Fodder Trees

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by Tegs, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Tegs

    Welcome to the PRI Forum.

    You may also wish to consider as part of your species selection process the ability of the plant to coppice well. Leguminous (Family: Fabaceae) tree species, such as certain Acacias (endemic to your local area?) and Chamaecytisus palmensis (Tagasaste syn. Tree Lucerne) do fit this bill. However in the case of the latter, your micro environment would need to match that of the La Palma (the home of Tag, and which is more Mediterranean than sub-tropical) in order for it to perform at an optimum. Tag will form a dense thicket, and is therefore ideally suited as a first row species in an effective windbreak (with taller plant species behind).

    Cheerio, Marko.
     
  2. Paddy82

    Paddy82 Junior Member

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    I read David Holmgren suggests Willow trees for fodder.
     
  3. Tegs

    Tegs Junior Member

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    I love the look of willow trees around a dam, do they grow in a sub tropical climate?
     
  4. Yukkuri_Kame

    Yukkuri_Kame Junior Member

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    Here in subtropical florida, the most common wild species is the weeping willow. It loves water and grows in swampy creekbeds and such, often in water a couple feet deep. It doesn't form a single tall trunk, rather tends to form thickets of arching limbs.

    I think the typical weeping willow is a hybrid, and most willows are cross-fertile. Regardless, the weeping willow is grown in subtropics.

    Willow definitely can serve multiple purposes. The craft applications of willow are obvious. The inner bark contains an analgesic (aspirin). Also, I have heard that the tips of the willow branch can be used to make a rooting "tea", as they contain rooting hormone. Definitely something worth cultivating to use in the nursery!

    Come to think of it, I spotted a thicket of willow just yesterday - maybe I'll do some trial & error rooting experiments.
     
  5. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Excellent question!
    Permaculturalists should have a list of all; for each climate/rainfall area, on the Damp Planet.

    My contribution:-
    The Carob for dry-to- Mediterranean Climates.
     
  6. Speedy

    Speedy Junior Member

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    Try Tagasaste in that climate if you really wantto, but trial first and dont depend on it.
    Summer rainfall and humidity in a wet spell could be too much for it.

    I think someone sugested windbreak and then fodder trees as a seperate planting behind it.
    If Wind is a problem , then that's how I'd tackle it.

    Here are a few other sugestions
    Leucaena spp.- only as part of ration and only for ruminants inoculated with bacteria to breakdown mimosine.

    Cajanus cajan- better choice than tagasaste I reckon

    Albizia lebbek- not a bad shade tree as well
    Albizia saman

    Erythrina variegata - used in Bali for living fences and regularly pollarded and given as stockfeed.

    Gliricidia sepium is also used in the living fences, but is toxic.
    maybe Gliricidia is ok as small amounts you'll have to check, but it is very much used there so is obviously valued.
    In some countries a wash is made with the leaves to wash livestock to prevent ( or rid of?) external parasites.

    Sesbania grandiflora- Flowers good in omlettes
    S. bispinosa
    S.sesban

    Moringa oleifera- Lvs, fls, pods are also excellent human food


    Acacia spp.- look for some local species with habit that suits your needs.
    Some have lots of edible seed -good for chooks - there are a few aust. trop. species being grown in the Sahel , Niger for seed for improving human diet.
    A.colei and A.torulosa from memory and I think there's another one, but cant remember.

    Cassia siamea- lvs used as Trad. food in cuisine of Nth Thailand- coppices and pollards well.-worth a try as fodder.

    Jakfruit-

    Vetiver would be a better choice than Lemongrass I'd think, as a 'cut and cart' forage.
    also with that would be Sweet potato.
    Cassave leaves- let them wilt first before you use them.
    Achira ( Qld arrowroot)

    There are heaps more, but that should be a good start.

