Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



From: Using Distillers Grains in the U.S. and International Livestock and Poultry Industries (Ames, IA: The Midwest Agribusiness Trade Research and Information Center, 2008). Online @ Used by permission.


Consumers in the United States purchase 64 pounds of beef per year. That beef is considered “high quality” by international standards. In the distant past in the United States, beef was produced with forages, and it still is in most countries of the world today. Beef cattle are ruminants and therefore are able to convert grasses, hays, and crop residues into tasty, nutritious meat. Even today in the United States, about 80% to 90% of the feed required to produce “grain-fed” beef is forage. The U.S. beef produced today is “high quality” because the cattle are fed corn just prior to harvest. How did feeding corn to cattle develop and what are the conse¬quences of much of that corn being converted to fuel ethanol and its associated by-products?