Free Range Straw

Do you know what that means? Ya, neither do I. However, there is this sign in a city about 40 miles from here that says “Free range straw for sale.” We have no idea what that really means but have jokingly said it means you go from field to field picking up leftover straw, not to be confused with hay.

That led to ‘free range silage.’ And, what that means to us is that when people are donewith their sweet corn patches in late July we hurry on over and chop down the corn stalks and make it into silage. By hand. Very time consuming and labor intensive. On the flip side, its inexpensive fall and winter feed for our animals.

Cutting corn stalks

Collecting corn stalks

This is a technique we’ve used for the last two years. Once we have cut the stalks they ran through a multi-purpose shredder/wood chipper. The shredded stalks are then placed in airtight containers. The first year we did not have much success with keeping the silage airtight. The second year we used heavy-duty, commercial grade garbage bags and garbage can sized plastic tubs.

Chopping Silage

When the containers do not stay airtight, mold begins to grow and its quality deteriorates beyond use. All of the time and man-power spent collecting the stalks, shredding and then bagging is lost. All lost. But feeding our animals quality feed is worth the risk.

Are there any other homesteaders out there who make their own feed?

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