Full text of Agricultural News Letter : Vol. 9, No. 6
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I F E D E R A L Vol. 9, No. 6 I NEWS LETTER R E S E R V E B A N K OF D A L L A S DALLAS, TEXAS June 15, 1954 What Do We Know About Dwarfism in Cattle? The occurrence of dwarf animals in both as color and height. These bits of living mat registered and commercial cattle herds is an ter always occur in pairs, one of each pair economic, as well as a breeding, problem of coming from each parent. the cattle industry. Recessive genes are so named because they Dwarf animals, which may be only about have little or no influence on the animal or one-fourth the size of normal animals and plant unless both genes of the pair are reces seldom reach maturity, sometimes make up 2 sive. This fact means that both the dam and or 3 percent of the calf crop and, theoretically, the sire must carry the recessive characteristic could account for as high as 25 percent in ex in order to produce dwarf calves. Stated an treme cases. Because of their small size, they other way, if the herd sire is dwarf-free (does have no economic value and represent a com not carry the gene for dwarfism), none of the calves will be dwarfs, even though the cows plete loss to the rancher. are not dwarf-free. No major cattle breed or line of breeding is An animal that is entirely normal but car known to be free of dwarfs. The incidence of dwarfism in beef cattle has increased in the ries in its hereditary make-up the recessive past 10 to 15 years, perhaps because in select gene for dwarfism is commonly referred to as ing breeding stock that is blocky in conforma a “carrier of dwarfism.” This means that it has tion, breeders inadvertently have chosen the potential capacity, if mated with another animals carrying the potential for dwarfism. carrier, for producing dwarf animals. If a sire that carries the recessive character istic for dwarfism is mated with dwarf-free dams, one-half of the calves will be carriers and one-half, dwarf-free. If both the sire and the dam are carriers, half of their offspring also will be carriers, 25 percent will be dwarfs, and 25 percent, dwarf-free. These percentages will not hold exactly true for a small number of animals, but for any large group they will be The dwarf characteristic appears to be approximately correct. transmitted from one animal to another by one These figures emphasize the importance of or more recessive genes. Genes are the tiny parts of each living cell that give to a plant using only dwarf-free sires. However, the prob or an animal its physical characteristics, such lem of proving that a bull is dwarf-free may Research indicates almost conclusively that the occurrence of dwarf animals is due to in herited characteristics. It has not been pos sible to establish that feeding or the care of breeding stock has any influence on dwarfism, although the abnormalities of dwarf animals resemble those of animals with certain dietary deficiencies. 2 AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER be a long and expensive one. If a dwarf calf is born, it is certain that both the sire and the dam are carriers. But, carriers may be in the herd for years without producing any dwarf calves. It would be foolish, however, to disregard all other traits in the attempt to control dwarfism. The problem does not warrant an all-out cleanup campaign. A breeding program that deals with the problem of dwarfism while con tinuing to build high-quality, fast-gaining beef One of the quickest ways of testing a bull animals is a sensible approach to the situation. for dwarfism is mating him with cows which are known carriers (those which have dropped Gin Trash in Steer-Fattening dwarf calves). If the bull also is a carrier, oneRations fourth of the calves from the mating could be dwarfs; if he is not a carrier, none of the calves Gin trash, another roughage for steer-fatten will be dwarfs. In practical application, if 16 ing rations, was tested by the Texas Agricul normal calves are dropped from matings to tural Experiment Station at its El Paso Valley carrier cows, the chances are 99 in 100 that Experiment Station, near Ysleta, Texas, in the sire is dwarf-free. 1953. Results of the tests indicate that gin trash valued at $12.50 per ton (largely the cost of hauling and grinding) compares favorably with cottonseed hulls as a roughage in the ration for fattening steers. The steers fed the ration containing gin trash gained somewhat slower but, from the standpoint of cost, made more economical gains than those fed a ration containing cottonseed hulls for the principal roughage. Research specialists have found that by drawing profiles of the heads of suspected ani trash varies a great deal in its physical mals and comparing them with the profiles of andGinchemical composition, depending upon normal animals, they are able to detect carriers the type of cotton ginned, location, and the with reasonable accuracy. This method of diag season of the year. The gin trash used in these nosis has been especially successful with tests consisted of 66,1 percent burs and stems, mature, horned Hereford bulls. It has been less 5.8 percent lint, 5.8 percent immature cotton successful with other breeds and with younger seed, and 22.3 percent fine trash, dirt, and bulls and cows. other material. The chemical composition was as follows: Crude protein, 7.70 percent; fat, Ranchers who face the problem of dwarfism 1,65 percent; crude fiber, 27.91 percent; and in their herds are urged to keep careful breed other materials, 62.74 percent. The fattening ing records and to mark all cows that have ration contained ground sorghum grain, cotton dropped dwarf calves. As mentioned, these seed meal, ground alfalfa hay, and ground gin cows, because they have produced dwarf trash or cottonseed hulls. calves, are proved carriers of dwarfism and can be used to test young bulls to determine Specialists conducting these tests conclude if they also carry dwarf-producing genes. Thus, that ground gin trash may be used to replace these proved carrier cows can be valuable test cottonseed hulls in combination with alfalfa animals. Breeders also should study pedigrees hay in rations for fattening steers. The finan carefully and attempt to eliminate bloodlines cial advantage of ground gin trash will depend that have produced a considerable number of on the relative prices of the different roughdwarf animals. ages and the seed content of the gin trash. A recent release by the United States De