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AGRICULTURAL

NEWS LETTER

T HE
Volume V

F E D ERAL

RESERVE

BANK

OF

DALLAS

Dallas, Texas, June 15, 1950

Number 6

Increasing Profits from Broilers
Raising broilers is a specialized business, re­
quiring a knowledge of feeds and feeding
methods, poultry diseases, and methods of
selling, as well as the ability to manage a
business in a highly competitive field.
Profits — and even a major part of the
investment—can be lost in a few days if
proper precautions against diseases are neg­
lected. Failure to maintain proper venti­
lation or lack of timely attention to the
young chicks may result in heavy losses from
crowding and suffocation or from respiratory
diseases. The profits of the operation also can
be lost by untimely marketing.
Thus, a review of factors affecting the
efficiency and profits of broiler production
should prove valuable to broiler producers of
the Southwest, as well as to those persons
who may contemplate entering this business.
Studies in Texas during the war indicate
that high mortality and large amounts of
feed required per pound of broiler produced
were the two most important factors in re­
ducing profits. A more recent study by the

University of Delaware substantiates these
facts and provides some additional informa­
tion that is applicable generally to conditions
in the Southwest. A summary of these find­
ings, which are based upon actual experience
with 102 flocks in Delaware during the
1948-49 season, is shown in the accompany­
ing table.
Pounds of feed required per pound of
broiler produced was the most important
single factor in determining profits, account­
ing for 60 percent of the variation in the
cost of producing broilers. Each additional
pound of feed per pound of broiler was asso­
ciated with an increase of 4.7 cents per pound
in the cost of production. Efficiency in the
use of feed can be obtained by feeding a
properly balanced ration, low in fiber and
high in energy value, and by eliminating un­
necessary waste through use of properly con­
structed feed troughs.
Mortality rate was the second most im­
portant factor in determining profits, ac­
counting for 30 percent of the variation in

GUIDES TO PROFITABLE BROILER PRODUCTION
(Based on a study of 102 flocks in Delaware, 1948-49)
M o st
p ro fita b le
flo cks

A v e ra g e
102 flocks

Low

Range

H ig h

44%
2%
15.9%
6.4% or less
M ortality rate ______
Feed required per pound
6 lbs.
4.0 lbs.
2.7 lbs.
3.1 lbs. or less
of broiler produced---0.27 lbs.
0.23 lbs.
0.18 lbs.
0.25 lbs. or more
Weight gained per week
10,620 birds 6,502 birds 20,335 birds
Broilers cared for per man 13,000 birds
3.3 lbs.
3.1 lbs.
2.9 lbs.
3.0 lbs.
Weight of birds at selling
16.4 wks.
13.6 wks.
12.0 wks.
12-13 wks.
Age at selling----- ----Size of flock ... ---- -------- 20,000 to 25,000 birds 12,222 birds 4,040 birds 40,500 birds

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AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

costs of production. Purchase of healthy
chicks, strict sanitation practices, and proper
care of the birds at all times paid big divi­
dends by keeping death losses at a minimum.
These two factors—pounds of feed re­
quired per pound of broiler produced and
mortality—accounted for 90 percent of the
variation in costs of production Other fac­
tors, such as number of birds cared for per
man—a measure of labor efficiency—and size
of flock, were im portant but to a much
smaller degree.
Above-average efficiency in several phases
of the business is more important than an
unusually high degree of skill in any one,
according to the Delaware study. Thus, the
benefits of a low mortality rate can be quick­
ly lost through the use of an above-average
amount of feed per pound of broiler pro­
duced. Likewise, failure to maintain a prof­
itable size flock would limit the total profits
on even the most efficient operation.
The results of this study suggest that over­
all management—the ability of the operator
to handle a business successfully------is per­
haps the most important single factor in de­
termining the profits of broiler production.
In addition to managerial ability, of course,
the operator must have the necessary techni­
cal knowledge of poultry, feeds, and mar­
kets pertinent to broiler production.
Broiler producers in the Southwest should
give close attention to these major factors
affecting profits in this enterprise. Moreover,
persons who contem plate raising broilers
should study these facts carefully and, if
possible, gain some practical experience in the
field before investing in the business on a
large scale.
Efficiency in production is likely to be­
come increasingly important in the broiler
business, in view of the narrowing of profit
margins and the increasing competition for
the consumer’s meat dollar from pork, beef,
and veal. The fact that broiler production in
the Southwest has increased 300 percent dur­
ing the past decade suggests that competi­

