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Property of the United States GoverneW
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY.-BULLETIN No 91.
A. D. MELVIN, CHIEF OF BUREAU.
FEEDING PRICKLY PEAR TO STOCK
Assistant in Chargee of Range and CactIs 1ncs/igallioois. atiit .fa1,aigt'ieu'n,
Investigations, Rup rantt of Plant Indnstrjy
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
BUREAUT OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY,
Wa.shiengton, D. C., July 28, 1906.
Sin: I have the honor to transmit herewith and to recommend for
publication as a bulletin of this Bureau a manuscript entitled "Feed-
ing. Prickly Pear to Stock in Texas," by David Griffiths, assistant in
charge of Ruange and Cactus Investigations, Farm Management
Investigations, Bureau of Plant Industry. The accompanying letter
from the Chief of the Bureau of Plant Industry explains why, although
the work was done under the supervision of that Bureau, it seems
desirable to publish the paper as a bulletin of the Bureau of Animal
Respectfully, A. D. MELVIN,
Chief cj Bureau.
o11011. JAMES WILSON,
S crvtarq ,f Agr;cullture.
LETTER OF SUBMITTAL.
U. S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY,
Wa.shington, D. C., JulY .5, 1.906.
SIR: I have the pleasure to transmit the manuscript of a paper
entitled Feeding Prickly Pear to Stock in Texas," and recommend
that it be published as a bulletin of the series of your Bureau. The
investigations reported here are necessarily dual in character and deal
with a subject, partially within the province of investigation of both
bureaus. It, is a subject upon which we needed more information
before proceeding further with investigations into the value of vari-
ous species of cacti as farm and range crops. Inasmuch as the paper
deals primarily with the animal side of the subject, I submit it to you
The paper was prepared by Dr. David Griffiths, assistant in charge
of Range and Cactus Investigations, and has been submitted by the
agriculturist in charge of Farm Management Investigations with a
view to its publication. It is a continuation of Bulletin No. 74 of
the Bureau of Plant. Industry, which gives an account of the practice
of stockmen in the use of cacti as forage plants, particularly in south-
west Texas, where most of the cactus is fed.
The present paper gives an account, of some experiments conducted
by stockmen at the suggestion and under the direction of this Bureau.
The results of these experiments are of unusual interest. The experi-
ment with dairy cows was made in such a manner as to compare the
cactus directly with sorghum hay. The two animals under experi-
ment. were fed at the beginning both cactus and sorghum. Their
feed was then gradually changed to cactus. Afterwards one of them
continued to receive cactus, while the other was changed gradually
to sorghum hay. After a period of such feeding the feeds were gradu-
ally interchanged. During the whole of this test both cows were fed
a mixed grain ration in addition to the roughage.
Generally speaking, the results indicate that cactus ad libitum
produces a little better results in milk flow than sorghum hay ad
libitum, both with sufficient grain, though the differences are small.
4 LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL. ""
The results indicate that 6 pounds of fresh cactus are equivalent ,
in feeding value to 1 pound of dry sorghum hay. The test with i
beef cattle was undertaken to ascertain the cost of fattening cattle
on cactus and cotton-seed meal, a common practice in the region
where the cactus is mostly fed. The carload of steers used in the
test made only moderate gains, averaging 1 I pounds daily for each
head during the fattening period. The very interesting result was
obtained, however, that this gain was made at a cost of a little less
than 3" cents a pound.
In both cases the results indicate that stockmen are justified in
making use of cactus as an efficient and cheap source of nutriment
Further studies of cacti, including a large number of chemical
analyses from a feed-stuff standpoint, are nearly completed, and the
results will be ready for publication in the near future.
B. T. GALLOWAY,
Chief of Bureau.
Dr. A. D. MELVIN,
Ch'tiJ Burteau of Animal Industry.
The evident value of prickly pear as a forage, judging by the experi-
ence of many who have fed this material, the urgent demand for
information concerning it, and the lack of experimental data from
which a reasonable estimate of the food value can be made, rendered
experimental feeding highly desirable. The difficulties in conducting
such an experiment were manifold. In thle first place, it was highly
desirable that the cattle used should be accustomed to the feed. The
only section of the country in which such cattle could be found was
far removed from any experiment station. Trained experimenters
who were familiar with cactus feeding were wholly wanting. Fortu-
nately, however, a number of persons who had fed cactus for many
years in southwest Texas appreciated fully the value of the informa-
tion sought and were willing nut only to furnish the cattle and pro-
vide the feed, but to attend to the details of the feeding and weighing.
In the experiment with dairy cows conditions were such that it was
impossible to feed more than two cows experimentally. Yet a careful
inspection of the results show that the care with which Mr. Sinclair
carried out the details of the work renders the results of great value
as an indication of the possible value of prickly pear as a feed for
dairy cows. It is shown that a ration producing between 1 and 1
pounds of butter a day cost in the neighborhood of 13 cents when
pear, rice bran, and cotton-seed meal was fed.
Although prickly pear is low in nutritive value from the chemical
standpoint, the steer-feeding experiment also shows that there is
abundant justification of the practices in vogue of preparing cattle
for market upon prickly pear and cotton-seed meal. A gain of I-
pounds a day at an expense of 31 cents a pound compares very favor-
ably with feeding results obtained with standard feeds.
W. J. SPILLMAN,
Agriculturist in I'-harge of Farmnt Managern tt htvntsigalions.
