by Karla H. Jenkins, Cow/calf, Range Management Specialist, Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Scottsbluff
Any Google search will reveal plenty of articles on how cattle are bad for the environment. Some will say they emit too many greenhouse
What do pumpkins, potatoes, oranges, sugar beets, and pinto beans have in common? They can all be fed to cattle when they begin to spoil. When foods began to spoil they cannot be sold for human consumption. Due to the four-compartment stomach and the microbial population of the ruminant digestive system, cattle have no problem including these products to some degree in their diet. Rather than ending up in a landfill, they can be fed to cattle, reducing the loss for the commodity producer, reducing the production cost for the cattle producer, and reducing the environmental impact of placing the waste in the landfill.
Soooo … what do we do with all these by-products? Actually, many by-products make great cattle feed. By-products are the
These by-products are excellent cattle feed, as their nutrients are very concentrated and they can usually be included in the diet very economically creating a win for the producers of the primary product, the cattle producer, and the environment.
Would you like a bowl of grass or a juicy steak for supper? Due to the complex nature of the ruminant animal’s digestive system, cattle and other ruminants are able to digest feeds that humans cannot. There are millions of acres of forage and range in the United States that cannot be converted to crop ground to raise things like wheat or corn because the soil is not fertile enough and too easily erodible. Therefore, those acres can only produce grass, which people cannot digest.
Fortunately for humans, ruminants, such as cattle do an excellent job of converting forages to
Are you done with that corn field? Cattle allow producers to “double dip.” Cattle producers are able to use land that is capable of producing crops for both crops and livestock. Although the residue left over in corn or wheat fields is very
So the next time someone says cattle are bad for the environment, set them straight and eat a steak!
Source: Nebraska Extension in Scotts Bluff & Morrill Counties