So, just like poor families, cows are eating junk food because it is cheaper and in better supply than grain products. The drought isn't easing up, in fact it may get worse next year. Healthy foods will become harder to obtain, while gummy bears and sprinkles are everywhere.KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Mike Yoder's 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."It's 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 year's 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.
Bitterness aside, I am very glad to see less food waste and a creative solution keep the cows alive and families eating. In certain amounts there is nothing wrong with this, as long as owners supplement the diet and make sure it doesn't shift too far towards an all-sugar diet.
It's an interesting solution, and it will be further interesting to see what, if any, results it has on the animals or the meat product. In the meantime, if it's good enough for Bessie, I guess it's good enough for me.