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Earth Idle Science

Sweet Times For Cows As Gummy Worms Replace Corn Feed 432

PolygamousRanchKid writes "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. Operators must be careful to follow detailed nutritional analyses for their animals to make sure they are getting a healthy mix of nutrients, animal nutritionists caution. But ruminant animals such as cattle can safely ingest a wide variety of feedstuffs that chickens and hogs can't. The candy and cookies are only a small part of a broad mix of alternative feed offerings for cattle. Many operators use distillers grains, a byproduct that comes from the manufacture of ethanol."
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Sweet Times For Cows As Gummy Worms Replace Corn Feed

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  • by Anne_Nonymous ( 313852 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @12:22PM (#41438433) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like a great CJD transmission vector.

  • Re:Cows eat Grass (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @12:25PM (#41438493) Homepage Journal

    Probably time for people to start moving away from meat, anyway. The amount of water and acreage of agricultural production, including various uses of petroleum (gas, diesel) required to raise one pound of beef, it's a luxury we can ill afford much more than once a week.

    There's also the extreme damage to lands by cattle grazing, which leads to erosion, including landslides. Time to move on from meat.

  • Re:Cows eat Grass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @12:27PM (#41438557) Journal

    If I eat beef every two days will I live twice as long? If not, I think you're practicing false economy. Beef is delicious. If you're trying to extend your life by avoiding pleasurable things, you're missing the point of life.

  • Re:Cows eat Grass (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @12:30PM (#41438605) Homepage

    What are you doing!? Get away from the monitor! All those nasty radiations might give you skin cancer!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @12:43PM (#41438793)

    Whoever modded this as 'troll' is a moron who doesn't know what gelatin is, where it comes from, and what it is put into.

  • Re:Cows eat Grass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @12:49PM (#41438899)

    The land doesn't suffer if it is managed properly. Research holistic land management. The Savory Institute is a good place to start. Here in Colorado, a few ranchers are making their cattle graze in patterns that the bison do naturally: grouped tighter together, never staying in the same area for very long. In any given area, the cattle don't eat too much or poop too much. They trample the ground just enough, pushing seeds just below the surface. The grass has evolved to grow optimally under these conditions. Animals and land have a symbiotic relationship; both benefit from each other. If we use animals as a tool to make a healthier earth, we all win.

  • by ddd0004 ( 1984672 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @12:53PM (#41438991)

    It's by far easier to get the food to the cows. Feeding most of those who die of malnutrition involves the following:

    1. Get together enough food.
    2. Send an armed force to overthrow the government or local warlord who is ruling the area where people are dying of malnutrition. If not, the ruling party will simply claim the food or stop the aid.
    3. Deliver the food
    4. Remain in the region indefinitely to keep the peace all the while the local region becomes more and more dissatisfied with the outside invaders and the casualties continue to mount.
    5. Eventually leave the region and watch the warlords / corrupt governments return or civil war breaks out.

    So in this case, feeding the cows gummy worms doesn't sound like that bad of a deal.

  • by Penurious Penguin ( 2687307 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @12:55PM (#41439011) Journal
    Yes, a vector indeed. Gummy worms comprising of gelatin, and gelatin comprising of bone and bone -- other than brain -- being the most common vector for rogue prions, you may have a point. What's undeniable, however, is that feeding gummy-worms to cows is cannibalism -- a diet that has been largely discouraged since it was discovered as a possible connection with BSE. Gelatin manufacturers claim to treat the gelatin in a manner which "minimizes" the risk of transmission, but I have always had serious doubts. I think Japan and Korea have doubts too, which is probably why they've banned US beef in the past, or still do.
  • Re:Cows eat Grass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samazon ( 2601193 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @12:55PM (#41439031)
    Cows eat grass [] huh? You realize that corn [] is of the genus Zea [] which makes it... a type.. of grass.
  • Re:Cows eat Grass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @01:20PM (#41439433) Journal
    Beef is not good for health. So don't eat it often, but if you're going to eat beef, pick the most enjoyable form for you. Otherwise you're just wasting your life and the beef.

    If you don't like it, don't eat it. But if you really like steaks, unless you're really unlucky or unhealthy or stupid[1], a steak dinner every month or three isn't going to kill you that fast. Every week would probably be pushing it but some research would need to be done ;).

    [1] stupid = eating way too much, like a kilo.
  • Re:Cows eat Grass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:00PM (#41440033) Homepage

    The pleasure center of the brain is a notoriously unreliable guide to decision making. Look at compulsive gamblers, crack addicts, and people with massive consumer debt - not to mention those who are obese for dietary reasons - as an indication. You may want to try to get some executive function over that shit.

  • Re:Cows eat Grass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @02:15PM (#41440239) Journal

    Executive function is a great means to increase total pleasure, but pleasure is still the ultimate goal.

  • Re:Cows eat Grass (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2012 @04:59PM (#41442677)

    These and other references were brought to my attention at a time I had recently recovered from, yet another Streptococcus throat infection, where I could scarcely swallow for three days. I decided to give up beef, chicken, pork and rely only on fish caught in the lakes or ocean. Over a period of two years I did notice the severity of respiratory infections decline and when I did take antibiotics they actually worked. Though anecdotal, I did recall antibiotics had little to no effect before I changed my diet. Eventually a dairy allergy would remove all cheese, yoghurt, milk from my diet and I find the period from initial detection of a respiratory infection to recovery to be down to less than a week, where I once would suffer these occurances for up to two weeks. I believe there is merit to these studies, particularly regarding the constant presence of low levels of antibiotics in the body creating a breeding ground for resistant strains (which are on the rise) and leaving my immune system impared to some degree, as all antibiotics are toxins which target certain organisms, but also have a degree of collateral damage (killing non-bacterial cells.)

    I'm a PhD student in biochemistry and microbiology and would like to point out that nothing in the parent post makes sense. Consuming low levels of antibiotics would not have an effect on the incidence and severity of respiratory infections. Also antibiotics are not generally toxic to humans at prescribed doses, particularly those fed to livestock, and especially not at the very low levels that could be encountered from food. Some antibiotics can cause organ damage with chronic exposure but would not have an effect on respiratory infections.

    In summary, the issue of chronic low level exposure to antibiotics is a concern at the population level and their effects can not be teased out at the individual level from an anecdotal point of view.

  • Re:Cows eat Grass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday September 24, 2012 @05:20PM (#41442925) Homepage Journal

    (using soy cheese, as I'm allergic to dairy)

    While not putting you down for this....I understand the lactose problem thing....but it did make me think of something the other day, what was bothering me as I study vegeterianism, and especially when looking into they are starting to almost come back around the 'curve' so to speak, and eating heavily processed foods?!?! I've seen them eating meat substitute things, that looked like they'd been in the lab and processed as much as HFCS imbibed Twinkies, or some other artifical foodstuff.

    One thing I was looking to do, in addition to eating more of my normal meals as plant based, was to get myself even further from highly processed foods, than I already was.....

    That being said, I can see soy products (milk, tofu and cheese) as not being too highly refined as products go....I'm not giving up cheeses, I just want to cut out crap daily ones, and reserve my cheese times to special ones...good cheese like you find at the Whole Foods cheese mart...or even a local place like The St. James Cheese Co []......

    Like all good things...quality over quantity, eh?

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein