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Volume IV




Dallas, Texas, November 15, 1949


Alfalfa hay may be more valuable than
cottonseed cake as a supplement to range feed,
according to recent experiments by the Okla­
homa Agricultural Experiment Station. Cat­
tlemen generally agree that the commercial
cow herd should be carried through the winter
on the minimum amount of supplemental feed
that will maintain the health of the cows and
produce a high percentage of vigorous, fastgaining calves. If the cow’s ration is deficient
in any one essential ingredient, calves may be
small and weak at birth, resulting in heavy
calf losses at calving and lightweight calves at
weaning time. Proper care of the cow during
the winter months also insures an adequate
milk flow at calving time, which will get the
young calves off to a good start. Many south­
western ranchers believe that the most profit­
able method of wintering beef cattle is to leave
them on the range, supplementing the cured
range feed with cottonseed cake, prairie hay,
or other feeds, if necessary. This method of
management is practiced in many areas and
may be the most profitable method under con­
ditions of abundant range feed and high costs
of supplemental feed.

Number 11


C A T T L E ?

Recent experiments by the Oklahoma Sta­
tion at Stillwater, however, shed new light on
this important problem of wintering beef cat­
tle. Three lots of 20 cows each were used in
the experiments. Lot 1 grazed throughout the
year at the rate of 12.25 acres of native bluestem pasture per cow and was fed about 8 l/ z
pounds of alfalfa hay per head daily during
the winter months. Lot 2 was grazed for 7
months and during the 5 winter months was
confined to a 10-acre tract and fed about 12 %
pounds of prairie hay and 5 pounds of alfalfa
hay daily. Lot 3 was left on the range through­
out the year and fed about 2 /z pounds of cot­
tonseed cake during the winter months. A
summary of the results of this study in 194748 is shown in the accompanying table.
With alfalfa hay valued at $22 per ton,
prairie hay at $18 per ton, and cottonseed cake
at $100 per ton, cows wintered on alfalfa hay
and range feed returned an estimated $ 17 more
profit per cow than cows wintered on range
feed and cottonseed cake and $20 more than
those wintered on prairie and alfalfa hay alone.
On the basis of 1949 prices of $60 per ton for

Grazed year-round;
fed alfalfa hay

Nov. 7,1947
Date winter period started
Average weight gain per cow for the year
Percent calf crop.................................................
Average birth weight per calf.................
Average weaning weight per calf
Cost of year’s feed per cow—1948 prices


Grazed 7 m onths;
fed prairie and
alfalfa hays

Grazed year-round;
fed cottonseed cake

Nov. 7,1947

Nov. 7,1947

SO URCE: Feeding and Breeding Tests with Sheep, Swine, and Beef Cattle. Progress Report: 1948-49, Oklahoma Agricultural
Experiment Station, Stillwater, Oklahoma, May 1949.



cottonseed cake, $23 per ton for alfalfa hay,
and $18 per ton for prairie hay, the difference
in profit per cow still would be about $9 and
$20, respectively, in favor of alfalfa hay. The
larger profit per cow for the cattle wintered
on alfalfa hay and range feed was largely the
result of lower feed costs and heavier calves.
These results are essentially the same as those
obtained by a similar experiment the previous
year; and while the experiment has not run
sufficiently long to be conclusive in every de­
tail, the difference in weaning weight of calves
and the fact that cows wintered on the alfalfa
hay and range feed returned a higher net profit
than those under the other management sys­
tems are strong evidence in favor of alfalfa
Another interesting result of this experi­
ment is that blood analyses of the cows in the
different lots showed that cows fed prairie hay
and only about 5 pounds of alfalfa hay per
head daily had an abnormally low level of in­
organic phosphorus— an element essential to
efficient utilization of feed. The blood analyses
of cows fed 8 l/ z pounds of alfalfa hay per head
daily, as well as those fed cottonseed cake at
the rate of about 2/z pounds per head daily,
showed that the level of inorganic phosphorus
was normal throughout the experiment. The
scientists conducting these experiments feel
that the low level of inorganic phosphorus in
the blood of cows wintered on prairie hay and
a small amount of alfalfa hay may not permit
maximum performance of the animals. It is
interesting to note that this low level of phos­
phorus persisted even though the cows were
given free access to steamed bone meal, which
is very high in phosphorus.
Prior to the experiments with alfalfa hay,
two systems of managing the commercial cow
herd had been studied by the Oklahoma Agri­
cultural Experiment Station: (1) grazing cows
throughout the year at the rate of 12.25 acres
of native bluestem pasture per cow with cot­
tonseed cake fed as winter protein supplement
and (2) grazing cows 7 months of the year at
the rate of 8.6 acres per cow and confining the
cows to a small area during the 5 winter months
and feeding prairie hay and cottonseed cake.
Under both systems of management the cows
had free access to salt and a mineral mixture

