S'' Everglades Station Mimeo Report EES 68-10 May, 1968
Raw Sugar as Replacement for Corn for Cattle-
D. W. Beardsley--
Sugar has been fed to cattle in the form of molasses for many years. Re-
search studies have shown that molasses is an excellent feed for cattle and in
small quantities has an appetite stimulating effect. How much of the value of
molasses is due to the sugar it contains or to the other factors present has not
been clearly defined.
The production of raw sugar in Florida has about tripled in the last six
years. Presently more sugar is being produced than can be marketed under mar-
keting agreements and surpluses are being stored. In many tropical areas of
the world raw sugar is more plentiful and much cheaper than grain. At present
prices, raw sugar can be purchased on the world market in shipload quantities
for less than corn.
Because of the increased interest in the production and utilization of raw
sugar, a feeding experiment was begun to determine the replacement value of raw
sugar compared to corn.
A mixture of sugar and urea was used to replace corn meal. The urea was
included to supply a protein content equivalent to that in corn. This means
that each 100 pounds of corn was replaced by 96.8 pounds of sugar and 3.2 pounds
of urea (281% C. P.). The basal ration was made up of:
Citrus pulp 10
Cottonseed meal 8.45
Mineral mix (EES #2) 1
Dicalcium phosphate 0.5
Vitamin A (10,000 IU gm.) 0.05
Zinc Oxide 62.5 ppm
1/ Talk presented at the Seventeenth Annual Beef Cattle Short Course, Univer-
sity of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, May 2, 1968.
2/ Animal Nutritionist, Everglades Experiment Station, Belle Glade, Florida.
Five lots of ten steers each were fed a concentrate mixture with different
levels of sugar as follows:
1. No sugar
2. 5% sugar + urea
3. 10% sugar + urea
4. 20% sugar + urea
5. 40% sugar + urea
Steers were full-fed concentrates plus hay in drylot. All steers were im-
planted with 24 mg. diethylstilbestrol at the beginning of the study. Two-year-
old Angus, Hereford and Brahman-cross steers were used in each study. Carcass
data were obtained at a slaughterhouse in Plant City.
Two feeding trials have been completed. The first was conducted during the
summer of 1967 and the second during the winter of 1967-68.
Results and Discussion
A summary of the weight gains, feed consumption, and carcass data obtained
during the first trial is given in table 1. Data for the second trial are sum-
marized in table 2. In both trials the addition of sugar increased gains and
feed efficiency. Carcass grade improved slightly with additions of sugar during
the second, but not during the first trial. Replacing corn with sugar appeared
to have no consistent effect on intransit shrink or dressing percentage. Per-
formance data suggest that a ten percent level of sugar in finishing rations
based on corn would be optimum. However, steers on the highest level of raw
sugar consumed an average of eight pounds of sugar per animal for 120 days,with
no apparent ill effects.
- 3 -
Table 1. Weight gains, feed consumption and carcass data Trial I
Mix I II III IV V
Sugar-Urea, % 0 5 10 20 40
No. steers 10 9 10 10 9
Initial wt., lb. 846 844 848 846 837
Final wt., lb. 1129 1132 1160 1137 1143
Av. daily gain, lb. 2.36 2.40 2.60 2.43 2.56
Feed consumption, lb.
Concentrate 23.6 23.2 23.9 23.1 21.5
Hay 4.0 3.5 3.6 3.2 3.8
Feed/lb. gain, lb. 11.7 11.1 10.6 10.8 9.9
Shrink, % 4.7 4.4 4.6 4.8 4.9
Cold carcass wt., lb. 669 660 667 660 661
Dressing % 62.1 61.1 61.2 61.0 60.8
Carcass grade G+ G+ G+ G+ G+
Table 2. Weight gains, feed consumption and carcass data Trial II
Mix I II III IV V
Sugar-Urea, % 0 5 10 20 40
No. steers 10 10 10 10 10
Initial wt., lb. 781 783 784 781 780
Final wt., lb. 1064 1100 1103 1090 1098
Av. daily gain, lb. 2.34 2.62 2.63 2.55 2.62
Feed/lb. gain, lb.
Cold carcass wt., lb.
Two feeding trials were conducted in which a mixture of raw sugar and urea
providing a crude protein content equivalent to that in corn was substituted
for corn at 5, 10, 20 or 40 percent of the concentrate in a basal ration of
ground shelled corn, citrus pulp, cottonseed meal, minerals and vitamin A.
Gains and feed efficiency were improved at all levels of sugar fed. Results
of this trial suggest that adding sugar to a finishing ration may improve
slightly steer performance. As much as half the corn in a finishing ration can
be replaced by raw sugar with no detrimental effects.