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Title: Louisiana Beef Cattle
Author: Stubbs, William Carter
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  Formerly Professor of Agriculture
  Louisiana State University and Director of
  State Experiment Stations



The following remarks relative to Louisiana Beef Cattle are proffered
the public to show the marvelous advantages possessed by the alluvial
lands of Louisiana, for the growing of cattle.

An intelligent use of these advantages will bring wealth to the
individual, the State and the Nation.

                                         WILLIAM CARTER STUBBS, PH.D.



The wealth-producing possibilities of cattle-raising are written into
the history, literature and art of every race; and with every
nationality riches have always been counted in cattle and corn.

We find cattle mentioned in the earliest known records of the Hebrews,
Chaldeans and Hindus, and carved on the monuments of Egypt, thousands of
years before the Christian era.

Among the primitive peoples wealth was, and still is, measured by the
size of the cattle herds, whether it be the reindeer of the frigid
North, the camel of the Great Sahara, or herds of whatsoever kind that
are found in every land and in every clime.

The earliest known money, in Ancient Greece, was the image of the ox
stamped on metal; and the Latin word _pecunia_ and our own English
"pecuniary" are derived from _pecus_--cattle.

Although known to the Eastern Hemisphere since the dawn of history,
cattle are not native to the Western Hemisphere, but were introduced
into America during the sixteenth century.

Cortez, Ponce de Leon, De Soto and the other _conquistadores_ from Old
Madrid, who sailed the seas in quest of gold, brought with them to the
New World the monarchs of the bull ring, and introduced the national
sport of Spain into the colonies founded in Peru, Mexico, Florida and

The long-horned, half-wild herds encountered by the pioneers, and by the
"Forty-niners," who three centuries later trekked across the continent
in quest of gold in California, were descendants of the bull pens of
Mexico City, St. Augustine and New Orleans.

A different type of cattle was brought over to Jamestown, the first
English colony, in the seventeenth century; these were strictly
utilitarian, designed for the triple service of enriching the larder
with dairy products, supplementing the abundant meat supply of buffalo,
deer and other game and providing the ox as the draft animal.

The pioneers, striking out from the Atlantic seaboard, carried with them
their domestic cattle, which were introduced and fostered wherever
settlements were made in their progress across the continent.

It was not until after the Revolutionary War that wealthy planters of
Virginia imported Herefords from England, Jerseys from the Isle of
Jersey, and the flower of other Old World herds.

Even then, extensive breeding of high-grade animals languished for
years, owing to the unprogressive farming methods; and at a later period
on account of the dominancy of the Western cattle ranges.

The public domain of the West and Southwest, owing to the vast areas of
grazing land which cost the cattlemen nothing, became the controlling
factor in the American cattle industry, reaching its climax about 1880.

Subsequently these great feeding grounds were invaded by the
sheep-grower, whose flocks destroyed the pastures and drove out the
cattle wherever they appeared.

The death knell of the national cattle range was sounded by the United
States Government in throwing open the public lands to settlers.

During the romantic period of the cattle outfit--the cowboy with his
bucking broncho, lariat and six-shooter--many of the important cities
and towns of today came into existence as humble adjuncts of the live
stock industry.

There are men living today who have witnessed the beginning, the rise,
and almost the extinction, of the Western cattle range.

A complete revolution has been brought about in the cattle industry
within a lifetime. The change has been a rapid one from the free range
to the fenced pasture; the open ranges turned into farms and

With the advent of changed conditions, the rancher of restricted
territory and reduced herds ceased to be an important factor in directly
supplying the market, as he was forced to utilize the land that was not
desirable for homesteaders, and the pasturage being insufficient to
suitably fatten stock, he was compelled to ship his cattle to the
feeders of the Middle West to prepare them for market.

Meanwhile, the Middle West, or corn-belt states, being unable to raise
cattle in an economical way, developed into a feeding station, where
young cattle from the Western ranges were shipped to be fattened and
prepared for the market.

With the decrease of range cattle, year by year, fewer Western beeves
reach the corn belt to be finished and made ready for market.

The early settlers of Southern Louisiana raised cattle after the fashion
that prevailed on the plains of Texas; that is, great herds without care
or attention of any kind increased and multiplied and were annually
rounded up and marketed; the returns were virtually all profit, as the
cattle found their sustenance entirely in the luxuriant natural

With the change of conditions in the cattle-growing world, Louisiana
began the improvement of its herds, so that today there are thousands
of highly bred cattle in the state, equal to the best that can be found

In a consideration of any branch of the live stock industry, a review of
the world-wide conditions becomes necessary to establish a standard of
comparison between the industry in a given locality as against all other
localities, and such a review at the present time shows an international
shortage of beef cattle that even threatens famine.

