Saturday, August 25, 2012

Farmers Feed Candy to Cows Amid High Corn Prices, Outrage Over Ethanol Quotas

At the Los Angeles Times, "Farmer feeds candy to cows to cope with high corn prices":

Dead Cow
The worst drought in decades has destroyed more than half the U.S. corn crop, pushing prices to record levels and squeezing livestock owners as they struggle to feed their herds.

To cope, one Kentucky cattle farmer has turned to a child-tested way to fatten his 1,400 cows: candy.

"It's so hard to make any money when corn is eight or nine dollars a bushel," said Nick Smith, co-owner of United Livestock Commodities in Mayfield, Ky.

The chocolate and other sweet stuff was rejected by retailers. It makes up 5% to 8% of the cattle's feed ration, Smith said. The rest includes roughage and distillers grain, an ethanol byproduct.

The candy's high caloric content is fattening up the cows nicely, Smith said.

Paul Cameron, who heads a California Cattlemen's Assn. feed committee, said Smith's candy strategy is "awfully creative" but also extremely unusual.

"There are people that feed vegetables and potatoes and stuff like that … to offset the high price of grains, but I've never heard of that," said Cameron, managing partner of Mesquite Cattle Feeders, an operation that feeds up to 35,000 head of cattle in Brawley, Calif. "He's probably at an advantage by doing that."
And see, "Calls to lower ethanol quota rise as U.S. corn crop withers,' and "U.S. drought pushing corn prices toward record highs."

Plus, "As drought widens, 50.3% of U.S. counties declared disaster areas."

PHOTO: "Rancher Gary Wollert inspects a dead cow on dry grasslands near Eads, Colo. He speculated that it ate a poisonous weed in search of food," c/o the Los Angeles Times.