Home > Beef, Diet & Nutrition, Pictures > Force Feeding Cattle: Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed

Force Feeding Cattle: Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed

I was engaged in a brief conversation last week, when I received the following reply:

@JeffFowle Cows eat grass naturally.We force them 2 eat corn 2 fatten quickly.They don’t digest it well & humans don’t digest the beef well.

 This is not the first time I have seen a statement like this on Twitter, let alone other social media platforms.

 Feeding Grain

First, cattle love grain, literally. I shared two personal examples with the individual.

 Example #1: When we are bringing cattle up to the corrals, on the west side of the ranch, they break into a run as they come around the hill before entering the barnyard…in a beeline to grain tanks that we store our rations in. Despite keeping the platforms relatively clean under the tanks, there is always some remnant grain available and a mass of black bodies soon envelop the tanks, looking for a treat. It then becomes a grand “game” between the dogs and cows to evacuate the area.

 Example #2: We always  have at least one pen of bulls, being fed out for sales. Our nutritional program maintains free choice, high quality, hay in front of the bulls 24/7. It is typically either a grass/alfalfa mix or straight alfalfa, depending on the time of the year and length of time on feed.  The neighbors can tell every morning and night that I am even 5 minutes late to feed grain…the bulls want their grain. Like clockwork, the bawling begins at 6:55 am and 5:35 pm, it would make for a great alarm on a clock. And, as anyone who has fed calves at a bunk, if you are not quick enough to deposit the grain, the body can suffer…it is more like they are “forcing” us to feed them grain [sarcasm].

Bull Calves For 2011 Sales

2010 Angus Bull Calves

 The second part of the statement, related to fattening cattle more quickly is correct. Grain is higher in energy content and higher in digestibility, thus decreasing the number of days required to be on feed to reach an end point.  The introduction of grain as a feed source, has allowed ranchers to have more options in managing and rotating pasture and ranges and more grass available to maintain cows as their calves could be fed out quicker.

 Digestibility

In regards to the last part of the statement, I wrote a post last year that covers these two topics; digestibility of grain by cattle and meat by humans Is Grass Really Greener? and Beef In A Diet. In short, grain is more easily digested than grass and hay and muscle tissue is digested more completely than plant tissue.

 I enjoy conversations that bring up “popular belief” by people who have not had the opportunity to discuss particular issues with folks who actually know.

What other common mis-understandings have you encountered?

  1. January 24, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    Very nice examples, Jeff!

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 7:29 AM

      Thank you Chris, and thank you for stopping by.

  2. January 24, 2011 at 7:30 AM

    Good article! Our cattle are the same way. Our cows live on pasture, and are supplemented with grain. I should take a video of them someday chasing down the feed wagon when it pulls in the drive!

    Here is a misconception that drives me batty….the concept that there is such a thing as “hormone-free” meat. There is no such thing…all meat, all food (including plants) contains hormones!!

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 7:52 AM

      Thank you for the comments Liz. I’ve thought about a video too, but always after the fact…lol.

      Good topic regarding “hormone-free” meat. I’ll file that one away for future use 🙂

  3. January 24, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    I have hauled grain in feed pails our family’s cattle many a times and my uncle even used to haul me in pail as a young child. I am aware of the grass-fed/ grain-fed like of cattle but Jeff you have done a great job here of giving real world examples. Thank you! People need to know how cattle are fed and their preferences. Also isn’t there a public perception that beef cattle are never fed grass and only fed grain or more specifically corn?

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 7:55 AM

      Thanks for stopping by Katie!

      Appreciate the suggestion on cattle being fed only grain. I touched briefly on that subject in another post, but think you are correct. That would be a good one to focus on.

  4. workingcollies
    January 24, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    Haha, yeah, my sheep would say “oooh, twist our legs to eat more grain!” 😀 They so love it.

