Thursday, October 11, 2012
Farmers Feed Cows CANDY Instead of Corn.
It's trick or treat season for cows, too, apparently.
A recent article reveals that some farmers, because of rising corn prices, are filling troughs with cheaper "feed" like ice cream sprinkles, hot chocolate mix, and cookies.
Livestock nutritionists tell CNN Money that farmers should keep sweets to 3% of their cow's diet, mixing the sugary stuff in with other feed like hay.
What the article doesn't tell me, though, are who these "farmers" are. Are they factory farms looking for a way to cut costs? Or are they local farmers, forced to make the change to keep their cows alive; even to feed their own families.
What worries me, is that farms could take advantage of the fact that upping the sugar can - according to this article - increase milk production as much as three pounds per cow, per day, and fatten up beef cattle. What incentive would that give farmers to feed the cows clean nutrition? And how does that change the product that's passed on to you? The article claims the sugar rush doesn't hurt the milk, but if it's anything like human breastmilk, the mother's diet directly influences the milk's nutrition.
And why are corn prices so high? I know! Because the government drove up demand by subsidizing ethanol production in order to perpetuate oil consumption at the pumps (ethanol generally lowers gas prices). The ethanol tax credit expired at the end of last year, but it appears corn crops still struggle to replenish.
My opinion is, most human diets consist of at least three percent sugar (one source says sugar can make up 5-15% of your daily caloric intake), so it doesn't bother me if local farmers are saving a little money there. But in general, I just hope farmers stay conscious of their cows' nutrition, and abstain from money-saving shortcuts that lead could lead to a less-clean product for us, and a lower quality of life for our bovine friends.