AUG 10 14
Animal Husbandry Mimeograph June, 1954
Series No. 5h-
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION
WILLARD M. FIFIELD, Director
THE UTILIZATION OF COARSE ROUGHAGES
IN STEER FATTENING RATIONS1
James F. Hentges, Jr. and Cecil A. Tucker 112
In the Southeast there is an abundance of the cheaper coarse rough-
ages, such as peanut hulls, cottonseed hulls, fodders, pea vines, oat
straw, and corn cobs which are either wasted entirely, or are not utilized
to their fullest value.
Although reference is made to the use of coarse roughages as early
as 190'. by Otis (1), their use did not come into prominence until more
information was obtained on the mechanics of rumen digestion. In 1945
Eurroughs et al. (2) postulated that the utilization of corn cobs was
influenced by the microflora of the rumen. Further studies on coarse
roughage utilization involved various experimental techniques, such as
the use of the rumen fistula, Burroughs et al. (3), digestion trials,
Swift et al. (h), Burroughs et al. (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), and Gerlaugh
(10), and the artificial rumen, Burroughs et al. (11). The results of
these studies indicate that there are apparent nutritive requirements
for the microorganisms in the rumen. For the most efficient digestion
and utilization of coarse roughages, it was learned that an ample and
readily accessible supply of energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins
were required for the microflora.
Today there are a number of supplemental mixes which apparently meet
the needs of the microflora for digestion of coarse roughages. Beeson
and Perry (12) have reported good weight gains on steers fed coarse rough-
ages such as cottonseed hulls, ground corn cobs, oat straw, mixed hay,
1 Acknowledgment is made to Mr. W. M. Ballinger and Pasco Packing Company
Dada City, Florida, for supplying the citrus molasses, to Mr. R. K.
Mi:saon, Williston, Florida, for supplying the ground corn cobs and to
Mr. Butler and Florida Peanut and Feed Plant, High Springs, Florida
for providing the peanut hulls.
2 Hentges, Assistant Animal Husbandman, Agricultural Experiment Station;
Tucker, Graduate Assistant, Department of Animal Husbandry and Nutrition.
corn silage and grass silage supplemented with Purdue Supplement A, which
contains soybean oil meal, molasses feed, alfalfa meal, bonemeal, salt
with cobalt, and a vitamin A and D concentrate. Similar results have
been obtained by the feeding of two other supplements, Iowa Supplement
Barrick et al. (15) found in a series of experiments with mature
cows and two-year old heifers that corn cobs contained an energy value
equal to hay. This supplemental mix containing soybean oil meal, de-
hydrated alfalfa leaf meal, dried molasses, steamed bonemeal, and salt,
sufficiently met the deficiencies of such coarse roughages as orchard
grass hay, ground corn cobs, and cottonseed hulls to provide average
daily gains of 1.55 lbs., 1.45 lbs., and 1.50 lbs. respectively.
Williams et al. (14) reported that steers fed for 154 days on finely
ground peanut hulls plus ear corn and cottonseed meal gained 1.81 lbs.
daily as compared to gains of 1.79 lbs. daily for steers receiving Prairie
hay plus ground ear corn and cottonseed meal.
Kincaid and Thomas (16) reported from a series of trials with year-
ling heifers self-fed ground peanut hulls that rations containing 80%
peanut hulls were unpalatable. However satisfactory gains were made when
the amount of peanut hulls was lowered to about 60%. Heifers on a growing
ration containing 40% peanut hulls, 40% mixed hay, 10% molasses and 10%
roughage supplement gained 1.38 lbs. per head daily. When fattening
rations of 40% peanut hulls, 40% ear corn, 10% molasses and 10% roughage
supplement were fed to heifers, the average daily gains were 2.32 lbs.
per head, as compared to 2.02 lbs. daily for a group of heifers receiving
a similar ration in which 40% mixed hay replaced the peanut hulls.
The experiments reported herein were undertaken as preliminary studies
to determine the economic value and the efficiency of utilization of
various coarse roughages in fattening rations for steers. The roughages
studied were corn cob meal, whole peanut hulls, and citrus pulp.