Digitized jb lihe Inlernel Archie
in 2012 irlri funding from
LIr.,eizil, ol Florida GCeorge A Smalhers Libranes. ahIn zuppori from L','RASiS and hie Sloan Foundation
rilip arcriie org delails feedOCOusde
Int reduction .............................................................. 9
T he pea r fld ..... ............ ... ... .... .. .. .. .... .... .... .... .. .. .. 9
Pri.klyv puair in the' ration .)I dairy ,wm.- ........... ...................... 11
nd itin f th, ,pt.rin if it . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... ... 11
M e tlh o d f I'vI diFs . ... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . . .. 12
F ending period . . ... .... .... .. .... .. .. .... .. .... .... .. ... . .. .. 12
D aily record far PH riod I ............... ...... ............ -........ 14
D daily record for Pvriod 1,' .......................................... 14
(Coum pnrinn of different periods......................................... 15
('o nd ition -if tli : an im :al- ... ... ................ ...................... 17
Influi-n e' of p -ear on iiialiit'y of m ilk ...................................... 18
P rickly pear in ration f livef ,attl' ........... ...... ................... 18
('onditionz; of th, e.xperim ent ............... . ............ 18
M ,.-thod of feeding .i ............... ...... .... . ............. 19
W e ig h in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .. 1 9
Shipm ent and alei of steevrs ................ ............. .. .. 20
.Tht Fevts u-.d ...... .. ................................. . ..... 20
G general ol -4 rvuti, . ............. .... ...... . . . 20
T he nature af cliioppi'I pe it. ................................................ 22
1. Cows used in ihe m ilking test.......... ................................. 12
2. Fig. 1 -Some of the beef cattle uqed in the feeding experiments. Fig. 2.-
Field of pric.klv pear on the Sinclair ranch................................ 16
3. Fig. 1.-Machinery ready to chop pear. Fig. 2.-Chopped pear ready for feeding. 20
1. Diagram showing average yield nf milk of cows Nos. 12 and 13 during periods I,
II, III, and IV .. .............................. ........ .... .... ... 15
FEEDING PRICKLY PEAR TO STOCK IN TEXAS.
Bulletin No. 74 of the Bureau of Plant Industry surgested in a
brief, popular way some uf thle mnore important features of the prob-
lem of utilizing cacti as feed flr live stock. The present paper is a
continuation of that publication, designed to furnish information
upon one feature of the problem treated but slightly in the bulletin
In the data here presented the aim has been to secure a record of
the value of pear as commonly fed. It has not been the main pur-
pose to determine the best methods of feeding this forage plant.
In the experiments oit!lined the endeavor was made to change cur-
rent practice no more than was necessary to secure the essential
data. To determine accurately the value of prickly pear as a dairy
or fattening ration would require more elaborate experiments. It
has been the aim to give here simply a record of what the rancher
realizes from his pear by the ordinary methods of feeding, though
such other data as the records have revealed have been noted.
Two experiments are outlined, both conducted under the imme-
diate supervision of ranchers in southern Texas in cooperation with
the Bureau of Plant Industry. The first test was undertaken by
Mr. Alexander Sinclair, of San Antonio, to whom the greatest credit
is due, not only for the conduct of the work but also for assist-
ance in planning the experiments and for suggestions in connection
with the interpretation of results. The actual work was performed
under his immediate direction by his son, Mr. William Sinclair. The
second test was conducted by Mr. T. A. Coleman upon his ranch at
Encinal. The feeding was done under Mr. Coleman's immediate
supervision, and to his interest and varied experience is due whatever
success has been attained.
THE PEAR FED.
There is such confusion in the scientific disposition of the prickly
pears that it seems almost hazardous to venture an opinion regard-
ing the proper names of even such common and conspicuous species
as those or southern Texas. After studying the forms for two years,
5886-No. 91-06-----2 9
FEEDING; PRICKLY PEAR TO STOCK IN TEXAS.
however, the writer believes that hlie can readily determine all the
species growing in the region andI fed in these experiments. There
is, however. -utich variation in the limitation of the species consid-
ered inii these pages that it may be advisable to note more than one
species inII what i.- here called Oipuflia lindheinieri Engelm.
There are iiLsuilI- recognized in this region two species of prickly
pear, known, respectively. as OpunltWi minacrorhizn Engelm. and
latter has at least two forms more or less distinct, one with yellow
spines and the other with spines red or brown at the base. The
yell, w-spined form is the typical Opunti i, ndheiinri, as originally
IlescribedI by Doctor Englemann. and thle latter corresponds more
<'lVelv wit I, hat was originally named Olunftia nrgtilmannii Salm,
altlhouzh it dtiffers considerably from the typical form6 of that
specie,; as it 'occurs in the type lcality in northern Chihuahua. Both
of tlhec f,,rm-i, aire at present ('cosidered by a majority of botanists
to he the same -species.
Be-.idle these, there is a form which has also been included under
O;.'u;iii n ldli t,,i.; having spines reddish-brown throughout, with
joints somewhat smaller and less prolific at least in a state of nature.
This form is also less thorny on the average than the larger-jointed
yellow-spined variety, and forms a large part of what is popularly
called blue pear" in southern Texas. However, all blue pear does
not have brown spines, for the smoother and more glaucous forms of
the yellow-spined variety are also included under this name. All of
th(-e forms-those with yvellow spines, with brown spines, and with
yellow spine.- brown at the base-have fruits which are normally
re llish-purple throughout: but there is a yellow-spined form having
green fruits, tinzeud with purple outside and greenish-yellow within;
its seeds alo differ very radicazilly from what we consider typical for
the species, beini, about twice as large, the difference in size being
made up crvery largely in the mniargin. This form is riot to be distin-
guished in any way from the typical yellow-spined form by any
habit, spine, or spicule character. Notwithstanding the fact that
reproductive characters are supposed to be reasonably constant, the
inclination is to consider this also a variety of Opuntia lindheimeri.
a It eems bitter o10 retain this name until such time as the synonymy of the group can
be -atifar-torilv determined. There is no doubt that the plant in question is the one to
whit h IthI riname wa. originally applied.
b Tvp- 'pud im,'ns ihEn they become old yield but little information regarding the color
of the ;pine-. for after being preserved for somnie time all the spines turn black. This is
true of the typ's of Opunlrda lindhelireri which have been examined in the herbarium of
the Miis-,ouri Botanical Garden. Accurate conceptions of these features must therefore
be secured by a -,tudv of living plants in the type localities.
