TO THE 1999
July 13, 1999




9:30 A.M. - 12:00 P.M.

Annual forages: yield and value Steve Zwinger
The feed value of barley Vern Anderson
Heifer development costs Steve Metzger
Sorting cattle with ultrasound Karl Hoppe
Field peas: a great cattle feed Vern Anderson
Potato waste nutrients and feeding Kurt Froelich
Bison Nutrition Research Center Vern Anderson
Fly ash for cattle pens and roads Scott Birchall




12:00 - 1:00 P.M.
Sponsored by Carrington-New Rockford area businesses



Field peas in creep feed for beef calves 1
V.L. Anderson

Costs associated with raising beef replacement heifers 5


Field peas in diets for growing and finishing steer calves 9
V. L. Anderson

Observations on effects of breed of sire on feedlot
gain and carcass traits 16
V.L. Anderson

Laboratory scale evaluation of cull potato silages 18
G. Lardy, K. Hoppe, M. Bauer, and D. Heuchert

The feeding value of barley: A review of comparative beef
performance trials 22
V.L. Anderson

Using ultrasound as a marketing tool for determining
value of finished cattle 29

K.F. Hoppe, J. Dhuyvetter, and C. McIntyre

A comparison of soybean, canola, solvent and expeller
crambe meal as protein sources for growing and finishing
feedlot steers 35

V.L. Anderson

Expeller crambe meal as a protein source for growing calves 40
D.L. Riley, M.L. Bauer, V.L. Anderson, G.P. Lardy, and J.S. Caton


A survey of manure management practices in North Dakota 43
S. Birchall and D.J. Klenow

A new project proposal - using coal combustion by-products
for feedlot surface stabilization 51

S. Birchall


Bison production: a rancher's perspective 54
Peter & Beth Skedsvold

Bison research review 56

New publications for livestock producers 58

Livestock Research and Education

Livestock projects at the Carrington Research Extension Center are designed to be of direct benefit to the beef and bison producers throughout the state and region. The research and educational efforts in these diverse program areas are accomplished in response to present needs voiced by producers and advisory boards, and visionary concepts of future meat production. This publication provides results and information on activities accomplished during the recent past.

The many disciplines represented by authors of papers in this publication represent the increasingly complex nature of livestock production. Concerns go beyond nutrition and breeding to record analysis and environmental impact. We hope some of the papers are of value to all.

Livestock efforts

Beef cow/calf production using the crop residues and co-product feeds appears to be both biologically and economically feasible. Cows can add value to cropping system biomass, spread the risk of single enterprise farming, and contribute to sustainable farming. The beef effort at this Center focuses on combining these "new" and "unusual" feeds and cows under proper management. Similarly, value added concepts in the feedlot enterprise have been proven to be feasible when management and economies of scale are optimized. The tremendous variety and quantity of feedgrains and processing co-products in the region generally insure competitive feedstuff pricing for North Dakota stockmen.

The bison industry is flourishing and deserves legitimate research effort. Producer input to the North Dakota legislature in 1997 resulted in an appropriation for initiation of a bison research facility. Grants supplement the appropriated funds for construction. The bison research program will focus on nutrition of bulls from weaning to market and companion studies will be conducted at opportunity.

Waste management is becoming increasingly visible and restrictive for all livestock producers. All of us are interested in protecting the surface and ground water resources and reducing point source pollution. This new program will provide individual assistance for producers to meet regulatory constraints using practical solutions.

We hope the information in this publication is useful to you and leads to improved quality of life, financial reward, and "success" as a grower of food for an increasing world population. If you have questions or comments on past research, suggestions for future studies, or want to interact with one of us, please email us at addresses listed or call (701) 652-2951. This proceedings is published in its entirety at the Carrington Center web site at www.ag.nodak.edu/carringt/.



Scott Birchall, MS Steve Metzger

Extension Waste Mgt Specialist Farm Management Instructor

sbirchal@ndsuext.nodak.edu smetzger@ndsuext.nodak.edu


Karl Hoppe, PhD Vern Anderson, PhD

Extension Livestock Specialist Animal Scientist

khoppe@ndsuext.nodak.edu vanderso@badlands.nodak.edu



Our appreciation is expressed to the following for cooperation, contributions, and support of beef and bison studies at the Carrington Research Extension Center during the recent past.

AgGrow Oils LLC

AGP Grain, Inc.

Alltech, Inc.


Butts Feedlot

Certified Angus Beef Program

Dakota Growers Pasta Company

Energy and Environment Research Center

H. C. Davis Sons, Manufacturing

IBP, Inc.

National Bison Association

North American Bison Cooperative

North American South Devon Association

North Dakota Buffalo Association

North Dakota Barley Council

North Dakota Army National Guard

North Dakota Livestock Endowment

North Dakota Mill and Elevator

North Dakota State University

Animal and Range Sciences Department

Agriculture and Bioengineering Department

Agricultural Economics Department

Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences Department

Northern Crops Institute

Powder River Livestock Handling Equipment

United States Department of Agriculture

Alternative Crops Program

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

Trade names and companies used are for clear communication. No endorsement is intended nor criticism implied of products mentioned or not mentioned.


Field peas in creep feed for beef calves

V. L. Anderson

Carrington Research Extension Center
North Dakota State University


In a two year study with 128 cow/calf pairs, wheat midds and field peas were offered in four different combinations as creep feeds. Treatments were reciprocal amounts of dry rolled peas and pelleted midds at 0-100%, 33-67%, 67-33%, and 100-0%, respectively. Feed intake increased (P<.01) with increasing level of field peas in the diet. Calves offered 100% midds consumed 5.89 lbs of creep feed per day compared to 8.72 for calves offered 100% field peas during the 56 day study period. Calf gains increased (P=.06) from 2.82 pounds per day at 100% midds to 3.17 lb at 67 and 100% peas. Gains from 33% peas averaged 3.11 pounds per day. Feed efficiency decreased (P=.02), however, with increasing pea levels. At 100% midds, calves gained .48 pounds for each pound of feed consumed followed by .49, .42, and .38 pounds respectively for 33, 67 and 100% peas. At $2.20/bu for peas and $60/ton for midds, feed costs per pound of gain tended to increase with increasing pea level associated with increased intake and decreased feed efficiency: $.063, .065, .083, and .103 respectively for 0, 33, 67, and 100% peas. The added value of gain over feed costs was greater at 67% peas at $10.83 per head compared to 100% midds. Field peas appear to be a very palatable feed and can be used effectively in creep rations. At higher levels of field peas, feed cost must be considered in relation to return from added calf weight for optimum profit. This study suggests it is economically profitable to feed peas in a creep feed ration.


Field pea acres are increasing in North Dakota for a variety of reasons. These include sustainable crop rotations, nitrogen fixation, on farm feed production, and small grain disease threats. Field peas are most profitable when quality criteria for the human market are met. However, due to the limited market for human food grade peas, livestock will consume the majority of field peas grown in North America.

Field peas are adapted to this eco-region, use conventional equipment, and fix nitrogen in the soil approximately equivalent to 1.25 pounds per bushel of yield. Field pea yields vary with management, but yields of 50 bushels per acre are not uncommon. There is significant demand for North Dakota field peas to be exported to Europe for feed. Peas can contribute to local livestock operations as well. Peas are a versatile feed and can be used in swine, poultry, dairy, sheep, and beef rations. The opportunity cost for using peas as feed, especially beef diets, is not well defined. Peas may best be utilized in scenarios where a limited amount of a nutrient dense diet is required or where the need for dietary protein and energy match the nutrient profile of peas more closely than any other single ingredient. Creep feed meets these criteria. This paper is the final report of a two year study evaluating reciprocal levels of field peas and wheat midds in creep feed diets for beef calves. This project was partially funded by USDA Alternative crops grant 97-34216-3995, ND0517.

Materials and Methods

A total of 128 mature beef cows and their calves were randomly allotted to four treatments with two pens per treatment during the summers of 1997 and 1998. The 56 day trial started after breeding season and concluded at weaning. The four creep feed treatments were field peas and wheat midds at reciprocal levels of 0-100%, 33-67%; 67-33%, and 100-0%. Calves were weighed at the start of the trial and at 28 day intervals. Respective creep feeds were fed and recorded daily based on bunk reading of calf sized feedbunks. Twelve feet of bunk space was provided for the 7 to 8 head of calves in each pen with creep areas located in the corners of the drylot pen. Peas were coarsely rolled and wheat midds were fed as 1/4 inch diameter pellets. Nutrients in peas and wheat midds (Table 1) were not identical but the protein content of each exceeded recommended levels for creep feed (14-16%). Calves were fed between 9 and 11 AM each day which was immediately after when their dams had been fed. All cows were fed the same totally mixed diet in fenceline bunks once daily. The British crossbred cows were fed to meet NRC (1984) requirements for average milking cows.

Table 1. Nutrients in field peas and wheat midds used in creep feed diets

Item Field Peas Wheat Midds


Dry matter 89.9 88.9

---------Dry matter basis----------

Crude protein 22.8 17.9
Fat 1.2 5.6
Ash 3.5 5.1
Acid detergent fiber 8.2 12.1
Neutral detergent fiber 15.6 41.3
Calcium .05 .07
Phosphorous .48 .92


Results and Discussion

Creep feed intake, calf gains, and gain per unit feed ( Table 2) appear to be influenced by amount of peas in the diet. Feed intake increased during the entire

study period (P<.01)) with increasing peas in the diet. Even during the first 28 day weigh period, peas provided a much more palatable diet and intake improved with increasing amounts of peas. Averaged over the entire trial, daily feed intake was 5.89, 6.43, 7.63, and 8.72 pounds per head. There is more acid detergent fiber (ADF) in wheat midds which can reduce intake but the change in intake appears to be greater than would be accounted for by the fiber fraction. If peas consistently improve intake at modest levels, this new nutrient dense grain could become a staple in feedlot receiving diets as well as creep feeds.

Average daily gains (Table 2) for the 56 day study were 2.82, 3.11, 3.17, and 3.17 for 0, 33, 67, and 100% peas, respectively. Gains increased (P=.06) with increasing peas in the diet. The improvement in gain from the addition of peas to the ration, however, is not proportional to the increase in intake. This results in increased feed cost per unit gain at the higher pea levels. This supported by the reduction (P<.05) in feed efficiency (gain per unit feed) from .48 and .49 for 0 and 33%, respectively, to .42 and .38 pounds of gain per pound of feed for 67 and 100% peas, respectively.

Field peas used in this trial were dry rolled. However, during a 3 day period we fed whole peas and observed largly intact peas passing through the calves. Based on this observation, we strongly suggesting rolling or coarse grinding peas. Finely ground peas have smaller particles which can deter intake and lead to some digestive disturbance or bloat conditions.

Feed costs per pound of gain were calculated at $.063, .067, .083, and .103 for increasing pea levels of 0, 33, 67, and 100%. The cost of rolling peas is assumed to be included in the $2.20 per bushel price. Even though feed costs per pound escalated with peas at $2.20 per bushel and midds at $60/ton, the returns per head improved based on more pounds of calf to sell. The added value per calf from additional weight gain increased faster than the feed cost at higher pea levels (Table 2). Based on these data, peas included at 33% of the creep diet may be purchased for up to $4.60 per bushel for equivalent returns to the 100% midds ration, $6.81 is the maximum for the 67% diet and due to deteriorating feed efficiency, $3.02 is the maximum for peas at the 100% pea diet. When calves sell for $90/cwt, peas added to creep rations at 33, 67, and 100% respectively will produce added profit when purchased at less than $5.20, 8.06, and 3.38 /bushel.

Table 2. Performance of nursing calves fed creep feed formulated with wheat midds and field peas.

- - - - - - - - - - Treatments - - - - - - - - - - -

Wheat Midds 100% 67% 33% 0%
Field Peas 0% 33% 67% 100% StErr

No. cow/calf pairs 31 32 32 33
No. replicates(pens)/tmt 4 4 4 4
Initial calf wt, lb 361 353 362 358 11.37
Final calf wt. lb 519 527 540 535 13.35

Feed intake, lb per head per day
Period 1 4.84 4.99 5.91 6.11 .31
Period 2 6.93
a 7.85b 9.32bc 11.44c .42
Overall avg 5.89
a 6.43ab 7.63bc 8.72c .43

Average daily gain, lb
Period 1 2.87 3.21 3.35 3.26 .20
Period 2 2.77 3.01 2.99 3.10 .21
Overall avg 2.82
a 3.11b 3.17b 3.17b .14

Period 1 .59 .65 .57 .59 .03
Period 2 .40
a .39a .33ab .28b .03
Overall avg .48
a .49a .42ab .38b .03

Feed Cost/lb gain
d $ .063 .067 .083 .103
Value of added gain above feed cost, $ per heade

-.- 9.66 10.83 6.99
Maximum price for peas ($/bu) with calves selling for:
- 4.60 6.81 3.02
5.20 8.06 3.38

a,b,c,d Values with different superscripts are significantly different (P<.10)

e Based on wheat midds at $60/ton and peas at $2.20 per 60 lb bushel.

f No price slide is assumed for additional weight of weaned calves.


Field peas in North Dakota commonly trade from $1.75 to 3.25 per bushel depending on the season, export contract price, supply, and human food demand. As

calf prices escalate, the break-even price of peas increases. With calves selling for $90/cwt., peas could be purchased for a maximum of $5.20, 8.06, and 3.38 for the 33, 67, and 100% pea diets, respectively.


This study indicates peas are a very palatable feed for creep fed calves, calves gain well on diets with peas, and the price of peas is highly favorable in terms of returns when compared with other possible creep feeds. Producers may realize increased profits over other feeds when peas are grown or procured at less than the calculated breakeven price and mixed in creep feeds for beef calves.



Costs Associated With Raising Beef Replacement Heifers

Steve Metzger

Carrington Area Farm Business Management Program

Carrington Public Schools and Carrington Research Extension Center, NDSU


One of the major costs associated with maintaining a quality beef herd is that of raising replacement females. In attempting to maximize profits, producers need to know the cost of raising a beef replacement heifer and how that cost will impact the potential for future profits. As in so many enterprises, there is a wide gap between the high and low cost producers when it comes to raising replacement heifers. Producers will be in a better position to enhance future profits if they know the true cost of production associated with raising replacement heifers.


Data for this study was compiled through the Carrington Area Farm Business Management Program. The replacement heifer enterprise data summarized in this report was generated from beef enterprises located in the counties of Eddy, Foster, Griggs, Kidder, Sheridan, Stutsman, and Wells. The data was collected over a four year period from 1995 through 1998. The minimum number of replacement heifers involved in any one year was 255 with a maximum of 486 and a total of 1,309 involved over the four-year period. The minimum number of farms and ranches involved in any one year was 13 with a maximum of 18. This study represents a summation of 60 individual beef replacement heifer enterprises over a four-year period.

