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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
Agricultural Experiment Station
BULLETIN No. 103
COMPARISON OF METHODS OF
PREPARING CORN AND CLOVER HAY FOR
BY HERBERT W. MUMFORD
URBAN A, AUGUST, 1905
SUMMARY OF BULLETIN No. 103
OBJECT. A comparison of the methods of preparing and feeding corn and
clover hay to fattening cattle to determine which would return to cattle feeders
the largest profits. Also to secure data on the question as to whether or not the
cattle feeder can afford to buy nitrogenous concentrates to supplement corn when
an abundant supply of clover hay or other nitrogenous roughage is available.
PLAN. The test involved 130 two year old one thousand pound choice feeding
steers. The steers cost $4.53 per hundred weight in the feed lots. These were
divided into ten lots with each of which a different method of preparing corn or
clover hay was tested. That is, the ten lots of steers were fed either silage, ear
corn, shelled corn, fodder corn, corn meal, or corn and cob meal with clover hay,
the latter being chaffed and mingled with the grain part of the ration in two in-
stances. The experiment began November 28, 1903, and ended June 2, 1904, a
period of 186 days. Price of feeds used was as follows : Ear corn, 35 cents per
70 pounds; clover hay, $81oo per ton; gluten meal, $29.00; oil meal (linseed
cake), $24.00 per ton. It cost the following amounts to prepare feeds used:
Breaking ear corn, 20 cents per ton ; shelling corn, 34 cents ; grinding corn meal,
$1.20; grinding corn and cob meal, $1.44; and chaffing hay, $1.00 per ton. Hogs
followed each lot of steers to recover undigested feed. The pork thus produced
was taken into account in the financial statement. Page 44.
RAPIDITY OF GAINS. The daily gain per steer varied in the various lots from
2.08 to 2.45 pounds, the average daily gain per steer of all the lots was 2.25
pounds or 419 pounds per steer for the whole time. Page 53.
ECONOMY OF GAINS. The cheapest gains were made where the labor element
in preparing feed was reduced to the minimum. Page 62.
NATURE OF GAINS. High marketable finish in most instances accompanied
maximum labor expenditure in preparation of feed, but as high finish was se-
cured in some instances with smaller outlay for labor. Page 73.
PROFIT AND Loss. The lots fed with relatively small expenditure of labor
took the lead in net profits. The ten lots sold for an average of about $6.10 per
hundred weight. There was only one other load on the Chicago market on the
day of this sale that sold up to $6.10 per hundred weight. The margin between
buying and selling price necessary to insure the feeder against loss varied from
$.97 to $1.53 per hundred weight. The prices for the finished cattle sold returned
margins of from $1.42 to $1.62 per hundred weight not crediting the gains made
by the pigs. Page 73.
Conclusions. Page 79-
COMPARISON OF METHODS OF
PREPARING CORN AND CLOVER HAY FOR
BY HERBERT W. MUMFORD, CHIEF IN ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
During the past three years the author has made it a point to get
into communication with as many Illinois beef producers as possible
in order to study their problems and investigate their needs. Judg-
ing from the correspondence with these men it seems clear that there
is no subject connected with the business that is of greater interest to
them than that of how best to utilize the most available feeds of
Illinois, corn and clover hay. It would be impossible to investigate
experimentally every method and combination in which these feeds
might be used. However a sufficient number of them were tested in
the experiment here reported to establish certain underlying prin-
ciples in the preparation and use of these feeds and the bearing of
these methods upon the extent, economy and quality of production.
The principal object of this experiment was to determine which
method of preparing and feeding corn and clover hay to fatten-
ing cattle would return to cattle feeders, under varying condi-
tions, the largest profits. Obviously, conditions vary to such a large
extent that the same method would not be equally successful under
all of them. Some methods are very efficient for beef production, but
require a large amount of labor and practically eliminate the pork
producing factor. Other methods, while not particularly efficient
for beef production, make a good showing for combined beef and
pork production and require but a minimum amount of labor. Def-
inite data, therefore, are required on the use of these feeds in their
various forms that the cattle feeder knowing his conditions may be
able to select that form of preparation and such methods of feeding
as may best suit his conditions.
