COMPARATIVE VALUE OF CATTLE FOODS.___________
The attention of the farmers of the country is now turned with more earnestness than ever before, to the raising and fattening of cattle and sheep, and for this there are several concurrent reasons.
The abrogation of the so-called [what do you really, think Mr. Anonymous (no author listed with this chapter) -ASC]reciprocity treaty, and the restrictions hereafter to be placed on the introduction from Canada of cattle and sheep, which have been brought to our markets in great numbers, afford a sufficient reason for increasing our own production.
The rinderpest, that terrible disease that has proved so fatal to the cattle and sheep of Europe, will long show its effects, and the destruction of so many thousands of cattle in England cannot fail to advance or sustain the price of our own beef. Another very strongly operating reason is found in a steadily growing feeling among the farmers of the west and northwest, that it will hereafter be more profitable to devote a larger portion of their lands to the production of meat and wool than to keep them exclusively for wheat growing.
The rates of transportation have been placed so high, that many farmers cannot send their grain to market at a paying price. Such—and there are thousands—will only grow grain enough for their own home consumption, and raise and feed cattle and sheep, which can be brought to market at less cost.
That the economical management of food in fattening domestic animals is of the highest importance, no one will for a moment deny; yet how few among our farmers are really acquainted with most of the great principles which are involved, or understand the causes of which they in their practice see only the effects. They learn from experience that some kinds of food contain greater fattening properties and some greater milk-producing qualities than others, yet are content with this imperfect practical knowledge, and pay no attention to an investigation of the causes of these differences.
It may be said that the education of our farming population precludes the possibility of such investigation. This is true in a measure, and the labors of some of the deepest thinkers and most scientific men of the age, although absorbed in this special department, have added still more to the difficulties attending the study of this exceedingly interesting subject by the employment of terms and experiments only adapted to the comprehension of those who have already acquired at least a partially scientific education. But although this fact may partly account for the existing lack of knowledge of this-branch of natural science, there is no doubt that the greater portion of it is attributable to the common habit of neglecting to investigate phenomena constantly under our notice, because of our familiarity with them.
It is not, of course, to be expected that the farmer can have opportunities for scientific investigation of these phenomena, but it is not unreasonable to suppose that he might, in the common experiments which he is constantly making, by a judicious observation and analysis of some of the results, arrive at a sort of system, capable of a practical arrangement and adaptation, instead of following the beaten track of routine adopted by his ancestors, without even an effort at improvement. It is not enough that he should know that some kinds of grain or some roots possess fattening properties exceeding those of others, but he should understand why this is the case, and be able, in the possession of this knowledge, to arrive at the greatest results with the smallest possible outlay.
It is not only necessary that he should understand the values of the different foods, so that he can make the most judicious use of them, but he should understand the principles by which they operate and become available to him, and thus be enabled to employ those containing the most desirable elements for each particular purpose.
We have said that most of the literature on the subject of economical nutrition is, by the employment of obscure language, generally unintelligible to the farmer. We will therefore in the present article, avoid such language, and when we have occasion to use any of the experiments given by former writers, we will so far simplify them as to place them within the easy comprehension of all.
It is of primary importance to know the constituents of the body of the animal before we consider the food to be given it; and we will, therefore, make an analysis of the matured flesh of ruminating animals, to which class the present paper is intended more especially to apply.In the proportion of one hundred parts there exist, approximately—
|Phosphate of lime||4.5|
|Carbonate of lime||.5|
Water enters largely, as will be seen above, into constituents of all animal bodies; all the fluids, as well as the solids, are largely composed of it, and it is therefore absolutely essential in the food to a certain extent; but we shall find, hereafter, that the foods which contain it in the largest quantities are of a less nutritious character than others which have it in less quantities in their composition. It is found in the different vegetables used as food in the following proportions:
|Potatoes||75 per cent.|
The relative fattening properties of these vegetables will be discussed hereafter.
Gelatine is the material of which many of the tissues of the body are principally composed. It consists of several kinds, all nearly related, such as horn, gelatine in bones, and in cartilages. Horn is constituted nearly like albumen. It is one of the principal elements of all animal bodies, and the skin, hoofs, (or nails,) hair, and coating of the mucous membranes, the lining of the cavities of the intestines, the windpipe, mouth, and, in fact, the lining of all the cavities and surfaces of the body are largely composed of it; but these substances, although in close affinity with each other, differ considerably in their qualities, and some possess elements hardly found in others. For instance, sulphur is found in the smallest quantity in the skin and coating of the mucous membranes, but is quite abundant in the hoofs and horns, and more so in the hair. The gelatine in the cartilages and bones, although different in each, is nearly identical; they are both soluble in hot water, and coagulate, when cool, into a thick jelly, such as we observe in cold veal broth. Glue is formed of gelatine. It is present in the bones, and composes largely the fibres of the sinews and ligaments, to which it furnishes elasticity and strength.
Fat, the next important constituent, is composed principally of starch, gum, and sugar, and occurs in all animals, sometimes to the extent of ten per cent., and even more, of their entire weight. There are three kinds of fatty substances entering into the composition of bodies, viz: Oleine, margarine, and stearine. “Oleine is the chief component of all oils, and denotes their characteristic parts, which slowly coagulate by cold.” Oils also contain another fat—margarine— which hardens quicker than oleine, and is observed in the form of crystals of the appearance of mother-of-pearl; hence it is called sometimes "mother-of-pearl fat.” Stearine is the principal fat in animals; it is of a firmer texture than the others, and is the fat of mutton and beef, in which meats it is combined with margarine and oleine.
Fat is secreted in the largest quantities from food abounding in sugar, starch, and gum. These contain the three elements—carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; the first element preponderating to the extent of at least fifty per cent.; hence these foods are called carbonaceous, or heat-giving foods. They seem to be of no great use in building up the body, but furnish, as we may say, the fuel by which the animal heat is maintained. The process by which this heat is produced is precisely similar to that of the burning of coal, gas, or other substances. The carbon of the food is exposed to the action of the oxygen of the air in the lungs, and the result is the burning of it, which produces as much heat as if consumed in the open air. Less heat-giving food is needed in hot weather than in cold, and less in warm climates than in cold. Thus the Esquimaux and Greenlanders are enabled to subsist on, and even require, fat or oily food that would be rejected by people living in a warmer climate. The body needs only a certain quantity of heat-giving food to maintain its natural temperature, and all consumed in excess of this quantity but furnishes material for future use, to be stored up in receptacles provided by nature in the body.
