According to a recent article, this year’s crippling drought has sent corn prices sky high, forcing cattle farmers like Mike Yoder of Indiana to turn to other feed alternatives – including sweet treats such as colorful candy sprinkles.
Feed is generally the largest single expense for cattle operators, and to get the starchy sugar content usually provided to the animals from corn, feed alternatives include everything from cookies and gummy worms to fruit loops and dried cranberries. While most states are struggling with extremely high corn feed prices, in some areas of the country, corn feed is not available at any price. Buyers are reporting savings anywhere from 10 to 50 percent from purchasing these dessert-like “co-products.”
Animal nutritionists caution farmers to make sure the cows are still getting a healthy mix of nutrients, but ultimately, it comes down to fat, sugar and energy for the cattle. Using these feed substitutions also helps farmers from dipping into their hay supply early, which is usually saved for winter months.