Nine yearling steers were allotted to three lots of three steers
each according to weight and market grade. Prior to the start of this
experiment the rations of all steers were gradually changed from a
corn, oats, and cottonseed meal ration to the experimental rations.
Lot 1 received Pensacola Bahia grass hay ad lib, Lot 2 received
Pensacola Bahia grass hay ad lib., plus 1/2 the amount of ground corn
cobs eaten by Lot 3; and Lot 3 received ground corn cobs ad lib.
All steers were fed the following supplement daily:
Cottonseed meal (44%) 3.00 lbs.
Citrus molasses 1.00 lbs.
Alfalfa meal .85 lbs.
Steamed bonemeal .10 lbs.
Iodized salt and cobalt .05 lbs.
Steamed bonemeal and salt (containing 2 oz. cobalt sulfate per 100
lbs.) were fed free choice in a two compartment mineral box.
Nine long-yearling steers were allotted according to weight and market
grade into three lots for individual feeding.
All steers were adjusted to experimental rations over a four week
period prior to the start of the experiment.
Each steer received 3.5 lbs. per day (1.75 lbs. each feeding) of
the following supplement:
Sunflower seed meal 2.50 Ibs.
Alfalfa meal .75 Ibs.
Steamed bonemeal .20 lbs.
Cobaltized salt* .05 lbs.
Sunflower seed meal was used as the protein supplement in the sup-
plemental mix since it was found in a previous experiment to have a
feeding value comparable to 36% cottonseed meal (17).
The ration ingredients, other than the roughage supplement, con-
sisted of 1/3 concentrate mix (3 parts cracked corn and 1 part crimped
oats), 1/3 citrus molasses, and 1/3 roughage (citrus pulp in Lot 1,
peanut hulls in Lot 2, and ground corn cobs in Lot 3). The concentrate
mix and the roughage were mixed in equal proportions and bagged. The
supplement and the molasses were added and mixed in by hand at feeding
time. Pangola hay was fed ad lib., and minerals were supplied free
choice as steamed bonemeal and iodized salt in a two-compartment mineral
Following is a compendious table of the composition of the various
* 2 oz. cobalt sulfate per 100 lbs. salt
Composition of Concentrate-Roughage Mixtures
Cracked corn 150 lbs. 150 Ibs. 150 Ibs.
Crimped oats 50 Ibs. 50 lbs. 50 Ibs.
Total concentrate mix 200 lbs. 200 lbs. 200 lbs.
Citrus pulp 200 Ibs, -- --
Peanut hulls ---- 200 Ibs. ----
Ground corn cobs -- ---- 200 Ibs.
Citrus molasses 200 Ibs. 200 Ibs. 200 Ibs.
Total 600 Ibs. 600 Ibs. 600 lbs.
Ten Brahman cross-bred steers were allotted into two lots of 5
steers each according to weight and market grade. All of the steers
had previously been in rotational grazing trials on Bermuda grass, Bahia
grass, and Pangola grass. In order to keep the variants of the experi-
ment at a minimum, both lots were grazed simultaneously on the same type
of pasture for equal periods of time.
Lot 1 received once daily 2.5 lbs. cottonseed meal and 3 lbs. citrus
molasses per head plus peanut hulls ad lib. To induce consumption of
the hulls, citrus molasses was diluted with water, and mixed with the
peanut hulls. The cottonseed meal was then added and mixed with the hulls
and molasses. Lot 2 received 2.5 lbs. cottonseed meal and 3 lbs. citrus
molasses per head daily. Minerals were provided free choice as steamed
bonemeal and cobaltized salt in a two-compartment mineral box.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
As shown in Table 1, Lot 3, which received ground corn cobs ad lib.
made cheaper and more efficient gains (1.94 lbs/day) than either Lot 1
(1.39 lbs/day) or Lot 2 (1.69 lbs/day). The feed cost per pound of gain
was 18.70 cents for Lot 3 as compared to 28.43 cents and 40.23 cents
for Lots 2 and 1 respectively.
The carcass grades were ranked in the same order as feed efficiency
and rate of gain (Table 1).
In Experiment II, as shown in Table II, all 3 groups of steers made
similar gains. The steers on citrus pulp (Lot 1) gained 1.41 lbs. per
head daily; Lot 2 on peanut hulls, gained 1.40 Ibs. daily, and Lot 3 on
ground corn cobs gained 1.42 lbs. per head daily.