consisting of equal parts of salt, ground lime­
stone, and bone meal. The conclusion after sev­
eral years of study was . . that there was no
difference in the condition of the cows at the
end of the experiment nor in the size of the
calf at weaning. The most economical method
was to graze the cows year-long and supple­
ment the cured winter grass with cottonseed
The later experiments have substantiated the
economy of year-long grazing but have shown
further that under certain price relationships
alfalfa hay is more economical than cottonseed
cake as a supplement to range feed. In these
experiments cows wintered on range feed and
alfalfa hay produced larger, more vigorous
calves that were heavier at weaning time.

Meeting in Washington the first week in
November, leading economists of the Depart­
ment of Agriculture and of state colleges and
universities generally agreed that 1950 is likely
to be a profitable year for American agricul­
ture. They pointed out, however, that it prob­
ably will not be as good as the high postwar
years but that incomes and profits will be well
above prewar levels and will average close to
those obtained during the war years.
Demand for farm products is expected to
continue at relatively high levels, inasmuch as
no serious decline in general business activity,
employment, or consumer income is antici­
pated during 1950. The pressure of increased
production of many commodities will cause
prices received by farmers to continue the
present downward trend th ro u g h o u t next
year. Furthermore, prices paid by farmers, al­
though expected to decline somewhat, are not
likely to fall as rapidly or to the extent as
prices received by farmers. Thus, net income
also will be reduced.
Foreign demand for most American farm
products probably will continue at relatively
high levels, but the quantities that can be ex­
ported will depend to a very great extent upon
the amount of dollars made available to for­
eign countries through EGA and other aid pro­
grams. It is generally believed that this amount
will be somewhat lower than in 1949.



With respect to some of the most important
commodities, the experts had this to say:


Cotton— Government support price prob­
ably will be only slightly— perhaps 1 to 2 cents
per pound— lower than the support price in
1949, with production below 1949 by as much
as 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 bales because of
acreage allotments and p ro b ab le marketing
quotas. Market price probably will fluctuate
very close to the government loan rate.

Six to 8 weeks’ rest prior to calving is essen­
tial for maximum milk production during the
following lactation period and the production
of a strong, healthy calf, according to A. M.
Meekma, assistant extension dairy husband­
man of Texas A. & M. College. This "rest pe­
riod” allows the cow to recover from the pre­
vious milk-producing period, build a strong,
healthy calf, and store up body reserves. Proper
feed and care during this period often increase
milk production as much as 2 5 percent during
the next lactation period. During the "rest
period,” cows should have access to good pas­
ture or to hay and silage and may also be fed
some grain, particularly if they are unusually
thin. The same grain mixture that is fed to the
milking herd can be fed to the dry cows.

Wheat— Prices for the 1950 crop probably
will be at or slightly below the government
loan rate, which will be perhaps 5 to 10 cents
per bushel below the 1949 support price. Pro­
duction is expected nearly to equal the 1949
crop because of favorable moisture conditions
and another large seeded acreage.
Rice— Prices are expected to be at ar near
the support levels, which, under the new pricesupport program, may be as much as 20 cents
above the 1949 loan rate. Acreage allotments
are probable, but marketing quotas are un­
Meat animals, poultry, milk, and other
dairy products— Outlook is for a continued
strong demand, with prices only slightly be­
low the levels of 1949.
Many of the delegates at the Washington
conference anticipate a relatively profitable
period for American agriculture during the
next 5 to 10 years. They believe that farm in­
comes, although below those of the imme­
diately postwar years, will be maintained at
relatively profitable levels and that farm fam­
ilies will continue to increase their standard of
living by the addition to their farm homes of
electricity, telephones, running water, refrig­
erators, and many other modern conveniences.
Principal reasons given for this optimistic out­
look were: (1) the anticipation of a continued
relatively high level of business activity in this
country, which, together with the normal in­
crease in population, will insure a strong do­
mestic demand for farm products; (2) the
continuation of some foreign aid programs,
which will provide an outlet for substantial
quantities of farm commodities; and (3) a
general increase in the efficiency of the Amer­
ican farmer.

