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.
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.
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.
You are right Bruce. Whole corn kernels are not an ideal feed for cattle. I hope that you read the post Making Winter Feed for our Cows which I link to in the post. In it I explain why we feed the whole corn stalk. Any grain corn, barley, peas, etc we feed to our cows is ground up first to aid in digestion. https://zweberfarms.com/making-winter-feed-for-our-cows/
Great job! Keep the good information coming.
Thanks Brian! I hope you had a great birthday! ~Emily