PRICKLY PEAR IN RATION Ol" DAIRY COWS.
In addition to those mient ioned, there is a distinct species which it
is believed has not heretofore been recognized by botanists. This is
common south and east of ('otuilla, Tex., and consequently is found
growing in the Encinal region, where one of the experiments was
conducted. It is -very distinct from the species previously mentioned,
with which it is always associated. It is different in general appear-
ance, as well as in its more strictly botanical characters, being the
tallest, most woody, and most loosely branched of the prickly pears
of southern Texas. It is characterized by circular joints and by
single, erect, long, straw-colored, translucent, bonelike spines, which
occasionally have a tinge of red at the base. It blooms and matures
its fruit four to six weeks later than the forms of Opuntia lindheimeri,
the most common of the Texas pears, and its fruit is smaller and
more nearly globular. This plant is almost universally known among
the Mexican population of thi- section as"0caanapa." It will doubt-
less be described as a new species, in which case it would be advisable
to use "cacanapa" as the specific name.
All of these forms included utinder Opf'uii'z liadheimeri were used in
these experiments, the yellow-spined or typical one predominating
in the rations. More of the brown-spined form was fed at Encinal
than at San Antonio, although considerable of it was fed at the latter
place. At Encinal some cacanapa was fed. but probably not more
than 1 or 2 per cent of the ration.
PRICKLY PEAR IN RATION OF DAIRY COWS.
CONDITIONS OF THE EXPERIMENtr.
The two cows selected for the experiment, were secured from Mr.
Sinclair's herd of about 100 head. As it was desirable to have gentle
cattle, the selection was made especially with this point in view.
They were, however, typical specimens of the herd in other respects
and were known upon the ranch as Nos. 12 and 13. They are both
Holstein-Jersey stock. In No. 12 -I'Holstein characters predominated
decidedly, while in No. 13 Jersey characterist ics were more prominent.
No. 13 was 6 years old and dropped calf November 27; No. 12 was 7
years old and dropped calf December 6. They were thoroughly
accustomed to pear pastures and had been fed singed pear for two
to four months each winter. (See pl. 1.)
During the feeding period the cows were kept in separate sheds,
opening to the east into small pens about 10 yards square. There
were feeding troughs in the sheds and a constant supply of water was
kept. in the pens. On the whole the sheds were a little more exposed
than the barn where the general herd was kept, but the herd was
turned out every night except during the coldest weather, while the
test cows had their choice of shed or pen.
FEEDING PRICKLY PEAR TO STOCK IN TEXAS.
To accustom the animals to their new quarters they were removed ::|
from the herd and put ill these pens one week before record keeping i
was begun. They were perfectly contented from the start. In order
to secure uniformity the same person did the milking during the .'
METHOD OF FEEDING.
The pear was singed in the field with a gasoline torch (see pl. 2,
fig. 21, cut and hauled to the barnyard, and unloaded in a pile on the
barn lo)or, from which it was fed as desired. A load was sufficient
for a week or ten days. This method kept. the pear at a lower, more .4
uniform temperature, no doubt, than that which was fed to the .il
remainder of the herd. The pear in the building during the pro-"
longed cold weather in January did not heat up during the day as
much as that standing in the field. The difference, however, was
very slight, except during the coldest weather indicated in the tables,
when the p.ear kept indoors was frozen from twenty-four to forty-
eight hours longer than that in the field. Each feed was weighed
separately at the time of feeding. I
At feeding time the material was placed in a box and chopped
with i a spade into pieces of a convenient size for the animals to eat,
usually the equivalent to 2 or 3 inches square. The grain was inva- 1
riably fed at milking time, and a ration of roughage consisting of pear i
or sorghuni hay, ,or both, was fed three times each day. Pear was 'I
always fed after milking, morning and evening, and about midday. 1
It "as the purpose during the entire period to feed all the pear the
cows would eat, with a definite ration of grain and hay', or of grain i
alone. There was consequently some pear left in the boxes each .
morning. This was always cleaned out and deducted from the pre- .
vious day's ration. It is usual when feeding for beef to sprinkle the .,
meal over the chopped pear, but this could not be done here, for it
was the purpose to get as much information as possible regarding. i_
the quantity of pear which the animals would consume with a definite
grain and hay ration, or without the latter. The meal could not,
therefore, be fed with the pear on account of the waste which would .
occur and the indefinite character of the results so far as the quantity
of grain fed was concerned.
The first period covered twenty days, beginning January 25 and
ending February 13. During this period the cows were fed, as they .
had been during the forty-seven days immediately preceding the j
experiment, rations consisting of rice bran, cotton-seed meal, a small ;I
feed of sorghum hay, and all the prickly pear they would eat. During J
the next four days the sorghum hay was gradually reduced so that by
BUL ho. 91, B. A. I.
-. J -F
FIG. 2.-Cow No. 13.
COWS USED IN THE MILKING TEST.
I IIrIllh'il February 22, 1905.