    Palm fruits for pigs....
    apart from eating the hearts myself, I've always thought
    that would be the best use for 'Cocos palms' (Syagrus romanzoffiana).
    Wild pigs cause a lot of damage to native palms in Nth Aust. by devouring fruits (and eating hearts)
     
  7. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    A couple of PDF files on the subject.
    www.mtg.unimelb.edu.au/publications/des_ch5.pdf
    www.agromisa.org/agrobriefs/agrobrief1.pdf
    www.hortresearch.co.nz/files/projects/.../archive/wairarapa.pdf
    and anicely written article
    https://www.grahamandrews.com/fodder_trees.htm
     
  8. void_genesis

    void_genesis Junior Member

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    In the humid subtropics on the coast of SE Qld I have been planting the following for fodder shrubs for my future goat plans after extensive research, and where possible taste tests with nearby goats and cows. You need to give them a few years to establish before they can withstand periodic rotational grazing- no more than three or four times a year with about 70-80 days rest in between, so you will be needing to commit to an intensive managed rotation system. I have tried tagasaste in this climate and found they collapse during our hot humid summers. In your warmer conditions you might want to consider Hummingbird tree (Sesbania grandiflora) that grows rapidly to
     
  9. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hi,
    Indian siris whose greenus growtallus name is Albizia lebbek has edible foliage, very highly palatable pods and high protein seeds and is also excellent as a firewood tree, fodder tree and future cabinet timber tree, thrives from the Sunshine Coast to Townsville on marginal soils right through to fertile upland volcanics. Leucaena species all produce a toxin mimosine which can be fed to ruminants if they are inoculated with the correct gut microflora. If not animals generally die or become very sick with hair shedding a classic symptom, a bit like chemo I suppose. easy to remedy, just steal cud from an adapted inoculated animal and give to the newby. Not for horses and even though inoculated my sheep had a break in the wool and shed their fleeces. I tried it as an easy shear mechanism , but very patchy results.
    I would try Cockscomb Coral tree Erythrina sp. which has a high protein and desirable foliage and even higher protein content seeds.
    Like most of these plants, they need to be locked away to grow and fed only when the grass pasture protein levels are low like in the dry season in the north and from Sept to December here in SEQ. Fencing off is the big expense beyond plant establishment.
    Have fun.
    Cheers, Steve.
     
  10. void_genesis

    void_genesis Junior Member

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    I had looked into the Albizia and Erythrina. The main drawback from my perspective is that they grow into large trees, grow relatively slowly and don't seem to reshoot well after hard pruning. I would agree as an emergency fodder during droughts they could be useful though. Agree about being careful with Leucaena. There are different strains of detoxifying bacteria around, and they don't always take during inoculation. Apparently the biggest danger is when the stock are only eating Leucaena- a mixed diet helps reduce toxicity as well.
     
  11. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Hello V-G,

    my Albizias, Leucaena, Calliandras, Ice cream beans, Erythrina cockscomb and Mulberries have been grazed to the bark every Spring until it rains every year for over 20 years and are on average 4 metres tall. You need some foliage to survive browsing for them to survive. They are by no means allowed to grow tall. The cockscomb coral tree is the most palatable and grazing hardy and sets the most seed. I have several which were planted by my Grandad in the early 1900's and are still growing, if a wee bit knarled.
     
  12. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    earth garden has an article on Argan which produces special oil
     
  13. void_genesis

    void_genesis Junior Member

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    I would love to get some Erythrina cockscomb cuttings. Would you be interested in swapping for some tree daisy (Montanoa bipinnatifida)? It grows very easily from bare rooted cuttings, doesn't set viable seed and only grows to 3-4 m tall. It grows nice straight 1-3 inch stems that can be useful as well and my cows love it.
     
  14. void_genesis

    void_genesis Junior Member

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    I have looked into Albizia lebbek and Erythrinas some more. I think I had the seed toxicity of the Erythrinas holding me back, but they seem like an ideal fodder tree on further inspection. Do you have a recommended species for the Erythrina? I am gathering what species I can but suspect one will be better than the others. And luckily I spotted an Albizia lebbek covered in seeds on my way to work, so Ill gather them up and get some going as well.