Although the experiment was terminated at 70 days, Lots 2 and 3
were carried on to 94 days. Over the 94-day period, the steers on peanut
hulls (Lot 2) gained 1.57 Ibs. daily as compared to 1.36 Ibs. daily for
the steers on ground corn cobs.
Throughout the trial there was a tendency for the steers fed citrus
pulp (Lot 1) to have loose feces.
The steers in Lot 2 required the most feed per lb. of gain (18.17
Ibs.), but they made the most economical gains (31.77 cents per lb.
gain) due to the fact that the peanut hulls cost only $3.00 per ton (cost
of labor and transportation) as compared to $$9,00 per ton for citrus
pulp and $20.00 per ton for ground corn cobs.
The steers in Lot 3 (corn cobs) dressed slightly higher (62.85%)
than those in Lot 1 (62.65%) and Lot 2 (60.1%) and also graded higher
It was noted that the steers taken from pasture and placed on the
experimental rations in dry lot made considerably better gains than
those steers which had previously been fed fattening rations.
Experiment III was designed to study the utilization of peanut hulls
by steers grazing grass pastures.
As shown in Table III, the steers receiving the supplement and mo-
lasses (Lot 2) gained slightly more (1,61 lbs. daily) than did the steers
receiving supplement, molasses and peanut hulls (1.40 lbs/day). This
difference in gain may be influenced by the quantity and chemical com-
position of the pasture grass available for each lot. Pastures grazed
by Lot 2 contained a more abundant growth of grass; however, the varieties,
treatments, and rates of fertilization were the same.
This may indicate that steers on mature grass pasture receiving an
ample protein supplement will gain just as well, if not better, than
they would if additional roughages were supplied.
Twenty-eight steers were used in three different experiments to
study the utilization of various coarse roughages in steer fattening
rations. Further work is needed for definite conclusions, but these
tests indicate that with proper supplementation, coarse roughages can
be utilized in steer fattening rations.
1. Otis, D, H. 1904. Experiments with Hand Fed Calves. Kansas Agr.
Exp. Sta. Bulletin 126.
2. Burroughs, Wise, Gerlaugh, Paul, Schalk, A. F., Silver, E. A., and
Kunkle, L. E. 1995. The Nutritive Value of Corn Cobs in Beef
Cattle Rations. Journal of Animal Science 4:373-386.
3. Burroughs, Wise, Gerlaugh, Paul, Silver, E. A., and Schalk, A. F.
1946, The amounts of Feed and Nutrients in the Rumen of Cattle
Throughout a 24-hour Period as Affected by Plane of Feeding and
Character of Ration. Journal of Animal Science 5:338-349.
4. Swift, R. W., Thacker, E. J., Black A., Bratzler, J. W., and
James, W, H. 1947. Digestibility of Rations for Ruminants as
Affected by Proportions of Nutrients. Journal of Animal Science
5. Burroughs, Wise, Gerlaugh, Paul, and Bethke, R. M. 1948. Influence
of Alfalfa Ash and Water Extract of Alfalfa Upon Roughage Digestion
in Cattle. Journal of Animal Science 7:522.
6. Burroughs, Wise, and Gerlaugh, Paul. 1949. The Influence of
Soybean Oil Meal Upon Roughage Digestion in Cattle. Journal of
Animal Science 8:3-7.
7. Burroughs, Wise, Gerlaugh, Paul, Edginton, B. H., and Bethke, R. H.
1949. Further Observations in the Effect of Protein Upon Roughage
Digestion in Cattle. Journal of Animal Science 8:9-18.
8. Burroughs, Wise, Gerlaugh, Paul, Edginton, B. H., and Bethke, R. M,
1949. The Influence of Corn Starch Upon Roughage Digestion in
Cattle. Journal of Animal Science 8:271-278.
9. Burroughs, Wise, Gall, L. S., Gerlaugh, Paul, and Bethke, R. M.
1950. The Influence of Casein Upon Roughage Digestion in Cattle
with Rumen Bacteriological Studies. Journal of Animal Science
10. Gerlaugh, Paul, Burroughs, Wise, and Kunkle, L. E. 1949. Corn
Cobs Make Good Beef. Farm and Home Research, Ohio Agr. Exp. Sta.