February 18, when the second period began, cactus formed the only
roughage fed. Period II extended over eighteen days. During the
twelve days immediately following Period II the roughage fed cow
No. 12 was gradually changed from cactus to sorghum hay, so that
during the third period of the experiment, which lasted fourteen days,
the roughage fed cow No. 12 consisted entirely of sorghum hay, while
that fed cow No. 13 consisted entirely of cactus. During the seven
days between Periods III and IV the roughage of each cow was coinm-
pletely changed, in the case of one from sorghum hay to cactus, and
in the other from cactus to sorghum hay. Period IV lasted fifteen
It will be noted that these cows at the close of the first period of
this experiment had been fed without change of ration for sixty-seven
days. During the experiment the roughage fed each cow was changed
first to cactus alone, and then to sorghum hay alone. In the case of
cow No. 12 the roughage was changed back to cactus alone during
the last period. It is notable that the normal milk flow was hardly
interrupted during the whole experiment and that the yield of milk
was satisfactory throughout, except for a slight decrease just at the
close of Period I, evidently due to unusually cold weather.
In the following tabular statements it has been thought, wise, since
the data are available, to include the daily record for Periods I and
IV, inasmuch as this is, we believe, the first published account of
pear-feeding data. Ordinarily one period would be sufficient for this,
but two are included on account of the excessively low temperatures
of late January and early February, introducing variations which
would not ordinarily occur. Since the excessively low temperatures
influenced results so materially, the United States Weather Bureau
observations at San Antonio are incorporated up to February 13,
1905, for convenient reference in interpreting the decrease in milk
flow during the first two or three weeks of the experiment.
14 FEEDING PRICKLY PEAR TO STOCK IN TEXAS.
DAILY RECORD FOR PERIOD I.
During this period ithe C.U'ws were upon thc same feed they had been accustomed to at this
time of the year. They had been fed this ration since December 9. Besides the feed tabu-
lated hilow, cow No. 12 got 12 pounds of rice bran and 3 pounds of cotton-seed meal, with
the exception uf the last two days of the period, when she would eat only 11 pounds of rice
bran Cow No. 13 was started in at 12 pounds of rice bran and 3 pounds of cotton-seed
animal, but the rice bran was decreased to 10 pounds on January 28 and to 8 pounds dn Feb-
ruary 6, because 8 pounds of rice bran was all that she would clean up. It was the purpose
to feed all the sorghum hay and pear that the cows would eat during this period.
YwlId of milk.
No. 12. No. 13.
lanuary ) .. ..
.lanuij ry '2 .
JanLi rfy '%U..
January .31.. .
February I .... .
Februa r;,- 2 .......
F,r rua ry 3 .......
FrI-.rua ury- 5 ... .
F'?br ua ry .. .
Februd ry 9 .......
F' bruarv 10 ......
February II ......
February 1 ...
F.'ruary 3 .. '
3 0( 33. 0
37 0 .30.0
7 5 31 5
43 0 3'32.5
40. t. 33.0
41 2 3 33
. 5 1 2.9
3. 5 29. 1
6. 4 27 3
34 1i 25. 9
35.'1, 2 3
3f) 5 26. 8
is 5 29.5
.n .31 0
J33 27 5
Butter fat in mdilk. Amount of roughage fed. Atmos-
I -- pheric
Percent. Amount. Prickly pear. Sorghum. ti re.er
i i, -
Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Max- Mini-
No. No. No. 12. No. 13. No. 12. No. 13. No. 12.'No. 13.'mum. munm.
l 12. 13.
Lb,. I LbZ. Lbs. Lbs. Lbs. Lbs. F. F.
Si40 60 b2 i 12 15 44 31
3.13 4 0 4.28 3.78 86 Ml IC1 10 41 25
I I, 101
t l ib
| I 1 | 5
I I lI?.
S I 139
5.53 4.52 ,I
5.83 4.88 IJ
4.3 3.54 1M0
The rapid d*erca'e in milk flow toward the close of this period is doubtless due to the unusually
t Extra sorghum hay fed on account of frozen pear.
DAILY RECORD FOR PERIOD IV.
Period IV covered 15 days, with cow No. 12 receiving all the pear and cow No. 13 all the
'orghuna hay they would eat. Cow No. 12 received 12 pounds rice bran and 3 pounds cot-
tun-see'd meal and cow No. 13, S pounds rice bran and 3 pounds cotton-seed meal.
April I1.... ..
A p ril II ...... ....
April 12 ....
April 13.... ...
April 1. ........
A prl I :.... . ..
April I ..... ...
A p ril 17.... .. ...
April 1 .... .....
April 19 .. .. ....
April 2n. .... ....
April 21 ..........
April 22 ..... .....
A pril 23 .... ... ..
April 24 ........ .
SButter fat in milk.
Yield rif nilk.
l'er cent. I Amount.
Cow Co'-. i Cow I Cow Cow Co
No. 12. No. 13. No. 12. No. 13. No. 12. No.
Lbs. Lh. Lbs. Lb
3.3 6 27 7 I 24 1
35 7 244 30 3.8 2.494 L
36. 8 2. 6 3.8 3.9 .39 1.
3, 2 28 4 3.4 3.2 1.231
3r; 0 2'. 8 3.2 3.6 L. 15 1.
3-2 6 27. 5 3.6 3.8 17 1.
32 4 2' 4 1 1. I. |
30.3 2,0. 3.6 4 2 1 09 3
I 1 2 4 1' I. It 1
I 31. I 27. 4.0 3.8 1: "
I 33 9 2. 4 1.3 5 3.
; 32.2 27. 3 3.6 3.8 I 15
' 34.4 2S 4 3.4 4.0 1 ILt 1.
S31 I 26 6 1 8 ',7 1.25 2,,
:13 5 28.3 if 38 1.271
Amount of roughage fed.
