Farm Progress

Cows eat cake as feed costs rise

As corn prices have continued rising, farmers have had to get creative about what they feed their cattle — including sweets and candy.

January 17, 2013

1 Min Read

Milk is nice, but it’s better with Oreos. Turns out cows agree. And lately farmers have been more than happy to indulge them. Corn crops were decimated by a severe drought last summer, pushing prices to a precipitous high. So farmers have had to get creative about what they feed their cattle. Some common solutions: chocolate bars, rainbow sprinkles, gummy worms, and, yes, cookies.

“This has been a brutal year for dairymen,” says Jack Hamm of Lima Ranch in Lodi, California, who regularly adds stale cookies to the feed trough. Luckily, both beef and dairy cattle can thrive on sweets. That’s because their first stomach, or rumen, is loaded with microbes that feast on whatever the animal has eaten.

“You can take any kind of food and make something out of it,” says Jim Oltjen, an animal science professor at UC Davis.

For complete story, see: When Corn Costs Soar, Let Cows Eat Cake

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