Let them eat sawdust!

People have been trying to figure out ways to feed the world on sawdust for quite a while. For instance, back in 1817, German professor Johann Autenrieth figured out how to make various kinds of food out of sawdust (pancakes, bread, dumplings, etc.). He fed this sawdust food to his family, and they didn't die, so he thought he was onto something. [Read more about Autenrieth in Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours Magazine]

Autenrieth's idea didn't catch on. But now Bob Batey, an Iowa farmer, has come up with a new angle on the problem. He's feeding the sawdust to his cows, and he swears they're thriving on the stuff. If his idea catches on, sawdust may yet (indirectly) feed the world!

Southeast Iowa cattle herd thriving on sawdust-based feed
The Gazette

He first tumbled to the idea of feeding them sawdust after observing cows eating sawdust that had washed into their pasture from an Illinois paper mill. Batey said he deduced that something happened in the mill to turn an otherwise indigestible substance into palatable food. In the late 1970s, when hay and pasture were scarce, Batey said he began experiments to duplicate that process.
"I soaked the sawdust in nitric acid to break down the bond between the cellulose and lignin and cooked the mash in a big stainless steel vessel," he said.
     Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 01, 2013
     Category: Food

As long as he's not feeding to Angus. The industry has already ruined milk and dairy products.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/01/13 at 01:34 PM
Maybe we could feed them horse meat ?

@Patty - talking about what animals eat you need to store your recreational drugs better (like the 'shrooms') so Toby doesn't get into them again.
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 03/01/13 at 02:52 PM
During the hippie days, my mother, bless her heart, thought to try a commercial brand bread that had "extra fiber" incorporated into it.

After a year of listening to us kids complaining that it tasted like "bark and twigs" she found out that it actually had "bark and twigs" in the form of processed wood cellulose. She stopped buying it much to our relief. Hey, even the dog wouldn't eat it.
Posted by KDP on 03/01/13 at 04:39 PM
@KDP - I suppose that the saying,"I just shat a log" has more meaning to you than me?
Posted by BMN on 03/01/13 at 05:05 PM
The 'shrooms comment was a joke, we don't use any illegal drugs, never did.
Sawdust wood (ha ha) serve as filler to make the animals full sooner. As long as there is enough nutrition added the animals will do fine. Omnivores should never be fed meat, they are not meant to eat it. I really think putting meat in cow feed may have caused the mad cow thing.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/01/13 at 07:09 PM
No meat for omnivores???
Posted by Anne on 03/01/13 at 09:46 PM
Oops, I meant to say herbivores should not be fed meat. Sorry.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/01/13 at 09:50 PM
Really, Patty, just how many omnis are left that could even be used to feed cattle. They're all pretty well died out.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/01/13 at 10:56 PM
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