What Corn to Plant for Livestock?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Tango, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    What should I choose for my livestock and where can I purchase it? Any other nutritious, easy to grow plants, you can recommend? I've goats, horses, cows, guineas, and chickens. Thanks in advance:)
     
  2. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I take it you want to plant for grain and not silage, you might want to think about A open pollinated type ,Then its A matter of weather you want white, yellow Or A colored type . Different corns have various values for feed. I read some where that White corn has different nuitrents that yellow. And the colored corns have A totally different set of nutrients. I think Ken might know what to plant in Tenn. As he lives there.
     

  3. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Amaranth is used as livestock feed, as are the pods from honey locust.
     
  4. Sammy

    Sammy Well-Known Member

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    I have always had good luck with Dekalb brand corn.
     
  5. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Find a local dealer. He will have the best knowledge about growing season for your area and local conditions. I would also get your soil tested. Your local extension service should be able to do that for you and give you recomendations.
     
  6. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A good place to find OP corn is Shumway's catalog...we got an oldtime variety there a few years that we've kept going for our 1 acre we grow. We just go out with the pickup truck,scare the deer out of the patch and pick by hand. Works for us. Before we had any farming equipment we did our patch with roto-tiller and a Earthway garden seeder. Worked fine. DEE
     
  7. catahoula

    catahoula Well-Known Member

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    I wanted to experiment with some feed corn as well, but didn't want to invest a batch of money in seed if it wasn't going to mature in a short growing season. So I bought a fifty pound bag of whole feed corn for eight bucks. I poured about half of it into a five gallon bucket soaked the seed over night in water and planted eleven 120' rows and waited. I got corn, holy cow did I get corn. More corn than I could handle. I saved the best looking ears as seed for next years run. Keep it down wind of your sweet corn, unless you like extra chewy corn. Good luck.
     
  8. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    First off, as Maura notes, Amaranth is a good choice. You (or your livestock & poulty) can eat the young plants as high protein greens, OR you can harvest the (tiny) high protein seeds & use them. If you hand strip plants, you can get two crops of seeds off the same plants. Uh, poultry can digest the seeds easy, but they'd pass right through a horse or cow due to the hard seed coat.... so if using amaranth SEEDS as feed soak/sprout them first, or boil them, or simply "pop" them by stirring in a hot skillet (etc). It's popped & added to honey to make confectionary cakes in Mexico.

    Best of all, it's essentially a wild plant... VERY hardy & survives on it's own. Little or no care required. I personally like Hopi Red Amaranth (red plants, black seeds, available from www.nativeseeds.org), but Rodale has bred a number of higher yielding grain amaranth varieties with blond seed. Cheapest seed source for the latter if you don't care knowing the varietal name would be to find a health food store selling prepackaged whole grain amaranth, or buy a package online (seeds are tiny, a little plants a lot of square footage).

    Raise sunflowers.... I'd suggest the black oilseed type. Many seed companies carry them, but try to get an open pollinated type. Poulty LOVE them.

    For corn, ANY open pollinated (non-hybrid) type that does well in your area is a good idea, but I'd suggest either a colored variety or to mix a little colored (blue, not red) corn when you plant. Colored corn is a bit more nutritious (re mineral & vitamin content).

    OLDER corns have significantly higher protein levels (traditional Indian corns are highest, then come old "White settler corns" derived directly from them, then open pollinated "corn belt dents", then hybrids run tail end charlie. The Indian corns have almost TWICE the protein of the typical hybrid). Another benefit of colored corn is that poultry LOVE eating multicolored feed. If you give them multicolored corn to eat, they'll eat it faster (& eat more of it) than they will straight white or yellow corn or single colored feed, & grow faster as a result. Mixing in some dark colored corn with store bought feed will cause them to eat it faster, as will mixing in some black sunflower seeds.

    Uh, for specific corns..... If you like dents, I'd suggest (Ohio) Blue Clarage or the blue & white dent Cherokee Squaw corn (both available through the Seed Savers Exchange, sometimes from regional mail order seed companies). Bloody Butcher is a productive all red dent useful to mix in with other feeds, available through the same sources.