An accumulation of fat in the animal, caused by feeding it upon foods which abound in fat-forming principles, is therefore really food stored up in the animal for its support when needed.
Phosphate of lime, or bone lime, is composed of about 75 per cent. of lime and 25 per cent. of phosphoric acid. It occurs in all the animal tissues, and forms from 50 to 60 per cent. of the materials of the bones, to which it gives strength, and in which it occurs in the largest quantities in those most exposed to mechanical influences. Some foods furnish an abundance of this mineral, as Indian corn, and animals which have been fed upon it to any great extent are observed to be large-boned.
Carbonate of lime, or chalk, occurs in all bones, though in much less quantities than the preceding mineral. It is also found in less proportions in young than in old animals, being nearly from 1 to 4 parts in newly-born, 1 to 6 in adult, and 1 to 8 or 9 in old animals.
Albumen occurs in the blood and nerves of animals. It differs from fat in its composition, having the four elements—carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen—while fat contains but three.
All the organs of the bodies of animals contain these four elements, and food must necessarily contain them to be nutritious. We found the carbonaceous foods to be fat-producing: or heat-giving. The nutritious foods containing the four elements are called nitrogenous or flesh-forming foods. They are all included in the three forms, albumen, fibrin, and casein, which contain the four elements in nearly the same proportions. Albumen, occurring in the blood and nerves of animals, and in eggs of birds, &c., is found in grains and vegetables in almost exactly identical composition. Boussingault gives the results of analyses performed by Messrs. Dumas and Cahours to prove this fact, as follows:
Fibrin is the principal element of which the muscles of animals are formed; it also forms the clot and globules in blood. Like albumen, fibrin is found in vegetables in nearly identical composition with that of animals. The analysis of Messrs. Dumas and Cahours give the following:
Casein is found in the milk of mammals, and is. identical with that called legumen, of the leguminous seeds, such as beans, peas, &c., in which it exists more abundantly than in milk itself. The analyses. before referred to give the composition of the animal and vegetable casein as nearly identical.
The salts and other minerals found in mammals, or phosphate of magnesia, which occurs in small quantities in the bones and fluids; fluoride of calcium, which is found in small quantities in the tissues, but more abundantly in the bones and teeth; silica, a flint which is found in the enamel of the teeth; chloride of sodium, (or common salt,) which exists in all the tissues and in blood, form at least six parts in one thousand.
Of these minerals, salt is the only one that is not supplied in vegetable food in the necessary quantities, and it is therefore absolutely necessary that it should be provided, not only because no tissue of the body can exist without it, nor the blood and cartilages maintain their proper constituents, but it is necessary in the wear and tear of the body to replace that which is abstracted from the blood by the excretions, for the urine and excrement, the tears and horny substances, have all taken it from the blood, and it must be replaced. Salt, then, is necessary to the successful management of stock, and should always be given in quantities sufficient to satisfy the cravings of nature.
In a brief review of the analysis of the bodies of mammals we find them to consist in great part of water, which is absolutely necessary in the food to be given them for nourishment, both to assist in digestion and to replace the waste which is going on, not only in the fluids, but also in the solids; gelatine, of which many of the tissues are composed; fat, which is composed principally of starch, gum, and sugar, and requires food containing these constituents to increase its secretion; phosphate and carbonate of lime, forming the bones; albumen, casein, and fibrin, forming the flesh; and various salts’and chemicals contained in small quantities, but nevertheless essential, and must therefore be furnished by the food.
We will now consider the various foods used in sustaining these different parts, and their relative and comparative values for both nourishing and fattening purposes.
We have said that milk is the type of all animal food. This is apparent from the fact that in it are found all the principles necessary to support life. It is at once a liquid and solid food; a source of albumen and of fatty substances, of sugar and the salts; and, although more abundant in water than. the blood, it possesses, in its principal constituent, casein, one of the most necessary elements in the food of all mammals.The average of several analyses in this country is as follows:
|Fatty matter||3.5||Flesh formers||5.0|
|Mineral matter||1.0||Mineral matter||1.0|
|Casein, albumen, and insoluble salts||Fatty matter||Sugar of milk and soluble salts||Water||Dry matter in 100 parts of milk||Remarks||Authors of the analyses|
|3.6||4.0||5.0||87.4||12.6||Average of twelve analyses at Bechelbrunn||Le Bel and Boussingault.|
|3.8||3.5||6.1||86.6||13.4||Average of six analyses in the environs of Paris||Quevenne.|
|4.5||3.1||5.4||87.0||13.0||Idem-----------------||Henri and Chevalier.|
|5.1||3.0||4.6||87.3||12.7||An analysis at Giersen.||Haidlen.|
It will be perceived by these analyses that there is over eighty percent. of water. This, at the first glance, would lead us to question its value as food, particularly as some of the roots which abound in water to the same extent are notoriously unnutritious; but if we give the matter a moment’s consideration we shall see that so large a proportion is almost absolutely necessary, for we found in one analysis of the bodies of mammals that about seventy-five per cent. consists of water, which in the decompositions of the body is continually passing off, and which must be replaced. A recent writer says of this fact: “If life consists in a metamorphosis of the tissues, fluids are an indispensable condition of life, for the combinations and decompositions in its substance produced by the activities of the body cannot take place without the agency of water, and since the last result of the whole process of digestion is a liquefaction of alimentary principles, the formation of the blood is impossible without water.” But not only the formation, but the continual exercise also, of the organs depends upon their receiving a due amount of water. Without it no digestion or formation of blood, no nutrition or excretion, can exist. Even this statement, however, by no means exhausts the importance of water, for it is essential not only as the medium for the movements of all dissolved substances—not only is the humidity necessary for the organs of which the most active, the brain and muscles, contain the greatest proportion of water—but the hydrogen and oxygen which we take in water enter into the composition of many elementary principles of being and are transformed into the constituents of the blood. When starch or gum becomes sugar, the transformation is effected by the absorption of water; for with regard to their composition, a greater proportion only of water distinguishes sugar from starch, and a separation of oxygen from sugar causes the latter to be transformed into fat. It will be found hereafter that foods which contain a great abundance of water are not nutritious from this fact, but from the arrangement of the other constituents, and those which are concentrated and dry must be used in connexion with water to be of most value.