It is a fact clearly demonstrated by experiment and the experi-
ence of a large number of successful cattle feeders that where the
corn crop is supplemented with a roughage only, the use of a ni-
44 BULLETIN No. 103. [August,
trogenous one, such as clover or alfalfa hay, is followed with
better results than the use of a roughage relatively low in its con-
tent of nitrogen like the straws and timothy hay. Three rea-
sons for this fact may be stated. First, that in itself, corn with
its own roughage is relatively low in its content of nitrogen.
Hence, if other feeds are used as supplements they should be
of such composition as properly to balance the ration to meet the
demands of the animal body. Second, that clover hay, a roughage
relatively rich in nitrogen, is cheaper than timothy hay. Third, that
whether or not nitrogenous roughages can fully supplement corn and
thus be advantageously used as substitutes for nitrogenous concen-
trates, they are an available source of protein because largely grown
on Illinois farms, hence, should be used in preference to purchased
nitrogenous feeds though not necessarily to their exclusion.
Another object of this test was to secure data on the question as
to whether or not the cattle feeder can afford to buy nitrogenous
concentrates to supplement corn when an abundant supply of clover
hay is available and to what extent the answer to this question is
dependent upon the price of the feeds involved.
PiyAN OF EXPERIMENT
The steers used were purchased in the Chicago market during
the months of October and November, 1903. In all, 136 head aver-
aging about 1000 pounds each were purchased. After discarding
six steers which lacked in quality and thrift, the ten lots comprising
the test were selected. Taking the 130 head as a whole they would
grade as choice* feeding cattle.
For the past few years it has been exceedingly difficult to get to-
gether either locally or by purchase at the feeding cattle markets a
large number of native feeders possessing sufficient uniformity and
quality to grade as choice. When it is found desirable to confine se-
lections to native dehorned cattle of one breed, uniform in weight
and age, we have a most difficult task; however, all these limita-
tions have been found desirable and practically speaking essential in
feeding cattle which are to be sorted into lots for testing efficiency of
High grade Short-Horn steers were selected, not because they
are considered better for beef making purposes, but because high
grades of this breed are more numerous in the cattle market and
therefore more available to the Experiment Station than those of
any of the other beef breeds. These steers averaged about two and
one half years of age. Like the majority of high grade Short-Horn
*For description of this grade of feeding cattle see Bulletin No. 78, Illinois Experiment
1905.~\ METHODS OF PREPARING CORN FOR FATTENING STEERS.
feeding cattle these steers were of the rugged growthy type, some
of them were too long of leg and rather coarse to be ideal feeders.
They were put into the dry lot immediately upon their arrival at
the University farm and all were similarly treated until within
a week of the time the experiment began when they were gradually
accustomed to the rations to be fed during the test. For this purpose
the 130 cattle were divided into ten lots, six of which contained 15
steers each, while four contained 10 steers each. These lots together
with "the rations each received were as follows:
TABLE 1. STEERS, PIGS, AND FEEDS USED IN EACH LOT
Feeds and methods of preparation. (Gluten
meal fed first half and oil meal
second half of experiment).
Silage, corn meal, gluten meal, oil mealf
and clover hay.
Ear corn, gluten meal, oil meal and clover
Ear eorn and clover hay.
Corn meal, gluten meal, oil meal and clover
Corn meal, gluten meal, oil meal, clover
hay, hay chaffed and mingled with the
Corn and cob meal, gluten meal, oil meal
and clover hay.
Corn and cob meal, gluten meal, oil meal,
hay, hay chaffed and mingled with
Shock corn, ear corn, (according to com-
mon practice) and clover hay, oil meal
being fed during the latter part of
Shelled corn, gluten meal, oil meal and
clover hay, (fed in ordinary dirt or mud
Shelled corn, gluten meal, oil meal and
clover hay (fed in paved lot in compar-
ison with lot 9).
*The number of pigs in each lot varied somewhat from time to time, as conditions
required, but the number here given represents an average number throughout the
t Old process ground linseed cake, pea size.
46 BULLETIN No. 103. [August,
Gluten meal was fed during the first half of the feeding period,
and old process linseed cake (pea size) during the second half.
There was no special reason for the change from gluten meal to lin-
seed cake except to furnish variety. Gluten meal was fed instead
of cotton seed meal because it is a corn product, and because cot-
ton seed meal was thoroughly tested in a former experiment* at this
Station in which it proved a most excellent supplement to corn.
