It’s interesting watching people game the system to their advantage. I’ve observed various lobby groups looking remarkably smug as they produce their evidence. But in reality, they’re amateurs at gaming the system compared to our Sal.
Sal is no longer as young as she was. The days when she could keep up with a quad bike doing twenty miles an hour over several hundred yards have passed. But she’s still got good acceleration and she can still hit those top speeds.
Now on our way home from checking heifers, we travel together along one particular lane. There’s a short straight with a grass verge to the right, followed by two right angled bends, and then it’s into a comparatively long straight with a grass verge on both sides.
As I go along the first straight, Sal keeps up with me, running along the grass verge next to me. On the two bends it’s a bit more fraught because there’s no verge, but I slow down anyway, and she just trots behind the quad and trailer. Then as we go into the second bend the lane is wider. So she doesn’t just overtake me, she goes across the front of me so she can run up the left hand verge.
Of course because she cuts across me she ensures that I have to go more slowly, and by the time she gets onto the left hand verge she’s at full acceleration and away.
Me? I cheat as well, because I’ve been idling in fourth so that when we are on the straight, if there’s nothing about, I can accelerate as well. There’s a point when Sal stops looking over her shoulder to make sure I’m playing and just concentrates on running. I normally catch up with her about half way up the hill and we both slow down together so that we approach the junction at the end of the lane at a sedate walk. But she seems to enjoy it immensely. She gets home and flops down in the shade with the expression of a dog who has done her duty.
But there are others who game the system as well. All these farting British cows who are destroying the Amazon by eating soya.
The UK imports approximately 3.2 million tonnes of soya bean equivalents directly in the form of soya beans, meal and oil.
Chickens eat 345,000 tons
Pork takes 181,600 tons
Egg production takes 64,800 tons
Beef takes 60,800 tons
Fish takes 52,900 tons
Cows’ milk takes 29,000 tons
Turkey takes 23,600 tons
Cheese takes 23,200 tons
Other dairy 5,400 tons
All livestock feed uses of soya come to less than 800,000 tons. So livestock are eating 25% of our imported soya, and soya milk and human food takes the rest, yet farmers are the ones guilty of burning down the Amazon!
If you want to check the figures I recommend the come from the KPMG Soy reporting initiative 2017
But then we have to look to see exactly what sort of ‘soya’ is being used.
I have in front of me the ingredients list for a decent dairy cake. Not only do cows like it, Sal recommends it as well.
It starts with Barley, followed by Wheat Feed. To quote from one of the companies selling wheat feed, “Wheat feed is a by-product of flour milling. It comprises of wheat bran, endosperm and other starch screenings. Wheat feed is generally pelleted with the addition of a little water and for every tonne of wheat milled only 20kg of wheat feed is produced.” So it’s a waste product that farmers turn into high quality protein.
Then we have Maize distillers, this is another by-product which comes from the processing of Maize grain to produce industrial alcohol, normally in the form of ethanol which is used as a fossil fuel replacer.
This is followed in the list by Palm kernel expeller. Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) is a by-product of the palm oil extraction process from the fruit of the palm. There are doubts about palm oil but apparently, and according to WWF, it’s in close to 50% of the packaged products we find in supermarkets, everything from pizza, doughnuts and chocolate, to deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste and lipstick. It’s also used in animal feed and as a biofuel in many parts of the world. So when the consumers and supermarkets wean themselves off Palm Oil, farmers can step back from utilising their waste products.
Then we have what I assume is Sal’s favourite part, ‘products from the confectionery industry (maize sugar meal.)’ Described by one vendor as, “High energy from a balance of starch, sugar and oil and digestible fibre, Maize Sugar is a palatable blend of products from the bakery, pasta, confectionery, and breakfast cereal industries on a friable vegetable protein carrier.” If people weren’t so damned fussy it sounds like an excellent feed for them.
Then we have the first, and only, appearance of Soya. Soya (bean) hulls. Again, quoting one of the vendors, “Soybean hulls are a by-product of the extraction of oil from soybean seeds. After entering the oil mill, soybeans are screened to remove broken and damaged beans, and foreign material. The beans are then cracked, and their hulls, which mainly consist of the outer coats, are removed. Hulls are fibrous materials with no place in human food, but are very valuable for ruminants.”
Finally we’ve got Horse (Field) Beans. These are a variety of Vicia faba, they’re the ones with smaller, harder seeds that are fed to horses or other animals because they’re not suited to human consumption.
Finally for flavouring you have some cane molasses, calcium carbonate and sodium chloride.
So all those people who complain about UK cattle destroying the rain forest by eating soya are somewhat missing the point. Indeed I suggest they prove how well they can do without cattle by sitting down to a delicious bowl of barley and wheat feed porridge, fortified by maize distillers meal, flavoured with maize sugar meal and with a good sprinkling of ground soya hulls to provide them with the necessary roughage in their diet. After all, we’re being encouraged to cut out food waste. Personally I’d prefer to do it by feeding the waste to livestock and eating them.
It may well be that Brazilian or Argentinian livestock eat more soya than do ours. Fair enough, if you’re in the UK, buy British beef and dairy products. But frankly, if anybody has to hang their heads in shame for causing the destruction of the Amazon, it’s not UK cattle farmers.
There again, what do I know? Discuss the matter with the expert. Available as a paperback or kindle ebook from
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