    My animals are mostly grassfed, but I’ll finish them on some grain if I think they neeed it for best taste and quality. I recently had a customer (presumably from the city) who lectured me on the evils of using any grain at all, even as a small proportion of the diet. I tried to kindly explain that I want to make sure my lambs aren’t over-lean and tough, as then they wouldn’t taste good. And that even grasses develop seed heads, so “grassfed” animals still eat grains. He said he’d prefer to eat meat as tough as shoe leather than touch aything that’s eaten any grain. :-0

    He pointed me to a website link of a health guru he follows, which had led him to believe that he should eat meat that has had no grain. I keyword searched through the website and could find no such claim from the guru- only a recommendation to seek out animals that are primarily grassfed (as compared to a total feedlotted animal). And this health guru was recommending against *people* eating too much grain, especially processed grain. So, it’s interesting how consumers will leap from one statement to a different assumption and then violently defend that position.

    I think the poor consumer in today’s world is just really struggling with a lot of competing arguments and information- what’s best for their health, for the environment, for the economy, for the farmers, for the animals. They are trying to sift through this information and make the right choices, but it is very hard for them to understand everything and get to the bottom of truth.
    Michelle

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 8:01 AM

      Thank you for your comments Michelle.

      While some of our lambs get fat enough on pasture, we finish most of our lambs out on grain that go in our own freezer and to neighbors. It’s difficult to get lambs fat enough to hang a carcass that won’t dry out when relying on pasture alone. Often times, because of the extended time on pasture to finish, they reach an age that I can pick up the “mutton” flavor instead of “fresh” lamb flavor in the meat.

      Nice example and point on “sifting” through information. It is often a challenge to separate the fact from the fiction.

  5. January 24, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    well i use both grain and grass fed beef in my house tho i do not farm. my personal choice is grassfed, right down to color, odor and taste is 100 percent cleaner. I use grain to grind my own meat however i do not believe that cows r pre destined to eat grain. my dog use to follow my horse’s lead and eat grass, she got really really ill and died because of it. don’t u think the cows r following a lead from other animals who r eating the grain?

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 8:50 AM

      Cattle, sheep, goats, horses all enjoy grain. I liken grain to a “sweet” food; livestock naturally have an acquired taste for it. I supplement some of our weaned bull calves with grain. These calves have never encountered grain before, and have had their fill on high quality hay prior to my offering them grain in a bunk in an area away from the hay bunks. I have yet to see a calf not “dive” into the grain with great vigor, so I can’t help but believe that they enjoy the flavor.

      On Twitter you brought up an interesting point regarding “abuse” of the practice. Personally, I think in the past, livestock may have been fed rations that were pushing the limits in terms of concentrate: roughage. However, thanks to ruminant science, the vast majority of feeding has found a balance between the concentrates and roughage.

      One factor influencing this is the relationship with higher percent concentrate rations to increased sluffing of e coli bacteria. Kansas State concluded a study on this matter recently and should be releasing their results and recommendations soon. Back in the 80’s rations were commonly approaching 80-90:10 (concentrate: roughage), but today, rations tend to run around 65:35 for finishing. In comparison, our sale bulls are getting a ration that is around 20:80.

      A second factor influencing quantity of grain fed in relation to roughage is cost. Most rations are balanced on nutritional need by the animal first and then cost. Ruminants are amazing in their ability to utilize a variety of byproducts, and in order to reduce feed cost many byproducts are used to decrease the use of grain to cut cost. Personally, I utilize almond hulls and tomato pumice to substitute for a portion of the grain in our ration to decrease the cost.

      Thank you very much for commenting. Feel free to comment further, I welcome the dialogue. 🙂

      • January 24, 2011 at 9:04 AM

        What is so interesting to me is that we feed our animals based on nutritional need, then cost, wouldn’t it be great if Americans did the same? I think the media has yet again down right skewed the issues with agriculture and people r left angry and pointing fingers. I have yet to meet or talk to a farmer who hurt a fly so when I watched food inc. it left me wondering, where r these farms? who r these farmers and why would they do this? Two years of research and I have yet to find one! I think its the corporations too who put pressure on farmers to produce bigger, better and more.. but what its based on is demand. If America is demanding corn fed than thats what we have to produce right? Its simple really.

      • commonsenseagriculture
        January 24, 2011 at 9:43 AM

        I appreciate the continued conversation Melissa.

        I couldn’t agree with you more on your assessment with nutritional need and cost as it relates to humans…I would include physical activity also, as we consider that as a determining factor to the ration that is formulated.

        I also concur with your assessment of American farmers and ranchers. They do care for their livestock and are great stewards of the land.

        Regarding your assessment of corporations pressuring farmers…I would suggest that is a symptom of a bigger and more complex issue. Fewer folks are farming, input costs are higher, regulations and laws make farming less economically viable and the only ones who can afford to “absorb” the layers of bureaucracy are the “big” guys. I pray every day for the American family farmer and rancher to find new ways to remain viable.

        Your last comment on demand is spot on. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s the American public only knew “grass-fed” flavor. We then entered an era of folks leaving the farm and entering the city and the preference for “grain-fed” flavor. I personally enjoy both and will choose one over the other based on preference at the moment of reaching into the freezer.

        I would like to be able to continue an offer the American consumer a choice…but you are correct…demand drives supply.

        Thank you again for your thoughtful comments. 🙂

  6. Sheryl Valentiner
    January 24, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    Another great example of farmers and ranchers educating the consumer. I always appreciate those of you who take the time to provide information to consumers.

    I’ve wondered about the grass-fed/grain-fed debate myself. Are there environmental reasons for supplementing grass with grain or is it just a matter of livestock preference? Just curious.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 8:56 AM

      Thank you for commenting and the question Sheryl!

      We supplement our replacement heifers with grain to increase their body condition through the winter and to improve breeding efficiency and conception rates. There is a direct relationship to body condition score and conception rates. When heifers (and cows) are too thin (or too fat) conception rates drop. We aim for a body condition score around 5-6 on a 10 point scale, with 1 being emaciated and 10 being “too fat to walk.” There are some years thoguh, when our grass is very high quality and abundant, that we do not supplement with grain.

      • Sheryl Valentiner
        January 24, 2011 at 9:07 AM

        Thanks Jeff. I had no idea that weight played a role in conception. I appreciate the response.

      • January 25, 2011 at 8:47 AM

        This is very true in many species – fillies, even rabbits in good condition cycle sooner than one who is thin. I can’t help but relate that to a comment and wonder if the same is true for humans. We hear “obesity is rampant” and “girls are hitting puberty earlier” – some say those two things are related, but it’s easier to blame farmers for “using hormones” in cattle. MANY things have changed the last 50 years – pinning “the answer” on one seems inaccurate.

        • commonsenseagriculture
          January 25, 2011 at 9:12 AM

          Interesting correlation Jan. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • January 25, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      Sheryl — There has been some interesting research done on the environmental impact of grass vs. grain finishing (all cattle are grass fed for a majority of their lives…some are finished on grain). Dr. Jude Capper at Washington State University completed a study last year which concluded that corn finished beef is actually more sustainable. Here’s a link to her repoort if you are interested in explroing further… http://academia.edu.documents.s3.amazonaws.com/1424777/ADSA-ASAS_Corn-Fed_Beef_-_Capper_et_al.pdf

  7. January 24, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    Nice post. Well done. I’m glad I found your blog.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 8:58 AM

      Thank you. I’m glad you found it too! 🙂

  8. January 24, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    Jeff, you might also point out that deer have the same digestive systems and will live in mature corn fields, eating only corn as long as they are allowed to.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 9:01 AM

      Good point. We don’t grow much corn in our area anymore. We have issues with the deer in the wheat and barley fields, near harvest time, but it’s the same ordeal…they can top a grain field in a hurry…lol. Our deer primarily invade the alfalfa fields and hay barns.

      Thanks for the comment.

  9. January 24, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    Thank you Jeff as always for guiding our consumers with facts, real world experience and kind interaction. Also, thank you consumers for your willingness to listen to Jeff and ask important questions about how beef cattle are raised.

    My family and I also raise grass fed – grain finished cattle. My experiences with feeding grain versus grass hay are very similar. In the winter, when the cows need to be close to home for monitoring (both health and weather related) we feed both a grass and grain ration. In the beginning of the winter, we start by feeding round bales of a hay forage. They have access to hay at all times during this period. We then also feed them grain to help improve their body condition. My father-in-law calls this “adding to their frame”. Our purpose is not to fatten our animals, but as Jeff said, to improve their overall body condition in order for them to be at an optimal health level over the winter and before they begin having calves.

