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 Cash-strapped farmers feed candy to cows 
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Post Cash-strapped farmers feed candy to cows
By Aaron Smith @CNNMoneyOctober 10, 2012: 5:29 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Cattle farmers struggling with record corn prices are feeding their cows candy instead.

That's right, candy. Cows are being fed chocolate bars, gummy worms, ice cream sprinkles, marshmallows, bits of hard candy and even powdered hot chocolate mix, according to cattle farmers, bovine nutritionists and commodities dealers.

"It has been a practice going on for decades and is a very good way to for producers to reduce feed cost, and to provide less expensive food for consumers," said Ki Fanning, a livestock nutritionist with Great Plains Livestock Consulting, Inc. in Eagle, Neb.

Feeding candy to cows has become a more popular practice in tandem with the rising price of corn, which has doubled since 2009, fueled by government-subsidized demand for ethanol and this year's drought. Thrifty and resourceful farmers are tapping into the obscure market for cast-off food ingredients. Cut-rate byproducts of dubious value for human consumption seem to make fine fodder for cows. While corn goes for about $315 a ton, ice-cream sprinkles can be had for as little as $160 a ton.

"As the price of corn has climbed, farmers either sold off their pigs and cattle, or they found alternative feeds," said Mike Yoder, a dairy farmer in Middlebury, Ind. He feeds his 400 cows bits of candy, hot chocolate mix, crumbled cookies, breakfast cereal, trail mix, dried cranberries, orange peelings and ice cream sprinkles, which are blended into more traditional forms of feed, like hay.

The farmer said that he goes over the feed menu every couple of weeks with a livestock nutritionist who advised him to cap the candy at 3% of a cow's diet. He said that the sugar in ice cream sprinkles seems to increase milk production by three pounds per cow per day.

Sugar also helps to fatten up beef cattle, according to livestock nutritionist Chuck Hurst, owner of Nutritech, Inc., in Carmen, Idaho, without any ill effects to the cow, or to the person consuming its meat or milk. He said that it's the sugar in the candy that's important, and that it provides "the same kind of energy as corn."

He added that farmers feed their cows a wide assortment of byproducts beyond candy to save money.

"One guy in Montana bought a whole carload of soda crackers as feed," he said. "He had to hire a guy to open all the boxes of soda crackers." :awe

snip

Read more here: http://money.cnn.com/2012/10/10/news/economy/farmers-cows-candy-feed/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

The ingenuity of some humans never ceases to amaze me! Candy! Who'd a thunk it? :mrgreen:

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The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR


Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:34 am
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