Honey locust pods as part of a complete (livestock) breakfast

“And all trees bear an awful big crop which the stock like so well that they will break down the fence to get them.” -J Russell Smith, Tree Crops (1929) If you’re a grazier in all but the most frozen regions of the country, or perhaps the most sweltering parts of Florida, the honey locust tree can provide you with valuable stockpiled feed during the fall and winter months. If you haven’t already, read an introduction to the use of honey locust as stockpile, and a calculation of just how much extra feed we’re talking about. (Spoiler: It could double the feed produced on your land). Now, let's look at honey locust pods used as feed from a nutritional standpoint. Let’s be absolutely clear from the outset that I am no nutritionist, for livestock, humans or otherwise. So, I’ll be leaning on the insights of others. Let’s start with the basics Honey locust pods tend to drop from November through January, and most pods tend to be on the ground by January 1. Some late varieties are still holding on to a quarter of their pods as I write this partway through January. This time frame means pods will be supplementing your stockpiled feed over the winter months. Livestock will gather pods from the ground, where they can last for months once they’ve fallen. Weather does have an impact on pod quality. Warm, wet weather will cause faster deterioration of feed quality than will consistently freezing and dry conditions. The best place of all to store pods is on

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3 thoughts on “Honey locust pods as part of a complete (livestock) breakfast

  1. Livestock are wonderful dispersal agents of honey locust. Feeding whole locust seed guarantees that you are going to have honey locust everywhere.

    1. Well, that can depend. Often we don’t notice or even know when our livestock are grazing off young seedlings. A good example is my grandpa’s dairy cow pasture. It had a few trees on the fence lines, but for the 30-odd years I knew him and cows grazed there, there was nothing in the pasture itself. But after he left the farm and no one grazed that pasture it came up in trees everywhere. Meanwhile, other grazed pastures – no trees. So, yes, they can spread the trees, but grazing can prevent forests.

      1. If you are talking about the variety of Honey Locust trees that produce thorns I would urge caution. Cattle love the pods as do deer. They do an excellent job of reseeding the thorn trees. I have seen many pastures destroyed by heavy infestations of Honey Locust trees. The trees become so thick, man nor beast can even walk through the area. We eliminated all the Honey Locust trees from our farm in sw Iowa ten years ago but still have to deal with over 500 new seedlings each year as deer transplant them from neighboring farms. The thorns destroy tires. Repair efforts can’t even find them. Try getting poked by one and you’ll likely end up at your local doctor getting help with the inflammation.

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