    To Curramore1- My imported mulberry seeds are germinating very well. If you are looking to get some more vigorous Morus alba or rubra for fodder use let me know and I can send some out later when they are bigger.
     
  15. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Hi void-genesis,

    Any updates on your fodder tree list from earlier in the thread?
     
  16. void_genesis

    void_genesis Junior Member

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    Hi again

    It is still too dry to plant out at the moment, but I have been wandering through the plantings from last autumn.
    This is the current list of species I am trialling and their current performance:

    Montanoa bipinnatifida- planted direct as truncheon cuttings of old wood about 30 cm long. About 70% survival rate after a very dry winter and spring, and the plants are just poking up above the 30cm high orchard grass.

    Leucaena leucocephala- planted direct as seed in small 20 cm wide clearings last autumn. Reasonable germination. Ones germinated in pots then transplanted were much less successful. Only about 5 cm high as most and struggling against the grass. Given the partial toxicity of the browse and tendency to self sow when established I am considering discontinuing using this species.

    Erythrina- Still propagating a range of species. E. crista-galli is spineless, evergreen and a nice height and quite common. Tried new growth cuttings with no luck, will go back for truncheon old growth cuttings soon. E. indica is a bit spiny, briefly deciduous and grows to 10 m, but is growing very rapidly from truncheons and I feel would grow from directly planted cuttings during a mild season. The saving in time is invaluable when you are planting hundreds of something, much better than digging holes for roots each time. Also trialling E. caffra, E. humeana, E. vespertillo and any others I can get my hands on.

    Inga edulis- Plants put out as 5-10 cm high transplants or direct seeded last autumn both have a 80-90% survival rate after the dry season. They are now about 10-15 cm high and putting on rapid growth. A bit more rain should see them explode. I am planning on doing a trial of Inga alley farming on some fertile flats this summer as well- closer plantings at 0.5m x 2 m spacings pruned hard before planting a crop in between. Oddly enough those planted in areas with low grass were the only ones to be eaten down by hares or kangaroos- the ones buried in the grass went unnoticed.

    Malvaviscus arborea- put out as either rooted cuttings or bare root cuttings last autumn. About a 70% survival after winter. Looking a bit stressed and havent grown much- need a warm rainy season and maybe a pinch of fertiliser to get them moving I think.

    Morus alba- no major plantings in the ground, though I have a pot with about a hundred seedlings ready to go out when the weather improves. Should grow from bare root cuttings in a good season, but would need a damp spring (and they are fairly rare around here). Once I have the original seedling plants mature I should be able to do larger scale propagation.

    Paulownia tomentosa- Seedlings waiting to go out. Not as enthusiastic about this anymore after seeing local trees looking very shabby. The growth is very whippy and upright when young- rapidly moves out of nibbling range.

    Calliandra calothyrsus- large and hardy seedlngs waiting to go out when it rains more. Not hugely convinced of its fodder quality- apparently quite high in tannins, though they can be useful in limiting intestinal parasites.

    Glyricidia- Seedlings grown last summer mostly died during their winter dormancy. Suspect it is too cold where we are for it to be a major player, and can have palatability issues from my research.

    Albizzia lebbek- Large amount of seed collected from vigorous local trees. Their winter leaf drop is long as well. Germinating very strongly in pots at the moment, but seed is large enough to be strong enough to take direct sowing by my estimation.

    Other species- I will do taste tests with my cows shortly on Acalypha hedges, Plumbago and maybe some other fast growing shrubs that aren't toxic.

    Hope this was interesting....it is still early days but the bulk of the foundation is in place. Once things start to move I will take some photos to share.
     
  17. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Completely interesting.

    I'd like to see the photos if you ever get time for it.

    Paulownia is struggling where we are too, large amount of dieback in established trees. So much so that they are removing trees.

