Those in dairy circles have long known that the dairy cow has a unique ability to convert forages into nutritious milk. Thanks to the power of the rumen and the beneficial bacteria that call it home, forages of all types, including by-product feeds that cannot make or are no longer fit for the human dinner table, eventually get transformed into a wide variety of dairy products.
This unique ability was recognized in a story published on TIME magazine’s website. “Cows are the unlikely heroes in the fight against food waste” verbally illustrates that cows are the ultimate upcyclers.
This story comes from a 2022 research report that indicates by-product feeds fuel one-third of dairy cow diets. “We learned that about one-third of a cow’s diet — representing anywhere from 32 million to 41 million metric tons nationally each year — consists of by-products from crop or food company production,” shared Juan Tricarico in the Hoard’s Dairyman Intel story, “By-products fuel one-third of dairy cow diets.” “Our findings show that including by-product feeds in rations results in considerably less enteric and manure methane and manure nitrous oxide than landfill disposal. In fact, we saw a 49-fold more positive environmental impact than if the by-product has simply been disposed of,” Tricarico went on to explain.
Building on that message from a year ago, the story published by TIME notes, “Cows are a surprising part of the solution to the 1.3 billion tons of global food waste that ends up in landfills each year.” The “surprising” part is intended for the far larger audience of TIME magazine because those throughout the dairy community have long known this story. Now is being amplified by a much larger media outlet.