I must admit sometimes I have grain-fed meat. Usually it is the sake of being more social. When I go out with friends and end up in a restaurants which does not serve grass-fed I'll have some of the grain fed stuff (or just fish). But at home if it's meat, it's grass-fed all the way.
The problem with grain-fed is that cattle has evolved to eat grass not grains. The grain causes an influx of stomach acidity. Advesary gut bacteria flourishes. The animals suffer from painful gas pockets in their intestines which can be fatal and als develop stomach ulcers. Once the animals are put on grains they start to become sick and the farmers have to supplement the feed with powerful antibiotics. And we end up consuming less nutritious meat of obese, sick animals stuffed with antiobiotics and growth hormones.
Now the gist is this: You may have heard that the U.S. is currently going through one of the worst droughts in decades which has destroyed more than half the U.S. corn crops. The consequence of course is that corn becomes more expensive which will also have an impact on the price of all othe products depending on corn.
Of course farmers will still use corn to feed their cattle but will use less of it and will have to look for cheaper substitutes to add into the feed mix.
One farmer came up with the idea to fatten up his cows with candy. The sugary stuff, rejected by retailers, makes up 5-8% of his cattle's feed ration.
A more common substitute is poultry litter. It is an appetizing mix of poultry feces mixed with bedding, spilled feed and chicken carcasses. It is easy to imagine how much an animal can thrive on that. According to the consumer union, 2 billion pounds of chicken litter are consumed by cows in the US each year and with the drought the cows will be fed more.. well, shit.
Why oh why, you surely wonder in disgust. Well, the agricultural-extension service of the University of Missouri has this upbeat explanation:
"Beef cattle have the ability to digest low-cost feedstuffs that are not usable by other livestock species. One such feedstuff is poultry litter, which provides opportunities for both the poultry producer and the beef cattle producer. The large quantities of litter produced during modern poultry production are expensive to dispose of safely; moreover, protein is typically the most expensive ingredient in ruminant diets. Feeding poultry litter is a means of disposing of a waste product while concurrently supplying a low-cost protein feed to beef cattle."
If you feel like cutting the crap now, you might not only want to look for a mere substitute but rather an upgrade in quality like grass-fed meats and wild caught seafood. A good piece for the stomach and for some peace of mind.