Be Advised Beef Producers- Consumers Are Now Becoming Increasingly Concerned with Cattle's DietTue, 23 Oct 2018 10:49:07 CDT
Most of our beef cattle have a largely forage-based diet. It is only those cattle that head to a feedlot for the final three to four months of their life that “finish” with a diet that includes corn and feed grains to develop the marbling that allows us to get a choice or prime animal at the end of the day. However, Oklahoma State University’s Janeen Salak-Johnson says there are people out there that are very concerned about corn being used to feed beef cattle. In a recent interview with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, she says those concerns are starting to be voiced more and more - much to the surprise of a lot people in the beef industry.
“It’s kind of one of those issues that I think people in the industry think you’re off your rocker. But, there really is this misconception that we’re feeding cattle corn that as humans, we could be consuming,” she said. “So, they believe that cattle A.) shouldn’t be eating corn, that they’re not meant to eat corn because I think they simply think about them being herbivores and not actually being able to digest fiber and things like that - so an animal welfare issue… They also believe you’re contributing to world hunger because you’re feeding animals feed stuffs that humans could consumer not knowing that it’s not the same quality of corn humans consume. That’s just the lack of their understanding.”
Salak-Johnson says part of it, too, is concern that feeding corn to cattle (again as herbivores) puts them at more risk to bacterial infection in the gut. In addition, she says there is a fear of GMO component to this belief as well. While there is obviously a lot of misinformation that the industry must continue to educate the public on, she says, there is also a need to be proactive in addressing consumer concerns. One way to do that is to ensure the consumer of beef’s safety through the implementation of an animal identification traceability system.
“I really believe that traceability back to the farm of origin is probably something that has to be resolved within the industry,” she said. “I think we have to come to terms that it is an important piece of the equation. I think it’s going to become a very important necessity if we want to move forward and improve the wellbeing of the cattle industry.”
Listen to Salak-Johnson’s complete conversation with Hays about her thoughts regarding issues of animal welfare and wellbeing in the beef industry, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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