Field Peas and/or Barley in Receiving
Diets for Beef Calves

 

Vern Anderson and Charles Stoltenow, DVM

Carrington Research Extension Center and Department of Animal and Range Sciences

North Dakota State University

Progress Report

I

 

ntroduction                                                                                                                                   

  Field peas have proven to be a very nutrient dense and palatable feed in multiple NDSU and other universities’ creep feeding, backgrounding, and finishing studies.  Peas are a nutrient dense annual grain legume with energy approximately equal to corn and crude protein consistently ranging from 23-25 percent.  The combined palatability and nutrient density of peas make this feedstuff an ideal candidate for receiving diets where intake is often limited and palatability of a new feed is important.  The expanding production of peas will provide more feeding opportunities.   Beef rations are a potential high volume market, although price competition with other feeds is an issue.  This trial was designed to compare field peas vs. barley vs. a combination of the two in receiving diets for beef calves.

 

Materials and Methods                                                                                                                      

Newly weaned calves (n=144) from 34 ranches in North Dakota and Montana were delivered to the Carrington Research Extension Center on October 13, 2001.  Calves had been gathered on Friday or Saturday morning and experienced a day of pen evaluations at the Dakota Feeder Calf Show in Turtle Lake, ND prior to arrival.  Calves were allowed to rest for several hours in pens where long-stemmed grass hay and water were available.  Ranches consigned calves in three-head groups so one calf from each ranch group was assigned to each treatment group.  Three pens of calves with 48 head per pen were randomly assigned to 60 percent concentrate receiving diets with the primary grain source from 100% barley, 50% barley and 50% peas, or 100% peas.  Calves were weighed shortly after arrival, tagged, and assigned to respective pens.  Each calf was administered a metaphalactic injection of Micotil® (Elanco Animal Health) at the initial weighing at the Carrington Research Center.  At Turtle Lake, calves had been vaccinated for IBR, BVD, PI3, and 7-Way with somnus during the Dakota Feeder Calf show activities.   According to the Feeder Calf show rules, calves were to have been vaccinated 3 weeks before leaving the ranch and the shots administered at Turtle Lake were to serve as boosters. 

 

Totally mixed diets (Table 1) were fed once daily to appetite during the 42-day trial.   An intermediate weight was taken at day 21.  Diets were fed in fenceline bunks with approximately two feet of bunk space per head.  Pens were the same size, shape, and equipped with similar open-pool, automatic water fountains in the fenceline.  All calves were introduced to an ionophore (Rumensin®, monensin sodium, Elanco Animal Health) fed at 250 mg/hd daily from the start.   Supplements used during the first 28 days were yeast (YeaSacc 1026®, Alltech, Inc.) and a coccidiostat (Deccox® decoquinate, Alphfarm Pty. Ltd.).    Feed intake was recorded daily and daily weight gain and feed efficiency were calculated for each of the two weigh periods and overall. 

 

Table 1.  Average intake of dietary ingredients by treatment for the 42 day receiving trial

 

 

100% Barley

50% Barley

50% Peas

 

100% Peas

 

As fed

Lb

%, DM

basis

As fed

Lb

%, DM

basis

As fed

Lb

%, DM

basis

Rumensin Supplement

 

.25

 

1.71

 

.25

 

1.63

 

.25

 

1.55

YeaSacc 1026®*

.12

.84

.12

.80

.12

.76

Deccox®*

.10

.70

.10

.67

.10

.63

Mineral

.19

1.34

.19

1.28

.19

1.22

Barley

8.81

55.82

4.60

27.83

-

-

Peas

-

-

4.60

27.52

9.87

56.09

Chopped alfalfa

4.08

25.26

4.37

25.84

4.46

25.05

Corn silage

6.22

14.33

6.56

14.43

7.03

14.69

* Fed only for 28 days. Yea Sacc 1026® is a yeast supplement from Alltech, Inc, Nicholasville, KY developed for feedlot cattle to stabilize and enhance ruminal digestion.  Deccox® is a coccidiostat (decoquinate) from Alphafarm Pty. Ltd. fed to prevent outbreaks of coccidia in stressed cattle. 

