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Clearing Cattails with Pigs for Willow Biomass Coppice System  RSS feed

 
Posts: 6
Location: Grafton WI, USDA Zone 5b, AHS Zone 4, Very Flat, 35", Alkaline Dry Sand and (More) Neutral Wet Clay
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Hello everyone!
I have an idea that could perhaps come out of Joel Salatin's "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal" for several years out after I receive my Bachelor's Degree. On our property, we have a marsh surrounded by a c-shaped hillside that was formerly a shallow pond but became overtaken by the narrowleaf cattail. I was wondering if it would be a practical idea to scythe the seemingly infinite amount of brown carbonaceous matter out of that area for bedding, mulch, compost, biochar, etc., and then place pigs in that area to uproot the cattails. Here they could produce pork while ridding the area of most cattails, and thus creating more favorable conditions to perhaps grow willows for biomass fuel and various other uses. Or perhaps I could just scythe it and use the cattail foliage for fuel and goat forage.
 
Josey Schanen
Posts: 6
Location: Grafton WI, USDA Zone 5b, AHS Zone 4, Very Flat, 35", Alkaline Dry Sand and (More) Neutral Wet Clay
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I am actually going to answer my own question. Considering how much biomass is produced by cattail, I think I will leave the cattails intact and use them for biofuel and for goats.
 
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I'm surprised no-one commented, i think it's a great idea even though you didn't use it. I have a ton of cat-tails from a once higher lakefront and could use more pasture. Now I just need some good heritage pigs.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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I would integrate the two (cattails and willows). The cat tails are N-fixers so that would be handy. The kind I had were not invasive at all and I killed them accidentally I think, mowing as the pond dried up during the summer. Every year I think about digging some up and planting them back in the pond.  They provide year round food source as all parts of the plant are edible and some are quite tasty, provides cut and come again mulch, good habitat for wetland birds.

Other notes I have:

Uses:
Weaving material, basketry
Duck and water fowl habitat
Seed head is of downy material; can be used as tinder
Extracts pollutants from water.

Edible
Shoot edible, used like asparagus
Roots are peeled, cooked or grated raw
Seeds, roasted have nutty flavor
Forage
Animal forage, mainly roots, especially for pigs

 
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