Vol. XXXIV pp. 76-79.
11. Burroughs, Wise, Gerlaugh, Paul and Bethke, R. M. 1949. The
Use of an Artificial Rumen in Studying Roughage Digestion with
Microorganisms Under Controlled Laboratory Conditions. Journal
of Animal Science 8:616.
12. Beeson, W. M. and Perry, T. W. 1952. Balancing the Nutritional
Deficiencies of Roughages for Steers. Journal of Animal Science
13. Anderson3 Ray. July 1952. Two New Supplements. Best Yet for Beef.
Farm Journal 76:31.
14, Williams, J. C., Smith, G. Li, and Jones J. H. 1952.
Peanut Hulls and Prairie Hay in Rations for Fattening
A & M Progress Report 1483, Cattle Series 106.
15. Barrick, E.
Rea, J. L.
R., Good, Lemuel, Dilliard, E. V., Graham, J. A. and
January 1953. Corn Cobs for Cattle. Atlantic Coast
16. Kincaid, C. M., and Thomas, H. R. 1953. Peanut Hulls for Growing
and Fattening Cattle, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station
17. Pearson, A. M. and Sleeth, R. B. 1952. Sunflower Seed Meal as a
Protein Supplement for Fattening Beef Steers. Proc. Ass'n, So.
Agr. Workers pp. 63.
January 12 May 14, 1953
Ration Compared Bahia grass Bahia grass Ground corn
hay hay & ground cobs
Number of steers per lot 3 3 3
Days on experiment 122 122 122
Av. initial weight, lbs. 788.30 798.30 786.60
Av. final weight, Ibs. 927.30 o104.00 1023.00
Av. total gain per steer, 139.00 205,70 236.40
Av. daily gain, Ibs. 1.39 1.69 1.94
Av. daily concentrate ration, 5.00 5.00 5.00
Cottonseed meal (41%) 3.00 3.00 5.00
Alfalfa leaf meal .85 .85 .85
Bonemeal .10 .10 .10
Cobaltized salt .05 .05 .05
Molasses 1.00 1.00 1.00
Av. daily roughage ration, 13.00 18.00 16.00
Ground corn cobs -- 8.00 16.00
Bahia grass hay 13.00 10.00 ---
Feed required per cwt. gain, 550.40 401.80 339.50
Concentrates 439.00 297.00 258.00
Roughages lll.40 104.80 81,50
Feed cost per cwt. gain, dollars 40.23 28.13 18.70
Choice 1 1
Good 1 1
Commercial 1 1 1
June 28 September 5, 1953
Lot Number 1 2 3
Ration Compared Citrus pulp Peanut Ground
hulls corn cobs
Number of steers per lot
Days on experiment
Av. initial weight, lbs,
Av. final weight, lbs.
Av. total gain per steer, lbs.
Av. daily gain, lbs.
Av. daily supplement, lbs.
Alfalfa leaf meal
Av. daily concentrate roughage mix
Av. daily molasses consumption, lbs.
Av. daily concentrate-roughage-molasses
Av. daily pangola grass hay consumption
Feed required per cwt. gains, lbs.
Pangola grass hay
Feed cost per cwt. gain, dollars
Av. dressing percentage (warm)
September 22 November 3, 1953
Lot Number 1 2
Rations Compared Cottonseed meal, Cottonseed meal
molasses, peanut molasses
Number of steers per lot 5 5
Days on experiment 42 42
Av. initial weight, Ibs. 653.00 653.00
Av. final weight, lbs. 712.00 720.60
Av. total gain per steer, Ibs. 59.00 67.60
Av. daily gain, lbs. 1.40 1,61
Av. daily feed consumption, lbs. 32.60 5.50
Cottonseed meal (36%) 2.50 2.50
Molasses 3.00 3.00
Peanut hulls 27.10 ---
Feed required per cwt. gain, Ibs. 7.78 3.42
Cottonseed meal and molasses 3.92 3.h2
Peanut hulls 3.86 ---
Feed cost per cwt. gain (excluding ".. 8,97 7.33