Iowa farmer feeds cows sawdust to cut feed costs

Ag/Outdoor, News

February 25th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) – A Southeast Iowa farmer has come up with a surprising solution to the high cost of cattle feed.   Bob Batey, of Mount Pleasant, says his 50 cows devour the sawdust mixture he feeds them. Batey, who is 85, stumbled upon the idea in the 1970s when he noticed cows eating sawdust that had washed into their pasture from a nearby paper mill.

Experiments on his farm led him to discover a way to treat and cook sawdust that results in a digestible feed cows find tasty. It has a nutritional value equivalent to grass hay.  Veterinarian Tara Wellman-Gerdes of West Point confirms Batey’s cows are healthy.

The drought created a shortage of corn and hay, causing prices to jump for livestock farmers.