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Topic: The Science (and Art) of Feeding Animal With Tree Fodder (Read 227 times) previous topic - next topic

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The Science (and Art) of Feeding Animal With Tree Fodder
I am learning a lot from my Tree Hay Facebook group, so I thought I'd cut and paste some of the interesting stuff here ...

I posted the following question yesterday ...
Does anyone have any idea how much leaf weight can be harvested per acre per year if proper pollarding procedure is used? Assume dense forest in Missouri, 36" annual rainfall.

And got the following responses from people who have researched "Tree Hay" practice in Europe which was in wide use up until about 100 years ago ...
It depends on species and age of the tree. Here are a few figures:

"Massey University research found that 5-10 year-old
trees yield up to 22 kg DM per tree of edible forage,
and that poplars and willows were similar in nutritive
value. Condensed tannin levels are usually higher in

Willow leaves are also high in zinc and magnesium,
which are important animal health minerals. However
sodium (salt) levels can be low in willow leaves, and,
if little or no pasture is on offer, a salt block should be
provided. The tree bark also had good nutritive value.
Willows produce more fodder than poplars, growing
4-5 times the number of new shoots and carrying more
edible material, i.e. leaves, small stems and bark.
Research trials by Massey University showed improved
lambing percentage for stock fed on poplar and willow
forage compared with stock fed on droughts pasture

Mature poplars and willows shed a large quantity of
leaves in autumn and early winter. Once trees are
about five years of age, leaf fall can provide 60 kg or
more of dry matter per tree.

It is estimated that 1,000 bundles of leaf hay were needed
per cow over a 6 month period. A bundle is of similar size
to a sheaf of corn. One person should be able to cut an
average of 30 bundles of fresh twigs and leaves per day.
With practice this can increase to about 100 bundles per
day. If an ash tree is cut once every four years (as happens
in parts of southern Austria) an annual yield of between 20
and 25 bundles can be expected. Nutritionally this is the
equivalent of about 10 pounds of good meadow hay with
the added benefits of a higher mineral content.

Same person give this quote (supposedly from Bill Mollison) (I didn't know he believed in God) ...
"The sugar pod group, the mesquites, the honey locusts, carobs, and the sugary tips of such trees as striped maple, will help cattle take advantage of the dry perennial grasses. In a winter climate, the demand is really for carbohydrate fuels. So you design oaks and chestnuts. What you then find, to your surprise, is that this is the way it works. You don't have to design it in. God did that. Cattle grew up to take advantage of what was actually seasonal.
There are plants like Tagasaste and Coprosma--evergreen and highly nutritious plants that go all year. Even though you let the cattle browse them, while they don't respond as fast over winter as they do in other seasons, they still regrow again.
So you have three strategies, then, with these cattle and deer and goats and sheep.
1: instead of just relying on annual pastures, have areas of permanent, high-mineral mobilization herbs throughout all your pastures-- dandelion, chicory, comfrey.
2: Have evergreens, standing, high-nutrition tree crop within forage range that the cattle will coppice.
3: Have high-sugar summer pods that will carry cattle through the semi-arid seasons. This group is critically important to range capacity.
4: Also, you must have a winter high carbohydrate source--large nuts and acorns.
These are the truly perennial components--the fruit of trees that stand in pasture."

Re: The Science (and Art) of Feeding Animal With Tree Fodder
Reply #1
This looks just like normal trees ... ah but it's not! ... it's "tree hay" ... cut branches stood upright and leaned against the live trees to dry in the shade ...