    Later in the winter, we grind the hay and mix it with corn and a molasses based nutrient supplement (http://www.loomix.com/WhatIsLoomix.html). By grinding our hay, the cattle get much more out of the nutrients within the forage and get a sweet snack with the mixed in corn. At this point, our cows have access to 160 acres of grass at all times, but boy would you love to see them come running once the feed truck fires up. Bottom line, they love to eat our feed mixture, and we love that the mix keeps them nutritionally balanced, happy and healthy.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 10:09 AM

      Thank you for sharing your personal experiences Caleb. I appreciate your sharing the comments. It is essential for people to hear all of our unique stories. Thanks again!

  10. January 24, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Really great examples Jeff. I think you touched on it briefly, but in one cow-calf operation I have worked for, self-feeders are used from the time calves are weaned until they are sold as yearlings. They have equal access to quality hay and grain, and they balance themselves on ratios of roughage to concentrate that leave these calves healthy, well-built, and top quality.

    We bunkfed our weanlings when I was growing up. 400 head of steer and heifer calves waiting for their grain morning and night every single day can’t be an exception to the “rule” (that cattle don’t like grain), can they?!

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      Good points Erica, thank you for sharing them!

  11. Bill
    January 24, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Yeah, and have you ever seen children chase an ice cream truck? Fact is according Science Daily (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010511074623.htm) “Grain-fed cattle provide nicely marbled beef. Yet, low-fiber diets can make cattle sick, while allowing harmful bacteria to proliferate, a paper in the 11 May 2001 issue of Science reports.”

    And…

    “Acid buildup can cause ulcers in animals consuming too much grain: ‘Then what happens is that infectious bacteria come from the rumen through the ulcers, into blood, and finally into the liver, where they cause abscesses,’ Russell said. Feed additives such as antibiotics can counteract such ailments, but they further alter the ruminal microbial ecosystem, he added.”

    It’s fine to adapt a mixture of grain in cattle feed provided the amount is carefully monitored. Too much and the animal gets sick. That’s just a fact.

    On a final note, the sugars in corn are highly addictive. Just try and get a person used to drinking 32oz of a high-fructose corn syrup based beverage every day to just quit. Is it a surprise deer and other ruminants love it?

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 24, 2011 at 1:52 PM

      Bill,

      I appreciate your sharing the Science Daily report. As I mentioned briefly in a reply to Melissa earlier, modern cattle feeding places the nutritional needs of the animal first and then we evaluate how we can reduce the cost of the ration while still meeting those needs.

      Reports like the one you shared, from 2001 and others even more recent, are great examples of how agriculture is continually researching to find better ways to do things. As I mentioned earlier to Melissa, Kansas State just completed a study last year that looks at the ration being fed and production practices (traditional, organic, natural, grass-fed) and the influence they have on e coli counts. It should be released soon, if it has not already.

      I think it is important to realize that agriculture, like other industries, goes through “trends.” During my life time I have seen the cattle industry go from “big is best” to “smaller is better” to “moderate is optimum” as far as the physical size of the animal is concerned. Similar trends are simultaneously occurring on the feeding end. Today, with the knowledge we have gained, feeders are now including adjustments to the rations that not only meet nutritional needs and is lowest available cost, but also adjusting to maintain optimum rumen activity and health and at the same time using feeds to lower the “shedding” of the naturally occurring e coli bacteria. Feeding is no longer focused on maximum gains; instead we focus on optimum gains, to maintain healthy animals that provide high quality and healthy products.

      I thank you again for your thoughts and comments.

  12. January 25, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    I just posted a video of my son feeding bulls in the morning. http://www.kidscattle.com/2011/01/big-bucket-bulls.html

    You can see that the animals are not forced to eat grain with a big round bale of hay in the background.

    Sadly people believe if grass fed beef is good than grain fed must be bad. When in reality they are two methods of achieving the same end result: a bovine ready for market There are many reasons for this way of thinking with most of them being human nature.
    I will go back and read your articles on digestibility.

    @farmnwife

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 25, 2011 at 9:14 AM

      Thank you for sharing the video! I appreciate your stopping by to share.