Milk, then, being the prototype of a perfect nutriment, those foods which contain its valuable elements in the greatest abundance are evidently of the most value in the animal economy. It only remains, therefore, in a series of comparative analyses of the different foods of the animals under present consideration, to discover those containing the most desirable qualities, and trace the circumstances and combinations in which they can be made of the highest utility and value.
The foods of all strictly herbivorous animals are derived from the mineral and vegetable kingdoms. They may properly be classified as follows:
Mineral food—water, salts, &c.; carbonaceous or fat-forming food2—starch, sugar, fat; nitrogenous or flesh-forming food—albumen, fibrin, casein, gluten; accessory or heat-giving food, which is also partly carbonaceous—gum, fibre.
The vegetable kingdom, in its various forms, supplies all these elements in different quantities and combinations, not only in the seeds and fruits, but also in the roots, stalks, and leaves. For our present purpose, we will divide the vegetable foods into three classes, viz: roots, leaves, stalks, &c., seeds, grains, &c.
This valuable class is already appreciated at its true value. Its importance is evident from the fact that it supplies, in the different species, all the necessary elements of food. For instance, the potato furnishes starch in abundance, which is well known for its fat-forming properties; the parsnip furnishes albumen and casein; the beet and carrot furnish sugar—in fact, all have valuable nutritive qualities, some to a surpassing extent.We will begin our analysis of the different roots with the potato. Its constituents are, according to different authorities, as follows:
Of the high value of potatoes, when used in connexion with other foods, there is not a shadow of doubt. All experimenters and observers in the economy of food agree in saying that they are of the highest utility, but they must be used with other foods whose constituents are different from those of this root. The analysis shows that potatoes surpass in the fat-producing principles—the nutritious or flesh-forming—in such proportions that they could not alone sustain the composition of the blood, for an animal fed alone on these tubers would be obliged to consume such quantities to provide the blood with the requisite proportion of albumen, that, even if the process of digestion were not discontinued, there would be a superabundance of fat accumulated beyond the power of the oxygen to consume, which would successively absorb from the albuminous substances a part of its vital elements, and thus a check would be caused in the endless change of matter in the tissues in the nutritive and regressive transformations. These roots, then, are most valuable when used with foods in which the nutritious principles more nearly correspond with the fat-forming, and we shall find, in the course of our investigations, exactly what those foods are which will develop the utility of the potato at its highest.degree. There seems no doubt that the tubers are of the most value when cooked, although some writers affirm to the contrary. It seems possible to prove this fact on philosophical principles, for it is well known that the starch contained in the potato is incapable of affording nourishment until the containing globules are broken, and one of the most efficient means of accomplishing this seems to be by heat.
Boussingault, in speaking of the economy of cooking potatoes, says: “The potato is frequently steamed or boiled first; yet I can say positively that horned cattle do extremely well upon raw potatoes, and at Bechelbrunn our cows never have them otherwise than raw. They are never boiled, save for horses and hogs. The best mode of dealing with them is to steam them; they need never be so thoroughly boiled as when they are to serve for the food of man. The steamed or boiled potatoes are crushed between two rollers, or simply broken with a wooden spade, and mixed with cut hay or straw or chaff, before being served out. It may not be unnecessary to observe that by steaming, potatoes lose no weight; hence we conclude that the nutritive equivalent for the boiled is the same as that of the raw tuber. Nevertheless it is possible that the amylaceous principle is rendered more easily assimilable by boiling, and that by this means the tubers actually become more nutritious. Some have proposed to roast potatoes in the oven, and there can be little question but that heated in this way they answer admirably for fattening hogs, or even oxen. Done in the oven, potatoes may be brought to a state in which they may perfectly supply the place of corn in foddering horses and other cattle.’ The apparent contradiction in the remarks will be observed; but the evident leaning in favor of cooked potatoes shows that Boussingault, although paying some attention to the theory that cooked food is not generally attended with the same benefit to ruminating as to other animals, was evidently almost perfectly convinced of the truth that those which contain an abundance of starch in their constituents must be rendered more nutritious when exposed to the action of heat.
Many experiments have been made to find the comparative value of potatoes with other foods for stock.
“From recent experiments, very carefully and skillfully made, it appears that two pounds of raw potatoes afford as much nourishment as one pound of good English hay.” (Agriculture of Massachusetts, 1853, p. 35.)
In the appended table we find, by our present system of analysis, the value of this tuber, both in comparison and connexion with other foods.One of the next in value among the roots for food is the carrot. Its constituents are as follows:
|Albumen and casein||0.6||Water||87.5|
|Woody fibre||3.3||Mineral matter||1.0|
It will be seen that the fat-forming elements surpass the nitrogenous to such an extent that other food (as with the potato) is absolutely necessary to give this root its highest value. All writers and experimenters agree in pronouncing it of considerable utility, not only in its fattening qualities, but also in its valuable medicinal properties.
Many experiments have been made to ascertain the economical value of this root. Mr Colman, in his second report on the agriculture of Massachusetts, gives the experience of Mr. J. C. Curwen, who says: “The profits and advantages of carrots are, in my opinion, greater than any other crop. This admirable root has, upon repeated and very extensive trials for the last three years, been found to answer most perfectly as a partial substitute for oats. Where ten pounds of oats were given per day, four pounds may be taken away and their place supplied by five pounds of carrots.”