partment of Agriculture discusses a new technique that may be helpful in reducing or eliminating dwarf carriers from herds. The abnormalities of dwarf calves include a broad, short face, bulging forehead, and stunted growth, and carriers sometimes have slight bulges in their foreheads. AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER 3 Summer Grasses for South Texas Honeybees Aid Cotton Production The honeybee — well known as an aid in Two relatively new warm-season grasses gave the best results in tests at the Texas Agri pollinating legumes, fruit trees, and other plant cultural Experiment Substation in Dimmit species that rely upon cross-pollination — may play an important role in the production County, Texas, in 1952 and 1953. of cotton. Of the nine grasses tested, guinea grass was Tests at the South highest in yield of forage, giving more than 15 western Bee Culture tons of air-dry hay per acre in 1953. Coastal L ab oratory of the Bermuda grass was second, with a yield of just United States Depart under 14 tons per acre. Blue panic grass gave ment of Agriculture at Tucson, Arizona, indi 11.5 tons, and buffel grass, 11 tons. cate that pollination within the cotton bloom Other grasses included in the tests were is aided by bees, even though the cotton bloom Rhodes, Australian beard, Angleton, birdwood, is self-fertile and does not rely on pollinating and Dallis. In 1953, yields of these grasses agents, such as insects, to bring pollen from ranged from 5 to 9 tons per acre. All grasses other blooms. in the tests were grown under irrigation. Yields of lint and seed were increased sub A comparison of average yields for 1952 and stantially when bees were permitted to work 1953 indicates a similar ranking of the grasses the cotton blooms. Without bees, only 29 per from the standpoint of yield, although buffel cent of the early blooms developed into bolls; grass gave the highest yield during the first with bees, 48 percent became bolls. year. On the basis of protein content, blue panic grass was highest, with an average protein Milk that is exposed to sunlight for only 30 content of 18.23 percent. Guinea grass was minutes may lose all of its Vitamin C and 20 second, with 15.96 percent, and Coastal Ber percent of its Vitamin B. Exposure to sunlight muda was third, with 15.25 percent. All grasses also may cause undesirable flavors to develop. were graded fair to good in phosphoric acid content except guinea grass, which was sub stantially higher than the others. Plastic-Coated Picksacks Specialists conducting the tests list guinea, Coastal Bermuda, blue panic, and buffel as the grasses best adapted to the sandy soils of the Cotton picksacks with a plastic coating to south Texas area. make them last longer are recommended by the National Cotton Council, This relatively new plastic coating is a substitute for asphalt, which has been used for many years to increase the wearing quality of picksacks. Everybody loses from forest fires! There However, the tar from the asphalt coating fore, it is everyone’s job to help prevent this loss by following such precautions as break is a problem to the ginner and spinner, as it ing matches before throwing them away, frequently becomes mixed with the seed cot burying cigarette butts and pipe heels, dous ton. Small particles of the asphalt even find ing campfires with water, and being ex their way into the finished cotton goods, caus ing spots that will not take dyes. tremely careful with trash fires. AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER 4 Hot Weather Makes Chickens Lazy, Too 8s M. College. Chickens will not drink sufficient water in hot weather if they have to move more than 10 feet to a water fountain, says E. D. Parnell, professor of poul try husbandry at Texas A. hence, marketing can be extended virtually throughout the year. Louisiana State University specialists urge sweet potato growers to clean out their storage houses as soon as last year’s crop is sold. All rotten potatoes and trash should be removed. After cleaning the house, the walls, floors, bins, and crates should be sprayed with a mixture of DDT and bluestone, using 4 pounds of 50percent wettable DDT and 2 pounds of bluestone to 50 gallons of water. Growers who do not have adequate storage Mr. Parnell points out that fresh, cool water is essential for maximum egg production or facilities available for this year’s crop should for rapid growth of broilers. He advises poul- investigate the possibility of constructing such trymen to provide plenty of waterers and keep houses on their farms. them well cleaned during the summer months. Endrin — A New Insecticide One of the latest insecticides developed for control of cotton insects is endrin. Entomolo gists report that it comes very close to being an all-purpose cotton insect control material. A close chemical relative to dieldrin, endrin is now widely used to control bollworms, boll weevils, thrips, cotton leafworms, cotton fleahoppers, and lygus bugs. It will not control pink bollworms, aphids, and spider mites. Endrin is included in the recommended in secticides for controlling cotton insects in most states. As is the case with respect to other in secticides, users should follow closely the direc tions of the manufacturer. The material is toxic to human beings and other warm-blooded animals. Storage Houses Profitable for Sweet Potatoes The use of storage houses for sweet potatoes has increased rapidly in recent years and has done much to stabilize the marketing phase of the industry. Properly stored sweet potatoes will maintain their quality for several months; Publications Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Col lege Station: Texas Watermelon Variety Trials, 1951-53, Progress Report 1645, by H, C. Mohr and others. Influence of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Po tassium on the Yield of Sweet Potatoes on Hockley Fine Sandy Loam Soil, Prog ress Report 1646, by J. M. Coruthers and D. R. Paterson. Beef Cattle Management on Brazos River Bottomland, Miscellaneous Publication 103, by F. A. Wolters and others. Control of Insects and Diseases Attacking Peaches in East Texas, Progress Report 1656, by D. R. King and H. F. Morris, Grain Sorghum Fertilizer Trials in South Texas, 1953, Progress Report 1655, by Flake L. Fisher and others. Copies of these bulletins may be obtained by request to the publishers. The Agricultural News Letter is prepared in the Research Department under the direction of Carl H. M oore, Agricultural Economist.