Fresh pasture + dried grasses are the natural diet of all ruminant animals. And it’s why we buy grass-finished.
In factory farms, animals are switched to an unnatural diet based on corn + soy. But corn + soy are not the only ingredients in their “balanced rations.” Many large-scale dairy farmers + feedlot operators save money by feeding the cows “by-product feedstuffs” as well. Sometime, when we think we are eating grass fed, the animal has actually been pulled off the pasture and grain finished.
In general, this means waste products from the manufacture of human food.
In particular, it can mean sterilized city garbage, candy, bubble gum, floor sweepings from plants that manufacture animal food, bakery, potato wastes or a scientific blend of pasta and candy.
Here are some of the “by-product feedstuffs commonly used in dairy cattle diets in the Upper Midwest.”*
Candy 🍭 products are available through a number of distributors + sometimes directly from smaller plants… They are sometimes fed in their wrappers…. Candies, such as cull gummy bears, lemon drops or gum drops are high in sugar content.
Bakery Wastes 👉🏻 Stale bread and other pastry products from stores or bakeries can be fed to dairy cattle in limited amounts. These products are sometimes fed as received without drying or even removal of the wrappers.
Potato Waste is available in potato processing areas, and includes cull potatoes, French fries + potato chips. Cull fresh potatoes that are not frozen, rotten, or sprouted can be fed to cows either whole or chopped. Potato waste straight from a processing plant may contain varying amounts of inedible or rotten potatoes. French fries and chips contain fats or oils from frying operations.
Starch. Unheated starch is available from some candy manufacturers + sometimes may contain pieces of candy.
Pasta is available from pasta plants + some ingredient distributors as straight pasta or in blends with other ingredients, such as candy.
*This list is excerpted from “By-Product Feedstuffs in Dairy Cattle Diets in the Upper Midwest,” published in 2008 by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.