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Alberta: A quick visit to a feedlot

posted by dru Geography: West Alberta Topics: food

June 9, 2007

Alberta: A quick visit to a feedlot


On our way to the tar sands in Northern Alberta, one of our rides gave us an impromptu tour of a feedlot, where the storied Alberta Beef is raised.

The magic happens in massive feed lots, with thousands of cattle living in large dirt expanses. They're not allowed to eat grass, because it gives their fat a yellowish tinge, which in the estimation of the quality ratings, makes it lower grade. By keeping the cattle in living in dirt (and when it rains, mud) made up largely of their own feces, the cattle can only eat grain supplied by the farmer. Disease can spread quickly in such an environment, so the cattle are given regular doses of antibiotics.

The runoff from the lots is kept in lagoons like the one shown above, and then used to fertilize the surrounding fields.

According to our guide, a traveling farm equipment salesman, there are few feedlots as well-kept as this one.

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Believe it or not the amount

Believe it or not the amount of soil and groundwater pollution originating from these sites (both from runoff and through seepage from the lagoons) is fairly low. However, given the large amount of cattle raised in Alberta it is something that needs much more study