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Twiliath
Oct. 20, 2009, 02:21 PM
There have been a zillion posts on pellets vs. straw, etc. What I'm trying to find is something that is neither yet still available in SE PA. I heard about something different than wood pellets but was still pelleted. I can't remember what it was called.

I've looked into a hemp product called Hemcore but that's in the UK. I've seen something about coconut husks, but that's not around here either. There's also a processed straw pellet but also not available here. I have this nagging feeling that there's still something else out there that I read about but can't find online now. I think it came out of the mid-west somewhere.

I hate straw and I love the wood pellets. However, in an attempt to go green, I'd like to find a non-wood product.

If you've got ideas, please let me know.

Thanks.

ChocoMare
Oct. 20, 2009, 02:56 PM
Peat Moss.... used mostly with the deep-litter system. I think if you do a search back in the Horse Care forum, you might find some goodies from the past. ;) Hope that helps! :)

Ozone
Oct. 20, 2009, 04:30 PM
Sawdust? Is that what you are thinking about?

Ozone
Oct. 20, 2009, 04:30 PM
Naa, I don't think sawdust is what you were thinking after re-reading your post! I hate straw too!

Twiliath
Oct. 20, 2009, 08:40 PM
I currently use pelleted sawdust and I love it. But at the rate that we're cutting down forests, I thought I'd try to find something more environmentally sound. If my only other choices are straw and peat moss, I'll have to do some thinking.

It's just that I thought there was something else out there like the shredded coconut husk pellets and straw pellets.

Thanks.

Eventaholic
Oct. 20, 2009, 10:07 PM
I steal.... I meaan...borrow? shavings from a local sawmill. It's free for the most part (they technically charge $10 a pickup load, but rarely are there to charge or if they are, accept money), and isn't directly creating a demand for more trees to be chopped like baled shavings or pellets would.

It isn't really an alternative material, but a somewhat alternative method of getting them.

TrueColours
Oct. 20, 2009, 10:10 PM
I live eat and breathe "alternative beddings"! :D

I have the EcoStraw pelleted straw bedding that I sell and with some fabulous transportation costs that I have just been able to get in the last 6-8 weeks, I am finally able to offer really good landed costs on the products into neighbouring States and provinces, so what wasnt possible a few months ago is now very possible

The EcoStraw breaks down in 3-4 weeks and its made from a waste product, so it environmentally very very friendly :) and its absorption rate is terrific as well

You will not be able to get any hemp based products into the States. Your customs people have banned its importation. We do have it manufactured up here but apparently 99% of the supply is going for compostible toilets so there is very little remaining for any other use

There is a product called NafCore out of NC that is very interesting, but the original NafCore company went under, and a new entity has taken over. A friend in NY State used it before, loved it and when the new company opened its doors, ordered in a truckload to get her through til spring. Problem is while the price remained the same, the new company is making smaller volume bags, so her costs have skyrocketed and there isnt anything she can do about it so it no longer appears to be a cost effective product to use

This company - Barnyard products - makes shredded cardboard in zippered bags

Barnyard Products

Coatesville, PA
(610) 466-7224

Might be worth looking into and hopefully its close by as well

There is a company in NC that also manufactures pelleted cardboard in the standard colour as well as in bright green and purple (if you'd like to make a fashion statement in your stalls! :lol: ) Google green cardboard livestock pellets in NC and you should be able to find them

I am also in the midst of looking at importing Coir pellets by the 40' container load. Coir is the shredded chopped compressed husk and fibre of the coconut plant and the most absorbent material known to man (so the story goes ...)

