Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952 Page: 70
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70 REPORT ON EXPERIMENT STATIONS, 1952
use of forage crops and low-grade roughages in feeding cattle and
sheep. Results of a recent cattle-feeding experiment reported by the
Iowa station indicate that cornstalks and cobs fed with either of two
specially prepared supplements can reduce the cost of beef gains
up to 20 percent and produce yields of from 55 to 70 percent more beef
per acre of cropland than a typical Corn Belt ration. In a 106-day
test, steers full-fed chopped cornstalks and a supplement of linseed
oil meal, urea, minerals, vitamins, and live yeast yielded 627 pounds
of gain to the acre of cropland in comparison with 363 pounds of
gain per crop acre for the control lot. The control steers were fed a
ration of corn, hay, soybean meal, and minerals. Feed composed of
corncobs, cornstalks, or hay supplemented with linseed meal, urea,
distiller's grain, molasses, minerals, and vitamins produced 566, 537,
and 297 pounds of gain per acre, respectively.
The cost per pound of gain on the animals fed cornstalks and corncobs
was 21 to 35 percent less than on the lot full-fed on corn. Each
steer received 2 pounds of good-quality mixed hay with the cornstalks
or cobs. The Iowa station has recently discovered that good-quality
roughages such as mixed hay contain an unidentified material that
promotes digestion of cellulose by rumen bacteria.
Hormones improve gains of feeder cattle
Several State experiment stations are conducting research with
various synthetic hormone and hormone-like compounds to determine
their effects on the growth and quality of meat animals.
Testosterone, the male sex hormone, increased beef cattle gains 12 to
-25 percent at the Oregon station (coop. USDA) when fed with a
ration of rolled barley and chopped alfalfa hay. Feed efficiency was
improved, with a saving of about 150 pounds of feed for each 100
pounds of gain. WiTh testosterone, heifers and steers gained at the
rate of 2 to 2.4 pounds daily, respectively. The relative percentages of
wholesale cuts in steer and heifer carcasses were not affected by the
hormone treatment. Results obtained by feeding testosterone in the
ration were the same as when the hormone was given by injection.
Slaughter data on 700 beef steers treated with four different hormones
by the Colorado station indicate that testosterone was most
conducive to fattening. Of these carcasses, 92 percent graded choice
compared with 62 percent for untreated steers. Dressing percentage
was about 3 percent higher in the testosterone-treated cattle than in
the control group.
At the California station, steers treated with stilbestrol, an estrogenic
hormone, gained 0.5 pound more per day than untreated steers
in the feed lot and sold for $5 to $30 more per head. Steers similarly
treated while on irrigated pasture showed no improvement in gain.
Heifers showed less response in body gains than steers.
Progress in breeding research
That improvement in beef cattle of the ability to gain weight and
to use feed economically can be accelerated through performance and
progeny testing of bulls is shown in results obtained by the Texas
station (coop. USDA). Among the bull calves tested at this station
last year were five progeny of the two fastest-gaining bulls in the 1949
test. Three of these five calves ranked among the top 25 percent, and
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United States. Office of Experiment Stations. Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952, book, January 1953; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5990/m1/72/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.