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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1932.
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY INVESTIGATIONS
STATEMENT OF E. W. SHEETS, CHIEF, ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
DIVISION, BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY
INVESTIGATION IN ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
Mr. BUCHANAN. The next item we will consider is:
Animal husbandry: For all necessary expenses for investigations and experiments in animal husbandry; for experiments in animal feeding and breeding, including cooperation with the State agricultural experiment stations and other agencies, including repairs and additions to and erection of buildings absolutely necessary to carry on the experiments, including the employment of labor in the city of Washington and elsewhere, rent outside of the District of Columbia, and all other necessary expenses $637,150, including $12,500 for livestock experiments and demonstrations at Big Springs, and/or elsewhere in Texas, to be available only when the State of Texas, or other cooperating agency in Texas shall have appropriated an equal amount or, in the opinion of the Secretary of Agriculture, shall have furnished its equivalent in value in cooperation for the same purpose during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1934: Provided, That of the sum thus appropriated $161,320 may be used for experiments in poultry feeding and breeding.
That shows a reduction of $37,450. Is that an additional reduction?
Mr. SHEETS. Yes, sir; that is an additional reduction.
Mr. BUCHANAN. There is no reduction except what was brought about by the economy bill?
Mr. SHEETS. That is right.
Mr. BUCHANAN. That is carried in for next year. Have you a statement which you desire to give us?
Mr. Sheets. I have a statement that I would be glad to submit.
Mr. SHEETS. The following statement is presented:
37, 450 (1) Four thousand six hundred dollars decrease due to the omission of a nonrecurring item covering the purchase of additional land at the poultry experiment station at Glendale, Ariz.
(2) Thirty-seven thousand four hundred and fifty dollars reduction on account of continuation of legislative furlough.
$723, 400 674, 600 637, 150
CHANGE IN LANGUAGE
The omission of the following language is indicated inasmuch as the $4,600 for the purchase of additional land at Glendale, Ariz., is a nonrecurring item: “together with $4,600 of the unexpended balance of the appropriation for this purpose for the fiscal year 1931, for the purchase of additional land for poultry investigations at Glendale, Ariz., and”
WORK UNDER THIS APPROPRIATION
The animal husbandry investigations of the Bureau of Animal Industry deal with the collection and dissemination of information on livestock problems of regional and national importance having to do with the breeding, feeding, and management of domestic farm animals, including poultry. Results are measured
in terms of quantity and quality of the animals and their products, such as meat, eggs, wool, mohair, and farm power. These experiments often are conducted in cooperation with other bureaus and divisions of the department, with one or a group of State agricultural experiment stations, with farmers and other agencies. Cooperative experiments are conducted during the present fiscal year with 36 States, the contributions of the States being in all cases equal to those of the bureau and usually much more. The principal experiment stations of the bureau under this item are as follows: The experiment farm at Beltsville, Md., wi 1,300 acres owned and 1,000 acres rented; the sheep experiment station at Dubois, Idaho, with 28,160 acres in Idaho and 16,650 acres in Montana; the poultry experiment station at Glendale, Ariz., with 10 acres, and 10 to be purchased this year; the livestock experiment farm at Iberia, La., using 1,176 acres; the experiment station at McNeill, Miss., with 1,140 acres; the Morgan horse farm at Middlebury, Vt., with 952 acres; the range station at Miles City, Mont., with 56,800 acres, and Brooksville, Fla., with 2,082 acres.
NATURE OF INVESTIGATION CARRIED ON UNDER ANNUAL HUSBANDRY
Swine investigations.—This work is mainly research relating to the production of pork and produ for domestic and foreign use. The efficiency of breeds, the influence of type within the breed and possibilities of fixing definite characters of breed and types for minimum production costs are sought. Reduction of losses of young animals, protection against disease, more efficient feeding practices, and elimination of wastes are problems. Contacts are maintained with Federal and State agencies and with farmers. Results already achieved in the changed practices of production have been of extreme value to the swine industry and the need for solving other problems that are now under way and which are to be undertaken is fundamental to the economic production of swine.
Sheep and goat investigations. This project deals with the economic factors affecting production of lamb meat, wool, goats' milk, and mohair. Studies in breeding and development of a type most satisfactory for production as well as studies in the methods of management and feeding are made with sheep and goats and the influence of these upon the production of experimental animals is tabulated and interpreted for the public. Detailed studies of experimental animals of known ancestry from birth to slaughtered carcass are made and data on factors influencing the size, rate of growth, finish, and quality of the product are obtained for public use.
Horse and mule investigations. This project consists of research studies on breeding, management, feeding, the cost of production and maintenance, and utilization of horses and mules.
