Fodder tree management
Does anyone here have experience growing fodder trees for cattle? I am thinking willows and tree lucerne, in particular, but any others that come to mind will be welcome suggestions.
I now live in the Far North of NZ, so we are warm temperate, with the more hopeful of us pretending we are subtropical.
1. To be useful to me I would like to be able to graze the trees as part of a regular system. It doesn't matter if it is once a year, but it does need to be every year. Can I do this?
2. Me doing the cutting of the fodder and feeding out just doesn't work for me. The animals (cattle) need to be able to do their own pruning. Will this damage the trees beyond repair?
3. Timing: I understanding that coppicing should occur when there are no leaves on the trees. It follows that this would be the least destructive time for animals to be eating the trees. But seriously, what self respecting cow would chomp away at only wood. Surely the leaves would be the sweetest stuff?
4. Can the cattle eat everything on the tree and it still grow back? If I let the tree get high then the cattle will only get a portion of the food. Some of the books I have read quote a DM per hectare figure for fodder production of trees. But if the cows can only eat 10% of it (being the stuff they can reach) then that DM figure starts to look pretty anemic
5. Can I coppice the tree at 0.5 metres, for example, and let the animals have at the new growth each year?.
I'd sure appreciate any input.
great place to grow fodder trees
willows love to be coppiced
seed fall is the ultimate harvesting system
i have grown thousands over the last 20 years ,i like oaks gleditsia ,robinia,willows etc
one book mentions Trevor Lennard at TePuKi with regard to honey locust
read; Tree crops a permanent agriculture it is the bible on the topic
there may be some pics on my site ; newenglandpermaculture.com.au
I have run across that book several times and have had every intention of reading it 'some day'. Well, I guess today is 'some day'.
I am now several chapters into the book and I cannot believe I left it so long to read. Already my ideas have been expanded far beyond my original thinking. Thanks again Andrew.
you are in exactly the right climate