Prickly pear. I Sorghum.
... 149 ..
Cow 1 Cow I Cow
o. 13. No. 1?. No. 13.
Lbs. Lbs. L' bs.
. . .. .. . 19
. . . .. . . 2,
.. . . . . ; 2 2
. .. .... 23
. .. . . .. 2 1
. . . .. . .. 2 3
.... . . 23
.. .. ... ... 25
. . . . . . 2 5
...... .... 2 4
. ... . .. .... 23
.. . .... .. 23
. . . . . . .. 2 5
.. .. .. I 23
a Young joints not eaten not counted in average.
FEEDING P'ERIDS. 15
COMPARISON OF DIFFERENT PERIODS..
The fol low ing table show- tie li ilk and butter yiel Id i tlhe different
Cow No 12 i %n N, I
.. Avrraj, -t %v rC, \g- r i, A rrap.
Period. I 1 d."- .iil1 .1.J%
I,,i.-il of % 1-i' II .i 1 .1 .if[ .>lil""
m ilk. IJutr, I Fit ll i tl li r.
'i Pound'l Pounu d. I'our,, I'n,lniln
I 'l'<-tir ua d ;lorghtlin n =; I .', l .. .r., ,,-rihn,,. I ; 1
I r . .. ... ; i r -i I l..J
III Sorghumni I 7,. l, r. 4., 1 32
IV 'ear .. 31 1 So'ir-chimnn ... . -' 1.24
a In co ulpilimiii' iltlh r .,'J. (I ',. poirl ,.i l.iit't r I'J is 4 ...ii, tr,..l **ijil i1 it I Ip-il, oi f l ol ter.
If we compare an average o'f Periuil II an I INV witli iperilo III for
cow No. 12 we have an average dailv vielil ,f 314.6 pii-. n f mdilk
and 1.445 pouttnds of butter on pear, indI an avcrai, c If 33.7 pounlll-.
of milk and 1.46 pounds of butter on 'sorghum. In tlie crse of cow
S PERIOD 1- 200DAY. PERIOD -18DAY5. PERIOD M -14 DAYS PERIOD IrV-15DAVS.
BOTH COWS NOs 12 AND l3 BOTH COWS NOS ,2 AND COw No I EED 5OR- COW N 12 F'ED
M FED PRICKLY PEAR AND 50R- 1.3 FEDO P'iCKILV PEAR G.UM MAY AND COvw PPiCKLV PEAR AND N
S HU'M HAX N9.3 PRiCHLY PEAR 1.3 5ORGHUM HAV.
.9 Ii I' 711i hV 'T4iF l fll I
DEAR AND I0SOG-uM | T i II I| I| l i; I f
SORGHUM IT i I TI..I. i iI I I -i
III II I-i, ii ri- r =iiy~il7' ,
: : I:- I lj 1 1 1 i ;, ::: I::jIj l :i
I6 IU If !' v \ mi FL '"* i'' oq
35 iii i ll] i ii j af Ii s~ot lit I.. A. .
l7 -- ___I- _I i,,
at llil i ;;,- lliiT!TiT111-]7T 21V'
30 PEAR AND SORGIUM I iI i,--EAI T
ll l l l i l i lii l I I SO.. . ,
26 ----- [ -
I i-ll : + i i l li l i ~ i i i i
FIG. 1.-Diapram showing a'er, -t vield .f milk rd, Co' i No, 12 un.l 1 'iurini. PPri-' I. IT. I I.
and IV. The character of the roughage ; indicatlid for i.til animal in eacrh penr d. The scalp
showing the yield of milk in oounis per day- s placed at te lelt The sn'all cirIrs indicate the
average yields fur thlie periods. It will Ie. n lt,_c'd I hat lh e d hcline in v'e!,I. which is rt, I, e expected
as lac station ad ances, is not quite so rapid rn pear as it is on ?nrghiiTi hay
No. 13 the periods can not be so satisfactorily grouped to eliminate
the effect of advancing lactation. The best comparison that can be
made is between an average of Periods I and IV and II and III, when
the record shows the following:
Average for Periods I and IV (sorghum mostly), 28.6 pounds of
milk and 1.335 pounds of butter.
Average for Periods II and III (pear), 29.25 pounds of milk and
1.340 pounds of butter.
The relative milk flow can be appreciated more readily in the
accompanying diagram (fig. 1).
FEEDING PRICKLY PEAR TO STOCK INT
The tables and the diagram show:
(1) Cow No. 12 shows a gradual decrease from a pear and sorghum
ration in Period I to a pear ration in Period II, but. not quite so rapid.
a decline as took place during Period III, when sorghum was fed. Int.
Period IV, while a decrease is shown, it is less marked than in the
preceding sorghum period.
(2) Cow No. 13 shows a slight decline in Period II and an almost
complete recovery in Period III, but a sharp decline when sorghum is'
fed in Period IV.
(3) A full roughage ration of pear with a constant grain ration
appears to yield fully as good results as a full roughage ration of or-
ghumin hay. The records are really a little more favorable to the pear
COST OF FEED.
It is impossible with our present imperfect knowledge regarding.
the rate of growth and habits of prickly pear under cropping condi-.
tions to make an estimate which is at all reliable regarding the cost
of this item of the ration. In the computations, therefore, it is
deemed best. to omit the item of cost of producing the crop of pear...
The estimates do not, therefore, contain any account, of the use of the
land upon which the pear is grown. At all events, this would be in ....
accord with the general sentiment that pear costs nothing. This, of
course, is not strictly true, although the rancher has as yet paid but
little attention to prickly pear culture. He gathers it from his native
pastures as he does his firewood. Upon this farm, however, a con-
siderable effort has been made to propagate the plant, though the :
cost of the effort could not be estimated. The cost of the other items :
of the ration was as follows, the prices quoted being those actually
paid upon the ranch during the time the feeding was in progress:
Per ton. i
('o ioni-seed m eal.............. ............................... 522.