Genetic research.—This project is research on problems connected with the role of inheritance in the development of the various characteristics of domestic animals. The investigations also include studies on the breeding of farm animals, the development and perfection of methods of improving type, production and fertility, and also of giving advice to Federal, State, and private owners.
Beltsville farm.—The bureau's farm near Beltsville has more than 1,300 acres, and 1,000 rented acres. It serves the purpose of a nearby proving ground for livestock projects. Much of this, however, is woodland and not yet available for pasture or crop production. All of the major projects in animal husbandry and poultry utilize the station as a laboratory in carrying out tests and experiments. It provides a place with permanent equipment ready for experimental work whenever needed, a personnel of assistants accustomed to experimental work, uniform animals of known origin, and centralization of experiments near headquarters of officers in charge.
6. Beef, and dual purpose cattle investigations.—The work consists chiefly of research in problems affecting breeding, feeding, and management of beef and dual purpose cattle; it includes studies in range livestock production and ranch organization, methods of feeding and fattening various classes of beef cattle under both farm and range conditions, methods of improving beef cattle in areas recently released from cattle-tick quarantine, studies in beefing and milking characteristics of cattle, record-of-performance studies in beef cattle
herds, breeding studies to develop breeds and families which are especially adaptable to certain sections of the United States, methods of pasture management, and grazing studies with cattle.
Certification of pedigrees. This work is regulatory and consists of the certification of purebred animals imported into the
United States under the provisions of paragraph 1606 of the tariff act of 1930. It comprises the examination of pedi
grees of the animals imported and certification to the collector of customs at the port for entry free of duty.
Poultry investigations. The work consist chiefly of research on the problems of poultry feeding, breeding, and hatchability, and flock management. The investigations include a study of the protein and mineral requirements of growing chicks, laying hens, and market poultry, as well as maintenance requirements of laying hens; determinations of digestion coefficients of protein and other parts of the diets; factors affecting quality of egg and poultry meat; inheritance of egg production; inheritance of hatchability; inbreeding in its relation to various factors of economic importance to the poultry industry; physical factors of incubation as they affect hatching results; the physiological factors which affect hatchability. The results already achieved have proved to be of great economic importance to the poultry industry. A number of subjects need further work before definite conclusions can be presented to farmers and commercial poultry raisers.
Nutrition research.-This work consists of investigation of the nutritive requirements of farm animals (including poultry) for growth and production and the efficiency of feeds and feed constituents in satisfying these requirements, includ. ing the influence of breeding, feeding, handling, and storage upon the biochemical characteristics of animals and animal products, such as meat and other animal tissues and organs, lard, eggs, goat's milk, wool, etc. These investigations are conducted independently or as parts of other projects. In the course of these investigations there is need for basic studies on special technique and methods of attack which may be applicable to more than one project. Laboratory studies leading to improved and refined methods of investigation and in the examination of animal products resulting from feeding and breeding studies assist in obtaining the maximum practical application of the results obtained. This work is to support and to assist in these detailed laboratory studies.
Meat investigations.— Work consists of determination and study of the factors which have a bearing upon quality and palatability: A comprehensive program of research has been developed. The numerous and varied production, handling, and preparation factors are involved. The investigations are of importance to breeders, feeders, packers, retailers, and consumers. Some valuable results have been obtained, many important inquiries are in progress, and many other phases should be undertaken as time and facilities will allow.
Livestock production, Big Spring, Tex.—Big Spring is situated in the heart of the grain sorghum country, which is faced with the problem of changing from range cattle production to grain farming. Beef cattle and grain are available in abundance, consequently it is important that the two industries be combined so far as practicable in the feeding out of grain in the growing of livestock. The department is conducting experiments to determine the best methods of feeding these grain sorghums to livestock. These experiments will be of benefit to growers of grain and producers of feeder cattle in creating a market with consequent higher prices for both products. Furthermore, the people generally in Texas will be benefited by being able to secure good meat produced within their own State, whereas it has been necessary in the past to bring in meat from grainfinished cattle from other areas.
EXPERIMENTAL WORK IN COOPERATION WITH STATES AGRICULTURAL
The object has been in all of our work to conduct the experimental work, whether with cattle, sheep, hogs, or other livestock, by a pooling of the resources of the department and State on the problem, if it is a large regional or national problem. If it is a local problem within a State we have nothing to do with it. Through the extension service we have one full-time extension animal husbandman and one part-time man on meats, who give much attention to carrying out information which we already have from our experimental work but the work we are discussing here is exclusively research work-the developing of breeding methods or feeding practices, or factors which influence the quality of meat, eggs, and wool, or fundamental principles underlying the hatching of eggs, the growing of chicks, or what
ever the problem may be relating to a more efficient and profitable livestock industry. It deals with large national problems rather than local or State problems.
