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What Does it Cost to Feed Your Cow?

You have a cow in your back yard. Every day, you feed her 46 pounds of corn, 37 pounds of alfalfa hay, and 7 pounds of soybeans.

After she successfully digests those ninety pounds of feed in her four-chambered stomach, your neighbors hate you for the bouquet coming from you property.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established a formula which applies to the Average cow. That formula is called the "feed ratio". USDA has determined that the average cow is fed a daily ration of 51 percent corn, 41 percent hay (from alfalfa), and 8 percent soybeans.

USDA applies this feed ratio to the average price farmers receive for their milk. In April of 2012, the monthly feed ratio was the lowest in the history of the milk industry at 1.45.

What does this mean in dollars and (s)cents? Farmers received 16.9 cents for every pint of milk they produced, while the cost of feeding the average cow was estimated at 11.7 cents for each pint of milk produced.

Costs do not include the illegal lower-than-minimum wage you pay an illegal alien from Mexico to shovel manure. Nor does it include the illegal antibiotics given to your cow. The most commonly found antibiotic residue found in slaughtered cows is LS-50, a double dose consisting of Lincomyocin and Spectinomyocin. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits LS-50 use on lactating cows.

Costs do not include the $200 treatment the average cow requires for Johne's disease, which causes irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's Disease in over 40 million Americans. Costs do not include veterinarian visits, trucking animals to slaughterhouses, or forced payments which farmers must make to pay athletes who do not regularly drink milk to betray kids by posing for milk ads. Costs do not include the bullets used to end the life of male calves which generate less money for the farmer than the cost to truck him to an auction ring before he is sold for slaughter.

Every container of milk sold this year will represent a loss to the farmers who produced that milk. Without government welfare payments, the dairy industry would immediately be out of business.

Corn prices averaged $6.14 per bushel in April of 2012, while soybean prices averaged $13.80 per bushel and alfalfa prices averaged $207 per ton. In 2000, a dairyman averaged $12.32 for every 100 pounds of milk he produced. The cost of corn was under $2 per bushel. The cost of soybeans was under $5 per bushel. The cost of alfalfa was under $84 per ton. Today farmers receive just 33 percent more for their milk than in 2000, while their food costs have risen over 200 percent! What also has gone up? The amounts of diseases cows now get as well as the amounts of antibiotics they must receive and...last but not least, the amounts of powerful growth hormones found in milk.

One last thing...In 1970, the average American was eating 10 pounds of hard cheese each year (produced from 100 pounds of milk). In 2012, the average American will consume 34 pounds of hard cheese produced from 340 pounds of hormone-richer genetically modified milk.

Robert Cohen

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