The beginning point of each individual enterprise analysis is that point in time when the heifers are selected out to be kept for replacements. For those heifers purchased in the fall, as seven or eight month old calves, the beginning point is January first of the following year. For heifers that are raised on the same farm or ranch, the beginning point is that date in time when they are selected and physically separated from the rest of the calves being fed or backgrounded. For example, in 1998 the average number of days for all eighteen replacement heifer enterprises was 322, which translated into an average startup date or beginning point of February 12. The ending point for each enterprise was either December 31. of the corresponding year or the date on which the heifers were sold and thus transferred out. The vast majority of the replacement heifer enterprises concluded at the end of December as these heifers were then transferred into the total cow herd, effective the first of January.

Whenever possible, actual scale weights of heifers being transferred in or out were used. Because so many producers do not weigh heifers kept back when the balance of the feeder group is sold, producers were asked to estimate the beginning weight of the remaining heifers based on the weights, after adjusting for shrinkage, of the animals sold or transferred out. The ending December weights were estimated by producers and were related to their beef cow weights whenever applicable.

All expenses including feed, pasture costs, supplies, overhead expenses, etc. were calculated for each individual replacement heifer enterprise. The breeding charge for the various heifer enterprises is in most cases, part of the total feed and expense allocation for that particular enterprise. A limited amount of artificial breeding was done and that cost is reflected in table 1.

Results and Discussion

The average gross return per heifer, as shown in table 1, was $608.81. This gross return included actual sales, the value of heifers transferred out prior to the end of the enterprise, and the value of heifers as recorded at the end of the enterprise before they were transferred into the beef cow herd. The average weight per heifer purchased or transferred in was 706 pounds, with a range of 642 to 752 pounds. The lighter average weight in 1998 was partially due to more young heifer calves being purchased and raised for resale as bred replacement heifers. With 1998 excluded, the three-year average weight of purchased and transferred heifer calves was 728 pounds.

The average daily gain per head was .98 pounds with a total feed cost, including pasture or range, of $126.05 per heifer. Feed and other direct costs averaged $149.88 per year while overhead contributed an average of $8.02 annually for a total cost of $157.90 per year. Total pounds gained per heifer, table 2, varied from an average low of 251 pounds to an average high of 306 pounds with a four-year average of 285 pounds. The annual feed cost per cwt. of gain, including pasture or range, varied from an annual average of $42.18 to $50.36. In three of the four years, the cost of gain varied from a low of $42.18 to a high of $42.95. Death loss was fairly low, averaging .73% over the four year period. Including the beginning value of the heifer calf, $467.02, the average four year total cost per heifer from the time of transfer in to being placed in the cow herd, effective January 1, was $624.92 and covered a time frame of approximately 10.6 months.

Since many producers might choose to view these costs from an annual standpoint as opposed to the enterprise time frame of approximately 10.6 months, a calculated adjustment was made to reflect a full 12 month enterprise. The feed, direct, and overhead costs were adjusted upward for another 1.4 months. This resulted in an additional expense of $26.25 per head for a total annualized cost estimated at $651.17 per heifer.

It is important to note that the net return figure, however positive or negative, is tremendously influenced by the value the producer assigns to the bred heifer at the end of the enterprise period. This data would indicate that the average beef replacement heifer with the value and costs listed, should be valued at a minimum of approximately $651.00 as she enters the regular production herd on January 1.

It should also be noted that the cost of production does include depreciation for buildings or equipment used by this enterprise but it does not include any allotment for operator labor or for principal payments on existing chattel or real estate debt. These items would be in addition to the costs listed in tables 1 and 2.

Producers are also challenged to consider several other factors when making a decision whether to raise or purchase replacement heifers. Acquiring the type of heifers that physically match the existing herd is important to most producers. In addition, producers are also inclined to acquire those types of heifers that can contribute to the genetic makeup of the present day cow herd and that can adapt to the environment in which the present cow herd functions.



Table 1. Four year beef replacement heifer economics and production performance (per heifer basis)

Heifers purchased or transferred in (706 lbs.) $ 467.02
Total production per head (285 lbs) $ 141.79
Gross Return $ 608.81

Direct Costs

Protein, vitamin, mineral (23 lbs) 4.39

Grain and concentrates 24.63

Harvested forages 67.15

Pasture or range (3.56 AUM's) 29.88

Total Feed Cost $ 126.05

Veterinary 6.18

Breeding fees, supplies 3.77

Fuel and repairs 2.16

Other direct costs (oper interest, custom hire, marketing, etc) 11.72

Total Direct Costs $ 149.88

Overhead Costs

Interest on buildings and chattel debt 2.12

Depreciation of buildings and equipment 2.24

Other overhead (utilities, labor, insurance, etc.) 3.66

Total Overhead Costs $ 8.02

Total of all listed costs $ 624.92

Net Return $ (16.11)

Cost adjustment from 10.6 to 12 months 26.25

Total adjusted 12 month cost 651.17

Death loss percentage .73%

Daily gain, lbs. .98 lbs

Pounds of feed per pound of gain, excluding pasture or range 16.36 lbs

Feed Cost (including pasture or range cost), per cwt of gain $44.48

The importance of the multi-year cattle cycle, and our position within that cycle, should not be ignored when determining the costs of present day or future replacement heifers. Also to be considered is the position of the grain and feed markets. The last two years have provided us with some of the lowest cost rations for growing out beef cattle. By knowing and considering all these various facts and weighing them against the market price of other replacement stock, of similar type and quality, producers can make herd replacement decisions that should enhance their bottom lines and added to the productivity of their beef operations.



Table 2. Annual economic and production figures, 1995-1998 (per heifer)


Item 1995 1996 1997 1998 Average

Number of lots 15 13 14 18 15

Number of heifers 255 260 308 486 327

Wt per hfr purchased

or transferred in 705 726 752 642 706

Value of heifer purchased

or transferred in $ 492.04 $ 398.83 $ 495.25 $ 481.96 $ 467.02

Value of production/hd 94.96 190.63 173.73 107.84 141.79

Pounds of production/hd 306 251 302 280 285

Gross return 587.00 589.46 668.98 589.80 608.81

Feed cost/head 120.20 127.44 126.57 129.91 126.05

Total direct costs 155.88 146.41 150.52 146.65 149.88

Total overhead costs 7.53 8.09 9.04 7.39 8.02

Total direct and

overhead costs 163.27 155.45 158.61 154.18 157.90

Total costs including

value of heifer calf 655.31 554.28 653.86 636.14 624.92

Net return (68.31) 35.18 15.12 (46.34) (16.11)

Death loss percentage .40 .70 .60 1.20 .73

Daily gain in pounds .99 .81 1.03 1.08 .98

Feed cost (including
pasture) per cwt. of gain $42.41 $ 50.36 $ 42.18 $ 42.95 $ 44.48

Number sold or trans

out per lot before herd

placement 1 3 1 10 3.75



Field peas in diets for

growing and finishing steer calves

V. L. Anderson

Carrington Research Extension Center

North Dakota State University



Field peas were evaluated in a 2 year growing and finishing study with feedlot steers. Preconditioned steers (n=80) were fed growing diets containing barley, barley and canola meal, or field peas. Corn silage, chopped hay, and supplements were included in the rations during the 50 day trial. Steers fed peas consumed more feed as a % of body weight (P<.10)) and had numerically greater gains than steers fed barley. The barley-canola meal diet was intermediate. Finishing diets based on barley or peas were fed from the end of the growing study until steers reached market weight. Intake tended to be greater (4.7%) for the pea diet compared to barley with corresponding higher (5.5%) gains observed. Carcass traits were similar except marbling scores and the percent choice was greater (P<.10) for steers fed peas. Feed costs are a critical factor in using peas in feedlot diets but peas appear to be a nutrient dense and very palatable feedstuff as the only grain source in growing and finishing diets. Producers should make decisions on feeding peas based on local feed prices and projected cost of gain.


Field pea acreage in North Dakota is expected to increase rapidly as producers realize the benefits of including annual legumes in cropping systems. A large proportion of field peas will be marketed as livestock feed although peas qualifying for human food grade usually return more dollars per bushel and per acre. The commercial market for field peas is strong with export potential for very large amounts. Exported peas are generally used in livestock feed, primarily for non-ruminants. The nutritive value of field peas as a feed grain is well documented for non-ruminants but little data is available to compare with conventional feeds in feedlot cattle diets.

The greatest potential market for field peas grown in this region is in beef cattle diets. Peas appear to be very palatable feedgrain as indicated in other studies. Improving the palatability of a receiving ration and therefore increasing intake during the first few days on feed for weaned calves may have significant implications on immune response, and animal performance. Peas will have to compete economically with other feeds such as barley and wheat midds, although the nutrient profiles differ somewhat (Table 1). Depending on the production goals and livestock ration required, peas may be used as a protein supplement or as a major ration ingredient in a variety of diets. Peas are a nutrient dense feedgrain with high levels of carbohydrate and protein that would complement high forage diets. Unless used in balanced diets, the high protein content of peas may contribute to increased nitrogen levels in the feces and urine or volatilized into the atmosphere as ammonia. This is an environmental concern in some parts of the nation, but may be an added source of fertility for integrated crop/livestock operations in the Northern Plains where nutrients can be captured and recycled. This project evaluated field peas in diets for growing and finishing steer calves and was partially funded by USDA Alternative Crops Grant 97-34216-3995, ND0517.


Table 1. Nutrient content of field peas and barley

Item Barley Field peas

Dry Matter, % 89.59 89.47

---------Dry matter basis---------

Crude protein, % 12.64 23.01
Acid detergent fiber, % 7.13 7.50
Neutral detergent fiber, % 24.63 15.16
Fat, % 1.95 1.55
Ash, % 2.64 2.87
Calcium, % .05 .07
Phosphorous, % .39 .46


Materials and Methods


Crossbred preconditioned steer calves (n=80) were blocked by weight (light and heavy) and allotted to three treatments with two replicates (weight blocks ) per treatment in early October of 1997 and 1998. Dietary treatments (Table 2) were: 1)barley as the primary grain source with protein levels recommended by NRC (Control); 2) barley at the same level as Control but with canola meal added to equalize the crude protein level of the field pea diet (BarCan); and 3) field peas (Peas) as the primary grain source. The protein level in the field pea diet exceeded animal requirements. The BarCan treatment was included to evaluate a diet with barley at protein levels the same as the Pea treatment. Totally mixed rations were fed once daily to appetite. Field peas and barley were dry rolled with a corn setting used for peas to produce minimal fines and barley kernels flattened and broken into two or three pieces. The supplement contained an ionophore (Rumensin at 300

mg/hd/day), vitamins, and mineral supplements to meet requirements and achieve 2:1 calcium-phosphorous ratios. The growing trial included two 25 day feeding periods. Four fecal samples were collected randomly from fresh stools in each of the two pens on each treatment and analyzed for nitrogen content.


Table 2. Growing diets for steer calves fed barley, barley and canola meal, or field peas.

Control Barley Field
Item Barley Canola Peas

--------------Pounds/hd/day as fed ------------

Field peas - - 9.97
Barley 8.98 7.07
Corn silage 10.64 11.18 14.45
Chopped hay 3.13 3.04 3.12
Canola meal 1.10 2.90 -
Supplement .45 .48 .49

--------------Percent dry matter basis---------

Field peas - - 52.66
Barley 50.25 40.29 -
Corn silage 24.15 24.96 29.70
Chopped hay 16.18 15.37 14.70
Canola meal 6.47 16.54
Supplement 2.96 2.83 2.66



Steers from the growing experiment were allotted to two treatments (one pen per treatment) each year to compare the use of field peas or barley as the primary grain source in finishing diets. Steers fed peas during backgrounding were retained in the pea treatment and steers on the control barley diet were retained in the barley group. Steers on the BarCan growing treatment were divided randomly between barley and pea treatments. Steers were fed totally mixed finishing diets to appetite (Table 3) once daily in fenceline bunks. The barley diet was balanced to NRC requirements but the pea diet contained excess protein. The rations were stepped up gradually over approximately 10 days. This trial started in early December and concluded when steers went to market in April. Steers were weighed at the start and end of the trial. Carcass data was collected at slaughter.


Table 3. Finishing diets for steer calves using barley or field peas.

Item Barley Field peas

-------Pounds/hd/day, as fed------

Field peas - 19.54
Barley 17.95 -
Corn silage 9.59 10.18
Chopped hay 2.43 2.75
Canola meal .88 -
Supplement .46 .46

-------Percent, dry matter basis------

Field peas - 76.23
Barley 73.86 -
Corn silage 11.92 12.81
Chopped hay 8.48 9.01
Canola meal 3.72 -
Supplement 1.98 1.99

Results and Discussion


Intake tended to be greater (P=.17) for diets containing peas (17.21 lb DM/hd/day) compared to Bar (15.32) with BarCan (16.01) intermediate (Table 4). Gains were numerically greater for Peas (3.05 lb/hd/day) over Bar (2.61) and BarCan (2.78) intermediate but not statistically significant in this trial. Gain per unit feed responded similarly with numerically greater gains from Peas (.180) followed by the higher protein BarCan (.174) and Bar (.170). Growing diets with peas at approximately 50% of dry matter intake appear to be more palatable and tend to improve animal performance.

With barley at $1.50 per 48 lb bushel, equivalent cost per pound of gain will be achieved with peas priced at $2.43 per 60 lb bushel. Or, the breakeven price for a bushel of peas is approximately 162% of the price of a bushel of barley when fed to calves during backgrounding. On a weight basis, equal cost of gain is achieved when peas are $80.99/ton compared to barley at $62.50/ton (equal to $1.50/bu), or one pound of peas is valued at 130% the value of one pound of barley.

Data from steers on the BarCan treatment suggests higher levels of crude protein or protein from other sources may improve performance. The canola meal used in this study was from expeller extraction which increases the proportion of by-pass protein. Barley protein is readily degraded in the rumen and may benefit from this type of supplement. Fecal nitrogen levels suggest improved protein utilization for the BarCon treatment as residual nitrogen was intermediate between the pea and barley treatments. However, nitrogen excretion also occurs in urine and volume of feces and urine would impact concentration.

Expeller meals are also higher in lipid content, containing 8-10% fat which may also have contributed to improved gains. However, cost of gain remains a consideration when purchased proteins are fed at levels above NRC recommendations.

Data from other research indicates that intake in the receiving period plays an important role in calf health during the entire feeding period. Increased feed intake from peas may help enhance immune response, accelerate acclimation to cold stress, and shorten the total time on feed. Additional research is warranted on use of peas in growing rations.