Where not otherwise specified the clover hay was fed uncut in the
As in previous experiments, pigs were provided to follow the
steers to utilize whatever undigested food-stuffs passed through
the steers. For the purpose of testing the efficiency of feeds for
combined beef and pork production it is believed best to put a suffi-
cient number of pigs behind the steers to consume the droppings
available for pork production. It is obvious that to get the greatest
returns from the droppings and still determine the relative amount
of pork that the undigested food in the droppings of each lot of
steers would make, the number of pigs should be kept as small as pos-
sible, as under this system a minimum amount of food found in the
droppings is used for the mere maintenance of the animal. This was
the plan followed in determining the number of pigs used with each
lot of cattle involved in this experiment. The regulation of the num-
ber of pigs with each lot of steers was attended with considerable
difficulty owing to the variation in the nature of the concentrates fed
the cattle and the consequent variation in amount of feed available
to the pigs. The common practice of Illinois cattle feeders is to put
in from one to two pigs per steer and feed corn in addition to the
droppings in amounts determined by the appetites of the pigs.
The feed racks were so constructed and the feeding done in
such manner that practically the only grain available for hog food
had first passed through the steers. Results of former feeding ex-
periments made it possible to determine approximately the percent-
age of corn fed in various forms to the steers that would eventually
be available in the droppings for hog food. Bulletin 83, Illinois
These data were helpful, but notwithstanding this fact, frequent
changes were found to be necessary during the first few weeks in
order to provide each lot with the proper number. The hogs used'
were fairly thrifty shoats of miscellaneous, and in some instances
indifferent breeding, from six months to one year of age. They av-
eraged about no pounds in weight at the beginning of the experi-
ment. The matter of the hogs following the steers will be more
fully discussed in the later pages of this bulletin.
'Bulletin No. 90.
1905.'] METHODS OP PREPARING CORN FOR FATTENING STEERS. 47
Great care was exercised in making up the various lots of steers
and the pigs following same that none should have the advantage
over others at the beginning so far as age, quality, or condition was
concerned. All will recognize the importance of such even division,
but few will appreciate the difficulties attending it. All critics
agree that the lots were very uniform, and evenly graded and that
whatever differences occurred during the progress of the experiment;
were occasioned by differences in the rations fed.
As the shelter, feed lots, and water supply provided for the steers
during this experiment were the same as those used in the Market
Grade Experiment, the following statement taken from Bulletin No.
90 will cover these points.
SHELTER, FEED LOTS, AND WATER SUPPLY
"The shelter provided for the various lots of steers used in this
experiment consisted of a low shed open to the south, very similar to
the open sheds 'in common use for cattle feeding in the corn belt. It
could hardly be said that the feed lots were like those commonly seen
in Illinois, for, with the exception of feed lot No. 9 they were all
paved with brick. It is impossible to get two feed lots in which
conditions would be precisely the same without some provision for
keeping the cattle out of the mud. As the feed lots were small,
36x48 feet, with a 1 2-foot shed running along the north side, mak-
ing the total size 36x60 feet, paving with brick seemed the
most practicable system. The lots were not paved under the sheds,
where the ground was protected from all surface water. The sheds
were kept well bedded, but no attempt was made to bed the pave-
ment. The lots were frequently cleaned, and in wet weather the
consistency of the manure on the pavement was such that it could
have been handled more advantageously had litter of some sort been
freely mingled with it. The price of bedding at the time prohibited
its use for this purpose. During the day the steers had access to
pure fresh water stored in galvanized steel tanks into which it was
drawn from the University plant. Late in the evening of each day
during the coldest weather the water was all drawn from the tanks
by means of a convenient device in the bottom of each and carried
away in a tile provided for that purpose."
A detailed description of the Station experimental feed lots ac-
companied with drawings and cuts will be published in circular form
at an early date and will be supplied to all who send requests for it.
The preliminary feeding lasted one week, beginning with No-
vember 21, during which time the steers were gradually started on
rations similar to those subsequently fed in the experiment.
