Sugar rush for cows as gummy worms replace costly corn feed
By Carey Gillam | Reuters.com
Mike Yoderís herd of dairy cattle are living the sweet life. With corn feed scarcer and costlier than ever, Yoder increasingly is looking for cheaper alternatives -- and this summer he found a good deal on ice cream sprinkles.
"Itís a pretty colorful load," said Yoder, who operates about 450 dairy cows on his farm in northern Indiana. "Anything that keeps the feed costs down."
As the worst drought in half a century has ravaged this yearís U.S. corn crop and driven corn prices sky high, the market for alternative feed rations for beef and dairy cows has also skyrocketed. Brokers are gathering up discarded food products and putting them out for the highest bid to feed lot operators and dairy producers, who are scrambling to keep their animals fed.
In the mix are cookies, gummy worms, marshmallows, fruit loops, orange peels, even dried cranberries. Cattlemen are feeding virtually anything they can get their hands on that will replace the starchy sugar content traditionally delivered to the animals through corn.
"Everybody is looking for alternatives," said Ki Fanning, a nutritionist with Great Plains Livestock Consulting in Eagle, Nebraska. "Itís kind of funny the first time you see it but it works well. The big advantage to that is you can turn something you normally throw away into something that can be consumed. The amazing thing about a ruminant, a cow, you can take those type of ingredients and turn them into food."
Feed is generally the largest single production expense for cattle operators. Whatever is fed needs to supply energy and protein levels that meet the animalsí nutritional needs. High prices for soy has operators seeking alternatives for both corn and soy.
Corn alternatives are in particular demand as supplies are so tight that in some areas of the country, feed corn is not available at any price.
Pricing and availability of the many different "co-products" as they are called, varies from place to place, but buyers report savings of 10 percent to 50 percent.
The savings for operators are shrinking, however, as savvy resellers tie pricing for their alternative offerings to the price of corn, which surged to record highs this summer due to drought damage.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said last month the harvest now underway will yield the smallest corn crop in six years due to the drought that is still gripping more than half of the nation.
"They are using less corn in a number of these rations, but as corn prices go up, prices for really every other co-product go up too," said Greg Lardy, head of the animal sciences department at North Dakota State University.
Operators must be careful to follow detailed nutritional analyses for their animals to make sure they are getting a healthy mix of nutrients, animal nutritionists caution. But ruminant animals such as cattle can safely ingest a wide variety of feedstuffs that chickens and hogs canít.
The candy and cookies are only a small part of a broad mix of alternative feed offerings for cattle. Many operators use distillers grains, a byproduct that comes from the manufacture of ethanol. Other common non-corn alternatives include cottonseed hulls, rice products, potato products, peanut pellet.
Wheat "middlings," a byproduct of milling wheat for flour that contain particles of flour, bran, and wheat germ, also are fed.
And every now and then, there is a little chocolate for the hungry cows.
Hansen Mueller Grain out of Omaha, Nebraska, which markets chocolate bars alongside oats and peanut pellets, said it all comes down to fat, sugar and energy.
"Thatís all it is," said Bran Dill, a spokesman at Hansen Mueller. Demand is high, he said.
But he also said increasing prices are making alternatives less attractive.
"The price of this stuff has gone up so much itís gotten ridiculous," he said.
Article from: reuters.com
Sugar makes you stupid: Study shows high-fructose diet sabotages learning, memory
Rethink Your Drink: Sugar in Common Beverages
3 Sugar Vs. High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Corny Disguise: FDA rejects new name for high fructose corn syrup
Genetically modified cows produce íhumaní breast milk
I was wrong about veganism. Let them eat meat Ė but farm it properly
Mexican Farmers Use Traditional Knowledge to Deal with Climate Change
Latest News from our Front Page
Anglo-Saxon Sword and Helmet from Staffordshire Hoard Reconstructed
Thousands of metal fragments from the Staffordshire Hoard have been reconstructed into two "significant" new 7th Century objects.
Researchers have pieced together parts of a silver helmet and a previously unseen form of sword pommel.
The hoard, which is valued at ¬£3.2m, was found in a field near Burntwood, Staffordshire in July 2009.
Both items have been put on display at Birmingham's Museum ...
ALEC corruption: Legislators and corporate lobbyists meet in secret at Savannah resort
The Georgia Legislature has a message for voters: don't ask us about our meetings with corporate lobbyists behind closed doors.
The 11Alive Investigators tracked lawmakers to a resort hotel in Savannah last week, where we observed state legislators and lobbyists mingling in the hotel bar the night before they gathered in private rooms to decide what new laws would best serve ...
Swedish politician: US is the true cause of the masses of refugees from the Middle East
Editors Note: And who controls US foreign policy? Listen to Jeff Gates.
The present Swedish debate about war refugees from the Middle East is an example of peer restricted expression. In the name of political correctness or perceived decency, any questioning of maximum generosity in opening Swedish borders for the refugees is indignantly rejected by the official mainstream. We have a ...
Even if Patriot Act Expires, Government Will Keep Spying on All Americans
Government Will Use "Secret Interpretations" to Get Around Legal Prohibitions
Mass surveillance under the Patriot Act is so awful that even its author says that the NSA has gone far beyond what the Act intended (and that the intelligence chiefs who said Americans aren't being spied on should be prosecuted for perjury).
Specifically, the government is using a "secret interpretation" of the ...
The TPP, Monsanto, Rockefeller, Trilateral Commission, Brzezinski
All hands on deck for global, economic, corporate dictatorship
There are dots to connect here. They're real, and they're spectacular.
Let me begin with a brief exchange from a 1978 interview, conducted by reporter Jeremiah Novak. He was speaking with two American members of the Trilateral Commission (TC), a group founded in 1973 by David Rockefeller and his intellectual flunkey, Zbigniew Brzezinski.
|More News » |