SALINE COUNTY, Kan. - Triple digit heat, drought, and rising corn prices are hitting dairy farmers hard. A Kansas dairy farmer has a creative way to keep costs down and cows happy, and productive.
Mary Jane Miller is up every morning at 2 a.m. to take care of her cows in Saline County. But these cows get something we all like; chocolate.
Mary Jane and her husband Orville use scraps from a chocolate factory that would otherwise go uneaten.
Animal nutritionist Verton Miller says the chocolate won't hurt the cows.
"Oh yeah, chocolate is high in energy. It's good for the cows. I mean, the two prime things we need for cows is energy and protein."
The chocolate doesn't help the cows produce chocolate milk. But it does help Mary Jane and her husband cut costs.
"We're probably saving 50 or 60 cents a cow a day. And that's a lot of savings."
But it's not only chocolate. The Millers also feed the cows cherries, and even Mexican leftovers.
"It's corn meal and corn soft taco shells, Mexican cheese, refried beans, you name it. It's just kind of a combination of some high-fat, high-energy feed. It's a way of recycling. We can take that truckload to the landfill. But it's just going to fill up the landfill. We can we feed it, and it saves us dollars. For us it's the bottom line. We feed them as well as we can, as cheap as we can."