ON THE FARM: Nutritional crops fed to cattle

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ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WLNS)—Carla Wardin, co-owner of Evergreen Dairy in St. Johns, Michigan says a cow’s diet is crucial.

Wardin grows alfalfa her farm harvests four times a year, and corn for her cattle that’s harvested once a year.

“We also buy other things we can’t buy here for ourselves like soybean meal, and cottonseed, and what we do is we harvest and then we mix it all together so the cows get a balanced diet,” Wardin said.

Wardin told 6 News her farm calls that a “cow casserole, or salad,” and she harvests her own crops for the most nutritional benefits.

A fact many people might not know, cows tend to eat a lot of crops.

“They eat alfalfa, corn, graze on pasture, soybean, cottonseed,” Wardin said. “We hire a nutritionist to make sure that they get the right food. It also changes based on the stages of life they’re in. Like, if a cow has just had a calf. She has different nutritional needs.”

The food differs based on the ages of the calf, and Wardin says in her dairy farm they separate the cows into groups and feed them accordingly.

“A lot of times we have our feed outside because it’s easier to access and we cover it with plastic and put tires on it and it to ferment,” Wardin said.

Cows need fermented food, and Wardin says it becomes a group activity throughout their community.

“When we do it all we have so many people who help us,” Wardin said, “we hire people, we have volunteers and we have a really nice get together to get all of the harvest done.”

Wardin says cows eating whole foods could mean a happier cow and better-tasting milk.

“There’s no way I’d eat cottonseed, but I’d eat an ice cream cone any day of the week,” Wardin exclaimed.

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