Josiah Quincy’s experience in the cultivation of carrots was that they cost him about eleven cents per bushel. The average cost of this root, every expense included, is probably not far from thirteen cents per bushel. This small cost, when considered in connexion with the value of the root, at once establishes the profit of its culture. The leaves of the carrot are almost as valuable as the root itself, as their constituents are nearly the same. They are most valuable when given to milch cows, as they not only increase the flow of milk to a surprising degree, but also add to its quality.
The parsnip is of about the same value for fattening purposes as the carrot, and is one of the most nutritious of the roots. The average of different analyses give its composition as—
|Albumen and casein||1.7||Water||82.1|
The same remarks will apply to this root as to the carrot. Its comparative value will be found in the appended table.
For strictly fattening purposes no root is more valuable than the Jerusalem artichoke; but although all who have had any experience in its use agree in pronouncing it of very high utility, its culture is neglected to a greater extent than that of all other roots.The results of different analyses average as follows:
Abounding as this root does in fat-forming principles, to the remarkable extent of nearly nineteen per cent., its value when used in connexion with foods whose constituents are more nutritious is evident. The principal cause for its non-culture is probably the difficulty with which it is eradicated from the ground when once introduced. But this should be almost an argument in its favor, for it establishes at once its hardiness, and as it yields abundantly with ordinary cultivation, and is not liable to the diseases with which its cousin, the Irish potato, is afflicted, there seems no good reason why every farmer should not cultivate it to some extent, particularly as it thrives in shady places:and on poor soil, and may be planted in some of the many patches found on all farms which probably could be turned to no other use unless at great expense and labor.The mangold wurzel, in consequence of its great yield and great nutritive qualities, is one of the most valuable roots cultivated for food for farm stock. The analysis of the three favorite varieties, as given by Mr. Cameron, assisted. by Professor Johnston, is as follows:
|Long red.||Short red.||Orange globe.|
|Casein, (so called)||0.39||0.26||0.33|
|Fibre and pectic acid||3.08||3.31||2.45|
These analyses differ from those given by Sir Humphry Davy and Mr. Herepath, a celebrated chemist of Bristol, England, presented below, and probably represent the nutritive properties of the: mangolds in the minimum degree.
The leaves of the mangold are of as much nutritive value as_the root itself, if they do not surpass it.3 Professor Wilson, in the Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, says: “The leaves of the plants also appear to possess a far higher value, both as a feeding and manuring substance, than we are accustomed to assign to them; in fact, in a chemical point of view they are three times as valuable as the roots.”
Of the value of this root in yielding immense crops there is no doubt. Dr.
George B. Loring, of Salem, Massachusetts, in a statement made concerning
this crop, showed that he raised on one acre and one-eighth of land, at a cost
of $135, (all expenses included,) 1,800 bushels of mangolds; the seed planted
was a mixture of long red and yellow globe. The doctor remarks, in concluding his statement, as follows:
“The cost of these roots, seven and a half cents per bushel, is certainly not extravagant, considering their value as food and the usual market price. They usually sell for seven dollars a ton of sixty pounds to the bushel, or about thirty- four bushels to the ton; and at this rate bring twenty cents and a fraction per bushel. The market for them is not large, it is true, but they give ample remuneration for the trouble and expense of raising in their benefit to milch cows.
“According to analysis and experiment, four hundred pounds of mangold wurzel are equivalent to one hundred pounds of English hay. At sixty pounds to the bushel the crop weighed ninety-six thousand pounds, or forty-eight tons, equivalent to twelve tons of hay, taking the estimate that four tons of mangolds are equal to one ton of hay. or the production of milk, I have no doubt that the forty-eight tons of mangolds are worth more than the thirteen and a half of hay.”
It will be observed that the above crop was taken from but one and one- eighth acre of land, on which it would of course be impossible to produce the equivalent in hay. This at once establishes the value of the root for economical purposes. There are several well established varieties of the mangold, the principal of which are the long orange, red globe, orange globe, and yellow globe. The first three varieties are best suited to. deep, heavy soils; and the other to those of a lighter texture. For general cultivation, the orange globe seems the best in yielding the largest crops.The Silesian mangold, or sugar beet, is another variety of this root. The following is the average analysis as given by different authors:
It will be seen that the fat-forming elements are very largely in excess of the nitrogenous, and compose about thirteen per cent. of the entire root. The value of the sugar beet is better appreciated in Europe than in this country. There, it forms one of the great staple products, and is used not only in the manufacture of sugar, but also for fattening cattle, and is quite a favorite with dairymen. There is considerable difference among writers in this country as to its value, compared with other foods; but there is no doubt that it is the most valuable of the mangolds for feeding purposes, though not so profitable in yielding great crops, as it averages only about seventy-five per cent. of the yield of the other varieties.The ruta-baga, or Swedish turnip, is esteemed very highly by feeders; but its value is, I am inclined to think, over-estimated. The following table, the result of analyses by Sir Humphry Davy and Mr. Herepath, shows the comparative value of this root with the different mangolds:
|Mucilage or starch||Sugar.||Gluten or albumen.||Total.|
|Orange globe wurzel||25¾||106¾||1½||134|
For feeding purposes, the ruta-baga is evidently of inferior value to the mangolds, and there is but one reason why the latter should not supersede the former, and that is the greater difficulty attending the raising of the mangolds, and the superior soil which is essential for their success. The value of the ruta-baga, in, fact, consists in its being grown with good returns on comparatively very poor soil.
The interesting experiments of Lord Spencer show pretty conclusively the comparative values of mangolds and Swedes for feeding purposes. He selected two steers of about the same weight and age, one being two years nine months and the other two years seven months old, and fed them on equal quantities of hay, to which was added to one animal regular rations of Swedes, and to the other mangolds. The animals increased in weight at the rate of forty-eight and a quarter pounds for every ton of Swedes, and sixty-five and a half pounds for every ton of mangolds.
