Three Streams Farm in Belfast has been awarded a $30,000 Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Farmer Grant, FNE22-013, to create and use a new machine to separate tree leaves from brush, and feed tree silage thus produced to cattle, sheep, and goats on four farms. The farmer/researchers will measure labor time and yield of harvests along field edges, how much of this tree-leaf silage each animal group eats free-choice, how much less hay they eat, and changes in milk production.

Harvests will take place at Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s Common Ground in Unity, at Y Knot Farm in Belmont, and at New Beat Farm in Knox. The public is welcome to stop by any time during the MOFGA harvest; there will also likely be a scheduled demonstration at MOFGA’s Hay Day (probably July 28), including aromatic samples of hand-stripped leaf silages harvested in summer 2021. In June 2023, the project team will demonstrate the perfected machine and present preliminary research results at Y Knot Farm; search 3streamsfarmbelfastme or call Shana (3 Streams Farmer) at 338-3301 for updates.

Karl Hallen of Hallen Farm and State University NY (SUNY) Willow Biomass Project is building the machine; Brett Chedzoy of Angus Glen (producing grass-fed beef cattle) and Cornell University Cooperative Extension is Technical Advisor; Juan Alvez, research associate, University of Vermont Sustainable Agriculture is livestock research advisor. This will be project leader Shana Hanson’s second SARE Farmer Grant related to tree fodders for livestock; the previous FNE18-897 Final Report contains livestock ratings of various forms and species of tree-leaf fodder, yield from pollarding a tall woodland, and descriptions of tree treatments and responses.