They use it for horticulural use in arid areas as it wicks and holds moisture so well, in toxilogical spills as it wont allow any contaminated product to leech into surrounding areas and I am now looking at bringing it into North America for livestock bedding. I have used the shredded Coir before and loved it, and really like how the sample pellets perform as well. They break down to a consistency and weight of coffee grinds and are lighter in colour as well and the decomposition rate is exemplary as well. Plus its a product of waste material so from an environmental perspective once again, very very sound

There is BestCob from Iowa (ground corn cobs) but I wasnt happy with how that product performed in my test stalls and even when I mixed it with the EcoStraw or sawdust or shavings, it broke down to a very very fine silt (almost like cement or brick dust) and if I didnt spray the stall down each day, as soon as the horses even did one turn in the stall, that stuff was flying everywhere and just hanging in the air

I have also just had some test stalls set up with the switchgrass (miscanthus) pellets and I quite liked the product in many many ways, but I also found the horses did too and even though the palatibility was supposed to be "nil" I found they were quite happy to graze away on them. Now - as well as using them in pellet burning applications, they are also looking to market them to the cattle and hog industry as a fibre source to be mixed in with their rations. As much as I really wanted them to work as bedding I really found that too many horses liked eating them too much even if we misted them first to start breaking down the pellets before they came into the stalls ...

Hope that gives you some different ideas of what you can try! :)

Good luck ...

Twiliath
Oct. 20, 2009, 10:10 PM
Yes, there is that option. I've also considered shredded paper. That, I think, is at least available here.

Twiliath
Oct. 20, 2009, 10:18 PM
TrueColors,

THANKS! Those are great ideas. Coatesville is about 40+ minutes away.

What would be the cost of the straw pellets to me? I live about 20 minutes north of Valley Forge or 45 minutes northwest of Philadelphia. Should I become a dealer?

Twiliath
Oct. 20, 2009, 10:19 PM
I tried corn cob bits/pellets/whatever for pet rats, and one of the rats got some under his skin. I would not go for the corn cob thing. Plus I have an aversion to anything corn and the corn industry.

Calvincrowe
Oct. 20, 2009, 10:52 PM
Why is wood or straw not a "green" product to you? I'm not sure that an alternative would be a "greener" choice. Corn is a highly fertilized product that demands a great deal of diesel to bring to harvest, too. Paper production uses an immense amount of raw timber, as well as recycled paper. At least out here in the PNW, our wood pellets are a by-product of the lumber industry--made from the sawdust, in addition to some raw product. I don't think there is a bedding product that is totally "green". I think you go with the product that is the least processed, what is transported the least distance and is made from an easily renewable product with the smallest carbon footprint, and then you spread your manure or give/sell it as compost to renew the earth. Sending ones manure to a landfill is the worst thing you can do...out here, that is what happens if you have it picked up in a waste container system.

Mali
Oct. 20, 2009, 10:57 PM
Streufex

Twiliath
Oct. 20, 2009, 11:02 PM
Having been born and raised in Seattle, I'm quite familiar with the timber industry. It is renewable, but at a cost. I'd like to reduce my consumption of that product, if possible.

Paper, even recycled, is still paper, coming from the wood/timber industry. Since it's already been processed from wood, recycled is better than new. Sawdust is also a usable by product. I'm going to have to do some research to see how much the impact is.

I have no interest in corn. I said that.

Yes, there is shipping, the cost of shipping, both in terms of money and in carbon foot print.

That's what I'm getting at - the carbon footprint. Trees, which recycle CO2, are cut down to make paper, etc.

Having read both "Omnivore's Dilemma," which covers the industrial food production in this country, and now "No Impact Man," which discusses the whole carbon footprint idea, I'm looking into what the alternatives are.

Straw probably would, in a lot of ways, be the best choice as far as carbon footprints go. I don't know yet. But I hate straw. It doesn't absorb and it takes up a lot of room, both before and after you use it.

I compost all my own manure and spread it on my tiny 3.5 acres.

We have a lot of white pine here. But I don't know what's used in the pellets I buy nor where it comes from. That's going to be part of the process - finding all that out.

Maybe I won't change anything. Maybe I'll find something else. I'm doing research.

Twiliath
Oct. 20, 2009, 11:04 PM
Mali,

I saw Steuflex on the web. But, as near as I can tell, I can't get it here. Do you know of someone in SE PA who sells it?

ontarget
Oct. 21, 2009, 02:35 AM
My chiro (South Central PA) uses Streuxfex and raves wildly about it all the time. Says it's less expensive than regular bedding in the long run and very eco and horse friendly. I will have to ask where she gets it from.