Table 4. Performance of growing steer calves fed diets with barley, barley and canola meal, or field peas (Average of 2 year feeding trial)


Control Barley Field
Item Barley Canola Peas Std Err P value

Number of steers 27 27 26
Number of replicates 4 4 4
Initial wt, lb (early Oct) 579 581 578 20.7 .81
Final wt, lb (early Dec) 707 717 727 21.8 .48

Pd 1 DM intake/hd/day, lb 14.58 15.14 15.89 .44 .20
Pd 2 DM intake/hd/day, lb 16.06 16.87 18.52 .68 .15
Overall DM intake/hd/day, 15.32 16.01 17.21 .56 .17

Pd 1 Average daily gain, lb 2.74 2.92 2.94 .21 .81
Pd 2 Average daily gain, lb 2.48 2.63 3.17 .22 .25
Overall Average daily gain, lb 2.61 2.78 3.05 .22 .40

Pd 1 Gain/unit feed .188 .193 .188 .014 .96
Pd 2 Gain/unit feed .155 .156 .173 .017 .65
Overall Gain/unit feed .170 .174 .180 .016 .90

Pd 1 DM intake, % Body Wt. 2.39 2.48 2.60 .12 .11
Pd 2 DM intake, % Body Wt. 2.38 2.47 2.69 .12 .26
Overall DM intake, % Body Wt. 2.39
a 2.47ab 2.65b .09 .07

Fecal nitrogen, % 12.38
a 15.12b 18.89c 1.76
Feed cost/day, $
d .581 .642 .641
Feed cost/lb gain, $
d .223 .231 .210

a, b, c Values with different superscript are significantly different P<.10).
d Based on feed costs of $2.20/ bu (60 lb) for peas, $1.50/bu for barley, $125/ton for canola meal, $280/ton for supplement, $40/ton for chopped forage, and $20/ton for corn silage.


As in the growing period, feed intake was numerically greater for the field pea diet (Table 5). Steers consumed 1.05 lb more dry matter per head per day with peas in the finishing diet compared to barley. Daily gain follows the dry matter intake pattern with a 5.5% (.20 lb/hd/d) improvement observed with peas over barley. Gain per unit feed was nearly identical. While feed costs per day were greater for steers fed peas, gains tended to be greater and the higher feed costs. The cost of gain for steers fed barley was $.230/lb at $1.50 per bushel compared to peas at $.210 when a bushel cost $2.20. Feed cost per pound of gain would be equal with peas at $2.02 per 60 lb bushel compared to barley at $1.50. Therefore, breakeven price for a bushel of peas is approximately 135% of the price of a bushel of barley in finishing rations. On a weight basis, equal cost of gain would occur when peas are valued at approximately 108% of a ton of barley.

Table 5. Performance of finishing steer calves fed diets with barley or field peas. (Average of 2 year feeding trial)


Item Barley Field Peas Std Err P value

Number of steers 41 42
Initial wt, lb 711 716 14.5 .88
Final wt, lb 1158 1177 21.2 .67

DM intake, lb/hd/d 21.54 22.59 .45 .64
Avg Daily Gain, lb 3.63 3.83 .13 .40
Gain/unit feed .170 .171 .01 .92
Feed cost/day, $
a .836 .938 -
Feed cost/lb gain, $
a .230 .245 -

aBased on feed costs of $2.20/ bu (60 lb) for peas, $1.50/bu for barley, $125/ton for canola meal, $280/ton for supplement, $40/ton for chopped forage, and $20/ton for corn silage.


No differences were observed for carcass traits with the exception of marbling score and percent choice (Table 6). Marbling scores were greater for steers fed field pea diets (395 vs 369) and the percent choice higher (43.9 vs 24.8) for the field pea steers even though other indicators of carcass condition were similar. This result may be due to the tendency for increased feed intake and resulting gain advantage.

Future Studies

Additional research is needed to evaluate the impact of increasing field peas in receiving rations. Some variation due to year was observed in both the growing and finishing trials suggesting additional studies with more replicates for greater confidence in the results. Studies to determine animal performance from different varieties of peas would also be appropriate.


Biologically, peas have proven to be a useful feedgrain for growing and finishing steers. The amount of peas in a ration appears to be an economic issue as intake tended to improve with peas in the diet during both growing and finishing. Peas appear to be a very palatable feed grain and may offer unique advantages over other grains in growing and finishing steer diets.


Table 6. Carcass traits of steers finished on diets using field peas or barley


Item Barley Field Peas Std Err P value

Number of steers 42 41
Hot Carcass Weight, lb 685 705 10.85 .34
Dressing Percent 62.1 62.3 .01 .53
Rib Eye Area, sq in. 12.62 12.35 .15 .83
Fat Thickness, in .38 .43 .02 .63
Kidney, Pelvic, Heart fat 2.51 2.45 .05 .47
Yield Grade 2.14 2.35 .13 .32
Marbling Score
a 369b 395c 7.12 .07
Percent Choice 24.8 43.9

a based on Low Select =301-350, high select = 351-400,

low choice = 401+
b,c Values with different superscripts are significantly different (P<.10).



Observations on effects of breed of sire on

feedlot gain and carcass traits

V. L. Anderson

Carrington Research Extension Center

Three sire breeds have been used during the past few years on the crossbred cow herd at the Carrington Research Extension Center. The breeds represented are Red Angus, Limousin, and South Devon. Sires were procured from area breeders and natural matings allowed for 45-50 days. Two years are represented in this data. The steers represented were produced by crossbred cows of primarily Red Angus and Limousin influence and lesser amounts of Tarentaise and Hereford in their genetic makeup. Red Angus and Limousin sires were mated to the most unrelated dams. South Devon sires were mated to a cross section of the breed groups with sires used on groups of heifers two years and mature cows one year.

Spring born calves (March 10 - April 25) were used in creep feed trials and weaned in late September. Steers were placed on growing rations for approximately three months with high grain finishing diets offered until marketing in April. The steers were randomly allotted to diet treatments in other trials so feed intake and gain per unit feed are not available by sire breed. Carcass data was collected at slaughter.

Observations on feedlot gain during growing and finishing, and carcass traits are presented in Tables 1 and 2. This information should be considered as an observation only at this time as there are other factors that may have affected the data and no statistical tests were applied to the data. A more complete comparison will be made in the future when more data has been accumulated.


Table 1. Effects of sire on the performance of feedlot steers during growing and finishing

Item Limousin South Devon Red Angus St Err

Actual weaning wt, lb 600 561 584 13.6
Growing ADG, lb 2.85 2.79 2.83 .11
Finishing ADG, lb 3.44 3.27 3.57 .15
Final weight, lb 1152 1147 1176 18.2


Weaning weights were numerically lower for the South Devon steers, probably due in part to the large number of calves from first calf heifers in this sample. Milk production has a greater influence on weaning weight than sire breed so weaning weight should be considered as a start point for feedlot performance. Gains during growing and finishing appear to be very similar for all three groups.

Carcasses from South Devon steers appear to contain less fat, suggesting more time on feed may have improved the percent of carcasses grading choice. However, average marbling scores appear similar indicating a few carcasses graded average choice or higher.



Table 2. Effects of sire on carcass traits of finished steers

Item Limousin South Devon Red Angus St Err

Shrunk slaughter wt, lb 1106 1095 1129 17.5

Hot carcass weight, lb 689 683 700 12.1
Dressing percent 62.3 62.4 62.0 .35
Fat thickness, in .37 .34 .48 .02
Rib eye area, sq in 12.97 12.74 12.01 .22
KPH, % 2.53 2.39 2.53 .03
Yield Gradea
2.39 1.68 2.66 .14
Marbling scoreb
376 371 396 8.1
Percent Choice 37.5 19 58 -
a Yield Grade is a calculation based on proportions of fat and lean muscle in the carcass with higher numbers indicating increased fat content.

b Marbling scores are used to determine carcass quality grade with 300-399= select, 400 to 499 = low choice, 500 to 599 = average choice.


Laboratory Scale Evaluation of Cull Potato Silages

Greg Lardy, Karl Hoppe, Marc Bauer and Don Heuchert

North Dakota State University Extension Service,

Fargo and Carrington

NDSU Animal and Range Science Dept., Fargo and Beef Cattle and Potato Producer, Hensel, ND


Acreage dedicated to potato production in North Dakota is increasing. Cull potatoes represent a loss in revenue to potato producers, and a potential feed source for cattlemen whose operations are located near potato producing regions. This project evaluated the efficacy of ensiling cull potatoes with a variety of feedstuffs. Wheat midds, dried beet pulp, whole barley, ground corn, wheat straw and alfalfa hay were evacuated as potential silage ingredients. Various moisture levels were also used in this demonstration project. When potatoes were ensiled at high moisture levels (25% DM), effluent liquid runoff production was high. Silages which were 35% DM appeared to be most acceptable and have lower effluent production. Silages made at higher DM levels became difficult to pack, making oxygen exclusion difficult. All ingredients evaluated appeared to make acceptable silages, provided DM levels were approximately 35%. Cull potato silages may be an alternative feedstuff for beef cattle producers located near potato producing regions.

Potatoes and potato byproducts have been fed for many years. Cattle feeders in the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington) routinely use these products in cattle rations (Duncan et al., 1991; Heinemann and Dyer, 1972). North Dakota ranks sixth and Minnesota ranks seventh in the nation in production of potatoes, producing over 10% of the nation's crop. In 1996, the sale of potatoes in Minnesota and North Dakota generated over $215 million in gross income for producers in those two states (Minnesota Agric. Stat. Service, 1998; North Dakota Agric. Stat. Service, 1998). This represents a significant impact on the economy of both states. However, potatoes which are culled following harvest (due to harvest damage, inferior size, or other problems) represent a significant economic loss to the industry (ranging from 19 to 15% of the value of production; North Dakota Agric. Stat. Service, 1997).

Cull potato management can have a significant impact on future potato production. Late blight is a fungal disease in potatoes caused by the fungus Phytophtora infestans (Draper et al., 1994). The cultural practice of making "cull piles" or spreading cull potatoes back onto farm fields intended for potato production contributes to the spread of late blight (Rowe et al., 1995). The late blight fungus requires potato tissue to overwinter (Secor, 1998, personal communication). By spreading cull potatoes back on fields, the late blight fungus is spread to the following crop, and the disease cycle is not broken. Producers with late blight and other fungal diseases are forced to use fungicides as a method to control the disease or face lower production. In some cases, fungicides must be applied every five to seven days during time periods when plants are susceptible to late blight (Anonymous, 1997). This represents a significant cost to the state. Winter feeding costs average almost $150 per cow. This represents approximately 40-45% of the annual cost of maintaining a cow (Hughes, 1997). Reducing the cost of winter feeding for beef cattle operations can increase profitability of beef cattle operations and increase sustainability of these agricultural enterprises.

Whole potatoes have been successfully fed as either sun-dried or freeze-dried potatoes in California and North Dakota (NRC, 1983). Successful freeze drying involves spreading potatoes on fields or pastures during the winter, allowing them to freeze dry, and then letting cattle graze the freeze-dried potatoes. In North Dakota, two practical barriers exist with this method of feeding. Heavy snowfall may prevent cattle from grazing the potatoes. Consequently, the potatoes left on farm fields could contribute to a late blight disease problem the following year if they have been spread on farm fields. In addition, there is still the concern of choking if the potatoes are not completely freeze-dried.

Materials and Methods

During the summer of 1997, cull potatoes from the Don Heuchert farm near Hensel, North Dakota were used to make cull potato silage on a laboratory scale. Cull potatoes were processed through a Haybuster round bale shredder before ensiling. Cull potatoes were mixed with the following feed ingredients to make silages: pelleted beet pulp (25, 35, and 45% DM), pelleted wheat midds (25, 35, and 45% DM), whole barley (25 and 35% DM), ground corn (25 and 35% DM), wheat straw (25% DM), and ground alfalfa hay (25 and 30% DM). Table 1 gives the ingredient formulation for the various silage blends used in the trial.

Each ingredient dry matter combination was replicated three times. Silages were allowed to ferment for 3 weeks before sampling for laboratory analysis. Following the three week fermentation, samples of each of the silages were taken for analysis of DM, ash, CP, in vitro organic matter disappearance (IIVOMD) and pH.

Results and Discussion

Nutrient composition of the various potato silages are presented in Table 2. Raw potatoes are approximately 9% CP on a DM basis. As expected, the addition of graded levels of wheat midds, alfalfa, and barley increased the crude protein content of the silages.

Data from IVOMD analysis indicated that all silages are quite digestible. As one might expect, the addition of lower energy feedstuffs tended to reduce digestibility of the silages.

Visual observation of silages following fermentation revealed that silages formulated to contain 25% DM (75% water) resulted in excess effluent production. This would result in excessive nutrient loss in farm scale silage making. Beet pulp appeared to be more apt to absorb excess moisture, even at low levels of inclusion in potato silages. Silages containing higher levels of beet pulp ($45% DM) were difficult to pack due to the drier nature of the silages. In most cases, visual observation of the silages indicated that approximately 35% DM silages (65% water) resulted in the most acceptable silages. There was also considerable effluent production when whole barley was included in 35% DM silages, likely due to the less fibrous nature of barley compared to beet pulp or wheat midds. Data from other university research (Hugh et al., 1993) also indicates excessive effluent production when potatoes are ensiled alone.

One additional anecdote which we found interesting was that when whole potatoes were ensiled, they lost their turgid nature during fermentation. In fact, following fermentation, whole potatoes could be crushed or mashed easily with you hand. This indicates that it is likely not necessary to chop or crush all potatoes prior to ensiling, but to simply break up potatoes enough so that adequate packing and oxygen exclusion can occur.


Cull potatoes can be readily ensiled with a wide variety of feedstuffs. Our preliminary laboratory scale data, as well as data from other universities, indicates that potatoes must be ensiled at the correct moisture level to prevent excessive effluent production and nutrient loss. Cull potato silages may be an economical way of using and storing cull potatoes for livestock feed. Distance from potato growers or processors will limit use of these products due to their high water content.

Literature Review

Agriculture Canada. 1974. Guidelines for feeding potato processing wastes and culls to cattle. Publication 1527, p. 13.

Anonymous. 1997. An online guide to plant disease control: potato late blight. Oregon State Univ. Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology.

Burton, W.G. 1989. Uses of the potato other than for human consumption. The Potato. Third Ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.

Draper, M.A., G.A. Secor, N.C. Gudmestad, H.A. Lamey, and D. Preston. 1994. Leaf blight diseases of potato. NDSU Ext. Service Bulletin PP-1084., North Dakota State Univ., Fargo, ND.

Duncan, R.W., J.R. Malels, M.L. Nelson, and E.L. Martin. 1991. Corn and barley mixtures in finishing steer diets containing potato process residue. J. Prod. Agric. 44:426.

