The Peducah, Ky.-based WPSDLocal reports that Joseph Watson, owner of United Livestock Commodities, believes that candy is a healthy drought-time substitute for corn, even suggesting that its advantages over the vegetable go beyond price.
“It actually has a higher ratio of fat [than] actually feeding them straight corn,” he told WPSD, later adding that his feed mixture, which also includes an ethanol byproduct and a mineral nutrient, has “all the right nutrition for them.”
To a layperson with even a minimum exposure to the doctrines espoused by practitioners of dentistry or motherhood, the claim that candy is just as good as vegetables does not need to be dismissed.
John Waller, a professor of animal nutrition at the University of Tennessee, didn’t seem the least bit scandalized by candy-fattened cows.
“I think it’s a viable [diet],” Waller said. “It keeps fat material from going out in the landfill, and it’s a good way to get nutrients in these cattle. The alternative would be to put [the candy] in a landfill somewhere.”
According to Waller, padding out cow feed with waste candy is nothing new. He says he first heard of Tennessee cattle raisers using candy years back, and that throughout the country, whether it’s orange rinds in Florida or almond hulls in California, beef producers are serving the hard-to-get-rid-of byproducts of local food industry to their herds.
Ruminant animals, which include goats, sheep, cattle and giraffes, take their name from the first of four compartments in their stomach, the rumen. In it, food is broken down into solids and liquids by robust microbes, after which the partially digested solids, now called the cud, are regurgitated and re-chewed.
Waller says that so long as a cow is getting the proper ratio of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, it shouldn’t make any difference whether the rumen is churning candy or corn. And after reviewing a WPSD video of Watson feeding his cows and discussing his candy-supplemented nutrient regimen, Waller said the farmer’s methods appeared sound.
“It looked to me like he was doing a good job; he’s monitoring the amount of fiber he was putting in there,” he said.
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