The day of nondescript cattle of inferior quality is rapidly passing.
Through breeding, they are being steadily supplanted by higher grade,
perfectly developed animals which yield the proper proportions of lean
and fat, whose meat is tender, nutritious and palatable.

The Old World breeds have been improved and perfected, through the skill
of the American grower, until American stock has become the standard of
the whole world, from the standpoint of excellence in every particular.

There are a multitude of reasons why it will never be possible for the
growers of the Eastern Hemisphere, with the exception of Great Britain
and the Scandinavian countries, to successfully compete with the United
States in bringing the standard of their beef cattle up to the high
point already attained in this country.

No longer ago than ten years, cattle were not acceptable as collateral
except by banks in the Western cattle centers.

Today, cattle are standard collateral for loans, approved by the
Treasury of the United States Government and acceptable everywhere, as
cattle are as good as gold all over the world; and a cattle enterprise
managed with ability and integrity is the safest business known.

There are diseases to which cattle are subject; but these, like the
diseases to which mankind is subject, are now controlled by science, and
can be quickly eradicated, even though a foothold is once gained; and
that a foothold should be gained at all is as much beyond the bounds of
reason as that the cities of New York and Chicago should, in this
advanced age, be devastated by a scourge of cholera, smallpox, yellow
fever, or what not.

According to official estimates of the United States Government, in 1910
there were 41,178,000 head of beef cattle in the United States, having a
value of $785,261,000, while on January 1, 1917, there were 40,849,000
head of beef cattle, having a value of $1,465,786,000; a decrease in
supply, but an increase in value, within seven years, of 86.66 per cent.

In addition to superior natural conditions, the United States, on
account of the great distance to other countries where cattle can be
raised successfully, is protected against competition, at all times and
under all conditions.

The United States for a quarter of a century was the world's greatest
export nation, and this trade has fallen off only in recent times,
because of the shortage at home.

Our export business well illustrates the changing conditions in the
cattle industry, and the record of live cattle exported from Chicago is
a notable example, namely:

  Exports in 1905               321,301
  Exports in 1912                23,006
  Exports in 1913                   260
  Exports in 1914                   182

This table shows that the export trade was virtually extinct a year
before the European War began; and if revived, it will be because of
exorbitant prices brought about by the abnormal European demand, due to
the depletion of the cattle herds abroad.

Official statistics show that prior to the European War 90.55 per cent
of all the European cattle were within the boundaries of the
now-belligerent countries.

The records at that time, covering both beef cattle and dairy-herds,
were as follows:

  Russia                        36,237,000
  Germany                       20,944,000
  Austria-Hungary               17,787,883
  France                        12,286,849
  United Kingdom                12,030,789
  Turkey                         6,726,000
  Italy                          6,198,861
  Rumania                        2,667,000
  Belgium                        1,831,000

Even prior to the war, the world-supply of cattle was diminishing, and
now the herds of these nations, representing nine-tenths of the European
supply, are depleted as never before, while the one-tenth remaining
supply of the neighboring neutral nations is reduced by the drafts of
the warring powers.

The immense demand in recent years has caused the marketing of vast
numbers of the best improved cattle in the United States, including
great inroads upon the breeding herds, as cattle growers have marketed
their stock without regard to the future, looking solely to the large
immediate profits.

The depletion and deterioration of the breeding herds is a source of
great danger, as it cannot fail to result in a still further decrease in
production, and threatens to seriously impair the meat supply of the
American people.

As an infinitely worse condition prevails in the other cattle-producing
countries of the world, it is obvious that we cannot look to any
outside source of supply, either to replenish our herds, or to provide
our meat food requirements.

The increased cost of production in the North has resulted in the great
advancement of the dairying industry, to meet the American food

In 1850 the milch cows on American farms numbered about 6,000,000. This
number was increased to 8,500,000 in 1860, and to about 13,000,000 in
1880; and the census of 1900 showed 17,100,000. In 1907, they numbered
20,625,000, and January 1, 1917, 22,768,000, or more than one-third of
our entire cattle herds.

