Dairy Farmers Are Replacing Costly Corn Feed With Candy

Cattle farmers struggling with record corn prices are feeding their cows candy instead. That's right, candy. Cows are being fed chocolate bars, gummy worms, ice cream sprinkles, marshmallows, bits of hard candy and even powdered hot chocolate mix, according to cattle farmers, bovine nutritionists and commodities dealers. It’s been a practice going on for decades and is a good way for producers to reduce feed cost. Feeding candy to cows has become a more popular practice in light of inflation, which is at an all-time high. Thrifty farmers are tapping into an obscure market for cast-off food ingredients. While corn goes for about $315 a ton, ice-cream sprinkles can be had for as little as $160 a ton. The sweets are blended in with more traditional forms of feed, like corn and hay, while capping the candy at 3% of the cow’s diet. Farmers report that the sugar in ice-cream sprinkles seems to increase milk production by about three pounds per cow per day. Sugar also helps fatten up beef cattle, without any ill effects to the cow or the person consuming the meat or milk. The sugar provides the same kind of energy as corn. Farmers say farming is a game of inches, and every little penny they can save, they do.