'Trees feed livestock feed soil': Seminar to demonstrate benefits

Jul 02, 2018
Courtesy of: Shana Hanson Glendon Mehuren's Holsteins eat basswood leaves at Faithful Venture Farm in Searsmont.

Belfast — Last year a Norwegian biologist sent Shana Hanson, farmer at 3 Streams Farm in Belfast, a bound copy of a study which determined that shredded leafy branches can be dried or ensiled to feed sheep.

Last winter, Hanson spoke at a pollarding conference in France, where they demonstrated mechanical harvest of biomass from traditionally pollarded trees. This growing season, Hanson and helper Josh Kauppila have been filling buckets of fresh chipped brush as silage samples for each tree species (part of their SARE Farmer Grant project).

Last winter, the Holstein cows at Faithful Venture Farm in Searsmont ate ensiled elm leaves, as did the 3 Streams goats and hogs.

This month, Hanson will host what has become an annual event at her farm. Experts at Tree Fodder Seminar 2018 will be discussing the feasibility of shifting some of the biomass market and/or roadside branch removal toward livestock farms, or creating farm landscapes tailored to tree branch harvest on a broad scale — as well as other aspects of feeding livestock tree fodder.

The seminar, Trees Feed Livestock Feed Soil; Farmer Ecology & Skills for a Changing Planet,” will run July 8-14.

As a free prelude, on Thursday, July 5, at 6:30 p.m. in Belfast Free Library's Abbott Room, Hanson will lead a discussion of the feasibility of shifting some of the biomass market and/or roadside branch removal toward livestock farms, or creating farm landscapes tailored to tree branch harvest on a broad scale.

Equipment options, nutrition, health, and environmental benefits will be considered. Historic and recent photos from Europe and Maine, plus large paper for sketching, will help participants to visualize this climate-calming approach to food production.

Visit 3streamsfarmbelfastme.blogspot.com for a schedule of other Tree Fodder Seminar events, or call 338-3301 for more information.

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