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Cows eating "candy" corn

Farmers look for cheap alternatives to corn feed, but are there health consequences?

By Susannah Bradley Sep 25, 2012 2:25PM

Candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner might be a 5-year-old’s dream, but it’s the new reality for dairy cows in some parts of the country. Reuters reports that this summer’s drought has driven up the cost of corn feed, forcing farmers to look for cheaper and more plentiful alternatives. And they’ve found them in the form of gummy bears, marshmallows and even cookies.

It’s Halloween every day on Mike Yoder’s farm in northern Indiana, where his herd of 450 cows feasts on a colorful mix of candy sprinkles—the kind usually seen atop birthday cakes and ice cream sundaes. These treats provide an adequate substitute for the starchy sugar content cows usually get from corn. 

Ki Fanning, a nutritionist with Great Plains Livestock Consulting in Eagle, Neb., told Reuters:

"It's 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[s] of ingredients and turn them into food."

But are there any health consequences for humans from consuming dairy products from cows on a sugar high? Not exactly, as the federal government mandates strict nutritional guidelines for livestock to make sure that they’re getting a healthy mix of energy, protein and nutrients. So, just as with humans, it’s all about moderation.

According to the latest forecast from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2012 is on track to yield the smallest corn crop in six years, which undoubtedly will force farm operators to continue looking for alternative feed options.


Sep 25, 2012 4:25PM
What ever happened to just feeding them grass?!
Sep 25, 2012 4:17PM

not humane-not normal. what is wrong with us? who thinks this is ok? i dont even have words.

Sep 25, 2012 4:23PM
Ki Fanning is a nutritionist and the government mandates strict guidelines for livestock. Yes, it's okay with them that our food supply is fed hormones and antibiotics and the seeds are genetically modified. Cargill and Monsanto have deep pockets. Never mind that other countries do not have the diseases and obesity problems that the USA has until our foods are introduced into their diets.
Sep 25, 2012 6:39PM

OK folks, it seems that not to many of you have ever seen a cow let alone know about their diet or their digestive system.

Yes cows eat grass, but also they eat clover, mushrooms, browse on your bushes etc. They have 4 stomachs, they regurgitated the grass and chew it several times, as it moves through the stomachs it is converted to amino acids and sugars and fermented. The sugars feed the cow, not the grass. Just step in one cow patty and you will see the grass.


And for you that think you should be a vegetarian just look at your teeth and digestive track, they are like a bear's or pigs. You are a omnivore. That means you eat everything and if you don't you might not live a healthy life.

Sep 25, 2012 6:12PM

It amazes me that people who have probably never worked a dairy or even seen milk extracted from an utter make comments on cows eat only grass.  A lactating cow that is milked for a year or more would be very unhealthy and immune deprived if all she consumed was grass.  We feed a mixture of grains including corn and maze.  The reason we feed corn is that it turns into what, yep that’s right sugar.  Well guess what candy turns into sugar as well.  I can guarantee you a dairy farmer is not going to do anything that would endanger his cows because they are his living and they give milk many more times than once in their lifetime. 

Sep 25, 2012 4:53PM
Anyone who has spent time in China before or during the war is familiar with the sight of privies (outhouses along roadways where farming is done.  The chinese set these up for those traveling on the roadway so they could use the human waste for fertilizer. I do not think they have changed this practice in todays world. Every time I read on a canned food item or glass bottle item "Product of China" I put it back on the shelf. These are the same people who shipped poisoned pet food to the US that killed countless dogs and cats, and infant formula that had to be recalled. They also make many of our patent medicines and toothpaste which had "ethylene glycol " otherwise known as antifreeze in the toothpaste shipped to the US.Their counterfeit copies of US prescription drugs in one instance needed to be colred "yellow".  They used powder from roadway striping paint that has "lead" in it to give the medicine the yellow color. This is the legacy of the US transferring practically all of its manufacturing capacity to  a known enemy. The only ones who have benefitted from this arrangment is the chinese who now take credit for the prosperity of their people and the highly paid CEO and COO of american corporations that have shuttered american manufacturing plants and laid off their entire US workforce.
Sep 25, 2012 7:32PM
Most of you people should visit a farm, and see what it takes to feed the world
Sep 25, 2012 5:46PM
"...the federal government mandates strict nutritional guidelines for livestock"

That's just hilarious.
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