Updated: Sep 2, 2020
Known for his innovative cattle feeding experiments and introducing the use of silos in beef production.
1887-1955 | Artist: Joseph Allworthy (1892-1991)
Impact & Accomplishments
President of the American Society of Animal Production in 1916, Professor Wilber Cochel was that organization’s designated inductee to the Saddle & Sirloin Club in 1937.
Born on a farm in Tipton, Missouri, Cochel earned an academic degree from the University of Missouri, in 1897, and then engaged in farming. He soon recognized the need for scientific training, so he returned to the university to earn a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science.
While a student, he was superintendent of the Holstein-Friesian exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis (1904), and he also conducted a cattle feeding exhibit there. Upon graduation, he took a position with the Agricultural Experiment Station at Purdue University and started a series of significant cattle feeding experiments, including ones introducing the silo. He also originated the idea of hosting cattle feeders’ meetings at the close of the feeding experiments.
His teaching and research careers continued at the agricultural colleges of Pennsylvania State and Kansas State. Cochel later spent twenty years as editor of the weekly Kansas City Star.
Did You Know?
The outstanding feature of Professor Cochel's work as head of the animal husbandry division and animal husbandry experiment station at Kansas State, includes the determining of a method whereby by-products may be best utilized toward beef production; the use of grain sorghums for feeding livestock, and also of solving the problem of wintering beef cattle.
Example of a self-feeding silo used in beef production. Photo credit: Change on the Range, a 1960 Livestock Pictorial by Robert O. Gilden and F. G. Renner.