Chopped soapweed as emergency feed for cattle on Southwestern ranges

TitleChopped soapweed as emergency feed for cattle on Southwestern ranges
Publication TypeGovernment Report
Year of Publication1919
AuthorsForsling C.L.
Keywordscattle, emergency, feed, government publication, soapweed, Southwestern ranges
AbstractHeavy losses of stock resulting from long periods of drought are the greatest handicap of the stock industry on Southwestern ranges. Such droughts have occurred at intervals of 3 to 10 years. When these droughts continue for more than a year, the situation becomes critical due to the lack of range forage or other available feed. Cottonseed products serve well as supplemental feed in times when enough range forage is available to provide the necessary roughage. During prolonged droughts like the present one, which began early in 1916 and continues unbroken to the present (June 15, 1918), the range forage crop may be so small as to require other roughage, as well as concentrated feeds. The problem may be solved in part in some of the less arid regions by raising fodder crops using dry farming. The ranges where this is practical at present, however, are not extensive. On a few ranges adjacent to irrigated districts, the necessary emergency feeds might be furnished by crops from those irrigated areas. But this supply, at best, would be restricted to ranges in the immediate vicinity of the irrigated areas and would not provide emergency feed for the larger portions of the Southwestern ranges where losses have been heavy and breeding herds established through years of effort have been sacrified. In hopes of meeting the problem on such ranges, at least to an extent which will make it possible to maintain the breeding herd over critical periods, the Department of Agriculture has been cooperating for a number of years with a practical stockman on the Jornada Range Reserve in southern New Mexico in working out a comprehensive plan of range management and supplemental feeding. For several years, this plan has included investigating the use of native vegetation as emergency feed. The results of range management with supplemental feeding and initial tests to determine the value of soapweed as ensilage were reported in Department of Agriculture Bulletin 588. Later investigations, including extensive experimental feeding, have shown conclusively that soapweed, if properly utilized, has great value as an emergency stock feed.