Tree fodder plays a central role in the farming systems of the mid-hills of Nepal. With declining forest resources farmers increasingly rely on establishing on-farm tree fodder resources. An inventory of fodder species grown and a detailed investigation of farmers' knowledge of the (comparative) fodder quality of different species revealed a complex set of criteria for comparing the 90 species cultivated. Fodder quality was determined by: the ability of fodder to satisfy appetite; the effects of fodder on milk and ghee (butter fat content) production including the effects of fodder on milk odour; the ability of fodder to improve animal growth rate (body weight gain); the effects of fodder on animal health; the comparative preference of different livestock for different fodder; the palatability of fodder. Attributes known to influence fodder quality were: leaf texture, leaf maturity, leaf bitterness, fodder toxicity, season and the management regimes applied to the fodder tree.
Animal Feed Science and Technology (1997) 67 (2-3) 97-114. [doi:10.1016/S0377-8401(96)01129-7]