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.
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.
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.
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
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! ) 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!
Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 ...
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.
RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"
"To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."
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.