Anyone have experience or know of chestnuts in silvopasture systems? Im specifically wondering about if the burrs are a problem with cattle. Someone told me they thought the burrs would be hurt or irritate the cattle stepping on them. Does that sound right?
Im planning a small system with high-value nuts as part of the trees. Id like to add in hybrid chestnuts as they are such an amazing food source; for people, wildlife, or livestock.
Hmmmm? If the cattle were grazing under a chestnut plantation, it's possible that sooner or later some may come up lame because the burrs get into the soft tissue between the claws of the hooves. But I don't think it'll be a common problem, especially if the cattle can graze areas beyond where the burrs fall.
If I had a silvopasture area that was full of chestnuts, I'd have my cattle graze it off just before nut fall - then use pigs, poultry or possibly another small animal to glean the nuts. The cattle probably wouldn't return to graze in that area until the following late-spring or summer when the burrs are going to be much softer and less likely to cause problems.
Brett- Thanks. I was thinking this too. Cattle would be removed for the weeks of harvest and then following, which is winter anyways. Come back in the spring and the burrs are broken down somewhat. Maybe a quick run with a mower to shred them in late winter.