• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Tree fodder for drough-proofing your livestock

 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is a really great article! Others say, instead of cutting all the fodder every 5-6 years, to cut it on rotation, some every year. You get the most tender growth the first year, so in an emergency 100% edible shoots.

http://www.nzffa.org.nz/farm-forestry-model/resource-centre/farm-forestry-association-leaflet-series/no-22-poplars-and-willows/
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I killed a few willows doing this--they did not coppice like I expected in the drought. But it got me through a drought without using hay.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm pretty sure this is my plan for this year. I'm meeting with a grazing specialist tomorrow but silvopasturing isn't really popular around here. The NRCS seemed pretty opposed to the idea.

I've not been very successful in turning some forested land into pasture, partly because the logger who "helped me out" push all the topsoil off. The other reason is the livestock are compacting what little soil there is (in hindsight I should've made the pasture a few years before I got the livestock).

I've read a bunch of these PDF from NZ (I liked this one).

It's got a bit of a mono-cropped look though.
Now I'm thinking about a "browse block" of willows, poplars, black locust, honey locust, bamboo, and Russian mulberry.

The weather has been so funky trees seem way more resilient. Last year, early spring was extremely cold and my pasture seeds barely came up. Then, in late spring/early summer, we had so much rain it was impossible for people to hay unless they made baleage, which I had to buy and deal with sans tractor. Then, it was insanely dry late summer and all fall!

The trees were green throughout!!!
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The main problem with trees is that once they're cut you can't cut them again for at least a year or you risk weakening them too much, unlike grass that can be cut several times. And the same area of trees I don't think will produce as much fodder as a block of well-tended clover or good native grass. But with the deeper roots you get more minerals, and you can use them when the grass is dormant, so they certainly do seem to have a place in the grazing system!
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Renate Haeckler wrote:The main problem with trees is that once they're cut you can't cut them again for at least a year or you risk weakening them too much,...

I've just read that mulberries can be cut up to 3x/yr for fodder.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a cool scene from Tudor Monastry Farm showing the cutting of "tree hay." The scene starts @ 27m20s
http://youtu.be/GaVu1sM5xq8?t=27m20s



The whole series is cool. Not a bad idea to save to your HD.
 
Tina Paxton
Posts: 283
Location: coastal southeast North Carolina
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Boyd Craven Jr., founder of the Urban Rabbit Project and the FB group Backyard Meat Rabbits and author of "Beyond the Pellet" discovered a potentially great resource for forage -- willow bushes selectively grown (NOT GMO--just selective breeding) for Biomass production. Thus, they were selected for fast growth and coppicing. Willow is comparable to alfalfa in protein so would work as a replacement for alfalfa in rabbit feed (and other livestock where alfalfa is used like horses and goats). The particular farm he found and that we are purchasing willows from is Double A Willow (www.doubleawillow.com/). I just planted 60 willow starts. Next year, I'll begin a systematic harvesting of the willows -- not technically coppicing or pollarding as I won't remove all branches at once. Time will tell if that works better than rotational coppicing....
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm in the mists of planting 80 willows (along with other trees) I purchased from willowsvermont.com. Two different types of Matsudana which are one of varieties favored by livestock growers in Australia & NZ. 15% Protein.

Last year I planted lots of cuttings from a weeping willow on my property. They started out looking good buy many didn't make it. I think I didn't plant them deep enough. The ones planted this year are looking good and already putting out leaves.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tina Paxton wrote:Boyd Craven Jr., founder of the Urban Rabbit Project and the FB group Backyard Meat Rabbits and author of "Beyond the Pellet" discovered a potentially great resource for forage -- willow bushes selectively grown (NOT GMO--just selective breeding) for Biomass production. Thus, they were selected for fast growth and coppicing. Willow is comparable to alfalfa in protein so would work as a replacement for alfalfa in rabbit feed (and other livestock where alfalfa is used like horses and goats). The particular farm he found and that we are purchasing willows from is Double A Willow (www.doubleawillow.com/). I just planted 60 willow starts. Next year, I'll begin a systematic harvesting of the willows -- not technically coppicing or pollarding as I won't remove all branches at once. Time will tell if that works better than rotational coppicing....


willow requires a lot of water, so I don't think it's an appropriate species for drought prepping. Poplar might be better, mulberry better than that, and something like mesquite even better than that. Willow's got <15% protein, so not quite the same as alfalfa's >18%, but it should be a decent fodder, nonetheless. Willows won't grow in most dry areas without irrigation or close proximity to water. IMO, if you are going to use the water to grow something, you should grow something with more nutrition than willow, and save willow for marginal land that isn't good for high value crops.

 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3646
Location: Vermont, off grid for 22 years!
78
bee chicken fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Abe Connally wrote:
willow requires a lot of water, so I don't think it's an appropriate species for drought prepping.

Hmmm.
Well, they do use willow in Australia & NZ during their summer drought. Probably not appropriate for a dry environment but I think it's OK for a seasonal drought. The best thing would be to plant multiple species to cover all your bases.

I wound up planting 3 types of Willow, Black & Honey Locust, Russian Mulberry, European Mountain Ash, and Poplar.
 
Tina Paxton
Posts: 283
Location: coastal southeast North Carolina
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Abe Connally wrote:
willow requires a lot of water, so I don't think it's an appropriate species for drought prepping. Poplar might be better, mulberry better than that, and something like mesquite even better than that. Willow's got <15% protein, so not quite the same as alfalfa's >18%, but it should be a decent fodder, nonetheless. Willows won't grow in most dry areas without irrigation or close proximity to water. IMO, if you are going to use the water to grow something, you should grow something with more nutrition than willow, and save willow for marginal land that isn't good for high value crops.



I'm also planting mulberries. True that in areas that are frequently in drought, willows may not likely be found growing there. But, in areas where drought is more an event rather than a given, perhaps? Or along creek beds or the wadi/gulleys where water flows when it DOES rain would be good locations. Mesquite and trees like it that have extremely long taproots are certainly a good choice for the drier of places.

Growing a variety of options is always best to cover one's bases.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cj Verde wrote:
Well, they do use willow in Australia & NZ during their summer drought. Probably not appropriate for a dry environment but I think it's OK for a seasonal drought. The best thing would be to plant multiple species to cover all your bases.


It depends. If you are using irrigation water to keep them alive during seasonal droughts, then you should probably switch to a more appropriate species to your climate. If they can survive there without supplemental water, then they should do fine. Willows grow in deserts, but they do so right next to rivers and ponds. If you want something for production during drought, it's best to select species that do well with drought, and willow isn't one of those species.

Growing a variety of options is always best to cover one's bases.


This, for sure. A wide variety of species is the best approach, and you can find what works best for your local conditions.
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic