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welshboy

Gorse/Furze Fuel and feed

Just been reading about the capability of gorse as a fuel or feed for cattle/horses.
Apparently it has half the protein of oats and can be harvested at a two year rotation yielding " 2000  20lb faggots from an acre" so about 9 tons per acre per year. Cattle and horses love it once processed for them.
Furze can  be used as fodder for animals. It was said that an acre of furze could provide enough winter feed for six horses.
As a fuel it has a high concentration of oil in its leaves and branches, and so catches fire easily and burns well, giving off a heat almost equal to that of charcoal.
The question is how do you harvest it using modern machines ?
It grows well with us -difficulty keeping it down
http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/FRA_GAE/FURZE_GORSE.html

'In France,' to quote Syme and Sowerby, British Botany, 1864, 'it is used for burning, being cut down every few years, in places where it grows naturally. In Surrey and other counties, it is used largely as fuel, especially by bakers in their ovens and is cultivated for that purpose and cut down every three years. When burned, it yields a quantity of ashes rich in alkali, which are sometimes used for washing, either in the form of a solution or lye, or mixed with clay and made into balls, as a substitute for soap. The ashes form an excellent manure and it is not uncommon where the ground is covered with Furze bushes to burn them down to improve the land and to secure a crop of young shoots, which are readily eaten by cattle. In some parts of England, it is usual to put the Furze bushes into a mill to crush the thorns and then to feed horses and cows with the branches. When finely cut or crushed, sheep will readily eat it.'
welshboy

Just what somebody does
" I tie the branches of gorse in bundles and hang them up for horses. This is an excellent addition to their winter feed and our Welsh Cobs would always leave their hay until they had finished the gorse. It also takes some time for them to eat as they are careful due to the spines; this again is a real advantage in winter and provides them with something to do. They will peel and eat every strip of bark that they can reach

The bundle of peeled sticks (a faggot) which is what you are left with when the horses have finished with it is great firewood."
Hawkeye

farmers years ago used to have a machine to chop gorse up, i think Bodger has got one if it still works
lizzie44

What a fab idea! And so eco friendly. Let us know if you try it and how you get on. Loads of it round here on the heath. Love Lizzie

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