In the 1970s, Forest Products Laboratory researchers looked to the farm for answers on how to use wood waste. They found combinations of wood-processing wastes could be valuable animal feed.
Short fibers in pulp mill waste provided digestible carbohydrates, and aspen sawdust, when properly supplemented, was found to be equivalent to medium-quality hay.
In cooperation with the University of Wisconsin, one experiment involved feeding 30 sheep for a 90-day period on a diet of 77% mill waste from a tissue mill, 9% soybean meal, 9% cracked shelled corn, 2% urea (nitrogen source), 1% calcium phosphate, and 1% minerals salt and vitamins. The sheep took to the diet and thrived on it.
This and other unexpected research facts can be found in the late John Koning’s book, Forest Products Laboratory 1910-2010: Celebrating a Century of Accomplishments, published by UW Press in 2010.