Grow Your Own Field Crops

Exploring various field and forage crops for feeding your livestock, grass and legume regional data, and hay quality identification.

December 2017
By Steven Thomas and George P. Looby

Backyard Livestock cover

Backyard Livestock (The Countryman Press, 2017), by Steven Thomas and George P. Looby, acts as a reference for anyone who keeps animals as a sustainable food source. Laying out up-to-date information on breeding, feeding, disease prevention, housing, and management for livestock, complete with clarifying diagrams, full color photography, and a catalog of supplemental reading.

There are, in any project, economies of time, money, and land that suggest there exist practical approaches to any situation that need careful consideration before going ahead into the great unknown. Most of us involved in the production of livestock on a more limited scale do so with definitive objectives in mind, but few of us have the luxury of unlimited time, the necessary equipment, or the expertise, to devote to our projects. Once you choose to embark on a smallscale cropping program, you must commit yourself to a great deal of hard work. This can be enjoyable, but the hard facts are that we might better channel our energies in other directions.



Given that most of us small‑time livestock enthusiasts are frustrated farmers, there are additional realities we should face. On a limited number of acres, the amount of feed that can be produced will be considerably less than your livestock will need to consume. To further preserve the continuity and flavor of the original book, I have chosen to leave the author’s comments and recommendations relating to the production of certain basic field crops intact, while at the same time cautioning the reader to realize the limitations these cropping programs necessarily have.