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USING ALFALFA AS A SUPPLEMENTAL PROTEIN FOR FINISHING STEERS ON COMPLETE MIXED RATIONS SELF FED

Complete mixed rations which include alfalfa as 5% of the ration have performed well in trials at this station in the past. However, performance on higher levels of alfalfa had not been determined at this station prior to the beginning of these trials in 1973.

There is concern about the problem of bloat, and its relationship to the level of alfalfa in the ration. Some producers have plenty of alfalfa and would like to use as much as is practicable. Others have limited amounts and want to use it to the best possible advantage, in combination with other hay. The value of soybean oilmeal as an additional protein in self-fed rations is also being determined.

Self-fed rations containing no alfalfa, and alfalfa in the amount of 5%, 15% and 25% of the total ration, and a 5% alfalfa ration which included soybean oilmeal as a supplemental protein were fed to steer calves, from an average starting weight of 420 pounds to slaughter weights of about 1050 pounds.

The feeding period in 1973 extended from February 2 until November 19, a total of 308 days. In 1974 the 340 day feeding period was from November 1, 1973 to October 7, 1974, and in 1975 the 314 day period was from November 19, 1974 to September 29, 1975.

Summary: Neither the level of alfalfa in the ration nor the addition of soybean oilmeal protein supplement affected gains significantly. Feed costs were highest for the ration supplemented with soybean oilmeal, but gains were no better with this ration than with the rations not supplemented.

Table 12 - Composition of self-fed rations by weight for the feeding period November 19, 1974 to September 29, 19751
Lot 4 - 5% alfalfa, 20% tame hay
Lot 6 - 15% alfalfa, 10% tame hay
Lot 8 - 25% alfalfa, no tame hay
Lot 5 - no alfalfa, 25% tame hay
November 19 - November 30 25% oats, 75% hay
December 1 - January 6 50% oats, 50% hay
January 7 - February 24 65% oats, 10% barley, 25% hay
February 25 - April 7 50% oats, 25% barley, 25% hay
April 8 - June 2 40% oats, 35% barley, 25% hay
June 3 - September 29 30% oats, 45% barley, 25% hay
Lot 7 - 5% alfalfa, 20% tame hay, 7.4% soybean oilmeal
Nov. 19 - Nov. 30 25% oats, 75% hay
Dec. 1 - Jan. 6 50% oats, 50% hay
Jan. 7 - Feb. 24 65% oats, 25% hay, 2.6% barley, 7.4% SBOM
Feb. 25 - April 7 50% oats, 25% hay, 17.6% barley, 7.4% SBOM
April 8 - June 2 40% oats, 25% hay, 27.6 barley, 7.4% SBOM
June 3 - Sept. 29 30% oats, 25% hay, 37.6% barley, 7.4% SBOM
1All lots received minerals at the rate of 10 pounds di-calcium phosphate and 20 pounds granulated salt, added to 1000 pounds of mixed feed for the first two months, after which the di-calcium phosphate was reduced to 5 pounds.

 

Table 13 - Weights, gains and feed costs in the 1975 trial comparing alfalfa and soybean oilmeal as a protein supplement, fed to Hereford steers
  Self-fed rations including:
No alfalfa 5% alfalfa 15% alfalfa 25% alfalfa Soybean oilmeal
Initial wt., lbs. 471 472 469 474 477
Final wt., lbs. 1069 1104 1049 1076 1113
Gain/hd., lbs 598 632 579 602 636
Days fed 314 314 314 314 314
Avg. daily gain 1.90 2.01 1.84 1.91 2.02
Lbs. feed/hd./day 19.0 20.0 19.1 17.7 17.4
Feed cost/100 lbs. gain, $ 43.98 43.04 46.31 41.75 39.73
Feed cost/hd./day, 0.835 0.865 0.852 0.797 0.803

 

Table 14 - Three year average weights, gains and feed costs in the trial comparing alfalfa and soybean oilmeal as a protein supplement, fed to Hereford steers
  Self-fed rations including:
No alfalfa 5% alfalfa 15% alfalfa 25% alfalfa Soybean oilmeal
Initial wt., lbs. 436 437 436 438 439
Final wt., lbs. 1059 1100 1058 1074 1069
Gain/hd., lbs 623 663 622 636 630
Days fed 321 321 321 321 321
Avg. daily gain, lbs. 1.94 2.07 1.94 1.98 1.96
Lbs. feed/hd./day 17.7 18.8 19.3 18.0 18.0
Feed cost/100 lbs. gain, $ 32.59 32.60 35.66 33.31 35.91
Feed cost/hd./day, 0.63 0.67 0.68 0.64 0.71

 

Table 15 - Average daily consumption in the 1975 trial comparing alfalfa and soybean oilmeal as protein supplements
Ingredients Self-fed rations including:
No alfalfa 5% alfalfa 15% alfalfa 25% alfalfa Soybean oilmeal
Oats, lbs. 7.80 8.39 7.91 7.14 7.02
Barley, lbs. 5.30 5.44 5.27 5.03 3.82
Soybean oilmeal, lbs. --- --- --- --- 1.16
Tame hay, lbs. 5.43 4.73 2.76 0.96 4.18
Alfalfa, lbs. --- 0.94 2.69 4.15 0.80
Di-cal, lbs. 0.09 0.10 0.09 0.09 0.09
Trace mineral salt, lb. 0.37 0.39 0.37 0.35 0.33

 

Table 16 - Carcass data - Hereford steers, 1973 protein supplement trial
 

Self-fed rations including:

No alfalfa 5% alfalfa 15% alfalfa 25% alfalfa Soybean oilmeal
Final wt., lbs. 1059 1106 1091 1098 1015
Hot carcass wt., lbs. 643 671 644 654 610
Dressing % 61 61 59 60 60

Grades - Choice

Good

4

3

4

2

4

2

2

5

5

2

Carcass value, $ 373 397 390 391 365
Net $1 265 284 257 273 207
1Net $ = carcass value minus feed cost.

 

Table 17 - Carcass data - Hereford steers, 1974 protein supplement trial
 

Self-fed rations including:

No alfalfa 5% alfalfa 15% alfalfa 25% alfalfa Soybean oilmeal
Final wt., lbs. 1049 1090 1035 1049 1078
Hot carcass wt., lbs. 621 643 619 632 648
Dressing % 59 59 60 60 60

Grades - Choice

Good

6

1

4

3

6

1

5

2

5

2

Carcass value, $ 383 385 382 385 394
Net $1 148 127 128 126 121
1Net $ = carcass value minus feed cost.

 

Table 18 - Carcass data - Hereford steers, 1975 protein supplement trial
 

Self-fed rations including:

No alfalfa 5% alfalfa 15% alfalfa 25% alfalfa Soybean oilmeal
Final wt., lbs. 1059 1100 1058 1074 1069
Hot carcass wt., lbs. 636 658 627 637 661
Dressing % 59 60 60 59 59

Grades - Prime

Choice

Good

2

4

1

1

5

1

---

7

---

---

7

---

---

5

1

Carcass value, $ 466 484 463 472 482
Net $1 203 212 195 221 229
1Net $ = carcass value minus feed cost.

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