many studies have found that prickly pear is valuable as a maintenance ration in 3 areas of severe drought. Scientists at the Sonora station say that the differences of opinion regarding the value of prickly pear as a livestock feed are due to the conditions under which it has been used. In the tests, the 640-pound animals made little gain on pasturage prior to the prickly pear feeding trials. This indicates that the pastures they were grazing were providing little more than a sustaining ra tion. Consequently, the prickly pear and cot tonseed ration was as good as or better than their previous pasturage. On the other hand, the loss in weight of the heavier group of animals while on the prickly pear ration indicates that the ration was poorer than the previous pastur age they had grazed. New Corn Varieties Available Two new corn hybrids were made avail able by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in time for 1955 planting. The varie ties are Texas 17W, a white hybrid, and Texas 32, a yellow hybrid. The seed can be purchased from established seed dealers. According to Dr. J. S. Rogers of Texas A. & M. Col lege, the new hybrids are the first to be produced in Texas without detasseling. In com parison with Texas 11W and 15W, Texas 17W is 3 or 4 days earlier and produces a larger grain. It has shown excel lent resistance to root lodging and stalk breaking and is reasonably free of earworm damage. The plants are smaller and shorter than 15W and should be planted at a greater rate than other hybrids. Texas 17W is recom mended for all corn-growing areas in Texas, especially those where moisture is a serious limiting factor. Because of its early maturity, 17W has outyielded 15W under drought conditions. 4 AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER The new Texas 32 variety is similar in performance to present Texas yellow hy brids 26, 28, and 30. Texas 32 produces slightly longer ears and smaller grain and usually only one ear per stalk. Although it is recommended for most of the corn-growing regions of Texas, it is not preferred in the drier areas of the State nor in areas where insect and disease damage is great. What Kind of Broilers ? One of the problems facing the broiler producer is the selection of the strain or variety to use for greatest efficiency and profitableness in his broiler operation. Dur ing 1953 the Texas Agricultural Experi ment Station conducted tests of various strains and crosses of birds used in broiler production at the Nacogdoches Substation in east Texas. The strains and crosses included White Rocks, Red Cornish cross, Wyan dotte cross, New Hamp shire, Indian River cross, and D o m in a n t white cross. Groups of these birds were raised during three different seasons, with birds being marketed in January, May, and September. Records were kept of mortality loss, aver age weight at 9 weeks, feed efficiency, and feather score— a measure of the market grade. The Red Cornish cross was heaviest at marketing time and had the best feed ef ficiency but did not have as good a finish as some of the other groups. The Red Cor nish birds averaged 3.04 pounds in weight at 9 weeks of age, with a feed efficiency of 2.82 pounds of feed per pound of bird pro duced. Mortality was relatively low at 3.2 percent but was not the lowest of the group. The White Rock birds had the lowest mortality, averaging only 2.6 percent, and the most uniform dressed market grades. However, these birds averaged only 2.52 pounds at 9 weeks and required 3.04 pounds of feed per pound of bird produced. The accompanying table shows the per cent mortality, average weight at 9 weeks, and feed efficiency for the six strains tested. Strain or cross Average Percent weight at mortality 9 weeks White Rock .................. ............2.6 Red Cornish cross......... ............3.2 Wyandotte c ro ss............ ............3.3 New H am pshire............ ............8.1 Indian River cross ....... ............4.2 Dominant white cross ... ............4.3 2.52 3.04 2.69 2.76 2.62 2.70 Feed effi ciency1 3.04 2.82 2.99 3.03 3.07 2.99 1 Pounds of feed required to produce 1 pound of bird. Growth and feed efficiency in all strains and crosses were best in the spring and poorest in the summer. However, the rela tive merits of each of the various strains and crosses remained the same throughout the different seasons. It is interesting to note that the variation in growth was greater among seasons than among the different strains and crosses, indicating the effect of hot weather on the ability of the birds to gain. Publications Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, Stillwater: The Value of 20-, 30-, and 40-Percent Protein Supplements for Wintering Heifer Calves, Bulletin No. B-437, by A. B. Nelson and others. Response of Winter Oat Varieties from Winter and Early Spring Seeding, Bul letin No. B-435, by A. M. Schlehuber and Roy M. Oswalt. Copies of the bulletins may be obtained by request to the publishers. The Agricultural News Letter is prepared in the Research Department under the direction o f J. Z. R owe, Agricultural Economist.