MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's long winter will just fly by for a herd of Russian cows which, a newspaper reported on Tuesday, will be fed confiscated marijuana over the cold months.

Drug workers said they adopted the unusual form of animal husbandry after they were forced to destroy the sunflowers and maize crops that the 40 tonnes of marijuana had been planted among, Novye Izvestia daily reported.

"There is simply no other way out. You see, the fields are planted with feed crops and if we remove it all the cows will have nothing to eat," a Federal Drugs Control Service spokeswoman for the Urals region of Sverdlovsk told the paper.

"I don't know what the milk will be like after this."

Drug use in Russia took off with the decline of the Soviet Union and police have been fighting drug smugglers -- often shipping heroin from
Afghanistan -- for years.

Such large hauls are relatively common, although they are normally burnt.