Tell me what you know about the livestock feed called Chop
May 25, 2013 3:44 PM   Subscribe

I live in a central Pennsylvania village that's almost 200 years old called Linden Hall. It was in the cellar of a home in our village that one of my neighbors found a bunch of old feed bags from the mill that used to be powered by the creek that runs through here. One of those feed bags looked like this. It uses this term "Chop." So we began to wonder why, if Chop was a type of feed, why did it had a protein and fat content label? And why are there horses on the bag? Was this actually livestock feed, or something else?

So a friend who saw that image tells me that one of the old farmers he knows once told him that Chop was when whole grain plants (typically corn, stalk and all) were harvested and then chopped while still green. And then that would be blended with sorghum or suet to increase the caloric content. Again, this is confusing. With green plants and liquids added, how could it be sold by the dry bag?

Anyway, anything you can tell me about "Fresh Ground Chop" would be greatly appreciated.
posted by Toekneesan to Writing & Language (7 answers total)
Livestock feed actually is labeled with nutrition information. I think that labeling livestock feed with nutrition information might have predated labeling human food with nutrition information because farmers were buying by the pound and had to know exactly what they were putting into their animals to get X result.

Mixing grain, roughage, and a caloric enhancer is still the way that feed is made today. This is typically called 'sweet feed' in my experience and is used to complement the grazing that animals do. I'm pretty sure it's baked or heat-extruded to dry it the same way that dried petfood is.

Source: I haven't always, but now live in a place where, until recently, there was more livestock per square mile than humans.
posted by SpecialK at 4:07 PM on May 25, 2013

Google Books has a 1902 bulletin from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture containing the state's analyses of various animal feeds, including that from J. H. Ross (see Table X, "Mixed Feeds from Materials Not Named in the Brand"). "Chop" is clearly a general term for that kind of feed.
posted by hattifattener at 4:24 PM on May 25, 2013

Mentioned here, under "Corn products." Cattle feed is a best guess.

More currently: Harvest as Green Chop
Some forages are harvested in an immature stage and fed to cattle in the form of green chop. Green chop feeds that contain high nitrate concentrations should be fed immediately after chopping and never be allowed to heat before feeding.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:26 PM on May 25, 2013

Chop is a cattle feed that was grain that was stored "hard" (unmilled) and then chopped up. It's very important for dairy farmers to have an estimate of protein and fat because it affects the milk and cream.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:54 PM on May 25, 2013

... as for the horses, I suspect that they are just a bit of early 19th century "clip art" that the printer had. The image is based on the famous Pharaoh's Horses painting that was popular in the latter half of the 19th century.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:00 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

God, I love AskMe.

Oneirdynia, how do you store a green harvest without it turning to compost? What I seem to be hearing is that this isn't typical, and it may have been a difficult way to work with feed, and it was sometimes dangerous for the animals. Seems there's a lot of potential for problems with rot or nitrogen.

But seriously, this has been so helpful, right down to Pharaoh's Horses. I love this place.
posted by Toekneesan at 12:23 PM on May 27, 2013

oops, I didn't see your question, Toekneesan. "chop" is different than "green chop". Green chop is not something you want to bag and it's not really an ideal feed at all, because of the decomposition/digestion products. Chop is grains that have been harvested, but not husked or shucked. For example, dried whole ears of corn, wheat, or rye, including the unhulled grains, some stems, and the husks, roughly chopped. It's not as rich or expensive as the grain itself, as it is minimally processed.
posted by oneirodynia at 6:46 PM on June 5, 2013

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