Trees in Livestock Systems
Rural farmers typically raise a few animals for either home consumption (milk and meat), providing protein in the familys diet, or for income generation, providing funds for school fees and other obligations. Procuring fodder for livestock is a burden, particularly during dry seasons. Livestock systems can be improved by incorporating NFTs. Two basic systems, described below, are similar to two of the "Trees in Crop Fields" systems previously described: Fodder banks are hedgerows which can be intercropped with fodder grasses as the interplanted crop, and pasture improvement utilizes wide row intercropping with pasture grasses.
Fodder Banks. Fodder banks are intensive plantings of fodder trees, spaced to maximize leaf production and provide a source of "cut-and-carry" fodder. Many NFTs have leaves or pods that are high in protein. Trees with nutritious fodder can be either planted alone, or intercropped with other fodder plants, such as grasses.
Fodder banks can be planted near paddocks when zero-grazing is being practiced, or they can be planted directly in pasture areas. In the latter case, the fodder banks will have to be protected in some way or they will be destroyed. They can either be directly fenced off, in which case, during times of need, branches can then be harvested and thrown over the fence, or browsing will have to be strictly controlled through a pasture rotation system.
Trees in fodder banks are planted very close for maximum productivity. They can be intercropped with fodder grasses. The size and harvesting regime for the fodder bank should be designed to provide sufficient fodder when most needed. Systems can be designed to provide fodder only during the dry season, or to be harvested on a rotational basis, providing fodder year-round.
Important genera for fodder banks are similar to those for hedgerow intercropping, in particular, Gliricidia, Leucaena, and Sesbania