Organic Cows Don’t Eat Corn: Organic Myths Part 2

Last week I started an organic myths series to start diving into issues around what organic farming is and isn’t. I have a post in my drafts about natural chemical uses, but I need to fact check it before I go throwing it out there in the big wide web.

Friend, Ryan Goodman over at Agriculture Proud blog, will be sharing his thoughts on why cattle eat corn tomorrow. I think he will have a well thought out perspective. He reminded me about another organic myth: Organic Cows Don’t Eat Corn.

This is a big myth held by organic food customers. Yes, some organic farms do a great job feeding only grasses and legumes to their cattle. But, that is not 100% of organic farms.

corn, gmo, organic, family farm, minnesota, mn, cows

This is a picture of us planting our organic corn this year 

Fact: Organic dairy farms are only required 120 days on pasture and 30% of dry matter in take (the amount of food a cow eats once you take all the moisture out of it) to be pasture in a year. The rest (by law) can be filled with baled hay/grasses, small grains like barley and peas, corn and other  organic feed stuffs.

So do we feed corn on our farm? Absolutely. This year we are feeding A LOT LESS corn than we did in the past. Our calves and heifers (teenage cattle), steers (boys) and dry cows (cows waiting to calve) are almost 100% grass-fed. They are still healthy, but grow much slower. This is why we sometimes are unable to fill t-bone orders. The price of organic corn is just too much to make it pencil out financially.

Here is a great post from the past that explains why we feed corn to our milking cows. Making Winter Feed for Our Cows .

So there you have it, another organic myth is again debunked. Make sure to tune in next week when I will finally finish my post on organic chemical usage. You will also not want to miss my post on FREE Teacher Resource this Friday. It will be all about baby farm animals. It is guaranteed to have cute photos and video. If you subscribe (upper left-hand corner), the post will be sent right to your email.

 

~Emily

4 thoughts on “Organic Cows Don’t Eat Corn: Organic Myths Part 2

  1. Bruce Clithero (@BruceClithero)

    Your post is very well written and brings to light many interesting points.
    I agree you can feed corn to cattle and maintain an organic status by official regulations. However I question, is it the right thing to do?
    The digestive system of a cow isn’t designed to digest corn seed properly.
    The stalk part of the plant is however.

Thank you for your comments!