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It really isn't, if you stop and think about it. It takes more fuel, labour, feed and fertilizer to grow, harvest, store and bring feed to cattle that are kept indoors than it does to just let the cows do the work themselves. Sure it takes less land to feed X number of cows in a feedlot versus grazing the same number of cows in a pasture environment as far as efficiency in land use is concerned, but it's not efficient as far as labour, fuel, feed and fertilizer costs are concerned. It's also inefficient when you have to use equipment (fuel and labour) to clean out the manure that has accumulated in the sheds every year.

But to answer your question, it's because you can hold a larger number of animals on a smaller piece of land and feed them higher-quality feeds in an intensive CAFO operation than you can with a pasture/grass-fed operation.

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Q: Why is it more efficient when cows are kept in sheds?
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