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    Bamboo as forage?! 
    Senior Member Pakanohida's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Coquille, OR, Latitude 43 North, Coastal
    I had no idea this was possible.

    I was just doing research into bamboo for my property when I came across this research that was conducted a few miles from here! I think the farm is still doing bamboo forage research.

    Enjoy the findings.
    If you still have a job, get everything in order, and quit. Do it as soon as you can, because we’ve never had a more important work to do. -Kyle Chamberlin

    Permaculture is a concise design of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have diversity, stability, & resilience of natural ecosystems.
    -Bill Mollison

    It's just my 2 cents,
    Paka no hida


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    My neighbour here in British Columbia , Canada , moved some bamboo to the back corner of his property and it is spreading to form a nice thicket but it does not spread to my property , it makes a perfect wall in fact as my horses graze it .

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    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Northern Central Valley, California, USA
    Goats love bamboo foliage. In fact, there is a whole group of invasive evergreen exotics, mostly originally brought in as landscaping plants, that goats love and they are valuable for providing forage in the winter when other greens are unavailable. The privets and evergreen Eleagnus come first to mind, and a bit of trial and error will come up with others. Some few are poisonous (azaleas and rhododendron) for instance, but in general if animals have free choice of a wide selection they are unlikely to poison themselves.

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    I've got some bamboo in a pot the I suspect might be a running variety, rather than my other clumping varieties. I have thought about planting it out anyway on the perhaps delusional thought of "how bad can it really be?'. Is it delusional? or is there just an unreasonable fear of running bamboo out there. Is it just the lack of predators? Would regular harvest for various uses and a bit of animal forage not keep it in reasonable check?
    You cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created it - Einstein

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    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Northern Central Valley, California, USA
    The fear of running bamboos is overwarranted. All the new shoots come up in a particular season, usually spring or with the onset of rains. Gather these to eat, or simply break them off, and you''re pretty much done for that year. The same purpose can be accomplished by "moating" the bamboo area with mown grass, hayfield, or regularly grazed pasture. Make the "moat" at least ten meters wide. Where you don't want them is next to buildings, pavements, walls, any kind of edge. The rhizomes will get up next to and under this and you will never control it then.

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    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Nimbin, NE New South Wales
    This thread is extremely timely - as I will explain. Here in sub-tropical northern New South Wales we are moving into winter. The grass stays green here, but it stops growing and loses its nutritional value for our cows, meaning we have to buy hay or meal through winter. We have about 10 species of bamboo growing on our property, and since our first delivery of hay has not arrived yet, I've started cutting a culm of one of the large bamboos per day and feeding it to our cows. We have three cows on site at the moment, actually we have 6 altogether but three are temporarily staying with a neighbour. Our three cows now come running when they hear me start up the chain saw, and when I drag a big culm into their paddock they chew every single leaf off it - takes them about an hour if it's a big culm. They appear to love all the varieties of bamboo that I give them. Mostly it's been bambusa oldhamii, dendrocalamus strictus or dendrocalamus asper. Even though they obviously love it, I have lingering doubts over how good it is for them - their enthusiasm may just be because there's no other good feed at the moment.

    I was fascinated to read your contibution Pakanohida, and I read the research paper from the farm in Oregon - thanks for that reference. Alas, they were using temperate climate bamboos, none of them match the varieties we grow round here. I still found it encouraging on a general level, after all bamboo is just a big grass, whatever the variety. So if there is anyone else in a sub-tropical zone who has experimented with bamboo as a winter foliage, I'd be really eager to hear about it. So far I've only managed to get the vaguest references to using bamboo as fodder in Australia, let alone in our part of Australia.

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    Junior Member Greyfox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    8 lovely acres, St Albans NSW
    What a good article, bamboo is a grass and can be controlled by grazing.
    I am planting some bamboo plants for goats on our place, after reading this I think I will plant some more.
    Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex,
    the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”
    Bill Mollison (quote)

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    Moderator andrew curr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Deepwater NNSW
    my sheep & cows love it
    im looking for the edible running variety moso
    does anyone know where i could obtain some
    Last edited by andrew curr; 18-07-2012 at 06:45 PM. Reason: forgot moso

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    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Peter MArshall, Cam's mate, has some near Braidwood. Looks bloody awesome too. Took them years for it to get established in the colder area, like 10 years, but what survived is going well now. Im sure I seen it around when I was searching for bamboo distributers around here.

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    I am actually going to try to plant a few shoots as part of a mixed shelterbelt along the street to serve to screen my property and provide vertical browse along the property line for my beasties (presently the horses). since it serves well in that capacity where it border my property in another location.

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