TrueColours
Oct. 21, 2009, 08:07 AM
If you check out this thread from about a month ago, and look at my post down towards the bottom of Page 2, you will understand it is no longer a case of whether you like or dont like wood shavings, wood pellets or sawdust any more, but whether you will even be able to FIND any - period - as we go forward:

http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/showthread.php?t=223810

One thing to also remember about SF (Fex Manufacturing) is that it is owned by Magna Entertainment Corp who filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. Fex is on the chopping block as is Santa Anita racetrack, and other MEC held entities in North America and overseas. So - depending on whether Fex is sold in whole or in pieces, may also dictate whether they continue producing the straw pellets or not so for anyone that is using Struefex now, keep that in mind for the future ...

Twiliath - raw straw itself is low down on the absorption scale, but the straw pellets are terrific. They really wick and hold the moisture well. The other huge factor for someone like you who has small acreage and looks to spread the waste bedding on your own land, is the decomposition rate. Peat Moss and straw pellets lead the way in this area - 2-4 weeks to full breakdown plus you dont have the nitrogen leeching issues associated with any of the wood based products. I think the Coir would fall into this category as well but its too darned new to really know for certain and I also think the switchgrass pellets would also fit into this category as well ... I also dont know where the NafCore (kenaaf based) bedding fits in, but I'd think in the 2-3-4 month range which is still very acceptable and again - there are no nitrogen leeching issues to contend with. The paper and cardboard pellets also fit into the 2-4 month range, the shredded cardboard as well. The best scenario for the wood based products is about 6-8 months for sawdust and wood pellets, as long as the correct heat and moisture is applied to the compost heap and it is turned regularily

As was mentioned in the thread above, just because you DONT have a bedding shortage in your area today, doesnt mean you wont be affected tomorrow or next month. You have GOT to make provisions now for something other than wood based bedding if you hope to have a readily available supply once the crunch hits your area ...

Good luck!

Twiliath
Oct. 21, 2009, 09:47 AM
TrueColours,

You are a gem!

I wouldn't mind the straw pellets.

kenaaf is the one I was looking for and couldn't remember what it was called.

I will look at the thread you mentioned.

Shipping is also an issue, especially if I want to keep it local.

Too bad there isn't someone who wants to make a Streufex-type product locally.

Thanks again.

Twiliath
Oct. 21, 2009, 10:02 AM
TrueColours,

What's the source for switch grass pellets?

I'd be tempted by the purple bedding!!! Purple is my color!!! :lol:

Eventer55
Oct. 21, 2009, 10:23 AM
More trees are growing in America's forests today than at any time since the early 1900's.
In 1900, forest growth rates were a fraction of harvest. Today, overall annual forest growth exceeds harvest by 37%.
Net annual forest growth has increased 62% since 1952, and total growth per acre has increased 71%.
Nationally, standing timber volume per acre in U.S. forests is 30% greater today than in 1952.
On a per acre basis, net annual tree growth in the U.S. is 52 cubic feet compared with 27 in Canada and 24 in Russia.
Annual growth in National Forests now exceeds harvest by more than 55%.
47% of the nation's standing softwood sawtimber inventory is located in federally-owned National Forests.
70% of America's National Forest land base is in land-use categories where timber production is forbidden. 30% remains open to varying levels of harvest activity.
Net loss of U.S. forests from roads, buildings, and urban expansion is expected to be 28 million acres over the next 50 years, by the year 2040.
South


Seventy percent of U.S. timberland acres are located in the eastern half of the country.
Forestry is a major resource in the 13 Southern states with two to three of every five acres devoted to forest production.
The U.S. South, composed of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia has 211,838,000 forested acres, 40 percent of total land area.
Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia average approximately 65 percent of total land area in forest.
There are some 5 million owners of Southern timberland.
In the U.S. South, private landowners own over 90% of forestland.
Farmers own 19.5 percent of the South's timberland; other private, non-industrial landowners own 42.5 percent; forest products industries own 20 percent; corporate non-forest industry owns 8 percent; and the public owns 10 percent.

The above was taken from a U of Georgia web site on renewable forestry.