R ice bran ................. .................................. 13 ."
Sorgh'im ha%.............................. ....... .............. 7 i
One man can easily burn pear for 100 cows, and in addition he .
can assist in milking. He will use about 10 gallons of gasoline each 1|
day. During the past winter this cost 12 cents a gallon. The cost-i::";;:
of a day's rations for each cow while pear without hay was being fed "j
was as follows:
12 pounds of rice bran ......................................... 7.8 4."
3 pounds of cotton-seed meal .................................. 3. 3 .
L a b o r . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . 7 5
G aso line . .. .. .. ... . . .. .. .. .. .. . .. .... .. .. .. .... .. .. .... 1.2
Total .. .............................................. 13.05
T EX :: .
BUL. No. 91 B. A. I.
FIG. 1.-SOME OF THE BEEF CATTLE USED IN THE FEEDING EXPERIMENTS.
FIG. 2.-FIELD OF PRICKLY PEAR ON THE SINCLAIR RANCH.
PECULIARITIES NOTED TN FEEDING.
This estimate is a trifle high, as it. includes the cost of labor in
excess of the time actually occupied in feeding. Thirteen cents a
day will, therefore, represent very closely the entire cost. of a ration
as outlined above. When sorghum hay was fed in addition to the
pear the cost of the feed was a little higher, but as hay was increased
: the cost of labor and gasoline decreased. It must be remembered,
also, that. the above estimate of 13 cents represents the maximum
cost of the ration of the test cattle, and that the computation of the
cost of feeding pear is based upon actual experience on the ranch
during the past several years.
PECULIARITIES NOTED IN FEEDING.
On April 15 and 16, when cow No. 12 alone was on a full roughage
ration of pear, it was observed that she left more than usual in the
trough, although she seemed to relish the feed. This was at the
time when young joints were first fed in any quantity, and it was soon
discovered that it. was pieces of these and not of the older joints
that were left. After this the young joints were thrown out and no
more of them fed during the remainder of the experiment. In the
field cattle eat these young shoots readily in the spring, while they
may not molest the older ones, but the reason is probably due to
the condition of the spines alone. They would probably eat the
older joints even more readily than the younger ones were they not
so formidably protected.
The leathery texture of the young joints appears to be responsible
for the fact that the cow refused to eat them when more palatable
material was fed. All who have worked with prickly pear, espe-
cially botanists who have attempted to prepare specimens, have
noticed that the young joints are very tough and leathery. Indeed,
it is with considerable difficulty that one is able to split a young
joint lengthwise with a knife, while the older ones are very easily cut.
It was a constant surprise to observe the fondness of the cattle
for the singed pear. During the latter part. of the first period the
temperature was unusually low for southern Texas. The United
States Weather Bureau records show a maximum of only 35 and a
minimum of 13 F. on February 13. It will be seen that a little
extra sorghum hay was fed on this day. Regardless of the fact that
the pear was frozen solid all .day the cows ate 90 and 92 pounds,
respectively. This was the coldest day of the winter, but not the
only day when the cows ate frozen pear with apparent relish.
CONDITION OF THE ANIMALS.
The distance of the ranch from any convenient means of weighing
prevented the securing of data on the important point of the weight
FEEDING PRICKLY PEAR TO STOCK IN TEXAS.
of the cows, but careful observations were made by several individ-
uals, both those having immediate charge of the animals and those
who saw them only occasionally. All agreed that the condition of
both cows continued to improve tip to the end of thile experiment.
Of course, thev well-known laxative effect of prickly pear was evi-
dent during the entire time that it was fed, being less noticeable
while sorghum was a part of thle ration; but at no time was it
thought that the cows scoured to any injurious extent, even during
the period when pear was the only roughage fed them. The fact
that they apparently gained in flesh, milked well, and began shed-
ding earlier than the general herd appears to be sufficient proof that
they were in good physical condition during the entire period.
INFLUENCE OF PEAR ON QUALITY OF MILK.
The statement has frequently been made that the quality of milk
i,; injuriously affected when pear is fed to dairy cows, and it seemed
important to secure data on this point in connection with this exper-
imnent. Mr. Sinclair has fed pear to his herd for two to four months
each year for six or eight years, and no complaint has ever been
received from customers which could in any way be attributed to
During the time when one of the cows was on a full roughage
ration of pear-that is, on rice bran, cotton-seed meal, and pear with
no sorghum hay-five persons tested the milk to determine whether
any odor or flavor was imparted by such a ration. Morning's milk
was examined in the evening with the result that. four persons could
not detect any change, deleterious or otherwise, while one was in
PRICKLY PEAR IN RATION OF BEEF CATTLE.
CONDITIONS OF TIlE EXPERIMENT.
As stated previously, an effort was made to keep the steers fed
in the beef experiment utinder conditions as nearly similar to those
prevailing in the general pear-feeding region as possible. The steers
selected were from the general Coleman herd, a miscellaneous lot, a
majority of which were bred near Cactus, Tex. They were consid-
erably above the average of thle cattle in the neighborhood, or even
on Mr. Coleman's ranch. (See pl. 2, fig 1.I
The intention was to feed one carload (20 head) of steers, but
when the animals were gathered 27 head were weighed and put in
the pen. The additional 7 head were not removed until the close
of the experiment, but only the original carload of 20 head was shipped
at the close of the feeding, the others being shipped with a miscella-
neous lot of cattle to another market.