EXPERIMENTS ON FEED FOR ANIMALS AT THE VARIOUS EXPERIMENTAL
Mr. BUCHANAN. You deal with problems like the proper kind of feed to raise and fatten animals in different localities.
Mr. SHEETS. The problem at the station at Miles City, Mont., is different from the one in the Corn Belt or the East or South. The problem there is one of raising cattle and sheep under the peculiar conditions that exist there on feeds on the range or that can be grown either on dry land or under irrigation conditions, then fattening them and selling them as finished, or disposing of them as stockers or feeders. This experimental work should in cooperation with the States establish a practice that will enable the farmer to get most from his range, his feed, and his breeding operations.
Mr. Hart. You have land-grant colleges where they are located? Mr. SHEETS. The State experiment station is at Brookings, S. Dak. We are cooperating with the States at Newell, S. Dak., an irrigated station, and dry land stations are at Ardmore, S. Dak., and Big Springs, Tex. Ardmore is in the western part of the State. It is about 400 miles from Brookings, S. Dak., to that station at Ardmore. It is an entirely different agriculture, just like Big Springs, Tex., is so different from Laredo, Tex. You would hardly realize you were in the same State.
As an example, reference is made to the wintering practices in Montana, which starts with the utilization of the range, how best to graze those cattle and sheep the year around, on winter and summer grazing, or rotation grazing, or alternate grazing, so that the range will be maintained in the best possible condition at the lowest expense to the cattle owner.
When we began up there it was said that cattle could not be wintered on the range without supplementary feed. We have found that by a system of deferred and rotation grazing we can carry cattle on the range until probably March, and cut down the cost by about twothirds.
Mr. BUCHANAN. The cost of feed?
Mr. SHEETS. The cost of feed, We have found that by feeding breeding ewes cottonseed cake on the range we cut down the cost of wintering very materially and do not decrease the lamb crop, in no way injuring the breeding condition of that ewe. Our range cattle work has resulted in developing a system of carrying cattle through the winter at from two to three-fifths of the cost of the former practice, and that is because of the protection of the range from overgrazing during the early spring, reserving that for winter range. Of course, there are times when deep snows crusting on top make it necessary to bring the cattle into headquarters, but we have about 65 per cent of the breeding cows staying on the range practically all winter. Last year 65 per cent stayed out all winter, and that is the difference between profit and loss.
Mr. HARt. It is all loss now.
Mr. SHEETS. Yes; you just lose less. If you bring them into headquarters and feed an animal 142 tons of hay you can not make anything in normal times, let alone now.
Another problem is a method of grazing the cattle on the range, and the supplementary feeding that will put them on the market in the best condition, as judged by the market price.
It has been said that grass beef cuts dark. It is said that fat is yellow, and there have been statements made of that kind which were a little too discriminatory against grass beef. In our beef cattle and meats work we have established, I think, beyond much doubt, that it is a problem of degree of finish. If the range is reserved and they have access to enough supplements to put on the proper degree of finish, our work would indicate there is no just discrimination against that beef. Some of those cattle are fed out there on the products of the range country. Others are shipped to different States. We have a cooperative project whereby 26 calves of this year's calf crop go to Michigan, where they are to be finished and come into our laboratories here, and in the future comparisons will be made with the calves finished there and which go to market direct. What age, what weight, and what degree of finish should the feeder of corn in the Corn Belt buy those calves in order to make the best carcass, so far as the market demand is concerned? Those calves will weigh around 400 to 425 pounds when they arrive there. They will probably feed them 160 days, and every item of expense until they reach the experimental kitchen will be determined, the State bearing all the part of the expense which pertains to its part of the work, and we bearing the laboratory expense.
Mr. Hart. How old are they when shipped? Mr. Sheets. Spring calves dropped about the latter part of March. They are about nine months of age when shipped, weighing about 425 pounds. I refer to that as an example, indicating how completely the project goes into the various details of the whole question of the range and the cattle that are bred and grow up on the range, followed clear through to the ultimate consumer, which I think to be the most economical system that has ever been employed-a 100 per cent cooperative project between the State experiment stations and the Federal department. That is the only way that we have been able to do more work with less funds, as it avoids duplication between the States and the department, saving all along the line, from the range clear through to the consumer.
The same is true in reference to wool and mutton from Dubois, Idaho. I believe you have the breakdown of these various items. I do not know how completely you want to go into them. For instance, at Dubois, Idaho, that is sheep and wool entirely under range conditions. At Miles City the range station is devoted to beef cattle, to sheep and hogs under conditions of the northern Great Plains and under irrigation conditions, and that is where the turkey project is located, the only turkey project which the department has an experimental contact with, where the methods of incubating, growing, fattening, and marketing are carried on.