I'm not really sure where to post this but I've been looking for information on which species of trees, bushes and what not you would include if I was to try silvopasture in the central valley of California. If anyone has run across a place that has some deeper information than the standard youtube videos on silvopasture that would be helpful also. Thank you in advance for your help.
Hi! I used to work in that area. In general though, look at the trees that do best in the area, and you'll get some ideas from just driving around. If you can, visit old dairies. The real old ones almost always had some trees the cows would be able to eat in rough times, I believe mostly acacia. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to get some seeds. Walnut and sycamore I think also do well in the area, as do oak, but during droughts both walnut and oak might make your cows sick if they don't know not to eat it. Keep a few smart girls in your herd to teach maybe? Depending on where your at, you may be able to plant willow or elderberry. Apricots and almonds are also grown in that general region. Moringa should also do well. Eucalyptus also do well, but their litter is not good for grass growth, whereas moringa is edible to cows from what I know. Good luck!
In the northern Sacramento valley there were black mission fig trees in the corners of the barley fields where the farm houses used to be. These were favorite resting places for the sheep that were brought in from the hills after the harvest. They also produced an abundant crop of fruit. We cut limbs from them and using pressure washing pipe drilled holes and rooted them all along our fence line for shade.
Mulberry, poplar, alder, black locust, elder are just a few appropriate species, with white mulberry having the highest nutritional value and hardiness (it is toxic to horses like many trees are to them). Mulberry also is high in micronutrients and of course has a very valuable fresh fruit.
I am in the process of writing a white paper on the potential of mulberry silvopasture in mediterranean climates. Alfalfa uses the most water of any crop in Ca and mulberry uses about 1/4 the water. If graziers planted mulberry we would have a lot more water to go around!
Also called "tree hay" or "fodder banking". Tree hay can be harvested (pruned) mid summer and baled for feeding out over winter, while fodder banks can be browsed in summer as a standing crop.
Permaculture Designer and Educator
ISA Certified Arborist #WE 7805A