    Leucaena - did you inoculate? Mine are 5-6ft high now after their first year (no grass competition, smaller where they are competing with Ironbark. Both forestry tube and direct seeding). Very strong Psyllid pressure this year, some older trees were completely defoliated.

    Morus alba - I've two lots of cuttings now. One was a weaker tree and was the only one I could find and 3 have been planted out. Were browsed but still only 4 ft high. The blacks are towering over them for growth (in a better position than the whites). I happened across a fairly-decent looking White out and about on the side of the road (I hope it is white) and took 12 cuttings or so and will compare.

    Calliandra and Gliricidia - tempted to try these two but decided against as I felt they were too tropical for here. I'll be interested to see how the Calliandra goes.

    Albizia - I've been propagating a few and planting out versus growing in pots. I can't direct seed due to the lack of watering and a lot of my tubes/100mm plants have folded in this terrible weather. Some are hanging on but compared to my pot-grown ones, are tiny in comparison. I did read it is recommended to direct seed. They have quite the swollen tap root and that is probably the reason why.

    What about Salix and Moringa? Bamboo shoots can also be eaten by cattle and was recommended as a method of control for running species. Are you trialling any pasture legumes as opposed to trees?
     
  18. void_genesis

    void_genesis Junior Member

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    Great to hear I am not the only one tinkering in this area.

    I have wild Leucaena about 20 m from where I am growing mine, so I figured the nitrogen fixing bacteria would be around. I noticed strong nodules on the ones I transplanted out from pots as well. We have quite heavy soil that I think may not suit them. The growing psyllid problem definitely turns me off them. I have looked at even healthy clumps of them and they just don't seem to have much foliage mass to them- just tiny flimsy leaflets.

    Calliandra seems very good in our climate and soil, the main issue is palatability. I think the trick is not having too many of them in the mix or the stock may get sick of them. The other common Calliandra haematocephala is meant to be a bit less palatable than C. calothyrsus, but has the upside of only growing to 3-4 m tall. C. calothyrsus gets to a 20 m tree (slowly) if you let it get away on you and the wood is quite dense and hard work to cut through when it matures. I see this as a big plus for Erythrina and Inga- their wood is quite soft to chop through and I think I will appreciate that more after cutting back an acre of trees every week or so.

    Short of a full dry spell I have been really surprised how well seed and cuttings can grow when planted out direct. I figure it is better to get a 60% success rate with an approach that takes only 20% of the time of tranplanting plants from pots (digging holes is so time consuming, as is growing the plants in pots). The ones that make it are much sturdier in the ground, and you save plenty of time to go back later and replant.

    Our place is a bit dry for Salix, and I think our soil may be too heavy for Moringa. I have some small Moringa started for vegetables. If they take off I might give them a go for fodder as well. Do they grow from truncheon cuttings? Our cows love bamboo when I trim it. I am only avoiding it because it needs to be manually pruned to bring the food down to browsing level. It also casts a long shadow that may interfere with planting the occasional crop between the fodder rows (I think potatoes and tomatoes will do well on our low hills- they love fresh soil). I am planting large bamboo groves outside the paddocks so I was planning to drag up the top prunings when I am working in there for a bit of extra stock food. The other fodder plants I aim to keep relatively low (
     
  19. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    I'm not familiar with most of those species (though I have googled them), so photos will be great. Even if you don't get the responses here, no doubt many people are reading them. I wish for someone to have done something like this before I started except I'm not a forage farmer, I'm after efficient biomass with other insect benefits.

    Unless you know the history of that Leucaena, I'd doubt if they were inoculated and probably have got large through years of struggle with native rhizobia. If you are worried about psyllids and spreading (it shouldn't spread in a forage area), then you are probably right, it's not the best choice. We have 2 large ones which were cut, coppiced and burnt for firewood all in one season so the fuel factor interests me, as well as the biomass. Calliandra is another fuelwood that looks promising.

    Moringa do grow with large cuttings though I've read it's better direct-seeded to allow the fat tap root to do its best.

