This question came from Rita, and I thought it was such a good one it warranted a blog post!

What do you actually plant to get straw? Is the plant named “straw”?

Straw is a byproduct of planting grain. It’s the leftover stem of a plant that has been harvested for the seed head. ¬†(Did you know wheat, oats, and rye are seeds?)
The reason we harvest, dry, and bale straw is that it’s super absorbent so it makes great bedding for livestock. It has very little, if any nutritional value.

That’s in contrast to hay, which is dried grass and does have plenty of nutritional value if harvested at the right time and dried properly! Hay is not so absorbent, so it is not a good bedding.