Everglades Station Mimeo Repcrt 60-14
070 A Preliminary Report on the Value of Serpasil (Rese I pe) in
f(3LG Fattening Rations for Beef Steers on Pasture 1 2
EEo H. L. Chapman, Jr. and C. E. Haines'A
Serpasil is the tranquilizing agent reserpine. Reserpine is a drug
derived from the Rauwolfia serpentina plant and has been used for many years
in human medicine for the treatment of certain mental disorders and high
blood pressure. The drug has received recent attention in the field of
Uivestock and poultry production and indications have been that it may be
a stress alleviating factor. Reports from the field of poultry production
indicate that Serpasil may be of value in alleviating the effect of
high environmental temperatures. This study was conducted to determine
the value of Serpasil to steers being fattened on pasture, iRAR
months in South Florida. M Eu bRARY
SEP 11 1972
I.F.A.S. Univ. of Florida
Forty two-year-old Brahman x Angus steers, having an w.. g Rni.---.
weight of 742 pounds, were divided into five groups of eight animals each.
Each group of cattle was placed on a four acre pasture of Roselawn St.
Augustinegrass and full fed a concentrate ration. The.experiment was
initiated July 27, 1959 and terminated November 2, 1959, for a feeding
period of 98 days.
The ingredient composition of the concentrate ration is presented in
Table 1. The ration fed each group of steers was identical except that
Serpasil was added to furnish 0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0 milligrams per animal
daily for groups 1 through 5, respectively. The Serpasil was pre-mixed
in cottonseed meal and thade added to the concentrate feed. At the end
of the feeding period the animals were weighed, loaded on a truck and hauled
approximately seven miles to a local slaughter plant. The cattle were
re-weighed as they were unloaded from the truck in order to determine
intransit shrink. The slaughter house weight was also used in determining
i/ This study was supported by funds furnished by CIBA Pharmaceutical
Products, Inc., Summit, N. J.
/ The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Hap Parsons and
his associates at the Glades State Prison Farm in obtaining the carcass
data from the experimental animals.
/ Associate Animal Nutritionist and Assistant Animal Husbandman, Everglades
Experiment Station, Belle Glade, Florida.
February 24, I960
Table 1. Ingredient composition of concentrate ration.
Ground snapped corn 487
Citrus pulp 400
Cottonseed meal premix 100
,Iineral mixture 5
Ingredient costs (ton basis): Ground snapped corn $48.00; Citrus pulp
$38.67; 36% Cottonseed meal $74.75; Mineral mixture $105.00; Mixing
charge $8.00; Total cost of feed per ton $55.66.
Experimental data obtained included weight gain, feed consumption and
efficiency, intransit shrink, dressing percent and 48-hour cooler shrink.
Results and Discussion
The average daily gain, as shown in table 2, was 2.10, 2.22, 2.28,
2.05 and 2.00 pounds for the group receiving a daily intake per animal of
0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0 milligrams of Serpasil, respectively. The in-
clusion of 0.5 milligrams of the drug per animal in the feed resulted in
an approximate 6 percent increase in average daily gain and an 8.5 percent
increase when 1.0 milligram was fed per animal daily, as compared to that
received when no tranquilizer was fed. Average daily gains decreased
when 2.0 or 4.0 milligrams were fed.
The inclusion of 0.5 or 1.0 milligrams of Serpasil in the feed resulted
in a reduced feed cost per pound of gain. There were indications that this
reduction in feed cost was mainly due to an increased efficiency in the
utilization of concentrate feed eaten. The lower rate of gain of animals
on the 2.0 and 4.0 milligram levels resulted in a higher cost of feed
per pound of gain.
The steers receiving 1.0, 2.0 and 4.0 milligram levels of Serpasil
had a lower intransit shrink than those not receiving the drug. However,
the steers receiving 0.5 milligrams of the drug lost more weight during
shipment than any other group.
Table 2. Experiment 819-8. Summary of weight gains, feed efficiency and
carcass data of steers on various levels of Serpasil (98 days
on experiment). *
tevel of Serpasil (ag/an/day) 0 0.5 1.0 2.0 4.0
Average initial weight (Ibs.) 75 726 741 751 746
Average final weight (Ibs.) 951 944 964 952 941
Average total gain (Ibs.) 206 218 223 201 195
Average daily gain (Ibs.) 2.10 2.22 2.28 2.05 2.00
Average daily feed consumption(lbs.) 20.3 19.9 21.2 19.9 19.6
Average feed/lb. gain (Ibs.) 9.67 8.96 9.30 9.71 9.80
Average feed cost/lb. gain (e) 26.88 24.91 25.85 26.99 27.24
Intransit shrink ( ) 2.06 2.58 1.97 1.70 1.55
Dressing percent (4) 61.8 62.0 62.6 62.3 61.7
48-hr. cooler shrink (%) 3.48 3.32 3.45 3.32 3.51
The average dressing percentage, determined by dividing the slaughter-
house weight into the warm carcass weight, was fairly uniform for the five
experimental groups. There was a slightly higher average dressing percent-
age for the steers receiving 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 milligrams of Serpasil as
canred to those receiving none cr 4.0 milligrams. Forty-eight hours
after slaughter cooler shrink was determined. The cooler shrink was
variable with no consistent results which could be related to experi-