Dairy Cows Need a Rest

100-Bushels-to-the-Acre Com in East Texas
Reports of corn yields in excess of 100
bushels per acre have been coming out of east
Texas this fall. Several communities have re­
ported more than one farmer achieving this
high yield. N o doubt, the favorable growing
season was an important factor in obtaining
these high yields, but probably more impor­
tant were the management practices followed
by these progressive farmers. An example of
how high yields were obtained is found in the
case of a Wood County farmer who increased
his per acre corn yield from 10 bushels in 1948
to 142 bushels in 1949. The corn was planted
on the last day of March in 3-feet rows and
spaced 12 to 14 inches apart. The seed used
was Texas Hybrid No. 20, and 450 pounds of
5-10-5 fertilizer per acre were applied at the
time of planting, with a side dressing of 200
pounds of ammonium nitrate per acre applied
later. The field was given three shallow culti­
vations for weed control.
This experience is unusual, but the use of
hybrid seed, heavy applications of fertilizer,
and the use of crop rotations, including soil­
building crops, are enabling many Texas farm­
ers to double or triple their average corn yields.



Control Cattle Parasites
Elimination of grubs, ticks, and lice will in­
crease profits from cattle by reducing feed
costs on the breeding herd and by increasing
the value of the hide on slaughter cattle, ac­
cording to James A. Deer, assistant extension
entomologist of Texas A. & M. College. Mr.
Deer recommends the use of a power sprayer,
using 200 to 400 pounds of pressure, and a
spray material consisting of 7% pounds of 5percent rotenone dust to each 100 gallons of
water. The nozzle of the sprayer should be
held not more than 4 inches from the backs of
the animals. Approximately 1 gallon of spray
is needed for each animal, and from 10 to 15
seconds usually are required for proper appli­
Control of lice and ticks can be obtained by
treating the cattle with a solution made by
adding 8 pounds of 50-percent wettable D D T
powder to 100 gallons of water. This can be
used as either a spray or dip. Cattle should be
given two treatments, the second about 2
weeks after the first. This second treatment
will kill the lice that hatch after the first treat­
ment. Mr. Deer warns that in treating dairy
cattle, methoxychlor should be substituted for
D D T in order to comply with health regula­
tions, which do not permit the use of D D T in
dairy barns or on dairy cattle.
Deferred Grazing Pays
Factual evidence of the value of deferred
grazing is found in the experience of a Menard
County, Texas, ranchman who reports that a
640-acre pasture which was rested from June
to October 1948 produced 2,925 more pounds
of mutton and about 1 more pound of wool
per head of sheep than the same pasture grazed
continuously during the previous year.
Deferred grazing permits the range grasses
to produce maximum feed and also permits the
better grasses to reseed and constantly improve
the carrying capacity of the range.
Management Hints for November
According to the Oklahoma A. & M. Exten­
sion Service, November is the month for
farmers to:

1. Get a supply of anti-freeze and winter­
ize their cars, trucks, and tractors.
2. Select turkey breeding stock before the
Thanksgiving market tempts them to sell all
but the culls.
3. Protect young trees against rabbit dam ­
4. Spread cottonseed hulls to give plenty
of time to decay before spring.
5. Get the farm machinery out of the
weather; paint-up and grease possible rusting
6. Check farm water pipes and cover to
sufficient depth to prevent freezing.
7. Attend some of the big livestock shows.
8. Plan to feed the dairy cows according
to their production records.
9. Mulch that strawberry bed after the
plants have been partly conditioned by snappy

Treat cattle for cattle grub if the need

Texas Citrus Market News Available
Official market reports on the movement
and condition of the Texas citrus crop may be
obtained by writing to the Fruit and Vegetable
Market News Office, Production and Market­
ing Administration, United States Department
of Agriculture, Weslaco, Texas. These reports
are issued daily and give the number of cars
leaving the Valley, auction prices at principal
consuming centers, the citrus supply and de­
mand situation, and other important market

The Texas Farm Bureau Federation State
Convention will be held at the Baker Hotel in
Dallas, November 21-23.
The International Livestock Exposition will
be held at Chicago, Illinois, November 26-December 3.