Heinemann, W.W. and I.A. Dyer. 1972. Nutritive value of potato slurry for steers. Bulletin 757. Washington Agricultural Experiment Station.

Hough, R.L., M.H. Wiedenhoeft, B.A. Barton, and A.C. Thompson, Jr. 1993. The effect of dry matter level on effluent loss and quality parameters of potato based silage. J. Sustain. Agr. 4:53.

Hughes, H. 1997. IRM herd costs and returns in North Dakota. NDSU Ext. Service.

Johnson, R.F., E.F. Rinehart, and C.W. Hickman. 1953. Potato silage for beef steers. Bulletin No. 293, University of Idaho, Agricultural Experiment Station.

Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service. 1998. Minnesota Agricultural Statistics.

NRC. 1983. Underutilized resources as animal feedstuffs. National Academy Press. Washington, D.C.

North Dakota Agricultural Statistics Service. 1997. North Dakota Agricultural Statistics. Ag Statistics No. 66.

North Dakota Agricultural Statistics Service. 1998. North Dakota Agricultural Statistics. Ag Statistics No. 67.

Partridge, J.E. 1997. Late blight of potato. Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln Dept. of Plant Path. Bulletin.

Rowe, Randall C., Sally A. Miller, and Richard M. Riedel. 1995. Late blight of potato and tomato. Ohio State Univ. Ext. Fact Sheet. HYG-3102-95.

Sauter, E.A., D.D. Hinman, and J.F. Parkinson. 1985. The lactic acid and volatile fatty acid content and in vitro organic matter digestibility of silages made from potato processing residues and barley straw. J. Anim. Sci. 60:1087.

Secor, G. Potato pathologist, NDSU. 1998. Personal Communication.


Table 2: Nutrient Composition of Potato Silages (Dry Matter Basis).

Formulated Silage Dry Matter

Silage Type Item 25 30 35 45
Beet Pulp

Cull Potatoes
















Wheat Midds Cull

















Whole Barley Cull Potatoes CP















Ground Corn Cull Potatoes CP















Wheat Straw Cull Potatoes CP















Alfalfa Hay Cull Potatoes CP



















The feeding value of barley: A review of

comparative beef performance trials

Vern Anderson, Ph.D.

Animal Scientist

Carrington Research Extension Center

North Dakota State University


Barley appears to be essentially equal to corn in feeding value on an air dry weight basis when compared analytically and in feedlot trials. There is some evidence of underestimation of nutritional value by NRC (1996). Feedlot gains from barley averaged 97.1% of corn gains for growing and finishing beef cattle in a review of several recent trials. Other reviews by Hunt (1995) and Owens (1995) document equivalent performance of barley to corn in a feedlot setting.


Barley has been grown for centuries in temperate climates throughout the world. It is used as a feed for many species under wide ranging management conditions in several production scenarios. As a feed grain, it competes with several other commodities including corn, grain sorghum, wheat, and oats. The returns to feeding barley depend greatly on the nutrients available and the cost. Barley is known primarily as a source of energy, protein, and fiber. It has a unique nutrient composition but compares favorably with several other grains (Table 1). The effective use of these nutrients may vary by species. Similarly, the nutrient requirements of species may differ and vary with stage of production. This paper presents two methods of estimating relative value of feed barley compared to corn.

The use of barley as a feed grain

Barley is usually fed in regions where it is grown. The crop requires less water, fewer growing degree days and lower inputs than corn. Varieties are developed for regional adaptation, and for feed or malting use, although most of the breeding effort is toward superior malting varieties. Substantial differences have been observed in animal performance due to variety (Boss and Bowman, 1996; Bowman et al., 1998; Hinman et al., 1995) in some cases, but similar performance was observed with different varieties (Bradshaw et al., 1994) even when bushel weight and protein levels were not the same (Hinman, 1982). There appears to be a threshold effect with bushel weights above 44 lbs producing similar gains given similar protein and fiber levels. It is generally accepted that high extract malting barley varieties also produce improved animal performance (Hockett and White, 1982; Molina-Cano et al., 1997; and Bowman et al, 1998).

Some non-grain growing areas or deficit grain production areas may import barley as feed for animal production, but in competition with other feeds available for shipment. This scenario includes international markets.

Competition between commodities is strong in cropping areas where many feed grains can be grown (i.e. Dakotas, Minnesota). Livestock feeders should ultimately benefit if they procure grains wisely.

With these considerations, it is important to determine the relative cost of nutrients in barley vs. other grains and relate back to price per bushel for procurement decisions. First, a comparison should be made from a purely analytical perspective, using the laboratory evaluation of barley vs. corn and/or other feeds. This method yields precise values that are verifiable and repeatable. Secondly, a review of animal performance from comparative feeding trials will give biological values. Greater variation will exist in these comparative trials due to differences in environment, genetics, and other factors. The term "value in use" is applied in this case as the level of performance may change with different proportions of barley. The relative worth of barley should be reasonably established with these procedures.

Analytical comparison

The two major nutrients in barley are carbohydrates, primarily non-structural from starch (energy) and crude protein. Energy is measured in calories, with Mcal (megacalories) as the unit of expression for feedgrains. Several assumptions must be made for comparison based on a purely analytical perspective. The price of energy and protein is positive and highly correlated, and nutrient requirements and utilization by animals is similar. Obviously, these criteria are not always met. Yet, the analytical comparison gives us one method for a quick and easy comparison. Nutrient analyses presented in Table 1 are used for the comparison.

Corn will serve as the base for energy values and soybean meal for protein costs. If corn is valued at $2.25/bushel, the value of barley as an energy feed is based on the metabolizable energy (ME) units for each grain as established by NRC, (1996) for beef. Another ME value calculated by Zinn(1993) is included in the table. This value is considerably higher than NRC (1996), however, to be conservative in this comparison, we will use the widely published NRC (1996) ME values. Net energy for maintenance (NEm) and net energy for gain (NEg) are also presented in Table 1. The NRC (1996) coefficients are lower than values calculated by Zinn (1993) and Bowman and Blake (1995). The protein value is based on protein content above corn calculated based on the cost of protein from soybean meal at $225/ton.

In we use the NRC (1996) for beef as an example, ME is valued at $.0303 per Mcal with corn at $2.25 per 56 lb. bushel. Barley would carry a value of $1.76 per 48 lb. bushel for energy alone with ME at 3.03 Mcal/kg. If protein is valued at $.26 per pound, (soybean meal at $225 per ton, and barley is 13.2% protein compared to 9.8% for corn, an additional $.17 worth of protein would be added per bushel of barley for a total of $1.93. Therefore, one bushel of barley (48 lb.) would be worth 85.7% of the price of one bushel of corn (56 lb.). Stated another way, if corn is worth $.0402 per pound then barley is worth $.0402 per pound. A spreadsheet can be set up to make several comparative calculations quickly and easily. The relationship will change if the price of protein relative to energy changes.

Value in use comparison

The primary use of barley is in feeding beef cattle. The greatest volume is used in feeding young animals to market weight. The swine industry is not extensively developed in barley growing regions, nor are poultry or dairy enterprises numerous. Therefore, we will concentrate on beef feedlot gain for estimating the value of barley, however, there are advantages to using barley in dairy and swine rations over other grains. The primary considerations in determining feed value of barley are dry matter intake, animal gain, and feed efficiency. These items, while important, are overshadowed by the ultimate measurement, return above feed costs.

Combinations of grains are often more productive than one grain alone. The proportion of each grain becomes a variable as well as the differences in performance from increasing/decreasing levels. The calculation of value in use reflects the difference as a the amount of grain changes in a ration.

In beef feeding, barley is used in diets for growing and finishing steers and heifers. Growing diets use lower levels of grain (4 to 10 pounds per head daily) and higher levels of forage. These diets are fed to weaned calves for moderate growth rate. Growing calves have higher protein requirements as growth is largely muscle, bone, and organs rather than fat. In a review of forage based diets fed to cattle, Hunt (1995) concluded that barley feeding improved protein status compared to corn due to more extensive ruminal fermentation resulting in greater microbial protein synthesis.

Finishing diets may include 15 to 22 pounds of grain daily. As steers approach harvest weight, the rate of lean tissue deposition decreases and fat accumulation increases. Fat deposition requires less nitrogen, hence lower protein requirements for finishing steers.

The value of barley will depend to some extent on the comparative cost of protein. With higher protein requirements in growing steers, the value of protein in barley may be enhanced compared to finishing. An extensive series of studies could be developed to answer this question precisely. In the mean time, we have a number of trials that will yield data on comparing barley in various proportions with other grains (Table 2). Considering all barley varieties studied, animal gains from barley were 98.4% of all other grains during growing. Finishing performance was 96.5% of other feed grains, again, considering all barley varieties evaluated. It is readily apparent that some varieties perform better in the feedyard. Breeding efforts are underway at a number of institutions to develop feed specific barleys with higher yield and/or protein content.

If comparisons with other grains are made using only the best performing barley varieties, growing value remains at 97.1% but finishing performance increases to 97.9% of other grains. Corn vs. the best barley variety comparisons yield gains of 98.0% of corn for barley diets during growing and 96.4% during finishing.

Reviews by Hunt (1995) and Owens et al., (1995) support the essentially equivalent value of barley to corn in feedlot diets. Hunt’s review (1995) supports the thesis that barley is undervalued in NRC(1984, 1996) tables. Owens et al., (1995) reviewed 565 feeding studies involving over 23,000 cattle on feed and concluded that cattle fed barley gain faster than cattle fed corn, wheat, or milo.


Barley appears to be essentially equal to corn on a weight basis when compared by analytical methods. Further, animal performance or value in use supports equal value of barley to that of corn, and of other feed grains, especially if an optimum variety is used.

Table 1. Nutrient content of barley and other common feed grains1

Item Barley Corn Sorghum Wheat Oats
Feed Number1 402 410 428 434 423

Dry Matter, %

------------------100% dry matter basis------------------

Crude Protein 88.1 90.0 89.0 88.0 89.2
Acid detergent fiber 5.77 3.30 6.38 4.17 14.0
Neutral detergent fiber 18.10 9.00 13.30 11.70 29.3
TDN 84 90 82 88 77
Ash 2.4 1.6 2.0 2.0 3.3
Fat 2.2 4.3 1.7 2.0 5.2
Calcium .05 .03 .05 .05 .01
Phosphorous .35 .27 .34 .42 .41
Potassium .57 .33 .44 .41 .51

Metabolizable Energy, Mcal/kg
Beef1 3.03 3.25 2.96 3.18 2.78
Owen et al., 1995 3.34
3.29 3.12 3.12 3.47 2.98
Swine3 3.22 3.90 3.63 3.66 2.97
Poultry3 3.09 3.94 3.72 3.60 2.83


Net Energy Maint, Mcal/kg1 2.06 2.24 2.00 2.18 1.85
Bowman and Blake, 1995 2.16
Zinn et al., 1993 2.14
Net Energy Gain, Mcal/kg1
1.40 1.55 1.35 1.50 1.22
Bowman and Blake, 1995 1.48
Zinn et al., 1993 1.47

Net Energy Maint, Mcal/kg 2.06 1.94 1.94 2.18 1.86
Net Energy Gain, Mcal/kg 1.40 1.30 1.30 1.50 1.22
Net Energy Lactation, Mcal/kg 1.94 1.84 1.84 2.04 1.77

1 National Research Council. 1996. Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, Seventh Edition.
2 National Research Council. 1989. Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle, Sixth Revised Edition.

3 Feedstuffs Reference Issue, 1997.



Table 2. Barley compared with other grains in beef feedlot performance trials.

Barley Percent of Animal
Item Enterprise vs Concentrate Gains, %

Anderson et al., 1994 Growing steers corn 100 98.3
Finishing steers corn 100 97.6

Anderson et al., 1996 Growing steers hulless oat 33 96.8
Growing steers hulless oat 67 101.6
Growing steers hulless oat 100 98.1
Finishing steers hulless oat 33 106.3
Finishing steers hulless oat 67 100.0
Finishing steers hulless oat 100 96.4

Anderson and Boyles, 1988 Finishing steers corn 35 99.3 Finishing steers corn 60 90.2

Anderson, 1991 Finishing steers gr sorghum 25 101.2
Finishing steers gr sorghum 50 94.3
Finishing steers gr sorghum 75 100.0

Dion and Seoane, 1992 Growing steers corn 100 95.6

Hill and Utely, 1989 Growing heifers corn 50 100.0

Hoppe, et al., 1997 Finishing steers corn 33 93.9

Milner et al., 1996 Finishing steers corn 100 92.6

Milner et al., 1995 Finishing steers corn 100 88.2
(three barley varieties tested) Finishing steers corn 100 87.6
Finishing steers corn 100 103.1

Nichols and Weber, 1988 Finishing steers corn 100 97.9

Overall average (21 observations) 97.1

Growing average (6 observations) 98.4
Finishing average (15 observations) 96.5

Overall average of selected barley varieties compared with all grains 97.6

Growing average (6 observations) 97.1
Finishing average (13 observations) 97.9

Overall average of selected barley varieties compared with only corn 97.1

Growing average (3 observations) 98.0
Finishing average (7 observations) 96.4


Literature Cited

Anderson, V. L. D. Burr, and J. T. Hagen. 1994. Wet distillers grains for backgrounding and finishing steers in North Dakota. Carrington Research Extension Center Beef Production Field Day Proceedings. Vol. 17:29-33.

Anderson, V. L. and S. L. Boyles. 1988. Three barley-corn diets for feedlot steers. North Dakota Farm Research Bi-monthly Bulletin. 47(3):16-19.

Anderson, V. L. 1991. Four grain sorghum-barley diets for feedlot steers. Carrington Research Extension Center Beef Production Field Day Proceedings. Vol. 11:20-24.

Boss, D. L. and J. G. P. Bowman, and R. M Brownson. 1994. Effects of barley variety or corn on feedlot performance, carcass characteristics, and diet digestion by steers. Proc. West. Sec. Am. Soc. Anim. Sci. 45:313.

Boss, D. L. and J. G. P. Bowman. 1996. Barley varieties for finishing steers: I. Feedlot performance, in vivo diet digestion, and carcass characteristics. J. Anim. Sci. 74:1967-1972.

Bowman, J., and T. Blake. 1995. Barley feed quality for beef cattle. Proceedings of V IOC and VII IBGS. p82-90.

Bowman, J., T. Blake, L. Surber, D. Boss, D. Anderson, and D. Kress. 1998. Montana State University, Animal and Range Sciences Dept. Report (via internet)

Bradshaw, W.L., D. D. Hinman, and R. C. Bull. 1994. Steptoe vs Klages barley varieties and processing methods on feedlot steer nutrient digestibility, carcass characteristics and performance. University of Idaho Caldwell Research Extension Center Progress Report No 287.

Dion, S. and J. R. Seoane. 1992. Nutritive value of corn, barley, wheat, and oats fed with medium quality hay to fattening steers. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 72:367-373.

Hill, G. M. and P. R. Utley. 1989. Digestibility, protein metabolism and ruminal degradation of Beagle 82 triticale and Kline barley fed in corn-based cattle diets. J. Anim. Sci. 67:1793-1804.

Hinman, D.D. 1982. Comparison of malting vs feed barley varieties on beef cattle performance. University of Idaho, Caldwell Research Extension Center. Progress Report No. 5.

Hinman, D.D., S.J. Sorensen and P. A. Momont. 1995. Influence of barley bushel weight and blended barley on the performance of beef cattle and diet digestibility. University of Idaho, Caldwell Research Extension Center. Progress Report No. 297.

Hocket, E. A. and L. M White. 1982. Proc IV Int. Barley Gen. Symp. 234-241.

Hoppe, K. F., V. L. Anderson, H. Hughes, K. Froelich, and K. Alderin. 1997. Performance and economic comparison of finishing North Dakota calves in North Dakota or Kansas using corn or barley as major ration ingredients. Carrington Research Extension Center Beef and Bison Production Field Day Proceedings. Vol. 20:28-33.

Hunt, C. W. 1995. Feeding value of barley grain for beef and dairy cattle. In. A nutritional guide to feeding Pacific Northwest barley to ruminants. Richard C. Bull (Ed.) University of Idaho EXP 776.

Milner, T. J. , J. G. P Bowman, and B. F. Sowell. 1995. Effects of barley variety or corn on feedlot performance and feeding behavior. Proc. West. Sec. Am. Soc. Anim. Sci. 46:539-542.

Milner, T. J., J. G. P. Bowman, L. M. M. Surber, S. D. McGinley, T. K. Daniels and J. T. Daniels. 1996. Feedlot Performance and carcass characteristics of beef steers fed corn or barley. Proc. West. Sec. Am. Soc. Anim. Sci. 46:539-542.

Molina-Cano, J-L., M. Francesch, A. M. Perez-Vendrell, T. Ramo, J. Voltas, and J. Brufau. 1997. Cereal Sci 25:37-47.

Nichols, W. T, and D. W. Weber. 1988. Wheat vs. corn and barley in beef finishing rations. Proc. West. Sec. Am. Soc. Anim. Sci. 39:406.

NRC. 1984. Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle. 6th Edition. National Academy Press. Washington, D.C.

NRC. 1996. Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle. 7th Edition. National Academy Press. Washington, D.C.

NRC. 1989. Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle. 6th Revised Edition. National Academy Press. Washington, D.C.

Owens, F., D. Secrist, and D. Gill. 1995. Impact of grain sources and grain processing on feed intake by and performance of feedlot cattle. Proc. Symp. Intake by Feedlot Cattle. Oklahoma Agric. Exp. Stn, P -942, pp 235-256.

Zinn, R. A. 1993. Influence of processing on the comparative feeding value of barley for feedlot cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 71:3.


Using ultrasound as a marketing tool for

determining value of finished cattle

K.F. Hoppe, J. Dhuyvetter, and C. McIntyre

North Dakota State University,

Carrington and Minot, and USDA

Agricultural Marketing Service, Sioux Falls


An educational project was conducted to demonstrate the value of using ultrasound technology for sorting finished cattle for market. Seven head of finished cattle of diverse type, condition, carcass weight, muscling, and marbling were evaluated by visual and ultrasound for carcass characteristics. After a live animal evaluation, the steers were harvested and carcass information collected. Gross returns per steer were determined under the three pricing methods of a flat price, a high quality rewarding grid, and a high cutability rewarding grid. Using estimated on actual carcass information to sort and individually market steers to their highest returning price methods resulted in steers grossing an average of $887 per steer from visual evaluation, $895 from ultrasound measurements and $898 for actual carcass data. Actual gross return per steer was $888.43 and $898.99 for sorting by visual and ultrasound evaluation, respectively. Ultrasound appears to be an effective method for estimating the finished value of cattle before harvest.

Key words: Ultrasound, Feedlot, Finishing, Beef Steers.



Cow calf producers considering retained ownership often question the value of their calves. Actual calf value relates to feeding performance and carcass value. Traditionally, carcass value was only known after slaughter with the exception of individual buyers and judges that had developed a trained eye for estimating carcass value in the live calf. Another approach to estimating carcass value is by using ultrasound technology. Ultrasound allows the user to estimate carcass value by viewing the amount of fat and muscling on the live animal.

Carcass value for beef cattle is influenced by USDA Quality Grade and USDA Yield Grade. USDA Quality Grade is determined by the amount of fat within the rib eye muscle (marbling) and age. As intramuscular fat increases, the quality grade moves towards choice and prime grades. USDA Yield Grade is determined by the amount of external fat (backfat), internal fat, muscling, and carcass weight. As the amount of fat increases on the carcass, the yield grade will increase (i.e. YG4, YG5), reflecting a lower yield of closely trimmed retail product.

Market discounts resulting from over-finished (poor yield grade) and under-finished (poor quality grade) cattle can be avoided by using ultrasound 20-60 days before harvest. By determining the backfat thickness, rib eye area, and intramuscular fat content before slaughter, cattle feeders can estimate the number of days on feed needed before slaughter. Cattle can also be sorted into groups marketed to different specification programs depending on the individual carcass characteristics.

The application of ultrasound to finished beef production allows producers to estimate carcass value in the finished animal. This demonstration project was developed to identify an economic value in using ultrasound for sorting finished cattle sold to the best value market.

Materials and Methods

To demonstrate the value of ultrasound technology, a live animal and carcass evaluation was conducted. Seven market steers representing differences in breed type, carcass weight, fat cover, muscling and marbling were displayed and subsequently harvested. Two weeks prior to harvest, carcass characteristics were estimated using visual appraisal and ultrasound. Cattle were ultrasounded by a certified technician. The carcass characteristics included dressing percent, quality grade, yield grade, 12thrib backfat thickness, ribeye area, and internal fat (kidney, pelvic and heart fat). Actual carcass characteristics were measured after harvest and compared to visual and ultrasound estimates.

For economic comparison, cattle were valued as a group and individually using a flat bid, a grid price rewarding quality (marbling), or a grid price rewarding cutability (muscling). Quality and cutability grid prices were based on USDA collected data for the week the cattle were harvested (Table 1). The flat bid price was $102.50 per cwt. of hot carcass weight or $64.88 per cwt. live weight with a 63.38% dressing percent. The base price for grid pricing was $105.50 per cwt. of hot carcass weight.

Results and Discussion

Individual live weights, dressing percent and carcass weight are shown in Table 2. Overall, the cattle averaged 1383.4 lbs. and yielded an average hot carcass weight of 841.8 lbs. Dressing percent averaged 63.38 after a 4% shrink from the live weight. Individual carcass characteristics, as estimated by visual or ultrasound appraisal and by carcass after harvest are reported in Table 3.

Average carcass characteristics, as reported in Table 4, show that average quality grade was estimated as low choice by both visual and ultrasound appraisal. Actual post-harvest carcass evaluation identified the carcasses to average small marbling or low choice. Backfat thicknesses and associated yield grade appeared to be overestimated by visual appraisal (0.60, Y63,respectively) as compared to ultrasound estimates (0.43, Y62) and actual evaluation (0.45, Y62).

Hot carcass weight was used for comparing cattle value as determined by three pricing methods. The flat bid pricing method is based on averages and rewards with an average price. The flat bid price used in this example was $102.50 per cwt. hot carcass weight. When all cattle were sold via the flat bid, the average actual gross return was $861.67 per head.

The quality pricing grid rewards cattle that grade prime but discounts cattle that are over conditioned or fat (i.e. YG 4, YG 5) or cattle with little marbling (i.e. Quality grades Select or Standard). When all cattle were sold via the quality pricing grid, the average actual gross return was $850.15 per head.

The cutability pricing grid rewards carcasses that are well muscled and contain less fat (i.e. YG 1, YG 2) . Carcasses containing more fat are discounted. Also, quality grade is not greatly rewarded or discounted by the cutablity pricing grid used. When cattle were priced using the cutability pricing grid, the average actual gross return was $871.35 per head.

Cattle were sorted by visual and ultrasound appraisal and priced as a group to each of the three pricing methods. Visual appraisal estimated that the best single group pricing method was the flat bid ($861.67 average gross return per head) while ultrasound evaluation identified marketing by the cutability pricing grid ($866.36 average gross return per head) as the optimum marketing method. Post harvest carcass evaluation identified the cutability pricing grid to be the best pricing method ($871.35 average gross return per head) for this demonstration project.

When cattle were sorted and individually sold to the best pricing method, cattle returned $888.43 average gross return per head when sorted visually. Cattle sorted by ultrasound actually returned $898.99 average gross return per head. Cattle priced according to post harvest carcass evaluation returned $898.99 average gross return per head.

Sorting cattle by ultrasound returned $9.68 more per head than visual sorting when cattle were sold as a group. When cattle were sorted and individually priced to the best pricing method, ultrasound returned $10.56 per head more than visual sorting. Also, cattle sorted individually and sold to the best market price returned $27.64 more than when cattle were sold as a group to only one market pricing method.

Even after deduction of the price of ultrasound ($2-10 per head), ultrasound appears to be a cost effective method for determining carcass value when different pricing and marketing options exist. Sorting and then selling individually to the best market appears to return more value per head compared to selling as a group to only one market


Sorting cattle with ultrasound aids in discovering cattle value prior to marketing. Since time needed to ultrasound can be as low as 2-5 minutes per head, cattle carcass characteristics can easily be measured, cattle value calculated, and calves sorted prior to harvest. This creates the opportunity to market cattle to the best price and return more value to the owner even after the expense of ultrasound ($2-10 per head) is considered.


Table 1. Premiums and discounts for determining quality and cutability value.

Quality Grid Cutability Grid

Carcass quality adjustments

Prime +10.00 + 3.00

Certified Programs

- Average or high choice + 2.50 0.00

Choice 0.00 0.00

Select - 6.00 - 3.00

Standard -25.00 - 3.00

Bullock/Stag - 31.00 - 31.00

Hard Bone - 25.00 - 25.00

Dark Cutter - 31.00 - 31.00

Carcass cutability adjustments

Yield Grade 1 0.00 + 3.00

Yield Grade 2 0.00 + 2.00

Yield Grade 3 0.00 - 1.00

Yield Grade 4 - 10.00 - 20.00

Yield Grade 5 - 15.00 - 25.00

Carcass weight adjustments

< 500 pounds - 21.00 - 21.00

500 - 550 pounds - 17.00 - 17.00

550 - 950 pounds - 0.00 - 0.00

950 — 1000 pounds - 17.00 - 14.00

> 1000 pounds - 21.00 - 21.00


Table 2. Individual live and carcass weights and calculated dressing percent.

Steer number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Overall

Live weight, lbs. 1412 1334 1416 1592 1147 1385 1398 1383.4

Carcass weight, lbs. 876 843 803 958 680 855 878 841.8

Dressing percent 64.62 65.83 59.07 62.68 61.76 64.31 65.42 63.38

(after 4% shipping shrink)





Table 3. Individual carcass characteristics as determined live by visual, ultrasound and after harvest carcass evaluation .


Steer number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Quality Grade

Visual Ch+ Se+ Ch- Pr- St Ch- Ch

Ultrasound Ch Se+ Se Se+ Se Ch Ch-

Carcass Ch Ch- Se+ Se+ Se+ Ch- Ch-


Yield Grade

Visual 4.00 2.90 3.40 5.00 2.20 2.80 3.20

Ultrasound 3.04 2.34 1.97 2.03 0.94 2.71 3.11

Carcass 3.44 2.80 1.91 1.68 1.05 2.99 3.78


Backfat thickness, inch

Visual 0.85 0.45 0.50 1.10 0.25 0.50 0.60

Ultrasound 0.57 0.49 0.33 0.39 0.21 0.43 0.59

Carcass 0.60 0.56 0.28 0.36 0.24 0.48 0.64

Ribeye area, sq. inch

Visual 14.70 14.00 12.70 15.70 12.00 15.00 14.70

Ultrasound 13.63 14.53 14.37 16.90 14.70 13.48 13.18

Carcass 13.40 15.00 14.50 17.70 15.10 13.60 13.00

Kidney, pelvic and heart fat, %

Visual 3.00 2.50 2.50 4.00 1.50 2.00 2.50

Ultrasound -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Carcass 2.00 2.50 1.50 1.50 1.00 2.00 2.50




Table 4. Average carcass characteristics as determined live by visual and ultrasound and by carcass.


Carcass characteristics Carcass Visual Ultrasound

Quality Grade Choice Choice Choice

Yield Grade 2.52 3.35 2.30

Backfat thickness, inch 0.45 0.60 0.43

Ribeye area, sq. inch 14.6 14.1 14.3

Kidney, pelvic and heart fat, % 1.85 2.57 ---

Table 5. Cattle value as priced by flat bid, quality grid, cutability grid, or sorted by actual, visual, or ultrasound to best market price.

Average Cattle Value, per head

Group priced to pricing method


Flat Bid ($102.50/cwt carcass or $64.88 live) $ 861.67

Quality grid ($105.50/cwt base w/grid) $ 850.15

Cutability grid ($105.50/cwt base w/grid) $ 871.35

Group priced to best market through sorting by:

Best Price Estimated Actual

Visual Flat Bid $ 861.67 $ 861.67

Ultrasound Cutability $ 866.36 $ 871.35

Carcass Cutability $ 871.35 $ 871.35

Individual priced to best market through sorting by:

Estimated Actual

Visual $ 887.96 $ 888.43

Ultrasound $ 895.38 $ 898.99

Carcass $ 898.99 $ 898.99


A comparison of soybean, canola, solvent and expeller crambe meal as protein sources for growing and finishing feedlot steers

V.L. Anderson and J. C. Gardner

Carrington Research Extension Center, NDSU and

AgGrow Oils LLC, Carrington, ND


Feedlot performance and carcass traits were compared in a 150 day growing and finishing trial using preconditioned crossbred (n=128, avg wt = 795 12.2 lbs) steer calves. Diets were formulated for equal crude protein using soybean meal, canola meal, solvent and expeller crambe meal. Dry matter intake was greater P<.10) during growing for soybean (22.15 lb/hd/d) and canola (22.61) meal compared to expeller ((20.57) crambe meal with solvent crambe meal intermediate (21.42) but for the entire feeding period, no intake differences (P>.10) were apparent. During growing, gains from solvent crambe meal (3.58 lb/hd/day) were less (P<.10) than canola meal (4.19) with soybean meal (4.05) and expeller crambe meal (3.67) intermediate. No differences (P>.10)in gain were observed when the entire feeding period was compared. Gain per unit feed were similar (P.>10) throughout both periods and overall. Carcass traits were similar (P.>10) except dressing percent was lower (P<.10) for solvent crambe meal (61.4%) compared to canola meal (63.0) with soybean meal (62.9) and expeller crambe meal (62.2) intermediate. Percent choice and carcass value numerically favored expeller crambe meal. Expeller crambe meal produced equal or greater animal performance and carcass value when compared to solvent crambe meal, soybean meal, and canola meal as a protein source for feedlot cattle during growing and finishing.

