more Christians, straw houses

Larry Caldwell larryc at
Sun Nov 8 14:14:17 EST 1998

In article <7222jh$hip$1 at>, big_reds at 

> It is interesting that despite a supposed 10 to 1 efficiency factor in eating
> grains instead of meat, you can buy steak for less per pound than cereal.  My
> guess is that the ranchers are going broke and the cereal companies are rakin'
> it in.

Actually, for what cattle eat, the efficiency of cattle is better than 1.  
There is actually a net gain in available food to the human race by 
raising ruminants.

Most feedlots are finishing lots, where the cattle are held for the last 
30 to 90 days before slaughter.  They don't actually raise the cattle on 
grain.  Instead, they go out west where there is lots of pasture and buy 
up range fed cattle for finishing.  If you want to see a real feeding 
operation where cattle are held on feed for years, check out a dairy.  
They feed mostly non-human food like hay or silage, with some grain 
supplements.  However, they still like to raise their replacement cows on 
pasture where they can find their own food.  

The thing about feeding humanity is a myth made up by the vegans and 
PETA.  When other countries buy our grain, it's so they can have 
something to feed their animals.  It seems unbelievable to Americans, but 
the real dietary shortage in the world is animal fats and protein.  Let 
people out of abject poverty and the first thing they buy is a hunk of 
meat to toss into the stew pot.

If you factor in energy inputs, beef easily more efficient than grain, 
and many times more efficient than irrigated crops.  That's why you can 
buy sirloin steak cheaper than broccoli at the supermarket.  That was 
sort of the point of my joke about turning in our draft horses for oil 
barrels to feed the world, though I may have been a bit obteuse.

On a related note, the voters of California made the sale of horsemeat 
illegal at the last election.  I don't know what they think fido and 
fluffy are going to do for a meal.  If you really want to feed starving 
humanity, poison all the dogs and cats.  

It has gotten to the point that the urban population knows even less 
about agriculture than they do about forestry.  When their grandparents 
left the farm, industrial agriculture didn't exist.  

-- Larry

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