Jon Schoonmaker and Vern Anderson
Field peas contain high levels of protein (approximately 24% CP) and
energy (~88% TDN, 48% starch), and are increasingly available as livestock
feed. Significant amounts of pulse grains are produced annually in the northern
Great Plains of the
Gestating cows fed peas in their winter ration.
One hundred-two Red Angus-cross cows (1301.2 ± 2.3 lbs.) were allotted
by weight, breed composition, and age to one of three pea-supplemented diets (2
pens per treatment) to determine the optimum level of pea processing needed to
maximize cow performance. All cows were determined to be pregnant prior to
initiation of the trial. Cows were housed and fed at the
Research protocols regarding animal care followed guidelines recommended in the Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching (FASS, 1998).
Data were subjected to a one-way analysis of variance as a completely
randomized design using the GLM procedures of SAS (Version 8.0; SAS Inst. Inc.,
Results and Discussion
Particle size of ground, rolled, and whole peas was 701, 3100, and 9250 microns, respectively.
Cow weight did not differ among treatments (P > 0.85) over the three-month study. Average gain showed some response during the second period with improved gains (1.50 lbs. per hd per day) for rolled peas (P<.02) over ground (1.30 lbs.) and whole (.92 lbs.). During the last period, gains from whole peas (.33 lbs. per hd per day) were greatest (P<.03), followed by rolled (-.07 lbs.) and ground (-.20 lbs.). This pattern is not consistent. Similarly, Birkelo et al. (2000) observed no effect of processing (dry-rolled vs. whole peas) on performance when peas were included in the diet at 10%. However, Bock (2000) reported that when fed at 40% of the diet DM in a forage-based ration, cattle fed rolled peas gained the least compared to cattle fed ground and whole peas. Cows do not require as much protein and energy as growing cattle, thus the benefit of grain processing may not be realized. Overall, cows appear to be able to utilize field peas whether they are processed or not. Beef cow producers needing to purchase an energy or protein source for their cows should consider growing field peas or seeking peas on the market.
Birkelo, C. P., B. J. Johnson, and B. D. Rops. 2000. Field peas in finishing cattle diets and the effect of processing. SDAES Cattle 00-4. South Dakota State Univ. Extension Service, Brookings.
Bock, E. J. 2000. Effects of processing field peas in steer grower diets. Pages 29 – 31 in Carrington Research Extension Center Beef Production Field Day Report. Vol. 23. North Dakota State Univ., Fargo.
material is based upon work supported by the