tion in this industry will become keener and
profits more dependent upon an efficient op­
eration. The very favorable price relation­
ships of the past few years, which have made
even inefficient production profitable, are not
likely to continue during the next decade.

K eep the Tractor Cool
Keeping the tractor’s cooling system func­
tioning properly is a major factor in reduc­
ing breakdowns and repair bills, according to
W. L. Ulich, extension agricultural engineer
of Texas A. & M. College.

Mr. Ulich says that the most freq u en t
cause of an overheated tractor engine is over­
loading. The size and type of equipment used
should be suited to the capacity of the trac­
tor. If it is necessary to use larger equipment
for short periods, shifting to a lower gear
will sometimes eliminate overheating.
A second cause of overheating is the use
of a low-grade fuel. Use of a higher-octane
fuel will usually correct this difficulty.
Other factors that may cause tractor en­
gines to overheat include:
(1) Badly worn or loose fan belts.
(2) A clogged water pump or a worn
water pump bearing.
(3) Faulty timing and improper carbure­
tor adjustments.
(4) Clogged radiator fins—accumulation
of trash, dirt, weeds, and other debris on
the front surface of the radiator, reducing
the volume of air passing through the rad­
iator grill.
(5) Failure to adjust radiator shutters
with changes in tractor load.

AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

(6) Worn or damaged hose connections—
the inside as well as the outside of the hose
connections should be checked.
(7) Improper lubrication of the engine—
using improper weights of oil.
(8) Failure of the thermostat to operate
correctly.
(9) Lime deposits on the inside of the
block and in the head of the cooling chamber.
Mr. Ulich points out that flushing the
cooling system once or twice a year with a
lye flushing compound or with a solution of
1 pound of common soda to a gallon of
water will aid materially in keeping the cool­
ing system clean and go a long way toward
prevention of overheating.

Dairy Bulls May Be Source of
Brucellosis
Dairy bulls may transmit brucellosis, com­
monly called Bang’s disease, to cows, even
when artificial insemination is practiced, ac­
cording to a recent study by Dr. C. A.
Manthei of the United States Bureau of Ani­
mal Industry. In a test using 12 susceptible
cattle—six cows and six heifers—two of the
cows and all of the heifers developed active
brucellosis following insemination with se­
men from an infected bull.
According to Dr. Manthei, "This is con­
clusive evidence that a bull infected with
brucellosis is a possible spreader of the dis­
ease and should not be used in the artificial
insemination ring. To avoid possible danger
to the clean herd, such a bull should not be
kept even for natural breeding.”

Sprays for California Red Scale
Citrus growers in the Lower Rio Grande
Valley of Texas are urged to be on the look­
out during July and August for infestations
of California red scale, particularly in groves
that have been interplanted with cotton or
vegetables. An oil emulsion spray should be
applied promptly if this parasite appears in
large numbers.

3

In recent years some growers have been
planting cotton or vegetables between young
citrus trees and have dusted these crops fre­
quently with DDT and other organic in­
secticides. These dusts have tended to destroy
the natural enemies of the California red
scale, and the young trees frequently have
been stunted or in some cases killed by a
heavy infestation of the scale.
As indicated, the red scale infestations
usually are most severe in young groves
which are interplanted with other crops and
in older groves adjacent to vegetable and
cotton fields. Thus, scale control is usually
necessary only in these areas, and spraying
is not recommended until the insects have
built up to damaging numbers. Natural par­
asites and predators, such as ladybird beetles
and "Aphidius,” will give good control in
most of the older groves.
Where spraying is necessary, Texas A. &
M. College specialists recommend using an
oil emulsion spray containing at least 2 per­
cent oil. In experiments carried out by the
Lower Rio Grande Valley Experiment Sta­
tion at Weslaco, the spray was applied under
a pressure of 200 pounds, and the trees were
drenched thoroughly.
Parathion used at a concentration of 0.45
pounds per hundred gallons of water did not
give good control, and the additions of DDT,
parathion, and chlordane did not increase the
effectiveness of the oil emulsion spray.