PRICKLY PEAR IN RATION OF BEEF CATTLE.
The feeding lot was an ordinary open mesquite "trap," containing
approximately 4 acres of ground, and inclosed by a wire fence. No
shelter of any kind was furnished the cattle. The scrub mesquite
brush in and surrounding the feed lot offered very little protection.
This might not be a serious consideration in an average southern
Texas winter, but- during the past winter protection would have
enhanced very considerably tihe gains made.
METHOD OF FEEDING.
The method of feeding in this case was exactly that employed
throughout the pear region of Texas wherever the pear chopper is
used. The largest and most woody plants available were used, from
localities where the growth was most vigorous and healthy. They
were chopped with one of the common pear choppers, but without
In this experiment the feed was gathered from the field twice each
day-at about 7 o'clock in the morning and 3 o'clock in the after-
noon-cut, and fed immediately. The chop was shoveled into the
ordinary feeding troughs, and the cotton-seed meal was sprinkled
upon it in such quantity as would give the desired number of pounds
for each animal.
With this method of feeding it was riot feasible to furnish more
pear than the animals would eat, because of the necessary waste of
meal, but a constant effort was made to give them all they would
Although the steers used were probably more gentle than the aver-
age stockers of southern Texas it was found impracticable to secure
weekly weighing, as was the intention in the beginning. The two
weighing that were made, it is believed, cost the gains of an entire
week. All the animals became considerably excited, and once or
twice threatened to stampede.
On account of the apparently good gains being made by this lot
of steers Mr. Coleman decided to put another herd of 100 head on
feed in an adjoining pen. At first these also did very nicely, but
they soon became wild, with no apparent cause, and it was decided
to turn them out into pasture again.
The experimental lot did not get nearly as wild as the others,
even with the weighing, but there is no doubt that the final gains
were very materially reduced by the excitement caused during the
weighing. It should be stated that the greatest care was exercised
by Mr. Coleman in the handling of these steers during the entire
period. Aside from the necessary handling and weighing they were
subjected to no circumstances to excite them.
FEEDING PRICKLY PEAR TO STOCK IN TEXAS.
SHIPMENT AND SALE OF STEERS. :':I
On the evening of April 28 the final weighing was made and the .
steers, after receiving about a one-half ration on the morning of
April 29, were driven into the stock pens at Encinal and loaded into
a car. They did not leave the yard, however, until the following
morning. They were consigned to Fort Worth, where they were
sold at $4.25 per hundredweight on a break in the market on May 2.
The account sales showed 21,560 pounds to be the weight of the 20
steers, giving a loss in transit of 1,770 pounds, or 881 pounds for
each animal. This shrinkage is not considered excessive by Mr,
Coleman, whose records of shipments from the ranch during past
years are probably not excelled for accuracy by those of any ranch
in Texas. In some shipments the shrinkage has been greater and
in others less than in this instance in the case of steers shipped off
THE FEEDS USED.
The following table shows the kinds and quantities of the feeds
used by periods:
Av erage Total pounds
Davs Total pounds pounds oteotton-
Date. eachh pounds of pear of cotton- seed
I eniod. of Dear. ner head seed meal DTer
per day. meal. head per
Jan. 15-Jan. 21 ........ .............. ............. 7 16,W90 89 36 220 1.1
Ja -Jan 2 ........ .. ........ ................ .... 7 17,567 92-94 I 300 1.5
Jan 9-Fe-b. 3................ . ................. .. 6 15,195 93.79 350 2.16
Feb.- 4-Feb. 10.................... ........... 7 I, 345 97.06 700 3.70
Febl II -Feb. 17 ................................ .i 7 15,6.25 82.67 700 &70
Feb I-Feb. 25 ............ ..................... 8 20,395 94.42 890 3.70
Feb. A--Mar 4 ............... ......... ........... 7 19,040 100.74 1,050 &55
Mar 5-Mar. II ....... ... .... . 7 19.655 103.99 1.050 5.Es
Mar 1 2-Mar. 8 ......... . ........... 7 19,975 105.69 1,050 &3G.
Mar. I -ar. 25 .... ........ .... 7 19,315 102.19 1,050 55
Mar Z_-%pr I ..... ..... . ..... ...... 7 1,840 99.68 1,050 5 55
Apr. 2-Apr 8 ......... 7 18,715 99.02 1,050 &5
AprT '-Apr 15 ...........I 7 18,850 99.74 1,050 &55
S -. r 1 .17 7.i. i-. In. AML I nn & =
Apr Ib_.-Apr. 22 .......... .... . P I
Apr. 23,-A\pr. 28 .............................. ........ 6 16.275 100. 46 900 555
A pr. 29 .............. ..... . ... ... ... ..... I 2. 100O 77.77 80 2.9
Average. ......................... ..... . ... ... .. 96.31 .......... 4.31
In spite of the very unfavorable weather, and adverse condition .
generally, the gains made were comparatively satisfactory. Of .
course the gains were not as great as those of stall-fed cattle, nor even.
those obtained in the older and better established feeding sections.::,
However, the cost of a pound of grain, computed from the above
tables and data, is more favorable to the combined cotton-seed meal.:.
and prickly-pear ration than one unfamiliar with prickly pear as a:
roughage would suppose. On an average 77.6 pounds of prickly:i||
pear and 2-1 pounds of cotton-seed meal produced 1 pound of gain; ;|
ButL. No. 91 B. A. I.
FIG. 1.-MACHINERY READY TO CHOP PEAR.