Key Words: Expeller Crambe Meal, Solvent Crambe Meal, , Soybean Meal, Canola Meal, Feedlot, Growing, Finishing, Beef.


The increase in oilseed production in North Dakota is the result of larger acreages of new crops such as soybeans, canola, and crambe. While soybeans are the primary oil seed crop in the US, canola planting is rapidly increasing in the northern tier of states. A new crop, crambe, is being grown in relatively small acreages. Crambe produces industrial oil which is used in manufacturing plastics. The availability of large volumes of oilseed meals and other processing co-products, such as wheat midds and corn gluten feed, creates competition for protein market share. The price competition favors the cattleman in need of protein supplements for his cows or feedlot cattle.

Solvent extraction is widely used by high capacity crushing plants but expeller extraction is gaining favor for high value, smaller volume markets. Expeller extraction increases the proportion of escape protein due to heat produced during the expelling process and leaves higher amounts of residual oil than solvent extraction. This project was developed to compare solvent and expeller extracted crambe meal to soybean and canola meal in growing and finishing feedlot diets

Materials and Methods

Preconditioned crossbred Angus steers (n=128, avg wt 795 lbs 12.27) were blocked by weight and allotted to one of four treatments with four weight blocks(replicates) per treatment and 8 head per pen. The treatments were protein sources from four oil seed meals: soybean meal, canola meal, solvent crambe meal, and expeller crambe meal (Table 1). The soybean and canola meals used in this study were solvent extracted. Diets were formulated according to nutrient requirements for growing and finishing steer calves (NRC, 1984). Steers were weighed on two consecutive days at the start of the trial on February 9-10, 1998 and at approximately 28 day intervals thereafter. A growing ration was fed for two weigh periods with higher protein and lower concentrate levels followed by two periods of finishing diets (Table 2). Totally mixed rations were fed once daily to appetite in fenceline bunks. Steers were marketed at IBP, Dakota City, NE and carcass data collected by certified graders.

Results and Discussion

There were some obvious differences in the nutrient profile of the protein sources used. Protein and fiber contents are inversely related with quite high ADF levels observed in the expeller and solvent crambe meal from crushing whole seeds. The entire seed hull is included in both solvent and expeller extracted crambe meals. The expeller crambe meal used in this study was from one of the first crushes at the new AgGrow Oils LLC plant. It contained higher levels of residual oil than meal processed after equipment adjustments were made. Crambe meal contains higher levels of calcium, lower amounts of phosphorous, and similar proportions of ash when compared with solvent soybean and canola meal.

Feed intake (Table 2) during the growing period was highest (P<.10) for canola meal (22.61 lb/hd/day) and lowest for the expeller crambe meal (20.57) with soybean meal and solvent crambe meal intermediate (22.15 and 21.42 respectively. Average daily gains during the growing period were highest (P<.10) for canola meal ( 4.19 lbs/hd/day), lowest for solvent crambe meal (3.58) and intermediate for soybean meal (4.05) and expeller crambe meal (3.67). The residual oil in expeller meal may have contributed to improved gains. Feed efficiency was similar (P>.10) although solvent crambe meal (.168) was numerically less than soybean meal (.183), canola meal (.186), and expeller crambe meal (.180).

During finishing, dry matter intake, daily gain, and feed efficiency were similar (P>.10) for all treatments. Considering the entire feeding period, dry matter intake was greater (P<.10) for canola meal (24.52 lb/hd/day) followed by soybean meal (23.36), and less for solvent (23.23) and expeller (23.16) crambe meal. Total gains and feed efficiency were similar (P>.10). Dry matter intake measured as a percent of body weight of steers was also greatest (P<.10) for canola meal (2.41) than expeller crambe meal (2.30) with soybean meal (2.32) and solvent crambe meal (2.32) intermediate

Carcass data (Table 4) comparisons indicate few differences due to treatment. Dressing percent was highest for canola meal (P<.10) and soybean meal (62.9) and lowest for solvent crambe meal (61.4) with expeller (62.2) intermediate. Marbling scores, percent choice, and value per carcass were numerically greater for expeller crambe meal probably due to added fat content of the diet from the residual oil.

While some differences in intake were observed during the growing period, the overall performance of steers was similar between treatments. The concentration of nutrients in both crambe meals (lower protein, higher fiber) will require higher levels in a ration to meet protein requirements.

Price relationships of protein meals are somewhat difficult to establish due to variation in nutrients and availability. If a 10% discount is imposed for increased logistics in shipping more crambe meal due to the lower protein and higher fiber content, a ton of crambe meal should be worth approximately 60% of the price of soybean meal. Correspondingly, canola meal at 41.5% protein should be worth approximately 85% of soybean meal on per ton basis.


Table 1. Nutrient analysis of protein meals used for feedlot steers

Solvent Expeller
Soybean Canola Crambe Crambe
Item Meal Meal Meal Meal

Dry Matter, % 88.8 89.6 89.8 93.8

------------------Dry Matter basis------------------

Crude Protein 48.3 41.3 29.5 27.8
ADF 10.1 18.9 34.3 33.1
NDF 16.9 30.8 44.3 42.2
Fat 1.3 3.1 1.0 17.0
Ash 7.6 8.1 8.5 7.1
Calcium .35 .78 1.34 1.22
Phosphorous .71 1.18 .71 .78

The FDA has limited the use of solvent crambe meal to 4.2% of dry matter intake for feedlot cattle. This restriction is based on a petition filed in the 1970’s from small scale oilseed crush and minimal cattle feeding trials. AgGrow Oils LLC is preparing a petition to increase this minimum and expand the use of crambe meal to other beef rations based on more recent research which successfully used solvent crambe meal in creep feeds, beef cow gestation and lactation supplements and other feedlot studies. This trial is the first comparative data on the use of expeller crambe meal in feedlot diets.


Solvent and expeller crambe meal are useful protein sources for feedlot cattle. As new oil seed meals, they are relatively unknown and have therefore been marketed at a discount to encourage use. Cattlemen who purchase protein should consider using these regional sources to lower their feed expenses for feedlot cattle.

Table 2. Rations fed to growing and finishing steers

Solvent Expeller
Soybean Canola Crambe Crambe
Item Meal Meal Meal Meal

------------------Percent, DM Basis---------------

Ionophore suppl 1.74 1.74 1.67 1.67
Protein suppl 10.92 13.77 15.97 16.27
Corn, dry rolled 42.22 42.13 40.78 40.15
Straw, chopped 15.79 14.06 15.46 15.21
Corn silage 29.34 28.29 26.13 26.70

Ionophore suppl 1.75 1.64 1.76 1.64
Protein suppl 3.27 4.22 4.85 4.52
Corn, dry rolled 77.04 76.06 76.54 75.75
Straw, chopped 5.87 5.92 6.07 5.72
Corn silage 12.03 12.15 10.78 12.36

------------------Pounds, As Fed---------------

Ionophore suppl .40 .40 .37 .36
Protein suppl 2.63 3.28 3.67 3.74
Corn, dry rolled 10.57 10.51 9.83 9.39
Straw, chopped 4.01 3.56 3.78 3.61
Corn silage 14.97 14.37 12.83 12.72

Ionophore suppl .44 .45 .45 .44
Protein suppl .86 1.20 1.28 1.20
Corn, dry rolled 21.03 22.66 21.21 22.06
Straw, chopped 1.63 1.79 1.71 1.69
Corn silage 6.71 7.38 6.09 7.34




Table 3. Feedlot performance of steers fed four different protein supplements

Solvent Expeller
Soybean Canola Crambe Crambe
Item Meal Meal Meal Meal SE P value

No. Steers 32 32 32 32
No. Replicates 4 4 4 4

Initial weight, lb 796 794 793 797 12.27 .89
Final weight, lb 1205 1216 1186 1207 17.49 .58

Grow DMI, lb 22.15ab
22.61a 21.42ab 20.57b .56 .01
Finish DMI, lb 24.57 26.43 25.03 25.76 .40 .34
Total DMI, lb 23.36ab
24.52a 23.23b 23.16b .68 .01

Total DMI, %BWt 2.32ab
2.41a 2.32ab 2.30b .04 .08

Grow ADG, lb 4.05ab
4.19a 3.58b 3.67ab .14 .09
Finish ADG, lb 3.38 3.48 3.57 3.79 .16 .32
Total ADG, lb 3.72 3.84 3.57 3.73 .12 .53

Grow Gain/Feed .183 .186 .168 .180 .01 .20
Finish Gain/Geed .137 .132 .143 .147 .01 .64
Total Gain/Feed .159 .157 .155 .161 .01 .80
ab Values with different superscripts are significantly (P<.10) different


Table 4. Carcass traits of steers fed four different protein supplements

Solvent Expeller
Soybean Canola Crambe Crambe
Item Meal Meal Meal Meal SE P value

Hot Carcass wt, lb 762 771 734 758 11.8 .17
Dressing Percent 62.9a
63.0a 61.4b 62.2ab .28 .10
Rib Eye Area, sq. in 13.56 13.43 13.07 13.13 .20 .16
KPH fat, % 2.26 2.40 2.39 2.34 .05 .28
Fat Thickness, in .48 .51 .51 .51 .02 .49
Yield Grade 2.78 2.94 2.92 2.96 .09 .33
Marbling Scorec
446 457 455 497 15.5 .26
Percent Choice 83.9 76.7 82.4 96.8
Rel. Grid Value, $/hdd
0 -9.02 -2.56 10.64
ab Values with different superscripts are significantly (P<.10) different
c Marbling scores are based on a scoring system where less than 400 = select, 400-499 = low choice, 500-599=average choice, 600-699=high choice and +700=prime.

d Based on Certified Angus Beef grid



Expeller Crambe Meal as a Protein Source

for Growing Calves

D. L. Riley, M. L. Bauer, V. L. Anderson, G. P. Lardy and J. S. Caton

North Dakota State University, Fargo


Thirty-two crossbred steers and heifers (585 lb) fed individually were used to evaluate expeller crambe meal (ECM) as a protein source in comparison with soybean meal (SBM). Calves were blocked by sex, stratified by weight, and allotted randomly to one of six supplemental treatments containing graded amounts of ECM (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%), replacing SBM and beet pulp; and a urea control. Diets were formulated to contain 11.5% CP. Supplements were formulated to provide 60% of total dietary CP. SBM and ECM made up 33% and 39% of total dietary CP, respectively. Diets consisted of 37.3% sorghum silage, 37.3% corncobs, 7.4% alfalfa hay, and 18% supplement on a DM basis. Calves were fed at 1.96% of BW on a DM basis and weighed at 14-day intervals. Weekly samples of feed ingredients were taken. Weekly orts were collected, weighed and sub-sampled. Initial weights and final weights were the average of weights taken on three consecutive days. The trial lasted 85 days. Supplemental natural protein increased feed efficiency (P = .06) and tended to increase ADG (P = .15) compared with urea. There was no difference (P > .61) in DM intake among treatments. There were no differences (P > .25) in ADG or feed efficiency between SBM and ECM.


Crambe is an oil crop that is grown for its high content of erucic acid, which has industrial uses like slip reagents for plastic bag manufacturing. After oil extraction, the by-product crambe meal remains. With increasing production of crambe in North Dakota over the last eight years, this by-product is a possible feed source for growing calves. The FDA limits the use of solvent extracted crambe meal to 4.2% (DM basis) in feedlot cattle diets.

Experiments have shown favorable results for solvent crambe meal as a protein source for growing calves. The objective of this experiment was to compare performance in growing calves fed varying levels of expeller crambe meal (ECM). Protein degradability of ECM and SBM was also measured.

Materials and Methods

Thirty-two crossbred steers and heifers (average 585 lb) were used in an 85-day trial. Calves were fed individually in Calan gates. Calves were stratified by weight, blocked by sex and allotted randomly to one of six supplemental treatments. All calves were fed a basal diet containing 37.3% sorghum silage, 37.3% corn cobs and 7.4% alfalfa hay, on a DM basis (Table 1). The remaining 18% of the diet, was supplement (Table 1). Supplements were pelleted to help with acceptability (Lambert et al., 1970). Weekly samples of the basal diet ingredients and the supplement were analyzed for DM. Feed refusals, if present, were weighed weekly, sub-sampled and analyzed for DM. Calves were weighed every 14 days to adjust DM offered to 2% of BW.

To determine relative degradability of the nitrogen in ECM, an ammonia release procedure was used. This entailed incubating 20 mg of nitrogen in vitro with ruminal fluid and buffer for 18 hours at 39oC and measuring ammonia accumulation.

Statistical analyses were performed using GLM procedure in SAS (1996). Linear, quadratic, urea vs. natural protein and SBM vs. ECM contrasts were used to analyze the data.

Table 1. Composition of Basal Diet and Supplements fed in Triala





Item Urea 100:0 75:25 50:50 25:75 0:100
Ingredient, %            
Sorghum Silage 37.3 37.3 37.3 37.3 37.3 37.3
Corn Cobs 37.3 37.3 37.3 37.3 37.3 37.3
Alfalfa Hay 7.4 7.4 7.4 7.4 7.4 7.4
Soybean Meal --- 7.6 5.7 3.8 1.9 ---
Crambe Meal --- --- 3.9 7.8 11.7 15.5
Beet Pulp 14.3 8.0 6.1 4.1 2.2 0.3
Urea 2.0 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9
Salt 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
Vitamin/Mineral Mix 1.4 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.0 1.0
Nutrient Composition            
Crude Protein, % 12.0 11.7 11.6 11.6 11.7 11.8

a Presented as a percentage of DM.

Results and Discussion

There was no difference (P > .25) in average daily gain, feed efficiency or intake (Table 2) between calves fed increasing levels of expeller crambe meal compared with soybean meal. Yet, calves supplemented with ECM, SBM or combinations thereof had better feed efficiencies (P = .06) and average daily gains (P = .15) compared with calves fed the urea supplement. These results are similar to observations by Anderson et al., (1993) and Anderson et al., (1998), in feeding solvent extracted and expeller crambe meal to backgrounding and finishing cattle. Perry et al., (1979) also concluded that when crambe meal was substituted for SBM there was no significant decrease in performance of the cattle. The better ADG and feed efficiencies that were observed with the calves fed natural protein compared with urea indicated there was more metabolizable protein for the calf.

