Any members here ever thought of using bamboo as a winter stockpile? I have a grass-fed beef operation in central NY and would like to reduce my hay bill and improve my eco-footprint.
I have a small planting started on my farm and a blog post about the possibility of using bamboo as a winter forage. It can be seen here - http://cairncrestfarm.com/winter-grazing-browsing/
I took the picture below during a recent trip to Argentina. The cattle apparently like it because they don't even let it get started on the grazed side of the fence. You can see that the canes on the near edge on the ungrazed side also get selectively browsed when the gate occasionally is left open. Their preference for the bamboo is surprising.
I'm not surprised the cattle like the new canes as they shoot up. They're soft, sweet, and high protein. Even humans can digest a reasonable amount of feed value out of the newly emerging canes. Of course, harvesting the canes at that age will eradicate or significantly weaken the grove over time.
I am surprised at the cows' affinity for the older leaves. As the analysis I took of the leaves of my bamboo shows, they're decent on the protein front. Depending on what else is available the leaves and twigs of bamboo might be the best mouthful around.