  13. January 25, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    As you know, I question some feedlot/feeding practices overall, yet this is a cogent, easy to read post, Jeff. I have seen cattle go nuts for corn. It really is like watching a kid chase around the yard to put candy in their Easter Basket. Or like watching adults and kids stuff their faces on carbohydrates at McDonald’s or while watching the Superbowl. The question of “force” feeding, however, is different, I think. In feedlots, is it not true that the cattle are fed a specific ration/mix? In other words, even if cattle like corn like we like chocolate, are they given a choice?

    Another question I have, do cattle go crazy for soybeans, too? How about other grains besides corn? When grasses turn to seed, do the cattle automatically favor this grass vs. those still in the pre-seed stage?

    Thanks as always for helping me and others learn.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 25, 2011 at 11:55 AM

      Carrie, you are starting to anticipate my posts…stop that 😉

      I am going to have a post up tomorrow that talks specifically about the rations cattle are fed, what they are composed of and how they are balanced.

      Thank you though for asking and posting your questions. I always appreciate it. 🙂

  14. January 25, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Jeff, I keep telling you, I’m a seer 🙂

  15. January 25, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Carrie,

    I don’t want to jump the gun on Jeff, so I’ll keep this brief and hope he covers much more (especially since he’s the real expert!). But, we also feed some of our select steers that we feed out to market weight a mix from Colorado Soy. It contains a host of things including roasted soy and crushed corn. The steers go extremely nuts for this stuff. http://www.coloradosoy.com/products/cattle-feed/

  16. January 25, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Caleb,

    Thanks for sharing that. No doubt we can manufacture feed that tastes great – roasted soy and crushed corn sounds like trail mix to me, esp. if you add some raisins or chocolate ;). I suppose what I’m curious about is, would cattle eat soy on their own (when it’s green)? I’ve seen them eat dried corn cobs and kernels but not fresh or dried soybeans or other (harvested) grains.

    Looking forward to Jeff’s post.

  17. Mike Haley
    January 25, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Carrie –

    Back when combines didn’t do as good of a job as they do today the best winter forage one could find was soybean stalks. Cattle would put on weight during the winter months when turned out on a harvested field of soybeans. Some cattlemen still pasture soybeans stalks, but its more common to graze corn stalks instead. As far as when its green I am not sure, but I have seen deer graze off a whole field of green soybeans before so I am sure cattle would do the same as they have similar stomachs!

    Mike

    • commonsenseagriculture
      January 31, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      Thank you Mike for sharing your personal story. I appreicate the contribution. 🙂

  18. R Brooks
    February 1, 2011 at 4:57 AM

    I remember riding with my mom a few years back. Every evening she would give her small cattle herd sweet feed and range cubes. They actualy got so excited chasing the truck down they broke a mirror off of the side. All the grass they had to run over to get to the good stuff pretty well proved to me that they do prefer the grain as opposed to the grass! I would have to think that the people going the more organic/ least costly route are just trying to make excuses for their choices.

  19. Tim..swIL
    February 1, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    It is entertaining to watch the neighbor’s cattle routinely find the weak points in his fence in order to get into the standing corn during the late summer and early fall.

  20. Pat Grotenhuis
    February 1, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Our beef cattle have been known to break down fences when they are pastured beside a corn field. It sometimes takes quite a while to get them back on their pasture of lush grass. Corn is definately not force fed. Great blog.

  21. June 7, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    But isn’t there a difference between cattle “liking” feed and that feed being good for the cattle and ultimately for the people who will eat the beef?

    I like ice cream. I will come running for ice cream just the like cattle will come running for the grain tank.

    Unfortunately, ice cream isn’t good for me.

    I don’t profess to understand as much about animal nutrition that most of the people that read this blog but it strikes me that if the natural diet for cows is grass that that is the best for food them.

    Of course, there was another post on this blog that mentioned about supplementing and balanced diets:

    https://commonsenseagriculture.com/2011/01/25/its-more-than-corn-balanced-diets-nutrition/
    https://commonsenseagriculture.com/2011/01/27/its-more-than-corn-importance-of-physiological-phases/

    I get that if there are certain nutritional needs supplementing grass is necessary but why not attempt to feed as much of a natural diet to cattle as is possible?