Thinking that the difference in the increase of weight might have been from other causes than the values of the roots, he changed. the. diet of the two animals, giving to the one that he fed on Swedes, mangolds, and to the other, Swedes. The result was, the animal fed on mangolds increased in weight at the rate of thirty-six and three-fourth pounds, and the other fed on Swedes. at the rate of fifteen and a half pounds, for every ton of the roots consumed. The great difference must have been caused by the change of the first animal from mangolds to Swedes; and this is proved by a third experiment. Both animals were fed on equal quantities of mangolds, when they both increased in weight at the rate of fifty pounds for every ton consumed. His lordship, in summing up the result of these experiments, remarks; “It will be for practical men to decide upon the value of this trial. What appears to me to be the most conclusive part of it is that No.2, who had during the first month, when feeding upon mangold wurzel, increased in girth three inches, in the next month, when his food was changed to Swedish turnips, did-not increase in girth at all; and when in the third month he was feeding again on mangold wurzel, he again began to increase in girth. Because it is very well known that if an animal is changed from more to less nutritious food, the probable consequence will be that his growth will be stopped.
The result appeared to me so decisive that I have not tried the same experiment with the same accuracy since; but I did try the following year, feeding a cow alternately on Swedish turnips and mangold wurzel, and though I have not by me the details of the trial, I remember that the result confirmed the experiment of the previous year."The white turnip is undoubtedly the least valuable of all roots for fattening purposes, as will be seen by its analysis. It seems of most utility when given to milch cows, and it produces an increased flow of milk. It is of the highest value as a field crop only when sown on land after other more valuable crops are gathered. The analysis is:
|Casein and albumen||1.0||Water||90.1|
|Mineral matter||0.9||Mineral matter||0.9|
This important portion of the food of domestic animals, of which grass and hay are the type, is valuable, not only in furnishing essential accessory food, but it contains, as we shall find hereafter, exceedingly nutritious and fattening principles.
Of the different varieties of this food, the most valuable are the various grasses, clovers, and stalks and leaves of the different leguminous plants. Of course, our limited space: will not permit us to give an extended consideration of all these, and we must content ourselves with analyses and investigations of those most valuable and generally used, which are included in the various grasses and clovers.In dismissing the leguminous plants, it is worthy of remark that they are acknowledged by all writers and observers to be of considerable nutritive value. The following table, from analyses of Einkop, Boussingault, and others, gives the appropriate composition of the green stems and leaves of some of the leguminous and other plants, not usually cultivated for hay:
|Green pea stalks||Spurry||Green stalks of buckwheat||Common vetch||French vetch||White lupine||Common white field bean||Green oats fodder|
|Phosphate of lime||0.19||0.8||-----||-----||-----||-----||0.5|
The economical value of these will be found in the table appended to this article.
In the grasses and clovers are included the natural and most important foods of the animals especially under present consideration. It is, of course, impossible to investigate the comparative values of the hundreds of different species of grasses found in this country, and we shall be obliged, in this article, to speak of them under one general head, giving to the clovers, however, a separate consideration. It is true of grass that it combines all the elements in its composition necessary to support the life and physical organization of all herbivorous animals in a perfection attainable from no other foods; for in it are united not only the nutritious and fat-producing, but also the accessory and mineral elements.Grass varies considerably in its composition in its various species, and their different ages. The following are the analyses of timothy and red-top at the time of flowering:
|Water||Starch||Woody fibre||Sugar||Albumen &c.||Gum||Mineral matter|
These two species will serve for our present purpose as a type of grass, and in fact they are the most valuable of all for food. Grass is the most valuable for hay before it has ripened, or, in other words, gone to seed, and it is of primary importance, therefore, to secure it when its most valuable constituents, as sugar, starch, albumen, &c., are in the greatest abundance in the stalks and leaves, which is the time of flowering.
This care is not the only essential, for on the process of making the hay depends almost entirely its value. Dr. Robert D. Thompson, of Glasgow, Scotland, says of this fact: “It should be an object with the farmer to cut grass for the purpose of making hay at that period when the largest amount of matter soluble in-water is contained in it. This is assuredly at an earlier period in its growth than when it has shot into seed, for it is then that woody matter predominates—a substance totally insoluble in water, and therefore less calculated to serve as food to animals than substances capable of assuming a soluble condition. This is the first point for consideration in the production of hay, since it ought to be the object of the farmer to preserve the hay for winter use in the condition most resembling the grass in its highest state of perfection. The second consideration in hay-making is to dry the grass under such circumstances as to retain the soluble portion in perfect integrity.”
Hay is the most valuable, therefore, which is made perfectly dry in the shortest possible time and with the least possible bleaching; for the experience of all observers is, that hay when cured with the least exposure to the sunshine and winds is much more valuable than that cured otherwise.
Fattening cattle on hay alone is the practice of many farmers, and is not inconsistent with economy where hay is plenty and markets are distant. Animals usually consume, when fed with hay alone, not far from four per centum of their live weight daily, and will gain, if properly cared for, nearly two pounds of flesh. But it is more desirable to feed the animals on not more than three per cent. of their live weight in hay, and an equivalent for the other one per cent. in Indian corn meal, or roots; and the gain would exceed the other system in a greater proportion than the cost of food.
It will be observed that the analyses of the timothy and red-top grasses were made when they were in the green state. The following is their nutritive value when made into hay, and also that of some other well-known species, as given by C. L. Flint, in his valuable work on “Grasses and forage plants.”