FIG. 2.-CHOPPED PEAR READY FOR FEEDING, ON THE COLEMANi RANCH.
or, in actual outlay of cash for feed at the prevailing price for meal
of $23.75 per ton, 1 pound of gain cost 2.97 cents' worth of cotton-
seed meal, which is not at all excessive for the cost of grain to feed
The cost of labor can not be accurately determined for this experi-
ment because of the small number of animals which were fed, but
the data furnished here, together with the experience of Mr. Coleman
and others in feeding pear during the past ten years, enables one to
make a very close estimate of the necessary expenses. The actual
conditions were that one man did all of the feeding during the entire
period, and was assisted in the chopping by three other men--an
engineer and two laborers. lie in return assisted them in chopping
two loads for each one that he used, and their loads represented
about 50 per cent more pear than his. All pear was hauled an
average distance of 1 mile, and each load was weighed on the way
from the field to the chopper, necessitating a little extra travel.
While all that was required of the man in charge of the feeding was
the care of these animals, his time was not entirely occupied.
Indeed, it is believed he would have had little difficulty in feeding
100 head under these conditions. In actual practice much less labor
would be required, both on account of greater convenience in feeding
and greater economy of time.
In Bulletin No. 74 of the Bureau of Plant Industry estimates are
made which indicate that eight men can feed a maintenance ration to
1,200 head of cattle. Reducing this number to the extent necessary
to compensate for the additional care required in the feeding of a
fattening ration, it is estimated that eight men could without doubt
feed 1,000 head of cattle. Assuming the figures of cost in the publi-
cation mentioned to be correct, the total expense of labor, gasoline,
and interest on machinery would be in the neighborhood of 90 cents
for each animal for a period of one hundred days.
The value of the pear is not included in this estimate, and, as in
the previous experiment, it was not possible to determine its cost.
Should one ask a rancher in southern Texas to estimate upon this
point, his answer would invariably be, "Nothing." In fact, it is
questionable whether the pastures are not actually improved by
cutting off the older, larger plants. As in all fattening experiments,
the increase in weight alone does not represent the entire gain; the
improvement and enhanced valuation of the whole carcass must be
taken into consideration, but all of the estimates are based upon
value of the increased weight alone.
The relation of gain to feed consumed may be summed up as
1. Average daily ration of pear for each head of stock, 96.31
FEEDING PRICKLY PEAR TO STOCK IN TEXAS.
2. Average daily gain for each head, 1.75 pounds.
3. Amount of pear fed for 1 pound of gain, 55.03 pounds.
4. Amount of cotton-seed meal required for 1 pound of gain, 2*
5. Cost of cotton-seed meal for 1 pound of gain, 2.97 cents.
6. Cost of pear per 1 pound of gain 0.514 cent.
7Co.-,t of feed per 1 pound of gain, 3.48 cents.
THE NATURE OF CHOPPED PEAR.
Since many erroneous statements have appeared regarding the
nature of pear chop, and since the publications of the Department on
the subject have been misinterpreted, this seems to be a fitting place
to put in a few words of explanation regarding the work of the pear
chopper and the character of the feed produced.
A description of the pear choppers is given in a previous bulletin"
and nerd not be repeated here. (See also pl. 3, fig. 1I) The con-
struction of the machine indicates that the pear may be reduced to
very fine consistency. But pieces 6 inches square may be found in
the chop when ready to feed. Plate 3, figure 2, shows this condition
fairly well. The material is there represented in the rear end of a
wagon as it was thrown out of the machine by the centrifugal force
of the revolving wheel (pi. 3, fig. 1). Large pieces are shown; but no
special injury to the cattle was observed from feeding them. It is
evident that all pear joints fed to the machine at, right angles to the
knives, as described in the publication referred to above, will be cut
into pieces I to 1, inches in length, depending upon the setting of
the shear plate; but whatever material happens to be fed in such a way
as to reach the machine in the plane of the knives will pass through
in large flat pieces. Often a piece of joint 4 to 6 inches square, or
even a whole joint, will pass through the machine with practically
an uninjured epidermis. The material never is macerated or reduced
to a piilp. In spite of this, however, little or no evil effect results
from the spines, even in the case of joints which pass through the
machine uncut. The dead and exceedingly brittle spines have
invariably received enough rough treatment in passing through the
machine to reduce very perceptibly the injury which they can do.
There is no denying the fact that stock which are fed pear chopped
in this way are somewhat annoyed by the spines. There is always
more or less slobbering as the result of the spines sticking into the
membranes of the mouth, but the effect does not appear to be a
It has been frequently stated that the spines are softened by the
juices of the plant in the chopped material to such an extent as to
o Bulletin No. 74, Bureau of Plant Industry, p. 17, Pis. IT and ID.
THE NATURE OF CHOPPED PEAR.
Render them innocuous-an idea which is entirely erroneous. It is
always the practice to feed immediately after chipping. Indeed, it is
doubtful whether tlie spines would Ibecome very materially softened
before the chop-.would ferment to such an extent asi ti render it unfit
to feed. The effect upon the pines i.- etirely one of abrasion;
they are broken to suchii an extent thit tlI, injury they cause is very
much reduced. Cattle can hIandlle pretty rtriuJh feed, and they eat
much of the Texas pear as it stand-' iIn the pastures. It is believed
that. if the spines lay tightly agn Iint the1 surface if tlie joint, instead
of approximately atit right angles t, it, thlie cattle could graze the pear
with but. little difficulty. It should h. emphasized that in pear
chopping the spines are not softened isy the juices and the material
is not macerated, hut thalit tlie chances ',f tile spines doing injury
are reduced to a minimum bh the rough treatment which they receive
from the machine. It is also evident to, any,,ne watchiing the opera-
tion of a pear machine that many tof tlie spines are winnowed out and
removed from the product during tHie process of chopping.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA