Growth Studies with Calves and Rabbits Fed Timothy Hay Grown on Heavily Fertilized Soils1,2

  • H.A. Keener
    New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, Durham
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  • E.J. Thacker
    U. S. Plant, Soil, and Nutrition Laboratory, ARS, Ithaca, New York
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  • Author Footnotes
    1 Published with the approval of the Director of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, as Scientific, Contribution No. 197.
    2 This study was supported in part by a research grant from Central Laboratories, General Foods Corporation, Hoboken, N. J. The vitamin A acetate was contributed by the Chas. Pfizer Co., Inc., Terre Haute, Ind., and the crystalline urea by E. I. duPont de Nemours and Co., Wilmington, Delaware. This study was carried out as a subsidiary phase of a project entitled “The Effect of Trace Mineral Deficiencies on the Reproductive Performance of Dairy Cattle.” This main project was contributory to the regional research project, NE-1, entitled “Causes and Prevention of Reproductive Failure in Dairy Cattle.”
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      This experiment was conducted to identify nutritional deficiencies in timothy hay grown on a heavily fertilized soil. When this hay was fed to calves with a concentrate mixture of degermed corn meal, nonfat dry milk solids or urea, vitamins A and D, cobalt, calcium, phosphorus, and common salt, the ration was deficient in iron, copper, and iodine, resulting in poor growth, poor appetite, anemia, and enlarged thyroids. Feeding iron and copper, either individually or in combination, did not correct these symptoms. Iodine supplementation corrected the thyroid condition but did not stimulate growth. When similar hay was fed to rabbits in a ration supplemented with wheat gluten, hydrogenated vegetable oil, dextrose, sodium chloride, and vitamins A and D, it also resulted in poor growth, anemia, and increased thyroid weight. Feeding of a ration containing 5% alfalfa prevented all these symptoms, but an equivalent amount of alfalfa ash or iodine prevented only the enlarged thyroid. The timothy hay apparently was deficient in iodine and some organic factor(s) which may be found in alfalfa hay.


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