 

Morbidity (number getting sick) and mortality (number of deaths) were monitored and recorded.   Calves were pulled and evaluated when exhibiting symptoms of off feed, runny nose, droopy, coughing, wheezing, panting, and general lethargy.  Treatment for respiratory disease was administered when temperatures were 103 degrees or more, or animals exhibited multiple symptoms.  The treatment regime for first and second pulls was Micotil® and Banamine®.  Subsequent treatment regimes for continued symptoms was Batril® and Predef®.  Directions for treatment were strictly adhered to according to veterinary prescription and the pharmaceutical company recommendations and all injections administered according to Beef Quality Assurance standards.  Additional replicates of this study will be completed in the future. 

 

Results

Calves performed very well in this study considering the stresses encountered before arrival at the feedyard.  Feed intake increased, as expected, from the first 21 day period to the second 21-day period in this trial for each treatment group.  Dry matter intake as a percent of initial body weight tended to increase with increasing peas in the diet.  During the first 21 days, calves fed the 100% barley diet consumed 1.98 percent of initial body weight, while the 50/50 calves ate 2.14 percent and the 100% pea calves ingested 2.23 percent.  This pattern continued into the second 21 days when the 100% barley calves ate 2.89 percent of their body weight, 50/50 calves consumed 2.99 percent and the 100% pea calves ingested 3.32 percent of body weight.  Dry matter intakes (Table 2) indicate a 40 to 49 percent increase in intake from the first 21 days to the second 21 days.  Figure 1 presents the intake by treatment during the first 21 days of the trial.  It appears that peas in the diet at either level consistently improved intake during the initial feeding period. 

 

Table 2.  Performance of calves fed receiving diets for 42 days with barley and/or peas as the concentrate source.

 

 

100% Barley

50% Barley

50% Peas

 

100% Peas

Number of head

48

48

48

Initial wt, lb

579.0

576.2

566.3

 

 

 

 

Dry matter intake, lb

 

 

 

   Period 1

11.47

12.32

12.64

   Period 2

16.71

17.24

18.82

   Overall

14.22

14.90

15.90

Average daily gain, lb

 

 

 

   Period 1

3.65

3.76

3.12

   Period 2

3.01

2.73

3.53

   Overall

3.33

3.25

3.32

Gain per feed

 

 

 

   Period 1

.318

.305

.247

   Period 2

.180

.158

.218

   Overall

.234

.218

.209

Avg daily gain

     Oct 13-April 11

 

3.38

 

3.48

 

3.37

 

 

Figure 1

 

Gains do not precisely reflect intake on a period basis.  Overall, gains appear to be similar for all treatments (3.33, 3.25, and 3.32 lbs. per day, respectively for 100% barley, 50/50, and 100% peas).  Overall feed efficiency, reported as gain per unit feed, suggests an advantage in the 100% barley treatment with decreasing efficiency from increasing peas in the diet (.234, .218, and .209 respectively).  This result agrees with findings in creep feed studies where peas appeared to have a threshold where gains leveled off but intake continued to increase with higher pea levels in the diet.

 

Average daily gains for the entire feeding period are reported in Table 2. Calves were co-mingled after the receiving trial and fed a corn-based finishing diet that was 63 mcal/lb.  Again, only one observation does yield confident comparisons but the calves on the 50/50 receiving diet appear to have compensated for any slight reduction during the receiving trial (3.25 lbs per day vs. 3.33 for barley and 3.32 for peas)  and ended up gaining 3.48 pounds per day overall vs. 3.38 for barley, and 3.37 for peas. 

 

Eight calves were pulled and treated from the barley diet, seven from the 50/50 barley/pea diet, and eight from the pea diet.  One calf from the 50/50 diet was pulled two times.  No calves died during the trial. 

 

Discussion

Assembling a set of steers in the manner used is a recipe for stress.  A small number of steers from many ranches transported directly from the pasture to an exhibition, processed and held for several hours and then shipped to the feedyard creates an opportunity for health challenges.  The use of Micotil in a metaphalactic role may have limited susceptibility and possibly outbreaks of some infections.  While peas appear to be a very palatable feed, their use has not been observed to improve animal performance or immune system in this very limited data set.  This data is only one replication of a multi-year study.  Further data is required to statistically confirm or refute these observations.

 

 


NDSU Vice President,
Dean and Director for Agricultural Affairs
NDSU Extension Service ND Agricultural
Experiment Station
NDSU College of Agriculture NDSU College of Human Development and Education