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Tree fodder workshop set for July 8 at MOFGA Ed Center

Jul 01, 2019
Tulip the heifer eats early spring beech leaves.

Unity — A day-long workshop about the revival of sustaining livestock on tree leaves, organized by 3 Stream Farms of Belfast, will be offered Monday, July 8, at the MOFGA Education Center.

The workshop kicks off a week of events related to farming woodlands. The MOFGA day will include three morning farmer showcases:

- Karin Whitman of Ravenwood in Montville will present about her first two seasons of offering tree branches to pigs, goats and sheep. This year, one very knowledgeable retired dairy goat is showing the more reluctant sheep how good the woody plants are.

- Susan Littlefield’s dairy sheep once were taught by goats, yet their choices of tree favorites are completely different than the choices of animals on other farms, including evergreens even in summer. Littlefield does not climb to prune, cutting fodder branches from the ground, yet her Y Knot Farm has sustained bountiful tree branch harvests for many years.

- Sy Schotz of Wildwood Scythes keeps a small number of dairy cattle, sheep and goats, usually rotating pasture paddocks frequently, cutting gourmet quality hay by hand or with sickle bar, and hand-snapping leafy twigs to layer into the drying process.

Other highlights of the morning will be an update of Shana Hanson’s findings on responses of cattle, sheep, goats and hogs on six farms to fresh, dried and ensiled leaf fodders for Northeast SARE Farmer Grant 18-897, and a summary of how this very old practice of pruning woodland for livestock offers climate and tree health benefits appropriate for our times.

A friendly heifer named Tulip will be present outdoors to sample tree branch offerings.

In the afternoon, participants will make a leafy drying-storage stack by “singling” coppiced woodland in MOFGA’s Low Impact Forestry area, and will climb to prune willow and quickly snap it to pack a silage barrel or two with dense and medicinal nourishment for livestock. These projects provide opportunities for more knowledge-sharing.

To register, go to or call Hilary Barter at MOFGA, 207-505-0264.

A schedule and info for the full week of events is at or call Shana Hanson, 207-338-3301.


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