Crazy Moos

Moosworthy Information Straight from the Dairy!

Growing Corn for the Cows to Eat

Chopping the Corn

**Chopping the corn**

Every year during the summer, here on the dairy we are busy growing corn for the cows. Corn would probably be the staple food of our dairy cows.

A lot of people today criticize animal agriculture for using corn. The argument being that with all the corn that cows consume, instead of feeding it to cows, we could use the corn to feed people instead. The argument seems to make sense at first, but when you look at the bigger picture, you find that they are forgetting something.

When we feed the corn to cows, we don’t just feed them the corn cob. We feed them the entire stalk (the whole plant). The entire corn plant is cut up, and put into a pile. The pile is packed by a large tractor that compresses the pile to eliminate oxygen from the pile. Oxygen = spoilage. The pile is covered, and it ferments so we have a feed source that is available all year around.

The cow is able to digest the entire corn stalk, something people cannot eat. So the cow actually is converting a product indigestible by people, into a high quality food product rich in protein.

Corn is a very environmentally friendly crop as well. Corn is like grass, but grows much taller. Because corn grows quite tall, you get a lot of food per acre of land. So compared to grass, we can grow more food per acre which uses less natural resources.

 California Corn Field

**A California corn field, not like the Midwest**

So we have been busy here on the dairy, chopping this year’s corn crop. I took some pictures around the ranch of what is going on. Before we started chopping, my sister checked the corn to make sure it was ready to chop. When harvesting the corn it’s important to make sure it’s ready!

 

Checking Corn

**My sister checking the corn**

Checking the Corn

**Very short compared to the corn**

Chopping Corn

**Loading the trucks**

Chopping the corn with Sunset

**It looks pretty cool with the sun in the background**

Chopping

**The corn chopper cuts up the stalks then shoots it into the trucks who haul it to the pile**

Corn Silage

**A pile of cut up corn**

Silage Pit

**The pile slowly growing**

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Filed under: Farm, Farming, , , , , , ,

Interesting Facts about California Agriculture

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**A California Wheat Field**

California is famous for so many things: technology, Apple computers, beaches, surfing, movies, Hollywood. What many people don’t realize is that California affects their daily lives in a much more important way. Note:some people may beg to differ since it’s almost impossible to live without Facebook, or their iPhone…

California is one of the most productive places in the world in terms of food production, yet many of the people in California are unaware of the immense productivity of California farms. Many people pass farms here in California while driving down the road, without realizing that California is actually the breadbasket of the world.

Just to prove how important California agriculture is to the United States, I pulled together some fun and interesting facts. Some of these facts may surprise you

  • California is the world’s 5th largest supplier of food, cotton fiber and other agricultural commodities.
  • California is the largest producer of food in the U.S. yet has less than 4% of the farms in the U.S.
  • The unique Mediterranean climate allows us to grow over 450+ different crops.
  • Some of these crops are exclusive to California: almonds, artichokes, dates, figs, kiwifruit, olives, persimmons, pomegranates, pistachios, prunes, raisins, clovers, and walnuts
  • California is the largest exporter of almonds in the world
  • California is the number 1 dairy state in the U.S.
  • California produces over 86% of all the lemons consumed in the United States.
  • California is the 4th largest wine producer in the world and produces over 90% of the wine in the U.S.
  • 70 to 80% of all ripe olives are grown in California
  • California accounts for 94% of the processed tomatoes in the U.S.
  • California is the nation’s leading producer of strawberries, averaging 1.4 billion pounds of strawberries or 83% of the country’s total fresh and frozen strawberry production.
  • The value of the California strawberry crop is approximately $700 million with related employment of more than 48,000 people.
  • California produces 25% of the nation’s onions and 43% of the nation’s green onions.

The pictures in this posting were taken by me this month. You can see how much variety there is in farming just in these few pictures.

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**Beef cows grazing in Northern California**

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**A Rice Field **

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**An Olive Orchard**

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**Sunflowers**

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Filed under: Dairy, Farming, , , , , , , , , , ,

Lets eat only natural wholesome food products!

