|This year's field corn - "Truckers Favorite". We planted about a quarter|
acres-worth. Electric netting keeps goats & chickens out of the corn.
I'm always looking for things to grow to feed to our goats. Every year we grow field corn for the grain, and then turn the goats into the field after the harvest. But I've also learned that the leaves and stalks can be fed another way, as stover.
Stover is the remains of a plant (stalk and leaves) after the grain has been removed. As livestock feed, term usually applies to corn and sorghum. F. B. Morrison's Feeds & Feeding (an excellent book, by the way) states the leaves, especially, are quite nutritious. I know for a fact that the goats love to eat them.
We got a late start on our field corn, so it isn't ready to harvest yet. What I have been doing, however, has been thinning out the smaller and spindlier plants. The ones that don't look like they are going to make ears.
|My corn stover, which is corn plant thinnings.|
Morrison also mentions that when the corn doesn't produce grain, the leaves and stalks will be higher in protein and total digestible nutrients than usual. So those thinnings should be really good for the goats. I can either dry them and add them to the hay, or run them through our goat chow maker.
And how is the corn grain doing? Even though it isn't sweet corn, the ears are still young enough so that I could pick four ears to boil for dinner the other evening .
|4 ears of our corn. It isn't sweet corn, but it is delicious nonetheless.|
I was so happy to see the ears filled out so well. That indicates good pollination. The taste is wonderful. Not super-sweet like sweet corn, but a delicious corn flavor. This variety makes tasty corn meal too, plus the kernels are small enough that the chickens can eat them without having to crack them first.
Now we wait until it dries on the stalk, then we harvest. Hopefully it will be ready before first frost.