Menards is a home remodel retailer similar to Home Depot. They have a facility in Illinois which takes all the old wooden pallets used in their business and grinds them up and runs it by a large magnet which removes the nails and metal. They then give the finished wood chips away if you will haul them.
My uncle has a large straight truck which is used mostly to take mulch and potting soil into Chicago in places a semi tractor trailer can’t access. He brought me a load for $450, which covers his gas, but not much for his time. The photo above shows about 60% of the load, as I had him dump it in front of two hoop buildings.
I’m able to use my loader and put it about a foot deep in two hoop buildings. It makes a great base onto which I spread straw weekly, or as the pigs need it. When I haul the manure onto the fields I can still see some of the wood chips, but it appears they break down rapidly in the field because I have never seen any intact later.
In the bottom photo you may be able to see a sow eating at the large feeder. Since I’m using more pasture for my hogs I’m using some of my hoop buildings differently. In the warm months when they can be out, I have shelters in the pasture, but I let the hogs come into the hoop building for water and feed, fencing off the rest of the hoop building and using that part for machinery storage. In the cold, wet months I’ll give the hogs access to the rest of the building.
What a great access to mulch and bedding! I’m curious…is the pallet wood treated in any way? If so, is there any effect in putting that into your soil?
My husband works as a lineman and has access to old electrical poles. The problem with some of them, however, is that they are treated with creosote.
Are all farmers as resourceful as you? If you are at the “cutting edge,” Matt, you might consider becoming a county extension adviser. My brother-in-law, many years ago, became a resource person for the county extension org. He was a dairy farmer, and at that time, he learned new techniques (crop rotation, soil testing, etc.) and advised his farmer-neighbors. The farmers had a local person who understood and who was on the front lines, so to speak–who could explain the new-fangled ideas to them with a personal visit. My brother-in-law came to them, and they didn’t have to go to classes or lectures–or simply read it in a bulletin. It was very popular–in Marion, WI, about 30-40 years ago.
DL, no I wouldn’t want to use treated wood chips.
Chris, I’m on the edge, but I’m not sure it’s cutting. 🙂 Seriously, I think this blog is right in my sweet spot. I’m not much of an advice-giver.