Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Distiller's Grain Increases E Coli 0157:h7

You may wonder what the significance is of this? Well in our push for environmentally friendly fuel and to lessen our dependence on foreign oil we have come up with Ethanol as an alternative fuel source. Ethanol is made from corn and distiller's grains are what is left over after the processing of the corn into Ethanol. So what to do with all of this by product? Feed it to cattle of course! The problem is that doing this seems to be no better than feeding straight corn and possible even worse. Researchers at Kansas State have found that cattle fed distiller's grain have twice as much E Coli 0157:h7 as cattle fed regular feedlot rations. Now we know that feedlot cattle already have a high occurence of E Coli 0157 h:7. This is pretty disturbing. With the increase of Ethanol production forcast to 2ouble by 2010 there will be a huge amount of distiller's grain that needs to be disposed of and it will be fed to cattle. Feedlots are already moving their base of operations from current locations (panhandle of texas, New Mexico) to places like Nebraska and Kansas to be closer to the source of the distiller's grain. You see distiller's grain doesn't trasport very well, it is heavy, usually wet and hard to handle. Since current distribution channels can not be utilized efficiently to handle this cheap by product, it makes more sense to move the cattle closer to the distiller's grain. Did anyone ever think to just let the cattle eat grass and solve all these problems? We did.

1 comment:

  1. Corn has crept up in many aspects of our diet, and it's not all good news for either the consumer or the farmers.

    If you haven't read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan, I'd highly recommend it.

    Go grass!