Candy for Cows? Desperate Farmers Cut Costs To Feed Cattle.

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Consequences of the drought are already taking effect, although the results are rather interesting to say the least. Due to corn prices soaring, cattle farmers have begun feeding their cows such delicacies as chocolate, gummy worms, sprinkles, hard candy, hot chocolate mix, marshmallows...

No, we aren’t kidding. And surprisingly, this practice is nothing new in the often-odd world of modern cattle farming.

Apparently, because candy is so cheap, it is one of the easiest ways for producers to drastically cut the cost of feeding cattle, thus being able to meet the increasing demand for cheaper and cheaper meats. In fact, this practice cuts feeding cattle nearly in half: corn is around $315 a ton, while inexpensive high fructose corn syrup based candies such as ice-cream sprinkles are only $160 a ton.

Although producers aren’t feeding straight candy (there’s still some hay and other more cattle-friendly feed mixed in), some livestock nutritionists advice for it to make up to 3% of the cow’s diet. Outside of the cost savings, many producers claim that the increase in sugar increases milk production in dairy cows and helps to increase fat in beef cattle. Other sources of non-traditional feed being used include breakfast cereal, fishmeal, soda crackers, leftover grain, and even peanut butter.

However, if past economics are any indication, the high cost savings aren’t likely to last for long. Ironically, as more and more ranchers and producers move towards cheaper alternatives, the increase in demand for items such as candy and other non-traditional feeds will likely drive the costs up. However, as long as there’s still a savings, the practice is likely to continue.

If the saying, “You are what you eat,” has any impact in your life, you might want to think twice about the next time you are at the store trying to decide whether it is really worth it to choose that grass fed steak over the cheaper candy fed steak. It has been documented that the diet of the animals you consume impacts the nutritional quality of the meat. Grass fed beef for example is lower in total “bad” fat and higher in healthy fats like omega 3 essential fats.

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