Agricultural Research Division of IANR


Date of this Version



The Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Nebraska College of Agriculture, BULLETIN 357 (REVISED), 1955 [1944]


(February 1944, 8M) (Revised, January 1955, 8M)

Copyright (c) 1944, 1955 Board of Regents, University of Nebraska


In the Sandhills area of Nebraska, which is principally a cattle producing section, there is little land suitable for tillage. Native grass is the chief source of income from the land. In the hills it is utilized for summer and winter grazing and in the valleys, for hay. The production of grass from year to year is relatively dependable. Even during the severe drought of the thirties, there was enough grass and hay to carry almost the usual number of cattle.

Grass of the Sandhills area, however, is low in protein and phosphorus. This is a serious shortcoming, especially when the grass is used as hay or winter range. Calves wintered on native grass or hay do not consume enough to meet their protein and phosphorus requirements. As a consequence their development is retarded. This was not important when calves were held on the ranch until they were three or four years old before being sold. Now, with many cattle being marketed off grass as yearlings, the winter ration for weanling calves becomes important because of its effect not only upon winter gains but upon total gains up to the time the calf is sold at an age of approximately 18 months. It is recognized that in general the more gain a calf makes during the winter, the less it will make the' following summer on grass. Where cattle are to be marketed off grass as yearlings, the rancher's problem is to winter the calf so a maximum profit may be obtained for the combined winter and summer period. In order to get good resu lts he will need answers to questions such as:

How much gain can be obtained from feeding prairie hay that contains 5 to 7 per cent protein?

What gains can be obtained from prairie hay plus a protein supplement fed at various rates?

What is the relative value of:

High protein concentrates: cottonseed cake, soybean oil meal, linseed oil meal, tankage, and distillers dried grain and dried solubles

Farm grains: corn, rye, barley, and oats

Combination of grain plus cottonseed cake

Commercial pellets containing 12, 22, and 32 per cent protein

Legume hays: alfalfa and mixed clover

Mixed rations based on alfalfa meal, dehydrated alfalfa, oil meals, corn and urea?

How does a mineral supplement fed with prairie hay and many of the above mentioned protein supplements influence gain?

What is the effect of these winter rations on summer gain?

To answer these questions, wintering experiments with range calves were conducted at the Valentine Station from 1926 to 1948.