    Ask around, see if anybody in your county has an old heirloom flint corn (best thing for poultry)..... be sure to let me know if you find one as I’m trying to see what old types have survived out there ;), failing that maybe even try some popcorn (good for poultry, and can be popped for your own use). Warning, flint corn & popcorn is too hard for horses & cows.

    An heirloom FLOUR corn is best for the big livestock (easy to chew, little is wasted by passing through undigested), acceptable for poulty (albeit not as good as the denser flint/popcorn) & good for your cornmeal. Fresh blue flour cornmeal is simply unbelievable. Hopi or Navajo blue corns are good, a bit better adapted to your area would be Quapaw Red flour corn, Osage Red corn, Lenape Blue corn (or for white corns, Seneca or Tuscarora White flour, Cherokee White flour, etc). You can get these from the Seed Savers Exchange, from the www.nativeseeds.org I mentioned, from a one-man nonprofit called C.O.R.N.S. located in Turpin OK (run by Carl Barnes). The Eastern Native Seeds Conservancy (run an online search for their website) also has northeastern tribal corns (flints & flours) that would do for you.

    Turkeys I've raised have always LOVED tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes. So plant extra & let your poultry have the excess. They also like watermelon, & will pick your rinds down to the skin.

    Grow pumpkins & squash.... horses & cows like eating them, just chop them open a bit first. (save the best for your own use).
     
  9. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the replies and suggestions. Especially kenuchelover for taking the time to detail so much information. I'll probably not experiment much this spring since I won't have much space but I can try with a couple of corns and amaranth. As the plot gets larger - which I'll be doing by hand little by little- I'll have more space to experiment for my livestock.
     
  10. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

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    If circumstances warrant, you might want to look into planting stuff that expands your plot for you.

    This wouldn't apply if what you're doing is slowly killing off grass & expanding the garden.... but if it's a case of fighting clay hardpan or building up soil, planting tough stuff like sunflowers OUTSIDE the garden will loosen the soil for you via root action. Amaranth doesn't have really deep roots so it wouldn't help with that, but you can get a scrubby crop even off reall poor soil & every bit helps, so an outside the garden planting is still a good idea. If you're needing to build up soil outside the garden, plant legumes of some kind... maybe clover or alfalfa, they'll add nitrogen AND green manure plus giving your lifestock something to eat.

    There is a quasi-feral thornless acacia in my county (desert, so it can't spread away from habitation, but it's self planting) that is useful for this. It grows very fast, but never gets all that big (uh, 1" trunks on 8-12' trees in a year, over time will give 4-5" trunks & 15-18' trees). Roots go deep, so it helps break up soil, roots & fallen (tiny, compound type) leaves quickly build up soil nitrogen & humus. PLENTY of seeds that birds like to eat, livestock likes the leaves to eat. A scattering of seeds will give a thicket of small seedlings that can be easily pulled up (unless ground is bone dry) at 6 months (leaving lots of holes in soil, looser soil, & residual nitrogen) OR mowed. Cutting larger saplings or trees leaves roots to rot.

    I've heard of managed plots of acacias like this (maybe same species, even) being used in Africa for community gardens. Folk start out with a managed woodlot, harvesting wood at 1-4" diameter for cooking fires. It'll resprout from stump IF not cut too low to ground, so they just keep harvesting a couple times a year. The shade helps keep sun from drying soil, poultry likes hanging out & eating bugs (& adding manure), leaf litter improves soil (by falling, or being stripped off harvested wood). As the soil builds up, they kill off the trees in the center (cut low to ground and/or build small fire on stump) & work leaf litter from outer margin into soil at center. (Some forage is also harvested, by stripping off lower small branches OR letting lifestock run in woodlot, this decreases smaller low branches & shifts growth into fewer/thicker trunks/branches (better for fuelwood).... livestock manure is also added to soil, some falls there naturally as livestock rests in shade.... poulty keeps manure caused bug population down). Bit by bit, they keep expanding the center garden, the woodlot portion expands as a ring around it.

    Maybe there is a local species you can do this with?