Fresh Foods like Milk

1263409299-milkThere is a food movement in the United States today that has been growing, and really beginning to influencing many people’s food purchasing choices. The trend is towards choosing foods that have been naturally produced, and locally grown. This trend makes sense to me as a food producer because I understand that food just taste better in its natural state. I think every food purchaser wants to buy fresh good tasting food!

Dairy is one of natures most natural and healthy food products. Think about it, milk is a combination of protein, fat, calcium, and a low calorie sweetener called lactose. Protein for building strong muscles, calcium for building strong bones, and fat to help with nutrient absorption.

It’s strange to me why so many people get hung up on the fact that milk has fat in it. Natural milk (not reduced fat or skim milk) is only composed of 3.5% fat. Let me put it this way, milk is 96.5% fat free!

So if milk is truly a natural food product, then why is fluid consumption still declining? Since fluid milk is such a healthy beneficial product, why aren’t people buying more milk?

image

**Data from future.aae.wisc.edu**

Dairy Substitutes Labeling = Misleading and Fraudulent

One thing that annoys me as a dairy producer is the fact that most the dairy substitute products ride off of milks healthy reputation. In the United States today, there have been many labeling deceptions by food manufacturing companies, and they are marketing their products fraudulently.

The Food and Drug Administration in the United States regulates food labeling practices and makes sure that businesses in the United States follow regulatory guidelines regarding labeling practices. Because food is such an important area of people’s lives, the FDA has strict guidelines in the Code of Federal Regulations to monitor food labeling and make sure the product is what the manufacturer is producing. In fact, every dairy product has its own standard or identity. The easiest way to explain this is to just show you what I’m talking about.

41uLDyFKE3L__SL500_AA300_The Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 section 131.200 notes what yogurt is:

Yogurt is the food produced by culturing one or more of the optional dairy ingredients specified in paragraph (c) of this section with a characterizing bacterial culture that contains the lactic acid-producing bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus…

…All ingredients used are safe and suitable. Yogurt, before the addition of bulky flavors, contains not less than 3.25 percent milkfat and not less than 8.25 percent milk solids not fat, and has a titratable acidity of not less than 0.9 percent, expressed as lactic acid.

In other words, yogurt is a dairy product that must use the specified bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and have 3.25% milkfat and not less than 8.25% milk solids not fat (like protein and lactose). So a food manufacture, to label their product yogurt, would have to make sure there was the right amount of fat and solids in their product. If they cannot meet these guidelines specified by the FDA, they cannot call their product yogurt. This is why you see products called smoothies or yogurt beverage, because they didn’t meet the standards to be called yogurt.

So if all food products have a standard of identity specified by federal law, then why do we still have food mislabeling going on? According to the FDA, “milk is the lacteal secretion obtained by milking one or more healthy cows.” My question is why haven’t the FDA gone after the mislabeling of food products hinging off of the health reputation that milk has.

A Puzzling Trend

Like I mentioned before, the modern food movement puzzles me in the fact that milk and dairy haven’t gotten any significant boost in consumption from the new food trend. If milk is a healthy natural food source, why isn’t milk consumption exploding with a renewed vigor.

In stores that promote natural foods, there are an array of dairy substitutes on the selves. I have had the experience of trying a wide range of “milk” products. I have tried hemp milk, soy milk, soy ice cream, soy yogurt, coconut yogurt, almond milk, and many more. Every time I try these products though, I come to the same conclusion – How do people eat these products! They really just don’t taste that great..

Why Proper Labeling is Important

All these products have fraudulent labels using the words milk, yogurt, and ice cream. Many people shrug it off and think it isn’t a big deal, but it really is! The false labeling of these products is misleading and illegal. Some people do believe that these substitute products, with milk or yogurt in the name, really have the same nutritional components of milk or yogurt. I’ve talked with people who substituted real milk with soy milk. The sad part is that these people think they are getting the same nutrition.

