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Post by ColinJEly » Fri Oct 16, 2009 12:25 pm

Came across this website today. Might interest some people.

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Post by Julene » Wed Nov 18, 2009 12:00 am


While googling Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica), I came across this journal article from the Australian Institute of Biology (a professional organisation for biologists) from 1998:

Here are a couple of sections:

"Agroforestry is, in my opinion, the only alternative to pastures and grasses. It involves the use of fodder trees and shrubs - trees that are permanent, and which will replace annual grasses; trees which will provide their own nitrogenous fertilisers; trees which will extend their roots deep beneath the ground to the water table. Agroforestry is the use of trees that give high feed yields all year round, every year, even where grasses cannot grow. How many grasses (apart from those native grasses that grow only after heavy rains) prefer depleted, impoverished, deficient soils? Introduced pastures are dependent on a good reserve of water, minerals and nutrients in the soil, and the addition of fertilisers before they will grow (Douglas & Hart 1978).

"The answer is not to eke out the most from every millimetre of rain, but to allow trees to tap the vast reserves of water deep below the surface. Many of the trees and shrubs that are suitable for fodder are far less affected by drought (Douglas & Hart 1978). The feed yield from fodder trees - even grown under adverse conditions and in poor soils - can match, and often exceed, that from pastures grown under good conditions (Lamb 1979). The potential of some of the semi-arid regions could match the productivity of many more fertile, moister land."

"Fodder trees can improve the output from existing properties and make them viable once again. Many of the trees that are planted as sources of fodder make ideal windbreaks; they modify the microclimates beneath their canopies; they reduce water loss from the soil, and reduce evaporation from nearby fields, and from dams; they reduce soil erosion; they lower the temperatures the animals must endure. Trees might cost a few dollars, but the increased profits to farmers might be thousands of dollars. Many can be propagated from seed, or from cuttings, a process which minimises establishment costs considerably (Felker 1978).

"Fodder trees take from two or three years to about seven or eight years before they will provide sufficient high protein pods, seeds or foliage. It takes about the same time to improve pastures on moderately fertile soils."

It seems like these ideas dovetail nicely with NSF principles - PROVIDED care is taken to avoid a MONOCULTURE of fodder trees.

The author includes a list of suitable trees:

"Tagasaste: Chamaecytisus proliferus
Carob: Ceratonia siliqua
Honey Locust: Gleditsia triacanthos
Willows: Salix spp, especially the weeping willow, Salix babylonica, and the hybrid Salix matsudana x alba
Poplars: Populus spp
Leucaena: Leucaena leucocephala
Chenopods: particularly Atriplex nummularia.
And of course, there are numerous native species that are edible, such as some of the acacias (Sheppard 1985), the brachychitons, cassias, the casuarinas and other chenopods."

These species also come up in the following publication by Uni of Melb: Design Principles for Farm Forestry, Chapter 5 - Trees as Fodder. ( Linked to Rowan Reid, from the website posted by Colin.

Food for thought for livestock farmers (such as ourselves) - could kill a bunch of birds with one stone by having some of these trees around.

Weeping willow has protein content of about 16% dry weight. Plus all the other benefits. And it's NOT on the WONS List (unlike most willow spp.)

I'd like to get some of these trees going on our beef farm. I hope the information is helpful for others, too.


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Post by duane » Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:47 pm


This has been a very timely and useful post Julene....thank you.

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