So, why is not using wood "going green." The Geoergia pine forests are a totally renewable wood product, in fact the "new growth" pine that is planted every year suppl;ies homes for numerous birds and ani,als that live only in New Growth forests. If the pine forests are not used they will inevitably be turned into developements.

Can someone explain to me how not using wood products is not green.
Net annual forest growth has increased 62% since 1952, and total growth per acre has increased 71%.


Bedding for horses is almost always a by product of the timber industry which means we are using the total product. Like using all of the animal slaughtered instead of the choice parts. By invcreasing the amount of forest used (especially in the pine barrens) we are preserving forests.

Twiliath
Oct. 21, 2009, 10:46 AM
Since I returned my copy of "No Impact Man" to the library, I can't quote. But worldwide, the deforestation is phenomenal. It's not just here and it's not just in Georgia. "No Impact Man" still has a blog and the movie is coming out.

Plastic is another huge issue. Have you seen the trash dump in the Pacific? Stop using plastic, of any kind.

We're killing our planet and we need to change our habits now. Reduce all oil consumption. That means stop using plastics, stop using corn products, and stop buying things that are coming from more than about 250-300 miles away.

We're not paying the true costs of what we buy. Research the carbon footprint idea.

Wood products - in some places, such as Georgia, it's growing. In other places around the world, the forests are disappearing.

North Americans (U.S. and Canada) are about 5% of the world's population but use up 95% of the world's resources.

My next book is "$20 per Gallon." Get used to it. The price of gasoline will continue to rise and the costs of things will also rise. What we're now used to - plenty of everything forever and ever - will come to an end. Maybe not in our precise lifetime, but it will end. And sooner than you think.

All those aphorisms of days gone by - A penny saved is a penny earned. Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Work now and play later. The story of the grasshopper and the ant.

Read the books I mentioned. Then let's talk.

TrueColours
Oct. 21, 2009, 11:11 AM
This was the messsage I received from my client in NY on the NafCore:


I have not bought from the new company and will have to check and make sure the product is the same. NGF went through some experimenting with particle sizing, so I want to see what these guys are doing (although I'm guessing it will be mixed sizes in the bags). The pricing was what caused my dislike of the distributor. He was trying to gouge me, but I knew better as I had been quoted earlier this year (before he even worked for them). The bag price was $7. and the shipping was right around $1,400.....which makes sense based on past quotes and gas prices. Years ago I tried a hemp product that was produced in Canada. It was very similar to Nafcore, but I don't think quite as absorbant. Have you seen that? It might be much more reasonable in price for you. Once my stalls are up and running, I used to only go through 2 bags of new bedding per week. It actually works out less (money wise) than what I'm going through in shavings and is WAY easier to clean.

She had purchased the product before and I believe it was either 3.75 or 4 cuft bags. When this load arrived, it was 3 cuft bags, so a huge difference volume wise and for the same price. So - at approximately $8.00+ landed cost per 3 cuft bag and needing 3+ bags per week (based on the smaller volume per bag) per each stall, she is worse off - cost wise - than if she had stuck with shavings


What's the source for switch grass pellets?


Do a google search in your area for switchgrass or miscanthus growers and try these links as well:

http://www.betterfarming.com/2006/bf-dec06/cover.htm.

http://www.pellet.org/Site/Forms/ViewPage.aspx?PageID=216

The thing with switchgrass pellets is that for the initial harvest, I believe it takes 2-3 years and then its annually after that, so depending on when growers in your area initially planted, they may or may not be ready for harvest yet. As well, they are finding that its best to cut in the fall and leave it laying on the ground all winter, gather it up in the spring, dry, chop and pelletize it then so again - a bit of a learning curve for the growers and harvesters to go through initially

And here you go - the FlexTran site for the cardboard pellets:

http://www.flextraninc.com/drytime.html

and my absolute favorite - the green and purple ones they also sell! :D

http://www.flextraninc.com/showbed_soft.html

Eventer55 - the biggest misconception we North Americans have is because we see trees all around us, we *assume* we will all have access to them and the byproducts they render. Uh uh ... Read the links I posted. Something horrific like 95% or MORE of all of our wood pellets (made from scrap wood, sawdust, shavings, wood dust, etc) is being shipped overseas. THERE IS GOING TO BE NOTHING LEFT FOR US HERE!