    I've realised since the last post that I know of a large Morus Alba that is doing well in the Mary Valley. It was 'pollarded' a long time ago and is now unsafe for its position so it will be cut down and pollarding re-attempted. I'll try and grab some of it and will spread it around to see how it performs.

    Shame about the Salix, we have quite a few 20 year old trees here, untouched and they are nice and big. All of them are on dam overflows.

    Happened across a 5 year old housing development the other day, Pintos Peanut all mixed in through the grass. It looked so good I'd recommend turf farms seeding it into their rolls.
     
  20. void_genesis

    void_genesis Junior Member

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    I'll definitely start photographing soon. I only have photos of grassy hills marked out with bamboo poles to help me keep track of where I am up to. I did the spacing by marking a row from the highest point diagonally down the hill, marking the rows 4 m apart. I then marked out the fence lines in a similar manner. When you fill in the rows along the contours, 2 m apart, you find the rows disappear occasionally since you are putting a regular grid on a curved three dimensional surface, but I stuck to a minimum 4 m spacing between rows so that if I ever need to get machinery in later they can fit. I also figure with this spacing the larger trees like the Inga can just close the canopy if desired but still be small enough to cut down relatively easily. I put the Montanoa and Erythrina crista-galli/indica on the highest third of the hill in alternating contours, then Inga and Malvaviscus in the middle third, and finally Morus and Albizzia in the bottom, again alternating. Those terminating short contour rows have been kept for more experimental plants. All the deciduous plants go in the bottom third where the soil is the most fertile to make it easier to plant winter crops of potato and tomato. That is the theory but I suspect I will find many things to adjust in practice with time. I am aiming to get about 5 acres planted out in the next couple of years and then wait and see, get a small nubian goat herd when I can come to the farm full time and start rotationally grazing the goats while planting the rest of the pastures (about another 25 acres). I suspect if I intensively rotate the cows as well on the pasture the young trees should be able to grow through the pressure.

    I think our aims are broadly similar. Biomass is biomass, though I suspect having a healthy balance of animals is important for keeping the trees at their most vigorous stage of growth.

    I am interested in fuelwood as well (partly for an energy source, partly for generating lots of charcoal for terra preta). Calliandra haematocephala has lovely dense wood that burns really well. I have also started planting a grove of Robinia pseudoacacia for timber and firewood, but it isn't ideal for forage since its roots shoot everywhere when it is cut too hard. If you can suggest a way to inoculate the Leucaena I would be willing to give it a try. I know the toxicity is due to eating large amounts- even uninoculated livestock can eat a small percent of their diet without harm. I have plenty of seed from a few collections but apparently their is a nice high leaf/low seed/short growing strain around that the central cattle farmers are starting to use. I've looked high and low for a source but no luck yet. I would rather wait to get my hands on it than plant too much of the weedier strain and come to regret it.

    Once I can find a reliable source of Moringa seeds I will try them as well. The limitation for doing fodder shrubs is in the numbers. Most of what I am using I can collect buckets of seed or wheelbarrows of cuttings based on already growing them for years or keeping my eyes peeled in my travels. I am south of Gympie so directions to a big old Morus alba for cuttings would be very highly appreciated (though I will have to wait until next winter to propagate). Likewise I am curious about your Salix- do you know what species they are? You don't see many of them around in Queensland.....

    I have heard mixed things about pinto peanut. Apparently it can be a bit difficult to control in any beds where you want to grow smaller plants, and I do mostly direct seeding in my vegetable gardens. Oh and I made a mistake before...I should have typed Desmodium (sticky witch weed) instead of sticky Glycine for my promising pasture legume. It grows amazingly well in slightly shady spots where the cows only get to rarely, and the cows make an absolute beeline for it when they get into a new paddock. Graze it for more than a week though and it has a hard time coming back.

    I should be around the farm more during the summer break, so if you want to organise a visit I would love to see how other people are approaching things.
     

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