The change from beef-cattle raising to dairying is most noticeable in
the Eastern and the North Central States, where the lack of pasturage
and the increased cost of forage make the production of beef less
profitable than formerly, while the proximity to large centers of
population and great cities has greatly stimulated the demand for dairy

In some sections of the country dairying has encroached to such an
extent on the beef cattle industry that the latter has ceased to be a
factor of importance in those localities.

The beef cattle industry of the North is divided into two departments:
first, producing in the Far West; second, preparing for market in the
Middle West.

The Western producer can only provide grazing, and must then ship to the
Middle West feeder, who raises the corn with which he prepares the
cattle for market.

The shortness of the grazing season makes it impossible to put a
thousand-pound beef on the market in a year; consequently the stock must
be shipped to the Middle West in September, October or November, to be
fattened and prepared for the market.

The breeding herds and the stock not ready for shipment to the feeders
of the Middle West exist on the thin grasses, through eight
months--from September to June.

These sections of arid soil and thin vegetation are further handicapped
by the winters of intense cold, and of enforced housing and feeding;
for, during six or seven months, and even eight months, of each year,
there is scant vegetation to support animal life, and the struggle is a
severe one to sustain life itself against the encroachments of the
bitter temperature which so long prevails.

If the Middle West farmer should go into cattle-raising, his position
would be almost identical with that of the cattle grower of the Far
West, as his pasturage would be exhausted in October, and it would be
necessary to feed the cattle until May; otherwise, his loss would be
tremendous through partial starvation and exposure to inclement weather,
and he could not count upon the survival of more than 75 per cent of his
herd from one pasturing season to the next.

The farmer of the Middle West has six months of open weather, which must
be devoted exclusively to planting, cultivating and harvesting his corn
crop, and this crop takes up his land, leaving no acreage available for
summer pasturage.

He produces corn in the summer, and begins feeding in the fall.
According to the quality of cattle received from the Far West, he feeds
60, 90, and up to 120 days, when they are ready for market, and,
according to the old saying, are "corn sold on the hoof."

Even the adoption of intensive methods does not enable the Northern
grower to successfully compete with the Southern grower, because
production in the North is limited to one-half the year, and the other
half is wholly unproductive, during which period his stores are being
consumed, without any returns whatever.

To house cattle during the winter is scarcely better than to leave them
exposed to the rigors of climate, as confinement brings the scourge of
tuberculosis; whereas in the South, and wherever life is spent in the
open, cattle enjoy immunity from this plague.

Furthermore, the year-round supply of green food in the South is
naturally conducive to the health and well-being of all animals, whereas
in the North, for several months in the year, only concentrated food is

"The South, with her short, mild winters, and her abundance of grasses,
can grow young cattle cheaper than the North."--W. J. Spillman, Chief of
the Bureau of Farm Management, United States Department of Agriculture.

A mild climate, luxuriant pastures, a great variety of forage crops, a
year-round supply of green food, and living outdoors all the year, are
the factors that make Southern Louisiana the ideal cattle-raising
section of the United States.

James Wilson, former Secretary of the United States Department of
Agriculture, at the National Live Stock Show held in New Orleans in
1916, said:

"You have as fine domestic animals in the State of Louisiana today as
you will find anywhere; the finest breeds of cattle--Holstein and
others, as well as American breeds of Herefords, which are an
improvement over the English Hereford."

In the corn belt the lands are not so productive in grains and pasture
crops as the alluvial lands of Louisiana.

In the North the growing season for crops does not exceed six months; in
Louisiana the productive period is twelve months.

In Northern states, animals can be pastured in the fields during six or
seven months only; in Louisiana the animals may pasture in the open the
whole year.

In the North, extensive and costly barns and equipment are essential for
winter shelter and feeding, and vast quantities of grain, hay, ensilage,
and other foods, must be raised and stored, as the period of
winter-feeding extends over six months; in Louisiana, open sheds facing
south provide all the shelter needed, as aside from cold rains at
intervals during February or March, there are no rigors of climate.

Careful estimates by farm experts, and by authorities on cattle, place
the cost of production in Louisiana at less than 60 per cent of the cost
in the most favored corn-belt states.

There is no winter here, as understood in the North. Frost is a rarity,
frequently being absent for several years, and is never severe; the
rainfall is well distributed and averages 60 inches a year; extremes of
temperature are very rare; the average for January is 59 degrees, and
for July, 82 degrees, over the Gulf Coast area of Southern Louisiana;
and vegetation flourishes the year round.

The cost of summer feeding in Southern Louisiana, as compared with
summer feeding in the corn-belt states, shows a difference of about 25
per cent in favor of the former.

