To Save The Planet, Give Cows Better Pasture

Read the full story from NPR.

The other day, in Puerto Rico, I stumbled across one small piece of an agricultural revolution. It didn’t look all that revolutionary — just an abandoned sugar plantation where workers are clearing away a mass of grass, bushes and trees in order to create better pasture for cattle.

Mike McCloskey, the dairy magnate who’s behind this particular venture, says that the tropical grasses that he’s removing are terrible food for cattle; they’re full of cellulose and lignin, and not very nutritious. “The problem with tropical pastures, in the past, is that they’re very low in their digestibility,” he says.

McCloskey should know. He grew up in Puerto Rico, worked as a veterinarian with dairy farmers in Mexico and California, then got into dairy farming himself and became one of the biggest milk producers in the United States.

He’s planning to grow varieties of grass called Mulato and Cayman on this pasture. The grasses grow quickly, they’re far more nutritious and cattle love them.

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