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

 

Vern Anderson and Charles Stoltenow, DVM

NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center and

NDSU Animal and Range Science Department

 

Introduction

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

In mid October of 2001 and 2002, newly weaned calves (n=144 in 2001 and n=150 in 2002) from 34 different ranches in North Dakota and Montana were delivered to the Carrington Research Center. 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 with one calf from each ranch group assigned randomly to each treatment group. Calves were weighed shortly after arrival, tagged, and assigned to respective treatment pens. Three pens of calves with 48-50 head per pen were randomly assigned to 60 percent concentrate receiving diets with the grain source from 100 percent barley, 50 percent barley and 50 percent field peas, or 100 percent field peas. The 42 day trial was divided into 2 - 21day weigh periods. Each calf was administered a metaphalactic injection of Micotil (Elanco Animal Health) at the initial weighing at the Carrington Research Center. Prior to arrival at the Carrington Center, calves had been processed at Turtle Lake as part of the feeder calf show activities. Calves had been vaccinated for IBR, BVD, PI3 and 7 Way with somnus. According to the Feeder Calf show rules, calves were to have been initially 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. Diets were fed in fenceline bunks with approximately 2 feet of bunk space per head. Pens were the same size, shape, and quipped 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.

 

Morbidity (number of sick animals) 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.

 

Results

Calves performed very well in this study considering the co-mingling, shipping, and time delay 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. Table 2 provides intake as pounds of dry matter and as a percent of initial body weight. Daily intake patterns for the three treatments are graphically depicted in Figure 1. Treatment effects were significant (P<.05) with increased intake in diets with peas. Daily gains reflect similar performance for the control and 50 percent pea diet but the 100 percent pea ration allowed for improved gains overall. Gain per unit feed calculations reflect similar values in each period for all treatments.

 

No calves died during either year of this study. Similar numbers of calves were pulled from each treatment group. Eight calves were pulled in year one and six in year two. For a total of 5, 4, and 5 calves pulled from respective treatment groups. Only one calf was a repeat pull.

 

Discussion

The importance of dry matter intake during the first few weeks after weaning cannot be overemphasized. The palatability of peas apparently supports enhanced intake at both levels fed. Calf gains are not totally consistent with intake as only the 100 percent pea diet produced significant improvement in gains. The improved energy density, lower fiber, and possibly higher protein levels may have contributed to improved gains. While protein requirements were met in the control diets, other observations have been made where higher crude protein levels resulted in improved gains. Gains for the combination grain diet are identical to the control in this data set. Peas in this study were dry rolled. Additional research is scheduled to explore effects of processing feed with treatments of grinding, rolling or feeding peas whole.

 

This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2001-34216-10563. All opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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.

 


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

 

Std Err

 

P Value

Number of head

98

98

98

 

 

Initial wt, lb

576

574

573

6.10

NS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dry matter intake, lb

 

 

 

 

 

Period 1

12.27

13.11

13.63

.49

NS

Period 2

16.85a

17.86ab

19.44 b

.50

.06

Overall

14.56a

15.49b

16.53 c

.29

.04

Dry matter intake, % initial body wt

 

 

 

 

 

Period 1

2.13

2.28

2.38

.09

NS

Period 2

2.57 a

2.77 ab

2.99 b

.10

.05

Overall

2.35 a

2.53 b

2.69 c

.10

.04

Average daily gain, lb

 

 

 

 

 

Period 1

3.37

3.36

3.57

.11

NS

Period 2

3.28

3.26

3.48

.09

NS

Overall

3.32 a

3.31 a

3.53 b

.06

.01

Gain per feed

 

 

 

 

 

Period 1

.27

.26

.26

-

NS

Period 2

.19

.18

.18

-

NS

Overall

.24

.23

.23

-

NS

NS statistically non-significant differences (P<.05)

a, b, c values with different superscripts are significantly different (P<.05)

 

Figure 1. Daily Dry Matter Intake of Receiving Diets with Field Peas - 2 Yr Avg.