In winter feeding, the difference is altogether in favor of Louisiana.
Furthermore, practically none of the food consumed here is required to
keep up the animal heat, whereas 30 per cent of the food given Northern
cattle during the winter is absorbed by this requirement alone.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the cost of
ensilage in the Northern states ranges from $1.50 to $4 per ton, and it
is generally conceded that corn ensilage in the Middle West costs an
average of $2.50 per ton.

On the alluvial lands of Southern Louisiana it has been proved that
ensilage can be produced at 50 cents to $1.50 per ton, and the yield
per acre is two crops of ten to twenty tons each, as against one crop of
five to ten tons in the North.

According to the Bureau of Plant Industry, the best bluegrass pastures
of the North will carry only one head of cattle to two acres for about
six months of the year; whereas on the alluvial lands of Louisiana,
Bermuda grass and lespedeza combined forms permanent pasture which will
carry several head of cattle ten months on a single acre.

With a network of waterways and railroads, nearer the great consuming
markets of the East than any other important cattle-growing section, and
but a short distance from Chicago and the important markets of the
Middle States, Southern Louisiana occupies a strategic commercial
position of great money-value to those who raise cattle, as well as
other products.

Out of six thousand members of the American Hereford Society, a grower
from the Gulf Coast took the greatest number of prizes for a herd of
Hereford cattle, and also took the grand championship prize for a
Hereford bull, against the whole of the United States, which shows the
merit of this section of country.

The market today requires quality, and experience has proved that the
greatest profit comes through producing quality.

The day of the inferior, lightweight animal, which was marketed at two
to three and one-half years old, has passed.

The requirement now is for high-grade, one-year-old stock, weighing an
average of 1,000 pounds.

This stock can be produced in Louisiana under organized methods, at a
cost of 4½ cents per pound, delivered at the market, and will bring a
price of 10 cents per pound.

Prior to the Civil War the best talent in America was devoted to
agricultural pursuits, which offered the greatest opportunity for making
large wealth--as wealth was counted in those days.

Afterward came the manufacturing era, which attracted the genius of the
country and brought about the perfection of methods and combinations in
almost every known line, with the result that no longer is there any
general field of opportunity therein.

Another era has now arrived, which again focuses the minds of thinking
men upon the greatest of all problems--supplying the human race with
food--because of the imperative need of increasing the world's food
supply, and because of the large profit therein.

In the United States today, the production of live stock is the greatest
field of opportunity open to men of brains and capital; and it is, above
all, the one industry that now attracts the genius of men of large
affairs, and the great aggregations of capital.

In 1895 the average price of beef cattle in the principal markets of
this country was $4.40 per hundredweight; in 1900, it had increased to
$5.80; in 1907 the average was $7.60; in 1910, $8.85; in 1911, $9.35; in
1912, $10.25; in 1915, $11.60; and in 1916, about $11.90 per

The foregoing market prices tell the story of the cattle industry from a
financial standpoint.

The following prices paid in 1901 and in 1916 for prize-winning
exhibition beeves--at the International Live Stock Exposition held
annually in Chicago, at the Union Stock Yards--well illustrate the trend
of the cattle market:

In 1901, the Grand Champion carload of fat cattle was two-year-old
stock, weighing an average of 1,497 pounds, and sold in the auction ring
at $12 per hundredweight.

In 1916, the Grand Champion carload of fat cattle was one-year-old
stock, weighing an average of 1,146 pounds, and sold in the auction ring
at $28 per hundredweight.

In 1901, the Grand Champion Steer was two years old, weighed 1,600
pounds, and sold in the auction ring at 50 cents per pound.

In 1916, the Grand Champion Steer was one year old, weighed 1,120
pounds, and sold in the auction ring at $1.75 per pound.

The following top prices were paid in the auction ring of the Exposition
for "show cattle" of various weights:

    Cattle Weighing      Price in    Per Hundredweight

   900 to 1050 pounds      1901          $ 8.70
   900 to 1050 pounds      1916           17.75
  1050 to 1200 pounds      1901            9.50
  1050 to 1200 pounds      1916           28.00
  1200 to 1350 pounds      1901            8.75
  1200 to 1350 pounds      1916           20.00
  1350 to 1500 pounds      1901           12.00
  1350 to 1500 pounds      1916           18.50
  1500 to 1900 pounds      1901            9.30
  1500 to 1900 pounds      1916           15.75


Transcriber's Notes:

  Text in italics is enclosed with underscores: _italics_.

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