|Name of grass.||Albuminous, of flesh-forming principles||Fatty matter||Heat-producing principles—starch, gum, sugar, &c.||Woody fibre||Mineral matter or ash|
|Sweet-scented vernal grass||10.43||3.41||43.48||36.36||6.32|
|Tall oat grass||12.95||3.19||38.03||34.24||11.59|
|Orchard grass, seeds ripe||23.08||1.56||26.53||43,32||5.51|
|Meadow loft grass||11.52||3.56||39.25||39.30||6.37|
|Meadow barley grass||11.17||2.30||46.68||31.67||6.18|
|Perennial rye grass||11.85||3.17||42.24||35.20||7.54|
|Italian rye grass||10.10||3.27||57.82||19.76||9.05|
|Annual spear grass||11.83||3.42||51.70||30.22||2.83|
|Rough-stalked meadow grass||9.80||3.67||40.17||38.03||8.33|
|Grass from irrigated meadow||25.91||6.53||32.05||25.14||10.37|
|Grass from irrigated meadow, (2d crop)||10.92||2.06||43.90||34.30||8.82|
It is to be understood in the foregoing remarks that the average of circumstances has been considered, for, as it is well known, the composition of all plants is very materially affected by influences of soil, cultivation, and temperature, and plants grown on poor soil are poorer in nitrogenous principles than those grown on a rich soil, as much as those grown in a wet season are as rich in fat-forming elements than those grown in dry seasons.The different clovers constitute, probably, as valuable food for cattle generally as the true grasses, and for milch cows they excel in the principles essential to an increased flow of rich milk. The analyses of the three important species used for both fodder and hay, substantially, as given by Einhof and Crome, are as follows:
|Red clover.||White clover.||Lucerne.|
|Extractive matter and gum||3.5||3.4||4.4|
|Phosphate of lime||1.0||0.9||0.8|
All the above analyses of clovers were made at the time of the flowering, when the stalks and leaves contained their nutriment in the highest perfection.
The value of clover is increased instead of diminished (as with the grasses) by a slow process of curing: “It requires a longer time to cure it properly, and if exposed to the scorching sun it is soon injured even more than the natural grasses, since its succulent leaves and tender blossoms are quickly browned, and lose their sweetness in a measure, and are themselves liable to be wasted in handling over.” Clover should be cut, therefore, while dry and free from dew; it should be exposed to the sun only enough to thoroughly wilt it, when it should be formed into small cocks, and permitted to dry until fit to place in the barn.
Thus the tender and succulent leaves are secured in a form nearly resembling the green plant, which is a matter of vital importance in the economy of these species.
In a brief summing up of the value of the different grasses as food, it is worthy of remark, that in the dried state they furnish essential accessory food in connexion with others more nutritive.
It is an axiom that no matter how nutritious the food given an animal is, there must be a sufficient quantity of it to satisfy the beast and produce the greatest results.
If an animal in fattening requires a certain amount of nutritive food, and that food is given it in a highly condensed condition or concentrated form—as, for instance, oil-cake—but a comparatively small quantity would be necessary to have the same value in bulk of hay. But that the food may be most perfectly exposed to the action of the digestive organs it must. be of a bulk sufficient to stimulate them to exertion, and grass, in its various forms, seems particular; adapted for this purpose, for we find by the different analyses that the fat and flesh forming elements, although formed in desirable quantities, are ‘exceeded’ by essential accessory food in a degree surpassing all other nutriments.
Grass, then, in its various forms, is valuable as food of itself, but is of the greatest utility as an auxiliary in the fattening of animals, for it gives bulk to the more nutritious foods used in fattening them, and stimulates the digestion in a manner essential to its maximum perfection. It is worthy of observation that, although hay possesses the quality of both distending the stomach to its fullest capacity and affording sufficient nourishment to maintain the animal, no other food has this faculty, and this fact has caused it to be considered the standard of food for herbivorous animals in the various experiments of authors.
In this class are included not only some of the most valuable foods for the maintenance of animal life, but also those most esteemed as giving the highest amount of nutrition in a condensed form.
"Nearly all the grains contain nutritious and fat-forming elements in the most desirable proportions, and some of them furnish the standard of food for the human race. For instance, wheat contains in its composition all the principles necessary to maintain life, and beans contain a greater amount of casein, or cheese, than milk itself.
The grains, therefore, are of the highest value in the fattening of animals, but they must be used in connexion with other food of a less nutritious nature, and it will be apparent hereafter which varieties are most valuable when used together, and in what amounts they must be employed.
It is true of nearly all grains that they are as valuable for food with their enveloping husk ground into meal with them, as when nothing but the clean grain is employed; in fact, some authors affirm that the enveloping husks of some of them contain more nutrition than the grains themselves. However this may be, all cereals should be broken into the form of meal to be most nutritious, and a large percentage is added to their value by the process of cooking.This is accounted for philosophically by the following results of experiments by. M. Rapsail, the author of “Organic Chemistry,” and M. Biot, of the French Academy of Sciences:
1.The globules constituting meal, flour, and starch, whether contained in grain or roots, are incapable of affording any nourishment as animal food until they are broken.
2. No mechanical method of breaking or grinding is more than partially efficient.
3. The most efficient means of breaking the globules is by heat, by fermentation, or by the chemical agency of acids or alkalies.
4. The dextrine, which is the kernel, as it were, of each globule, is alone soluble, and therefore alone nutritive.
5. The shells of the globules, when reduced to fragments by mechanism or heat, are, therefore, not nutritive.
6. Though the fragments of these shells are not nutritive, they are indispensable to digestion, either from. their distending the, stomach or from some other cause not understood, it having been found by experiment that. concentrated nourishment, such as sugar or essence of beef, cannot long sustain life without some mixture of coarse or less nutritive food.
7. The economical preparation of all food containing globules or fecula consists in perfectly breaking the shells, and rendering the dextrine contained in them soluble and digestible, while the fragments of the shells are at the same time rendered more bulky, so as the more readily to fill the stomach.
It is with this theory and with these facts in view that the following analyses and comparative values of the different grains have been made, after they were reduced to the condition of fine meal or flour. It will be observed in the analyses that all the grains contain a small percentage of water. This is present in all the varieties unless they are subjected to a heat, of 212° Fahrenheit; but for our present purpose it is desirable that they should be presented as they exist in the natural ripened state. The following table of comparative equivalents of the nutritive natures of the different grains and seeds, as given by Boussingault, will be found to nearly correspond to those contained in the table appended to this article. Wheaten flour was assumed as, the standard, and placed at the value of 100. [I believe they are talking about what we would call "protein", but it's shown in a weird way with those seeds of higher protein content being shown as a smaller number. Some further explanation is provided below the table, but I would have shown this information another way- not equivalent parts. -ASC]
|Wheat flour (good quality)||100|
|White French beans||56|
It must be borne in mind that this table presents those in their nitrogenous values, and that 100 parts of wheat flour are worth 138 parts of maize, or 44 parts of horse-beans. Their fattening properties will be found to differ greatly from the above in the subsequent analyses.
