September 28th, 2012
12:40 AM ET

Corn crisis forces farmers to feed cattle gummy worms

We have a corn crisis in this country right now. America is on track for the smallest corn crop in six years due to the drought devastating more than 50% of the United States.

Now, you may have heard about how the resulting price increase for corn will hit you if you drink soda, or eat cereal, both made from corn. But you're being hit another way you may not know about.

Most dairy and beef cattle eat corn feed and rising prices has forced cattlemen to find alternatives.

That brings us to tonight's number: 50%.

That's how much some ranchers are saving by using corn alternatives. Alternatives like, cottonseed, rice, potatoes and peanuts. But that's not all they're using. According to reports from across the country, ranchers have started feeding their cattle with junk food.

CNN's Erin Burnett reports.

Filed under: The Number
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Joey at Purdue Univ

    So THAT'S what the Rules of Engagement thing was about.

    October 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Reply
  2. SixDegrees

    We shouldn't be feeding cows corn to begin with. It isn't part of their natural diet – they're built to eat grass – and it causes them all kinds of health problems, including severe ulceration of their digestive tract due to the excessive production of stomach acids corn induces. This leads to an increased risk of infection, which in turn leads the cattle industry to simply administer sub-clinical doses of antibiotics in order to keep their animals gaining weight long enough to barely make it to market. That vast reservoir of weakly inoculated cows is a perfect breeding ground for anitbiotic-resistant strains of disease.

    For a detailed, objective look at the beef industry in America today, have a look at Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma". It's a fascinating read.

    October 1, 2012 at 7:00 am | Reply
  3. Joey at Purdue Univ

    Giving corn feed to beef is unnatural enough, let alone this stuff. Beef is actually supposed to be grass fed over something like a 7 yr period. Only reason they started corn feeding the beef was that it took a fraction of the time to get the cows to finishing weight, but the poor cows end up getting ulcers from it.

    September 30, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply

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