What are your cows eating? Cookies, ice cream, and more...

The Midwest drought has withered the nation's corn crop and pushed up corn prices -- sending livestock farmers in search of alternatives to feed their cattle. But as the market for alternative feed rations escalates, dairy producers and feed lot brokers are searching for cheaper options.

Some brokers have gathered up discarded food products and sold them to the highest bidder. Some of the sugary sweet foods your cows are digesting on? Cookies and gummy worms for starters. And there are a whole lot of other foods you might be surprised to learn cows consume. Check out a list below:

  • Distillers grains, a byproduct from ethanol manufacturing.
  • Cottonseed hulls
  • Soy hulls
  • Corn stalks
  • Rice products
  • French fries
  • Peanut pellet
  • Wheat middlings (a byproduct of milling wheat for flour)
  • Cookies
  • Gummy worms
  • Marshmallows
  • Fruit Loops
  • Orange peels
  • Dried cranberries
  • Cereal
  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • Ice cream sprinkles
  • Turnips
  • Sugar beet by-products

Take a listen to reporter Sarah Gardner's story on the surprising food items farmers are feeding their cattle.

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...