    The major answer to that question is economics. It simply takes longer for cattle to get to the stage where they can be processed:

    https://commonsenseagriculture.com/2011/02/03/its-more-than-corn-grass-v-grain-some-simple-facts/

    Correct me if I’m wrong but so long as everyone was playing by the same set of rules, this wouldn’t be a problem for ranchers since there wouldn’t be a concern of being undercut by other cattle ranchers.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      June 8, 2011 at 9:04 AM

      Ben,

      I’ll answer this question when I have a bit more time. It will take a while to answer properly 🙂

      • donahowern
        June 8, 2011 at 10:24 AM

        Thanks! I’ll be interested in hearing what your thoughts are.

  22. June 7, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    @donahower I think you nailed it.

  23. June 8, 2011 at 4:05 AM

    Now that I’m looking at this again, I’m also wondering about the digestion argument as well.

    If people ate using this same argument of what is most digestible is also what is best, wouldn’t people then be eating exclusively juiced fruits and vegetables?

    PS. I hope I don’t come across as a hater: legitimate questions, I promise.

    • commonsenseagriculture
      June 8, 2011 at 9:03 AM

      Another great question Ben.

      It is important to remember that cattle are ruminants, have a four chambered stomach, that is designed to utilize fiber, or plants.

      Humans have a single chambered stomach, monogastric, and have a difficult time fully digesting fiber.

      It is for this reason that it is easier for humans to digest meat than plant materials.

      I had a brief discussion on this topic in my post “Beef In A Diet” that you might be interested in https://commonsenseagriculture.com/2009/04/18/beef-in-a-diet-2/.

      • ben
        June 8, 2011 at 10:27 AM

        Yep, I did read the Beef in a Diet post. Agreed, clearly there is at least an exaggeration of how long is takes a human body to digest meat from your anecdotal example and I’m sure from most peoples’ diets.

        I agree with you there!

        I would think just by the nature of the complexity of meat that digestion takes longer but it’s clearly not the length of time that you might hear on certain blogs.

  24. Rick
    June 5, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    You have done a tremendous service. I am one who believes that agriculture would benefit from greater transparancy, meaning that if consumers actually understood why producers employ production methods, they would not only have more confidence in their foods but would come to appreciate the environmental, food safety, security and quality, animal welfare and resource management benefits of advances in animal husbandry. This would also help illustrate the tradeoffs entailed in abandoning livestock nutritional science and going backwards in time.

    I believe you are correct that cattle descend from animals that evolved to be able to utilize grasses because it was a readily available food source. While ruminants are capable of extracting nutrients from grass, it is a common misconception that they are capable of only eating grass. I do think it unlikely that nature would have handicapped ruminents by condemning them to a grass only diet, and it seems silly considering the variability in quality and availability of grasses from year to year, and the seasonal scarcity of grass during winter. Rather, I believe ruminants are capable of digesting more nutritionally dense food items when available. That seems consistent with other wild ruminants like deer who, as any corn farmer knows, will readily invade cornfields by choice.

    All of you are correct. You do not have to force feed cattle grains or silage. I read a comment on another blog where it was asserted that if you placed cattle at a spot between a cornfield or a pasture, the cattle would migrate to the pasture. This person obviously has never observed cattle behavior. In fact, the opposite is true. I am from a rural area where there is often corn fields next to pastures, and there are frequently disputes between neighbors because the cattle will abandon the pasture and graze the cornfield if given the opportunity.

    Another example for you. When you take cow-calf pairs to pasture, if there are blooming yucca plants, the cattle will make a bee-line for the yucca blossoms when you unload them from the trailers. In fact, they will jostle for position to try to keep the others away from the particular yucca they are focused on. They will even time their walk so that they can nip off the yucca blossom in passing without stopping so that they can beat their cohorts to the next blossom. The cattle will not turn their attention to even lush grass nearby until all the yucca blossoms are gone.

  1. January 24, 2011 at 7:44 AM
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  5. January 31, 2011 at 11:25 AM
  6. February 15, 2015 at 7:52 AM
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