That is why I keep posting these links so all of you can start thinking to the future and getting yourselves set up with something OTHER than wood products to bed your horses on. Simply because it may not be there tomorrow when you go to get your supply of it ...


Plastic is another huge issue. Have you seen the trash dump in the Pacific? Stop using plastic, of any kind.


I just read that last week. I had NO idea. None at all. That is horrific beyond words ... :(


But worldwide, the deforestation is phenomenal. It's not just here and it's not just in Georgia.

The truly sad part is that the deforestation will continue, on a global basis and since North America have so many acres upon acres of trees to harvest, we are going to feel the effects in a very big way.

BUT - get this point very very clearly. Simply because WE as North Americans have the trees and the forests, doesnt mean that WE will get the shavings or the sawdust or the wood pellets or any wood by products. The Kyoto Accord (all which I alluded to in my post on that other thread) is being accepted in a huge way by every country EXCEPT Canada and the USA - EVERY OTHER COUNTRY is subsidizing their manufacturing facilities and the family homes to move towards pellet burning technology to heat their homes and businesses with. That means THOSE governments are paying to buy pellets from NA pellet manufacturing facilities and shipping them overseas. By the thousands upon thousands of container loads annually. As fast as they can be produced. To amass Carbon Credits. Something that has totally escaped us North Americans. Which means in the end, you will not have any wood products to bed your horses on no matter how many trees you see when you look out your window ...

So - start looking at alternative beddings now before it is too late ...

PRS
Oct. 21, 2009, 12:38 PM
So, why is not using wood "going green." The Geoergia pine forests are a totally renewable wood product, in fact the "new growth" pine that is planted every year suppl;ies homes for numerous birds and ani,als that live only in New Growth forests. If the pine forests are not used they will inevitably be turned into developements.

Bedding for horses is almost always a by product of the timber industry which means we are using the total product. Like using all of the animal slaughtered instead of the choice parts. By invcreasing the amount of forest used (especially in the pine barrens) we are preserving forests.

I work in the forestry industry in Georgia and pine shavings are a by product of the lumber industry. If we couldn't sell them for horse bedding, paper, diapers, cardboard packaging or stove pellets we would have to burn them. Using pine wood shavings is as green as it gets...your horse poops and pees on them, you clean his stall, compost the whole mess and then use it to fetilize your vegetables. The information posted by Eventer55 is absolutely true. The southern states have more forested acres than ever before. Using wood shavings is totally renewable...we can grow more and while the trees are growing animals use the forest for habitats the trees help our air quality and provide recreational areas for humans. What is more green than that?

DressageFancy
Oct. 21, 2009, 12:48 PM
Didn't read all the posts so someone may have already mentioned. Whatever you use COMPOST it. Stack it in a deep row turn the oldest part of the row and keep moving along the row. Use a tarp or standing roof to shelter from rain. Then reuse the oldest compost for new bedding. (Heat from composting kills fly eggs and worn eggs.)

pj
Oct. 21, 2009, 01:24 PM
I steal.... I meaan...borrow? shavings from a local sawmill. It's free for the most part (they technically charge $10 a pickup load, but rarely are there to charge or if they are, accept money), and isn't directly creating a demand for more trees to be chopped like baled shavings or pellets would.

It isn't really an alternative material, but a somewhat alternative method of getting them.

Are trees cut purposely to make sawdust or pellets?
I really thought that they were a byproduct of lumber mills, cabinet shops, etc.
I know one timber company that used to be here wouldn't let you have a flake of shavings.
They shipped them out by the train car loads so figured they had a contract with someone who was selling them as shavings.

TrueColours
Oct. 21, 2009, 02:03 PM
Are trees cut purposely to make sawdust or pellets?
I really thought that they were a byproduct of lumber mills, cabinet shops, etc.


