Drovers recently received an inquiry from a college student conducting research for a public-health class project. She sent a list of questions regarding the relative merits of finishing cattle on grass versus grain-based rations. Her questions, while somewhat biased, reflect common misperceptions of grain feeing and the kinds of question consumers are asking. For that reason, we have adapted the questions and answers into this article, to serve as possible “talking points” for our readers as you encounter similar questions from the public.
We’ll be posting the 13 questions, along with our answers, over the next couple weeks. Here is question 6:
In your experience, do you think a cow prefers consuming grass or corn?
They like both. Corn and corn byproducts often are used as feed supplements for cattle on pastures, and once those feeds are offered, cattle will readily eat them ahead of forage. Another common practice is to graze cattle on harvested corn fields. They will eat much of what the combines leave behind, including the leaves, stalks and corn cobs, but the first thing they usually eat is any available grain.
See question 5 from this series here.