Wheat, from the great demand for it as the staple food of man, is of too much value to be used in fattening farm stock in most localities; but in sections remote from markets, and where transportation is difficult, no food can be grown to exceed this grain in feeding value. It is undoubtedly the most valuable of all the cereals, in combining in its composition not only the valuable fattening principles of some of the other grains, but also the nutritive elements that are essential in all foods.The composition of wheat of average quality, with the greater part of the husks removed, is as follows:
The practical value of wheat agrees with the theoretical. As seen by the above analysis, the flesh-forming elements constitute about 15 per cent. of the whole, and the fat-forming about 66 per cent.; the nourishment of the body is thus generously provided, and a large amount of carbonaceous material is given to cook it with. The wheat plant, like all others, is, of course, affected by circumstances of soil and temperature; that which is grown on calcareous soils is notoriously richer in gluten than that grown on others, as is also the case with that grown in warm climates in comparison with that grown in colder. The time of cutting, also, influences the quantity and quality of the grain; that which is cut a fortnight before it is ripe is found to be richer in gluten, and in fact in yield, than that cut when fully ripe.This is shown by Professor Johnson’s experiments, the results of which are as follows:
|When cut.||IN THE GRAIN, PER CENT.||FLOUR, PER CENT.|
|20 days before ripe||74.7||7.2||17.5||15.7||9.3|
|10 days before ripe||79.1||5.5||13.2||15.5||9.9|
His experiments must evidently have been made on grain with all the husks removed, for the gluten only existed at the most at about 10 per cent. of the entire composition, which is notoriously less than that in grains with only a portion of the husks left which abound in nitrogenous matter.The most valuable of the cereals for fattening purposes, both from its composition and the profitable returns attending its culture, is undoubtedly maize or Indian corn, Its analysis exhibits an abundance of fat-forming principles, and also a liberal supply of the nutritious. Its analysis is as follows:
The same remarks will apply to this as to wheat and the other cereals regarding the influence of soils and cultivation on the composition of the grain; but the above is the average of several analyses of common yellow Indian corn, in its ripe, dry state.
Other varieties differ essentially in the amount of some of the constituents, as, for instance, the sweet corn contains not only a large amount of sugar, but also a more liberal supply of gluten; and some of the flint corns are found to contain more starch and mineral matter, but, as before remarked, the above will be found to, exhibit the average composition of this grain.
The vital importance of crushing cereals before giving them to animals for food is most plainly manifested in maize, particularly when given to horned cattle. Each grain is covered with silicious coating that is impervious to the gastric juice, and must pass from the animal in an undigested condition. This is almost inevitably the case with ruminating animals, which swallow the grass or hay which constitutes the greater portion of their food in pellets or bunches, which are only passed to the first stomach, whence they return to the mouth of the animal to be ground up fine before they pass to the other stomachs and are digested. It is plainly impossible for most of the grains of corn, which are small, smooth, and detached, to be thus returned, and hence they pass the animal without conferring the slightest benefit.
The comparative value of maize with other foods has been the object of much research by experimenters; the results have been unanimously in favor of this grain before all others used for fattening animals. In our present system, the value which is given to this cereal in the appended table agrees pretty nearly with the practical and theoretical estimates of others.
The stalks of the Indian corn are of great value for fodder, particularly when grown to feed in the green state; they abound in sugar, and are of especial value when given to milch cows, as they not only greatly increase the quantity of milk, but also the quality.
Mr. Flint [what a name for a corn expert! -ASC], in his work on “Grasses and Forage Plants,” says of the culture of green corn for fodder: "The common practice with regard to this crop, which has already been partially stated, is to sow in drills from two and a half to three feet apart, on land well tilled and thoroughly manured, making the drills from six to ten inches wide with the plough, manuring in the furrow, dropping the corn about two, inches apart, and covering with the hoe. In this mode of culture the cultivator may be used between the rows when the corn is from six to twelve inches high, and, generally, unless the ground is very weedy, no after cultivation is needed. .'The first sowing usually takes place about the 20th of May, July, in order to have a succession of green fodder. But if it is designed to cut it up to cure for winter use an early sowing is generally preferred, in order to be able to cut it in warm-weather, in August or early in September. Sown in this way, about three or four bushels of corn are required for an acre, since, if sown thickly, the fodder is better, the stalks smaller; and the waste less."
Meal in which are ground both the cob and grain is of about three-fifths of the value of that composed of the grain alone; the ripe cob is only valuable in furnishing accessory food, as the woody fibre and mineral matter of which it is principally composed contain no nutritive matter.The next most valuable of the cereals for fattening purposes is rye, and its nutritive elements are in valuable proportions with the fat-forming, as will be seen by the analysis, which is as follows:
This grain, like wheat, furnishes valuable food for man, and in some localities constitutes the favorite diet, as in Germany, Russia, and other European countries, where it is made into what is called “black bread,” which is exceedingly nutritious and healthful. It is valuable for fattening stock, but the demand foe it is so great for other uses that its employment for this purpose is unprofitable, Of the profit attending the cultivation of this grain there is no doubt. Indeed, some pronounce it the most profitable of the northern grain crops, but this statement may require modification.
The dark color of the meal or flour of this grain is owing to the presence of the enveloping husks of the kernels; if these are removed the flour is neatly as white and delicate as that of wheat. But the presence of these husks is desirable from the fact that they furnish not only valuable accessories; but the bread is actually more nutritious; for in these coverings of all grains are contained much more of gluten and fat than in the kernels themselves. The objection which many persons make to the flour in which the husks are ground, namely, that the hard tissues that it contains excite an injurious irritation in weak digestive organs and cause diarrhœa, is not of sufficient importance to reduce the value of this food, and there is no good reason why it should not be used much more extensively than it is.