Yes and No. Depends on the company, the location and the industry

Because wood production and the resultant by product availability is oftentimes seasonal or economy dependant, some companies have sprung up that specifically produce shavings for the livestock bedding industry so there is no "down time" in their production schedules

Dont know for certain but I'd say at least 50% and probably closer to 75%, produce shavings and sawdust as a byproduct of another main industry ...

Minerva Louise
Oct. 21, 2009, 03:26 PM
Can someone explain to me how heating with a pellet stove reduces a carbon footprint for these countries? Because to burn the pellets would release carbon. (hey not to mention the shipping of the pellets..) So, are they just trading pollution that they can keep track of for a bunch of "non-point-source" carbon pollution that they do not keep track of?

Bif
Feb. 15, 2010, 12:14 AM
Know this is an old thread, but there has been mention of PROPERLY composted compost being used as bedding... O2compost had something about it. But static piles won't do it, you would want an O2 system or a turning system for good uniformity and proper temperatures for destruction of the different pathogens, and of course the time of curing... but that would be as home based and conservative carbon wise as you could get!!

AdAblurr02
Feb. 15, 2010, 02:32 AM
Well, this year we began using wood pellet bedding that is made from DEAD STANDING TIMBER - you know, the insect killed type by the millions of acres? right. This stuff is the best - we have used pellet bedding for years, and before we got this, all we could get was the kind made from sawmill waste - ie, from green (or darn near green) sawDUST. Believe me, there's a world of difference. I can finally keep a reasonably dry bed under my Swamp Queen broodmare!

Bought a semi-load to start with - sold a lot of it to other horse people and now are supplying one big boarding barn, and ordered in another load. Everybody who tries the stuff loves it. Price is right. I think it's a win-win situation for us.

dmalbone
Feb. 15, 2010, 02:47 AM
Well, this year we began using wood pellet bedding that is made from DEAD STANDING TIMBER - you know, the insect killed type by the millions of acres? right. This stuff is the best - we have used pellet bedding for years, and before we got this, all we could get was the kind made from sawmill waste - ie, from green (or darn near green) sawDUST. Believe me, there's a world of difference. I can finally keep a reasonably dry bed under my Swamp Queen broodmare!

Bought a semi-load to start with - sold a lot of it to other horse people and now are supplying one big boarding barn, and ordered in another load. Everybody who tries the stuff loves it. Price is right. I think it's a win-win situation for us.

What kind is it?

moukoyui
Feb. 15, 2010, 04:06 AM
How would you bring this up to a large(ish) boarding barn that doesn't compost?
I know that if it were my choice I would go with pelleted straw, and would love to help BO save some $ and some trees, plus I know that for several of our bed trashers this could save a lot of time. So how would you start this discussion... I am thinking of a flyer on the board...

And for my own information - say you didn't have a fancy system like O2... how to you manage your compost? How do you turn it? With a muck fork?

Our Grandparents compost was really just a large pile shielded by trees, but that was FL so there was alot of rain and heat so things turned to soil, pretty quickly.

Cherry
Feb. 15, 2010, 07:42 AM
Ideally one would have three compartments available in which to compost--the first bin would be for fresh manure and other green and brown materials. When you wanted to turn it you'd fork or shovel it over into the second bin. The third bin is for finished compost.

Here is a slide show on manure management that some may find interesting: http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/manure/equine/manure/index.htm
(http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/manure/equine/manure/index.htm)

TrueColours
Feb. 15, 2010, 08:31 AM
There is a company up here in Orangeville, Ontario called Jemev that is into the composting of organic waste and they have purchased a whack of 40' ocean containers that they have outfitted with moisture systems and augers and thermostats for temperature control. So depending on the mix of what is going into them to be composted (slurry from pig and cattle farms as opposed to bedding waste from horse farms which has a drier composition) they can then adjust the moisture going onto the mix, the temperature, etc and the auger keeps it turning to aid in the fastest decomposition rate

Thats where something like the O2 composting system can really help the smaller farm owners - you dont just leave a pile of manure sitting there, you are actively "working" it and working WITH it to decompose it as quickly as possible

Temperature, moisture and aeration are key to manage it as effectively as possible ... :)

amastrike
Feb. 15, 2010, 10:40 AM
Shredded paper!