Relative values of bypass for the different feed samples when compared with SBM were estimated from the ammonia release procedure (Table 3). Soybean meal, canola meal and solvent-extracted crambe meal (SCM) are all solvent extracted products. Extruded products undergo higher temperatures during processing than solvent extracted products, which increases bypass protein. Xylose-treated soybean meal (Soy Pass) had the highest amount of undegradable intake protein (UIP) when compared with soybean meal. Expeller crambe meal compared with solvent crambe meal (SCM) and canola meal was higher in bypass protein. Solvent extracted crambe meal and canola meal were similar to SBM.

Expeller crambe meal fed to calves in a backgrounding phase seems to be a likely. As estimated with ammonia release, ECM was greater in bypass protein compared with SBM. Bypass protein is important in the development of young calves, which have a high protein requirement. Therefore, the higher bypass protein of ECM may be more desirable than a lower bypass protein source for growing cattle.

Table 2. Weights and performance of calves feed expeller crambe meal.










Calves 4 5 6 6 5 6
Weight, lb.            


610 590 567 574 588 567


661 690 637 662 651 656
DM Intake, lb/d 12.5 12.3 11.8 12.1 12.3 12.0
ADG, lb/d 0.59 1.18 0.80 1.03 .74 1.05
Feed:Gain 23.5 10.7 14.8 11.8 16.5 11.6



Table 3. Relative degradability of selected protein sources.


NH3-N Released, %

Estimated UIP,

Relative to SBM

Soybean meal



Canola meal



Solvent-extracted crambe meal



Expeller-extracted crambe meal



Xylose treated soybean meal




Literature Cited

Anderson, V. L., W. D. Slanger, S. L. Boyles and P. T. Berg. Crambe meal is equivalent to soybean meal for backgrounding and finishing beef steers. 1993. J. Anim. Sci. 71:2608.

Anderson, V. L., 1998. Performance, metabolic, and physiological effects of crambe mealas a protein source for beef cattle. PhD. Thesis. Department of Animal and Range Sciences. North Dakota State University, Fargo.

Lambert, J. L., D. C. Clanton, I. A. Wolff and G. C. Mustakas. 1970. Crambe meal

and hulls in beef cattle rations. J. Anim. Sci. 31:601-607.

Perry, T. W., W. F. Kwolek, H. L. Tookey, L. H. Princen, W. M. Beeson and M. T.

Mohler. 1979. Crambe meal as a source of supplemental protein for

growing-finishing beef cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 48:758-763.








A Survey of Manure Management Practices in North Dakota


S.W. Birchall, Carrington Research Extension Center, North Dakota State University

D.J. Klenow, North Dakota State University


A phone survey of 356 North Dakota livestock producers (beef, dairy and swine) was completed during February 1999. The objectives of the survey were to assess the level of adoption of Best Management Practices (BMP's) relating to manure management and to identify issues that future extension efforts need to address. The questions were grouped into the following categories; classifying the operation, collection, storage and spreading of manure and waste water, nutrient budgeting, carcass disposal, system performance, and assistance needs. Results were grouped according to species, as well as whether the operation had an "approval to operate".

Manure from animal feeding operations (AFO’S) has been identified as a contributor to impaired water quality in at least nine watersheds within North Dakota (Wiedenmeyer 1998, personal communication). As in most other states, extension programs, and technical and financial assistance are offered to livestock producers to encourage compliance with environmental regulations. These programs need up-to-date information that meets the following objectives:

i) identify current manure collection, storage and utilization practices.

ii) identify issues where more education or assistance is required.

iii) develop a benchmark against which any change can be assessed.

A survey targeting beef, dairy and pork producer's was developed to satisfy the objectives listed above. The 26 core questions were grouped according to i) demographics; ii) collection, storage and spreading practices, iii) nutrient utilization, iv) mortality disposal, and v) assistance needs. An additional five questions were developed for beef producers with winter range-feeding.

The survey was designed to be completed via telephone interviews. Producer's telephone numbers were randomly selected from each of the following lists:

i) North Dakota Brand Register (beef).

ii) North Dakota Department of Agriculture Dairy Register

iii) North Dakota Pork Producers' Council - Pork News mailing list.

The North Dakota Department of Health has the responsibility to protect the quality of surface waters, groundwater and the air of the state. They require larger AFO's (those with more than 200 Animal Units) to have an "approval to operate". One Animal Unit is equivalent to an animal of approximately 455 kg (1000 lb) liveweight and represents 1 mature beef or dairy cow, 1.5 feeder cattle, or 4 swine (Haberstroh, 1995). At the end of 1998, there were approximately 420 producers with an "approval to operate" in the state (Haberstroh, 1998, personal communication). These producers were included in the survey so that at least one third of the responses came from operations with an "approval to operate".

The survey was completed during February, 1999. All phone calls were made during weekday evenings and began with a summary of the survey’s purpose and two screening questions;

i) Are you still in the business of beef/dairy/pork production?

ii) Are you the person responsible for making the manure management decisions?

Only if the respondent answered yes to each screening question did the survey continue. On average, each completion took 10 minutes.


This discussion will be limited to beef and pork producer's responses. At the time this paper was written, the responses from dairy producers had not been analyzed.


Both the group of pork producers with an "approval to operate" and the group without an "approval to operate" exhibited similar characteristics. Of those producers with an "approval to operate" 59% were farrow to finish, 15% farrow to weaner or feeder, and 26% weaner or feeder to finish. Most of those producers relied on a confinement barn for housing (78%), but 52% utilized some outdoor pens during a portion of the year. Only one producer with an "approval to operate" had any hoop barns. For those pork producers without an "approval to operate", 61% were farrow to finish, 15% farrow to weaner or feeder, and 19% weaner or feeder to finish. Similarly, those producers used a mix of confinement barns (59%) and/or outdoor pens (55%). Eight percent (8%) of producers indicated using hoop barns.

Pork producers with an "approval to operate" were less likely to be feeding other livestock (48%) compared to pork producers without an "approval to operate" (66%). Most commonly, this diversification into feeding other livestock entailed feeding less than 10 poultry, dairy cattle or sheep, or more than 100 beef cattle.

All of the livestock fed on that farm were converted to Animal Units and summed to determine the total number of Animal Units in that operation. The distribution of sizes of all the operations surveyed are represented in Figure 1.

The majority of beef producers without an "approval to operate" described their enterprise as cow/calf production (67%), or as cow/calf and backgrounding calves (18%). Most therefore, only fed their animals during the winter in a lot (61%) and/or on the range (51%). Of those producers with an "approval to operate", 40% were a cow/calf enterprise, 29% cow/calf and backgrounding, 13% backgrounding only, 11% cow/calf, backgrounding and feedlot. Beef producers were less diversified into other livestock than pork producers. Only 13% of producers with an "approval to operate" and 19% of producers without an "approval to operate" responded as having other livestock. The distribution of sizes of all the beef operations surveyed are represented in Figure 2. (The number of Animal Units includes all species fed in that operation.)

Figure 1: Size distribution of pork producers responding to the survey.

Figure 2: Size distribution of beef producers responding to the survey.

In the past, winter feeding operations have been exempt from the need to have an "approval to operate". Many of the medium sized operations (200 to 1000 AU) without an "approval to operate" would be winter feeding operations.

Collection, Storage and Spreading.

AFO’s with confinement barns are required to have a storage structure with the capacity to hold, at a minimum, the volume of manure and waste water generated in 6 months of operation. When uncovered pens are used, the storage must also be able to hold the runoff from a 1 in 25 year, 24 hour storm. Survey responses show that 59% of pork producer's without an "approval to operate" do not have a manure storage. One-third (33%) of pork producers with an "approval to operate" do not have a manure storage. This result is lower than expected and may be due to two factors; the ambiguous wording of the question to accommodate the range of different types of storage systems, and secondly, that some of those operations had received their "approval to operate" when the requirement for storage was not as explicit as under today's standards. A similar pattern was established for beef producers; 80% of producer's without an "approval to operate" and 49% of producer's with an "approval to operate" did not have an area for storing runoff from the pens.

Beef producers were asked about the frequency with which pens were scraped clean. Their responses are summarized in Figure 3. Scraping pens regularly to limit the depth of manure build-up helps to reduce the depth of mud following a rain event and, as those pens then dry more quickly, significantly reduce odor emissions.

Figure 3. Return period for cleaning beef feedlot pens.

Manure injection and incorporation following surface broadcasting are strategies producers can use to minimize odor emissions and maximize the retention of manure nitrogen. The majority of pork producers (78% of those with an "approval to operate" and 85% of those without an "approval to operate"), as well as beef producers (84% and 82% respectively) incorporate manure after broadcasting. Figures 4 and 5 show the usual elapsed time between spreading and incorporation.

Figure 4: Time elapsed between spreading swine manure and incorporation.

Figure 5: Time elapsed between manure broadcasting and incorporation (beef producers).

Most livestock producers in North Dakota rely on their own equipment to spread manure. Only 22% of pork producers with an "approval to operate" and 8% without an "approval to operate" use the services of a contract spreader. For beef producers, the response was 32% and 20% respectively.

Nutrient Utilization.

Best management practices for utilizing manure suggest that a nutrient management plan be developed. This plan should take into account the following factors:

i) existing soil fertility

ii) manure nutrient analysis

iii) matching the application rate to the nutrient needs of the crop

iv) calibrating the spreader

According to the responses from pork producers, 69% of producers with an "approval to operate" and 45% of those without an "approval to operate" test soil samples from the reuse area at least every two years. Only 15% and 38% respectively said that they never use soil tests. For beef producers, the picture was very similar; 63% of those with an "approval to operate" and 45% without an "approval to operate" conduct soil tests on the reuse area at least every two years. Those producers that never used a soil test comprised 26% and 46% of the respondents.

When it came to analyzing the nutrient content of manure, a much lower participation rate was evident. Regardless of species, most producers don't test a sample of manure to determine its nutrient content (70% of pork producers with an "approval to operate", 85% of pork producers without an "approval to operate, beef producers; 76% and 89% respectively). However, when asked how they calculate the manure application rate, only 26% of pork producers with an "approval to operate" and 30% of producers without an "approval to operate" stated that they did not know. For beef producers, this was 26% and 46% respectively.

Keeping records of all manure applications is a requirement for operations with more than 1000 animal units, and encouraged for all other livestock producers. Aside from the regulatory requirement, records are a useful management tool and can assist in the producer's defense should a complaint occur. Pork producer's responses showed 56% of those with an "approval to operate" kept records of past manure applications compared to 23% of those without an "approval to operate". For beef producers the response was 29% and 20% respectively.

Mortality Disposal.

Most producers use a combination of three methods to dispose of dead animals - bury, burn or rendering. Figures 6 and 7 show the range of responses from pork and beef producers.

Figure 6: Methods of disposal of dead swine.

Figure 7: Methods of disposal of dead beef animals.


Assistance needs.

Some producers are planning to make changes in the way they handle manure and waste water. Fifteen percent (15%) of pork producers with an "approval to operate" and 16% without an "approval to operate" indicated that they plan to change some aspect of their manure management system. For beef producers, the responses were 22% and 9% respectively.

Given that a significant number of producers have not yet adopted best management practices, more producers will have to consider whether their manure management practices are adequate. However, one of the stronger messages resulting from the survey is that producers need to be better informed about environmental regulations and some of the assistance that may be available for them to implement changes. Only 59% of pork producers with an "approval to operate" were aware of the North Dakota Department of Health's requirements for AFO’s. For pork producers without an "approval to operate", the response was 50%. Most beef producers with an "approval to operate" said they were aware of the requirements (79%) compared to those beef producers without an "approval to operate" (39%). Some of the uncertainty about regulations may be due to confusion resulting from recent and on-going reviews of Federal and State regulations, however, it highlights a need that must be addressed by agencies within the state.

There are two technical assistance and cost share programs that are available to small or medium sized producers. However, awareness of these programs is currently at 56% for pork producers with an "approval to operate" and just 32% for producers without an "approval to operate". Similarly, 67% of beef producers with an "approval to operate" and 36% without an "approval to operate" said that they were aware of the programs.

Information relating to regulations, odor control, manure application and calibration, and cost share programs were the priority needs for pork producers. Beef producers were seeking added information on regulations, preventing seepage to groundwater, nutrient budgeting and cost share programs. The cost involved in implementing changes was cited most commonly as the reason preventing both pork and beef producers from improving their system of manure management.


Agencies providing information and assistance to North Dakota livestock producers must work to raise the level of awareness regarding environmental regulations and ensure that those producers are able to assess if they are eligible for cost share assistance.

A significant number of medium sized producers (200 to 1000 AU) need to make efforts to secure an "approval to operate". Community concerns will only be alleviated by producers showing that their industry is complying with the state's regulations.


Haberstroh. G. (1995). Managing Livestock Waste. NDDoH publication.



A New Project Proposal - Using Coal Combustion

By-products for Feedlot Surface Stabilization

Scott Birchall, Extension Livestock Waste Management Specialist

Carrington Research Extension Center


Livestock producers in North Dakota are seeking a low cost alternative to placing concrete in feedlots. Earthen pens and lane-ways do not withstand concentrated livestock traffic when wet for any length of time such as during spring thaw. As the integrity of the pen or lane-way surface breaks down, deep mud and poor drainage reduce animal performance and health, increase odor emissions and prevent regular maintenance operations such as manure removal. Commonly, the soil/manure interface layer is damaged resulting in deeper leaching of nutrients and an increased risk of groundwater pollution.

Sufficient evidence exists to suggest that using Coal Combustion By-products (CCBs) can lead to significant improvements in pen and lane-way conditions. Work performed at the Energy and Environmental Research Center indicates that several lignite coal ashes are suitable for use in feedlot surfacing - either in constructing a concrete-like surface or in stabilizing the existing soils [Pflughoeft-Hassett, 1996; Moretti, 1993a&b]. Table 1 describes some of the different classes of CCBs, however, their properties will vary with the source of the coal and the combustion process. Therefore, the suitability of a specific CCB for feedlot surfacing must be investigated before placement.

Table 1: Types of coal combustion by-products and their characteristics.