There is but little difference in the values of rye and barley for fattening purposes. In fact the latter grain is in some districts the favorite, both in the natural and malt state.The composition of barley is as follows:
Many experiments have been conducted both in Europe and this country to ascertain the relative value of barley and malt. Professor Thompson found that 100 pounds of barley would. produce, by experiment, 34.6 pounds of milk, and 100 pounds of malt would, produce 26.2 pounds; and the same amount of each would produce relatively 7.66 pounds and 6.35 pounds of butter. These were used in connexion with other foods which were alike in different experiments. Professor Thompson remarks of these results: “By the present mode of comparison, then, it appears that in every point of view malt is inferior to barley as an article of diet for cattle, as it gives less: milk-and: butter, and diminishes the live weight, instead of increasing it, which barley does under the same circumstances.” Of the value of barley as a crop there can be no question, and its large returns, together with its valuable fattening properties, render it justly a favorite. The malt is used most profitably when given to milch cows. Dairymen in the neighborhood of cities secure the malt of distilleries for this purpose, and all agree in pronouncing it of great utility.Oats are of the least value for fattening purposes of all the cereals, and, unlike the others, the meal is most nutritious when made from the kernel alone. When made into bread, it possesses very great nutrition and excellence. It is rich in flesh formers, and consequently valuable for food for the laboring classes, in furnishing elements contained in a meat diet, which is not always attainable to them. This is particularly the case in portions of Europe, where it furnishes one of the principal articles of food. The composition of oats, after most of the husk has been removed, is as follows:
|Gluten and albumen||18.0||Water||14.0|
It is a fact worthy of remark, that of 100 pounds of oats, two-ninths, or about 23 pounds, consist of husks, which are of no value as food. Oats are most valuable as food for horses, and in this country are used almost entirely for this stock.Buckwheat, although valuable for fattening purposes, is grown but little in this country comparatively with other grains; and when it is grown, it is used most frequently as a green manure. We find in a preceding analysis the composition of the green fodder of this plant. The composition of the grain when ripened is—
The good returns, easy cultivation on poor soils, and ability to stand extremes of temperature, render this a desirable grain on the farm, and there is no reason why it should not occupy as high a position as some of the other cereals.The next seeds in the economy of the farm are the leguminous, which are less valuable for fattening purposes than any of the preceding, although they contain a larger proportion of nutritious matter than any of the cereals. The following table gives the composition of the different varieties, as given by Braconnot and Einhof, in Professor Johnson’s Lectures on Agricultural Chemistry:
|Constituents.||Peas.||Kidney beans.||Field beans.||Lentils, dried.|
|Legumen, albumen &c.||26.4||23.6||11.7||38.5|
|Oil and fat||1.2||0.7||-----||-----|
|Salts and loss||2.0||1.0||4.4||0.9|
|Constituents.||Peas.||Kidney beans.||Field beans.||Lentils, dried.|
For our present purpose we will use the last analyses, both because they were made of seeds grown in this country, and, like the other seeds, before considered, they were perfectly ripened and naturally dried. The casein in the last analysis corresponds in nature to the legumen in the others.The only remaining food used for fattening animals is the cake composed of the hemp and linseeds, called oil-cake. With the great fattening properties of this cake all are acquainted. The composition of this cake, as given by Professor Johnson, is as follows:
|Constituents.||English linseed cake.||American linseed cake.|
|Albumen and gluten||22.14||22.36|
|Saline matter (ash) and sand||7.25||6.35|
These analyses, the only ones available to me at present, show not only valuable fattening properties, but also rich nutritive elements, and establish this as one of the most valuable of the concentrated foods.
We are now acquainted with the composition of the different kinds of food used for animals, and it only remains for us to arrange them into a condensed form and prepare tables of their comparative equivalents, to be able to ascertain the value of each, and also the kinds which may be used together the most advantageously. It is of course impossible to make any calculations regarding the cost of the various kinds, as they vary in different localities. The analyses of grass and hay, as they appear in the following table, are the results of averaging the analyses of all the species hitherto considered; they will probably represent the constituents of the superior quality of English hay as grown in this country.
|Foods.||Percent'ge of flesh formers in 100 pounds||Percentage of fat formers in 100 pounds||Total nutritive percentage in 100 pounds||Nutritive equivalents of 100 pounds of superior English hay|
|Common white turnip||0.9||3.3||4.2||1185.7|
|Green pea stalks||0.9||7.9||8.8||565.9|
|Green stalks of buckwheat||0.2||4.7||4.9||1016.3|
|Common vetch, (green)||1.9||2.6||4.5||1106.6|
|French vetch, (green)||0.7||4.7||5.4||922.2|
|Green stalks of white lupine||1.8||2.3||4.1||1212.1|
|Green stalks of white bean||1.0||2.7||3.7||1345.9|
|Green oats, (fodder)||1.0||8.5||9.5||524.2|
|Green timothy grass||4.0||9.7||13.7||363.4|
|Green red-top grass||3.3||8.7||12.0||415.0|
|Superior English hay||13.5||36.3||49.8||100.0|
|Red clover, (green)||2.0||3.6||5.6||907.1|
|White clover, (green)||1.5||2.7||4.2||4185.7|
|Red clover, (hay)||22.5||18.7||41.2||120.8|
|White clover, (hay)||18.7||40.0||58.7||84.6|
|White field beans||24.0||39.7||63.7||78.2|
|English linseed cake||22.1||51.0||73.1||68.0|
|American linseed cake||22.2||48.6||70.8||70.3|
A careful examination of this table, prepared from the best English, American, and German authorities, and a comparison of the money value of these articles of food, modified as experience may suggest, with their feeding value as here given, would be of immense benefit to the farmers, and save them thousands of dollars, often injudiciously- expended.
1. The term nutritive will be used in this article for convenience, as combining the flesh-forming and fat-forming elements.
2. The carbonaceous or nitrogenous foods may be called in general terms nutritive; for those requiring especial mention their proper designations will be given.
3. Johnson’s Agricultural Chemistry, p. 912.
4. [Ibid. no specified page. -ASC]