48 BULLETIN No. 103. [August,
During this preliminary feeding a large proportion of the ration
of all the steers was roughage, a comparatively light grain ration
being fed ; the latter amounted approximately to 4.5 pounds daily to
each steer at the end of the preliminary feeding period, while the
former was approximately double that amount. Taking the whole
of the preliminary feeding period into account the proportion of
grain to roughage fed was as I 12.7. The average daily gain of each
steer for the seven days was 3.21 pounds. The grain consumed per
pound of increase in live weight was 1.69 pounds and of roughage
4.64 pounds. The actual cost of gains per hundred weight on the
entire 130 steers during the preliminary feeding (Nov. 21-28) was
$2.98. "Such results are to be anticipated when well shrunk, thin
feeding steers are placed in the feed lot and permitted the luxury
of more liberal feeding."*
METHOD OF FEEDING STEERS
The experiment proper began November 28, 1903, and from that
date throughout the experiment the steers were fed grain and rough-
age twice daily, grain being fed before the roughage. During the
winter months, they received their grain at seven a. m. and at four
p. m., the roughage being fed as soon as the feeding of the grain
was finished. Grain and hay, except where the latter was chaffed,
were fed in separate racks. As the season advanced the morning ra-
tion was fed earlier and the evening ration later in the day.
Both the steers and the pigs were weighed every two weeks.
The initial weights were secured by taking the average of the
weights on November 27, 28, and 29, considering this average as
the proper weight for the middle day, November 28. In securing
the weights at the beginning of the experiment and all subsequent
weights, the steers were weighed before their morning feed of grain
and roughage, water having been withheld since the night before.
QUALITY AND COST OF FEEDS
The gluten and linseed meal were both of good grades; the
former was the "Cream" brand, the latter "Old Process," pea size.
With the exception of an occasional bale the clover hay used graded
No. i. The corn graded No. i Yellow. The corn used was 82.25
percent grain and 17.75 percent cob. The feeds used were prepared
at the University cattle feeding plant. That is to say, the shelling
and grinding of corn and chaffing of the hay were all accom-
plished on the University farm. Both the corn meal and the corn
'Bulletin 83, Illinois Experiment Station, page 548.
1905.} METHODS OF PREPARING CORN FOR FATTENING STEERS. 49
and cob meal were finely ground. The shock (fodder) corn and
silage used were grown in the same field on the University farm and
the plots reserved for use were selected with the greatest care that
the quality and proportion of grain to stover should be the same in
each instance. The corn yielded 42.69 bushels per acre. Eighty
pounds to the bushel of ears is taken as the basis as the corn was
weighed when first husked. The stover yielded 1.31 tons per acre.
On this basis 56.6 percent of the total crop was grain and 43.4 per-
Taking into account depreciation in machinery by wear and the
actual labor involved, the records show that it cost the following
amounts to prepare feeds used :
Breaking ear corn for lots 2 and 3 $.010 per cwt. or $ .20
Shelling corn for lots 9 and 10 $.017 per cwt. or 34
Grinding corn meal for lots 4 and 5 $.060 per cwt. or 1.20
Grinding corn and cob meal for lots 6 and 7 $.072 pei cwt. or. . 1.44
Chaffing hay by running through ensilage machine $.050 per
cwt. or i.oo
PRICE OF FEEDS INCLUDING COST OF PREPARATION
Ear corn, $.35 per bu., or $10.00
Broken ear corn 10.20
Oil meal (ground linseed cake, pea size) 24.00
Gluten meal 29.00
Clover hay 8.00
Chaffed clover hay 9-
Shelled corn including cost of shelling 12.48
Corn meal including cost of grinding (and of shelling the
corn before grinding) I 3-34
Corn and cob meal including cost of grinding H-44
Shock (fodder) corn including cost of hauling to feed lots. . 5.40
Silage 2 -75
The following table is presented because many cattle feeders will
be interested in knowing just how much and what kind of grain and
how much and what kind of roughage the steers received daily by
periods during the various stages of the fattening process.
50 BULLETIN No. 103. [August,
TABLE 2. DAILY RATION PER STEER BY PERIODS (POUNDS)
Corn and cob meal
Corn and cob meal
Clover hay ,
* Period 1 extended from November 28 to December 26, 1903; period 2, December 26,
1903, to January 23, 1904: period 3, January 23 to February 20; period 4, February 20 to
March 19; period 5, March 19 to April 16; period 6. April 16 to June 1.
Since the average weights of the steers in the various lots were
similar at the beginning of the experiment and as the gains made
by the various lots were not greatly different, the discussion of the
points brought out in Tables 2 and 3 will follow Table 3.
1905.] METHODS OF PREPARING CORN FOR FATTENING STEERS.
In general, however, there is so much variation in the weights of
fattening cattle that from the student's standpoint at least, the
amounts of feed fed daily per thousand pounds of live weight should
be carefully studied. Table 3 is, therefore, of interest.
TABLE 3. DAILY RATION PER THOUSAND POUNDS LIVE WEIGHT