CCB type



Fly ash Non-combustible particulate matter removed from stack gases. Powdery, silt-like.
Bottom ash Material collected in dry bottom boilers, heavier than fly ash. Sand-like, some coarse agglomerates.
Boiler slag Material collected in wet bottom boilers or cyclone units. Glassy, angular particles.
FGD* material Solid or semi-solid material obtained from flue gas scrubbers. Fine to coarse (dry or wet).
FBC** material Mainly bed material (sand or other inert material), and a mix of fly ash and bottom ash. Fine to coarse

*Flue Gas Desulferization

** Fluidized Bed Combustor

Previous Research:

Feedlot cattle suffer reduced weight gain as a result of muddy pen conditions. Research at Texas A&M University identified a 14% reduction in weight gain when coping with 4 to 8 inches of mud. In just six weeks of muddy conditions, this hidden cost may penalize producers by $11/head. When the mud depth was 24 inches, the reduction in weight gain was 25% [Sweeten et al, 1987].

Improving pen drainage will also reduce odor emissions. Watts et al (1992) found that wet manure on the pen surface produced 60 times greater odor concentration/intensity compared to a dry surface. A more durable pen surface would allow for more frequent manure removal, reducing the risk of having a significant depth of manure accumulated when rain occurs. A durable pen surface would also promote better drainage of runoff from the pens by limiting the formation of holes and low spots.

Researchers at Texas A&M University placed two ash treatments (crushed bottom ash and fly ash rototilled into the pen surface) into feedlot pens in 1993. Pen conditions were evaluated visually for two years following placement. The crushed bottom ash treatment proved superior to the untreated pen surface for all four thicknesses tried. Crushed bottom ash at 6" and 8" depths performed better than other treatments (though there was little difference between the two thicknesses). The fly ash rototilled into the pen surface treatment deteriorated at areas of high pressure — around feed bunks and water troughs [Sweeten, 1996]. A related study demonstrated that a straight fly ash blanket needed less maintenance than fly ash rototilled into the pen surface.

In 1993, fluidized bed combustor (FBC) ash was used to stabilize soil in a feedlot in Iowa [Greenless et al, 1998]. The results indicated that the FBC treated soil strength increased by 200% to 300% compared to an adjacent untreated feedlot. Treated samples were better able to withstand immersion in water, however, three freeze/thaw cycles reduced the compression strength of all samples. The feedlot pen treatments were completed using machinery normally available locally at a cost of $0.23/ft2 (the ash was provided free of charge).

A separate Iowa project combined reclaimed fly ash (which the consistency of aggregate), with fresh fly ash, and placed the mixture directly on the surface of a feedlot. The combined material was conditioned with water, disced, and compacted to provide a dry, solid surface for the feedlot. Two months of monitoring indicated good performance [Midwest Fly Ash and Materials].

A feedlot project initiated in Ohio during 1992 used lime-enriched flue gas desulfurization (FGD) material to construct both livestock pens and hay storage pads [ACAA, 1999; Daines, 1997]. In many cases, farmers were able to place the material using their own standard equipment. The demonstrations have been highly successful with 174 commercial pads constructed in 1997/98. The FGD producer received a "permit-to-install" from the Ohio EPA so that farmers are not required to obtain any further authorization to install pads covered by the permit. The cost of the FGD pads was approximately $0.46/ft2 and estimated to be 25% to 65% less expensive than stone aggregate or concrete respectively.

Another study investigated using FBC ash on an experimental dairy farm in Pennsylvania. Monitoring of heavy metal levels in the leachate under the pavement did not detect any element at unacceptable levels [Stout, 1999].

Project Proposal:

A new project to demonstrate the use of North Dakota lignite coal ash for surfacing feedlots is currently being reviewed for funding. The criteria evaluated in the demonstration will include engineering and environmental performance as well as the economics of procuring the materials and placement techniques. The proposed is to demonstrate up to 4 different surface types at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center Bison research facility. It is anticipated that some of the surfaces will have properties similar to concrete for use in the feeding/watering areas. Other surfaces will designed to provide a "softer" more soil like surface that provides drainage and support for cleaning equipment. Feed-roads will be surfaced with lignite bottom ash. In the second year of the project, two or three livestock producers in other parts of the state will have the opportunity to trial promising CCB treatments.

The participants in this proposed effort are the University of North Dakota (UND) Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Carrington Research Extension Center (CREC), the NDSU Department of Agricultural & Bio-systems Engineering, and several North Dakota utilities and ash marketers.


American Coal Ash Association "Livestock Pads Made From CCPs" ACAA Ash at Work, April 1999; p21.

Daines, M. "Lime-Enriched FGD Product for Feedlot and Hay Storage Base". 1997 EERC CCB Utilization Workshop, Minneapolis, MN, September 29-30, 1997.

Greenless, W.J., Pitt, J.M., Dawson, M.R., Chriswell, C.D. and Melvin, S.W. (1998). "Stabilizing cattle feedlot soil with fluidized bed combustor ash."

Trans ASAE. 41(1):203-211.

Midwest Fly Ash and Materials "Use of Class C Fly Ash for Livestock Feedlot Applications" Bulletin #1.

Moretti, C.J. "Fly Ash Utilization in McClean County, North Dakota". Final Technical Report, March 1993.

Moretti, C.J. "Development of Fly Ash-Based Slope Protection Materials for Waste Disposal Ponds". Final Technical Report, February 1993.

Pflughoeft-Hassett, D.F.; Dockter, B.A.; Eylands, K.E.; and Hassett, D.J. "Survey and Demonstration of Utilization Potential of North Dakota Lignite Ash Resources," EERC report 96-EERC-04-01 to the Industrial Commission of North Dakota, April 1996.

Stout, W.L.; "Low-Cost Way to Pave Feedlots". Agricultural Research, January 1999, pp22-23.

Sweeten, J.W., Lubinis, L., Durland, R. and Bruce, B. (1987). Feedlot Mounds. Great Plains Beef Cattle Handbook. GPE-7525

Sweeten, J.W. 1996. Texas Agricultural Extension Service Result Demonstration Report. "Feedlot Surface Condition — Coal Ash Surfacing vs. Control."

Watts, P.J., Jones, M., Lott, S.C., Tucker, R.W. and Smith, R.J. (1992). "Odor Measurements at a Queensland Feedlot". ASAE. Paper 92-4516.




Peter & Beth Skedsvold, Alexander, ND

I first heard Dean Freudenberger speak in 1990. Dean, a 70-year-old agronomist and word authority in soils and agriculture from Minnesota, spoke on the past and future of agriculture in the Northern Great Plains. He also spoke on the changes that were beginning to occur. These changes included:

  1. Reductions in government farm payments;
  2. Increases in crop diseases due to monoculture cropping;
  3. Low wheat and cattle prices due to overproduction;
  4. Reductions in federal payments to state and local governments to support the infrastructure of the region (traditionally the Northern Great Plains receives more in federal payments than it pays in federal taxes);
  5. The population is working harder and more hours to make ends meet.

Dean then began to talk about some possible solutions to the problem. The one that made me start to wonder was when Dean spoke on how dryland acreage is better utilized as rangeland, thus reducing soil erosion and requiring fewer inputs when compared to crop production. When he spoke of the best animals suited to the region, he brought up the idea that indigenous animals are more efficient grazers and require fewer inputs and care. Bison were his first animal of choice. When I heard this, I began to wonder what kind of fruitcake is this guy? Initially I was offended by what he was saying. Being raised on a farm and taking part in 4-H, FFA, and traditional agriculture, Dean's ideas were out of the norm and seemed radical.

After about a month of thinking about what Dean had said in reference to indigenous animas, I decided to talk to a local rancher by the name of Ed Dahl. Ed had been farming and ranching since the 1930's and had purchased his first bison in the early 1970's. When I first talked to Ed he was hesitant. After finding out that I was sincere, he opened up and told me the reason for getting into bison. Ed's reasoning was that he wanted to retire and move to town, while at the same time keep his and generating an income. He said he had less expenses and more profit with the bison than he had ever had with beef cows, plus the bison were less work.

I then asked about buying some bison cows from him. His reply was a firm yes, but they would be back home by midnight. Ed said that bison have a very good homing instinct and that I needed to take his advice if I was to be successful. His recommendation was to buy yearlings and keep them confined in the corrals for a couple of months. By doing this and feeding them in the corrals, they would bond to the area and not require an "elephant" fence to keep them contained.

In 1992 I purchased 10 bison heifers and did as Ed had told me. I kept the beef herd, thinking that if the bison didn't work out, I would just sell the bison. After keeping the beef and bison side-by-side until 1998, I had my eyes opened as to how much less work the bison are. some observations I made included:

  1. Bison require less feed and care in the winter.
  2. Bison require less pasture in the summer.
  3. On some winter days, the beef cows would not come out of the pole barn to eat. Bison were out on the hills chewing their cuds oblivious to the weather.
  4. Bison did not "neck stretch" the barbed wire fences to get to the grass on the other side like the beef cows did.
  5. Bison eat for shorter periods of time than beef cows before they go to die down.
  6. Veterinarian bills for the bison were almost nonexistent compared to beef cows.
  7. Bison will walk further for water and will break through thin ice with their hooves, unlike beef cows
  8. Bison will utilize snow if water is frozen.
  9. Bison preferred old CRP hay to new alfalfa hay.
  10. Bison will respect an electric fence similar to beef cows if trained. (I converted an old 3-wire barbed wire fence by attaching one hot wire to the posts. The cost was approximately $100 per mile for materials).

This past year, while setting on the tractor planting, it came to me that Mother Nature is no dummy, and this last fall I sold the beef cows.



Bison Nutrition Research and Progress in the Development of NDSU Bison Research Facilities

Vern Anderson, Ph.D.

Bison Research

A major research project is underway with eight cooperating bison producers across North and South Dakota. The project: "Maximizing forage and minimizing grain intake in bison bulls fed for meat" will evaluate animal performance, carcass traits, meat quality, and economics. The two year feeding study will be summarized and reported when completed.

On farm research is important to the development of the bison industry. Produces with the time, interest, and ability may be able to secure grant funds for comparison projects. There are a number of two treatment trials that can be made relatively easily. If you have interest is doing some research or know of a bison producer who does, I encourage you to press forward with it. Please contact the Carrington Center or other NDSU staff if we can be of assistance.

Bison Research Facilities

Construction was initiated in the fall of 1997 on the bison nutrition research facility located on US Hiway 281 at the Carrington Research Extension Center Livestock Unit. The bison research area (Figure 1) will consist of 16 feeding pens with a working area that includes 8 small holding pens for sorting, a crowding tub, alleys, chute, and scale. One small pen will house two fistulated bison for digestion trials. Grants totaling $35,390 have been received for construction to supplement appropriated funds. Grants have been received from the North Dakota Buffalo Association ($10,000), National Bison Association, ($10,000), and other producer organizations, ($3,000). Powder River handling equipment was procured with the USDA National Research Initiative competitive grant for $12,390 with matching funds required by NDSU for a total of $24,780 for equipment. In-kind contributions from Lee’s Construction, Kensal, ND and the ND Army National Guard, Det 2, Co A, 141st Engr Cbt Bn for earth moving in site preparation amount to approximately $90,000. The estimate for the entire facility above the in-kind contributions is approximately $180,000.

The research facility fences will be constructed of steel (drill stem and sucker rod). Pens will be 60 x 72 feet with 30 feet of fenceline bunk per pen. Concrete will be placed in appropriate high traffic areas near feed bunks and water fountains. Runoff from each contiguous 4 pen unit will be collected in separate adjacent solids settling basins and flow to holding ponds for evaporation or pumping to cropland. This system will allow the replicated study of waste management, (i.e. manure or runoff differences from different dietary treatments) in cooperation with NDSU Agricultural Engineers.

Construction of weirs (concrete channels) from the solids settling pond to the water holding ponds will be required to eliminate erosion, measuring flow rate, and sampling runoff from snowmelt and rainfall events. The waste containment holding ponds will be connected with pipe to nearby fields and a pump and sprinkler system will be required to distribute liquid accumulation.

To date, (June 1999) the earth moving for site preparation is completed, grass has been planted on the earthworks, the working chutes have been purchased and are in place, water and electric service have been installed to 8 pens, and steel has been procured for the fences and alleys for eight pens. Some of the fence panels have been welded. Concrete aprons and feedbunks have been placed in four pens and some of the pipe posts have been installed. After July 1, pen construction will continue with welders assembling and fastening fence components in place. Pen surfacing will be done with various combinations of fly ash and concrete to test the durability and usefulness of this coal industry by-product. This is a joint NDSU-UND (EERC) project.

Bison research projects will focus on nutrition and feed management of bison bulls from weaning to market. Studies in nutrient requirements, meat quality, animal health, drug residue, care and management will be incorporated into the nutrition projects. Bison used for studies will be provided by area producer(s). It is anticipated that the first animals will occupy the facility in the fall of 1999.

New publications offer barley and co-product feeding guidelines, and backgrounding information

Several new publications will be available in the near future to provide a succinct review of recommendations for backgrounding calves and for feeding, processing, and storage of feed barley and co-product feeds. Much of the information in these publications is summarized from research conducted and experience gained at NDSU Agricultural Experiment Station facilities.

Nine publications focus on backgrounding calves. This series presents substantial amounts of information in an easily read summary of best management practices. The backgrounding publications focus on most aspects of the enterprise.

Four individual papers address the practical use of feed barley for beef, dairy, sheep, and swine/poultry (non-ruminants). Recommended feeding practices including sample rations are presented.

Two co-product papers have also been developed. One addresses all aspects of procuring, storing, and using wheat midds in diets for beef cattle. The section on storage is of particular importance considering the seasonal price fluctuation of wheat midds and the moisture level. A second paper presents a general review of all alternative feeds available to ND cattlemen. This paper includes nutrient content and practical feeding advice for field peas, corn gluten feed, crambe and other oil seed meals, potato waste, edible bean splits, annual forages, barley malt pellets, all types of grain screenings and many other feeds.

These publications are available through your local Cooperative Extension Service office, area livestock specialist, or can be ordered from Extension Ag Communications at NDSU (701 231-7882). The barley feeding publications may also be obtained from the ND Barley Council. There is no charge for singe copies of these publications. These publications may also be accessed at the follow web site: www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/beef.htm.

New publication titles:

To be assigned Feeding barley to beef cattle

To be assigned Feeding barley to dairy cattle

To be assigned Feeding barely to sheep

To be assigned Feeding barley to swine and poultry

To be assigned Alternative feeds

AS1151 Systems for backgrounding beef cattle

AS1152 Nutritional guidelines for backgrounding beef cattle

AS1153 Backgrounding facilities

AS1154 Respiratory illness

AS1155 A checklist for feedlot siting and environmental compliance

AS1158 Feeding management for backgrounders

AS1160 Preconditioning programs: Vaccination, Nutrition, and Management

AS1175 Wheat midds: A useful feed for beef cattle

AS1177 Feed additives for backgrounding calves

AS1178 Implant use in backgrounding calves