Clover Seed and Bees
Most of the clovers will not set seed satis­
factorily without cross pollination—the
transfer of pollen from one plant to another.
This mixing of the pollen is usually done by
insects, and clover seed producers are find­
ing that^it pays big dividends to have several
colonies of honey bees near their clover fields
to insure adequate pollination of the plants
for a heavy set of seed.
While some clovers will be partially pol­
linated by wind, White, Ladino, Red, Crim­

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AGRICULTURAL NEWS LETTER

son, and Alsike clovers are almost entirely
dependent upon insects for pollination.
If there are from 60 to 100 colonies of
honey bees located within % to 1l/ z miles
of the clover fields, pollination should be
adequate for profitable seed production. In
areas where this situation does not exist,
growers are advised to place several colonies
of bees in or near the clover fields.
Beekeepers are usually glad to place their
colonies near clover fields, since this practice
increases the yield of honey. Some seed pro­
ducers prefer to own a few colonies of bees,
since bees require very little care and the
sale of honey provides an additional source
of income.

Compton dairy farm on Highway 71 south
of Alexandria. About 60 choice heifers from
Louisiana and out-of-state breeders will be
offered for sale.

Range Deferm ent Pays

Publications

Tomato Market News Available

Tomato market news, including prices
paid at the various packing sheds throughout
the east Texas area, as well as wholesale prices
at the terminal markets, are issued daily by
the Production and Marketing Administra­
tion. Persons interested in obtaining these re­
ports may have their names placed on the
mailing list by writing to the Fruit and
Vegetable Branch, Production and Marketing
Administration, United States Department
of Agriculture, Jacksonville, Texas.

Deferred grazing has proved to be a profit­
Agricultural Experiment Station,
able range management practice. Keeping Oklahoma
Stillwater:
livestock off the range for a few months per­
mits the more productive grasses to grow and Southeast Oklahoma Pasture-Fertility,
Progress Report, 1945-1949, by Horace
develop an extensive root system and pro­
J. Harper and others.
duces a seed crop, whereas on ranges and
pastures that are continuously grazed these Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Col­
grasses never have the opportunity of pro­ lege Station:
ducing the maximum amount of feed and of Cotton Variety Tests in the El Paso Val­
propagating themselves through the produc­
ley, 1943-48, Bulletin 719, by P. J. Lytion of a seed crop.
erly and others.
In north and west Texas A. H. Walker, The Cleaning of Mechanically Harvested
extension range specialist of Texas A. & M.
Cotton, Bulletin 720, by H. P. Smith
College, suggests that ranges be rested from
and others.
May to November. He points out that the Recent D evelopm ents in the Chemical
experience of ranchers in recent years shows
Control of Brush on Texas Ranges, Bul­
that more beef can be produced per acre when
letin 721, by Vernon A. Young and
deferred grazing is practiced than with con­
others.
tinuous grazing.
Experiments with Guar in Texas, Circular
Deferred grazing is an effective method of
126, by L. E. Brooks and Clark Harvey.
aiding nature to rebuild the productive ca­ Storing Sorghum Grain in South Texas,
pacity of our ranges and to make maximum
Progress Report 1240, by M. G. Daven­
use of the moisture received during the grow­
port and others.
ing period.
Sugar Beet Variety and Strain Tests in the
Lower Rio Grande Valley, Progress Re­
Louisiana Jersey Sale
port 1243, by C. A. Burleson and others.
The Louisiana Jersey C attle Club and Tarnished Plant Bug Control, Progress Re­
port 1246, by W. L. Owen and J. C.
Dairy Association will hold a sale of dairy
Gaines.
heifers on June 24 at the A. G. and J. T.