These alternative products don’t provide the same nutrition at all! A prime example is the coconut yogurt I tried. On the label it claims you’re getting the same amount of calcium that you would get with real dairy yogurt. When I finished eating the yogurt, you could see the calcium granules at the bottom of the container. Even though the manufacture added the calcium to make it equivalent to the calcium in real yogurt, you actually didn’t consume nearly the same amount. Furthermore your body probably didn’t absorb any of the calcium, and passed right through your system because it didn’t have any natural way to help absorb the calcium like real dairy products do.

Soy – Made in a Factory

Another example is with soy milk. When you substitute soy milk with real milk, you’re sacrificing the protein, essential amino acids, beneficial fatty acid, calcium, and other nutritional components that real milk and dairy products provide.

Many people don’t realize that soy beans in their natural unprocessed state are poisonous. In order to get rid of the toxic components of soy, you need extensive processing to make an acceptable food product. Even some of the components that are used in the soy manufacturing process are full of carcinogenic components. It’s a process that takes a poisonous product, and fabricates a food product that people can consume with relative safety. Soy is really an unnatural food, but is a product being touted as a “healthy alternative superior to real milk.” You can read more here about the negative effects of soy on human health.

The Bottom Line

Milk is the most nutritious beverage in the world today, and food manufacturers know this fact. That’s why they food processors want to use the name of dairy products on their products because it puts a positive connotative health reference on their product. Soy juice doesn’t have the same ring and connotative positivity as soy milk. I hope that the good people at the FDA in charge of labeling oversight begin noticing the plague of false labeling that is in our marketplace today and begin to take action. It’s important because of consumer perceptions. People need to be able to make healthy food purchases, and not be mislead by false labeling claims that can misinform.

I hope people participating in the changing food trend notice the importance of milk. Milk is naturally produced by the “foster mother of the human race” (dairy cows), and full of vitamins, and nutrients. So as a dairy producer providing milk, I hope people really do recognize that milk is a quality food product. Let’s eat only natural products like milk, yogurt, and cheese instead of these factory produced alternative “dairy” products. Hopefully with the new food trend, people will continue to find the quality in the product that milk is, drink more milk, and have a renewed widespread enthusiasm for milk and other dairy products.

Filed under: Dairy, Dairy Issues, Dairy Products, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Crazy Moos

About Crazy Moos

Welcome to the Crazy Moos blog! Crazy Moos is a play on words, basically trying to create a fun environment (crazy) for dairy news (moos). The overall goal of this blog is to communicate “moosworthy information” (newsworthy information) about the dairy industry and important happening on the dairy farm. Hopefully this blog will help people learn about various aspects of the dairy industry and what happens on the dairy farm. Visit regularly for new blog postings!

About Me

I am a 3rd generation dairyman in California, and our dairy farm really is a reflection of the American dream. My grandfather came to America from Europe after World War II in search of greater opportunities, and a safer place to raise a family. He came to America with hardly anything except his exceptional appreciation for hard work. My grandpa after a few years was able to start his own dairy farm and start producing high quality, nutritious milk. In the 70’s, he moved the operation to a more remote area (our current location), and started growing the herd.

Today, I am actively taking part in the farms daily responsibilities. I’m well qualified to be in the dairy industry, and consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the dairy industry having just graduating college with a degrees in dairy science, and dairy processing.

Many people today believe that the dairy industry has been taken over by large corporate farms, but a recent study done shows that most dairies are family owned. In fact, 99% of dairy farms in California are family owned and operated. My whole family is involved on the dairy. My sisters are caretakers of the baby calves, and we guys take care of the cows. There are eight kids in our family, so the dairy is definitely a family affair!

Milk is one of the world’s most nutritious natural products. So many people today are forgetting that milk is filled with many different nutrients, all combined to work in synergy together to maximize the body’s absorption of these nutrients. It’s the perfect blend of nutrients, in nature’s most natural product.

Milk, it’s a natural product, that’s naturally good for you!

**All Pictures, unless specified otherwise, Copyright © 2011 Crazy Moos. All Rights Reserved**