Answer for Expert Council Segment on The Survival Podcast January 2022

Fodder Trees for Tropical and Sub Tropical Regions

Expert Council Question for Nick Ferguson on Fodder Trees

From Allen: What are some good fodder trees for tropical areas? 

I have 30 acres in Tanzania I will be buying another adjoining 250 acres. The land is former farm land that has laid fallow for 15-25 years. I would like to raise livestock on the property and also operate a few orchards. Looking at leaf, nut, fruit and plant fiber for animal and human consumption. The water table is between 10 and 20 feet deep.  The elevation is about 600 ft above sea level. Rainy season is twice a year.  Temperatures run between 60 degrees in the winter and rarely topping 100 degrees in the summer.  Surface water is plentiful and the property has a river that borders it so flooding is 3-4 times yearly. I will be retiring in the next few years but I would like to establish a good supply of fodder trees prior to me moving on to this property.  Thank you for your time and any help you can give.

Flooding prone areas immediately makes me think of willow and poplar, and if you can find any slightly dryer locations, white mulberry. While they can tolerate some flooding and wet soils, I don’t have enough information to go on to determine if they would be a good fit for your landscape. Sadly I’m not well versed on African tree species and names. But I will link any relevant research and articles I can find that might help you out in this department. What I can do is speak to what I would be looking at planting. And before I do so, I have to include the usual caveat. None of these ideas are suggestions on what you specifically should do. You need to do your own research to determine if my ideas will work for your location, laws, and other red tape malarky. I personally think if you want hybrid willow for your land, you should be free to have some hybrid willow cuttings shipped to you and plant them. Literally that’s all you need, cuttings from trees, no roots, no leaves, no roots. They arrive and you stick them in pots in a shady place to start to root and grow. Fertilize lightly once they have about 6″ of growth showing, and once they start to take off, fertilize heavier, and transplant to a nursery location where they can grow vigorously. This way you have an established tree to take thousands of cuttings from over the next several years. This gives you plenty of stock to plant as many acres as you would like. Same goes for the hybrid poplar (cottonwood). Again, I can’t speak to the legality since I’m not a lawyer or even someone with a passing association with the laws of any African country. So you’d have to look into the legalities yourself. I would not advocate or encourage breaking any laws. But I am a strong opponent to the spurious idea of a supposed “non-native” species. All species are “native” to the earth. No amount of segregation will ever prevent the spread of every species to every corner of the earth. But I digress… Let’s get back to fodder trees I’m familiar with.

The Nick Ferguson List

Here’s a list of the trees I’d be personally comfortable with planting and growing for fodder in a tropical to sub-tropical environment. Listed in order of “appropriate for tropics” from top to bottom. The last 4 have a very wide climate range they are comfortable growing in, with some being happy in nearly sub-arctic zones.

  • Tagasaste – Cytisus proliferus
  • Moringa – Moringa oleifera
  • Leucaena – Leucaena leucocephala
    (Dalzell et al. (1998) demonstrated that species of Leucaena other than L. leucocephala rated highly in terms of forage quality. The species L. collinsii, L. lanceolata, L. lempirana, L. macrophylla, L. magnifica, L. shannonii and L. trichoides all had high dry matter digestibility (>65%), low levels of non-digestible fibre (<26%) and low concentrations (<1.5%) of condensed tannins)
    • The above do well in Tropical locales some are frost intolerant, and some can handle very minor frost
  • Hybrid Willow – Salix nigra X sp.
  • White Mulberry – Morus alba (or hybrid)
  • Hybrid Poplar – Populus deltoides X sp.
    • All the above do well in sub tropical to tropical locales
  • Lacebark Elm – Ulmus parvifolia (I suspect this would also do well in sub-tropical areas)

Those are my recommendations, again, wish I could be more specific to exactly what you might be able to find locally. But if you are able to import some trees, the above list will likely see you in good order. If not I have a bunch of options below. And if you’re interested in learning more about fodder trees, how to grow them, manage, harvest. There’s probably 5-20 hours of video content in a fodder tree playlist over on my HomegrownLiberty Youtube channel Link is here.

Link to a ScienceDirect paper on Fodder trees in Africa

The above link has a great article on fodder trees to improve livestock productivity and smallholder livelihoods in Africa. Lots of species listed that you should be able to source within that continent. Also are lots of interesting bits about specific species you will likely to be dealing with.

Fodder Trees for More Milk and Income – World Agroforestry Centre

Introduction of low cost, easy to grow fodder trees, to a quarter of a million farmers across East Africa, for feeding to livestock, has boosted milk yields and incomes, and reduced the need for expensive dairy feed concentrates.

Below is a list of Fodder Species taken from this article from FAO

Mimosaceae:Albizia anthelmintica, Acacia albida (Faidherbia albide), A. benthamii, A. brevispica, A. erioloba, A. ehrenbergiana, A. karoo, A. laeta, A. mellifera, A. nilotica, A. nubica, A. raddiana, A. senegal, A. seyal, A. tortilis, Prosopis africana, Parkia biglobosa.
Combretaceae:Anogeissus leiocarpus, A. schimperi, Combretum aculeatum, C. apiculatum, C, denhardtiorum, C. eleagnoides, C. exaltatum, C. fragans, C. ghazalense, C. glutinosum, C. micranthum, C. mossambicense, Guiera senegalensis, Terminalia holstii, T. ruspolii.
Caesalpiniaceae:Afzelia africana, Bauhinia petersiana, B. reticulata, B. rufescens, Cassia sieberiana, C. tora, Colophospermum mopane, Cordeauxia edulis, Piliostigma reticulatum, P. thonningii, Tamarindus indica.
Capparidaceae:Boscia albitrunca, B. angustifolia, B. salicifolia, B. senegalensis, Cadaba farinosa, C. glandulosa, Capparis decidua, C. tomentosa, Crateva adansonii, Maerua angolensis, M. crassifolia, M. parvifolia, M. tricophylla.
Papilionaceae:Baphia massaiensis ssp obovata, Dalbergia melanoxylon, Indigofera garckeana, I. spinosa, Lonchocarpus capassa, Pterocarpus lucens, P. erinaceus, Rhychosia flavissima.
Tiliaceae:Grewia bicolor, G. flava, G. flavescens, G. kakothamnos, G. tenax, G. villosa.
Acanthaceae:Barleria eranthmoides. B. proxima, Disperma Kilimandscharica, Justicia Caendeir. Justicia Caeruleir. J.
Convolvulaceae:lpomea hardwickii, l. eriocarpa, l. acanthocarpa. l. coccinasperma.
Rubiaceae:Feretia apodanthera, Gardenia amencana, G. spatulifolia, Mitragyna incenus
Anacardiaceac:Lannea stuhlmannii, Sclerocarya birrea, S. caffra
Labiatae:Leucas neufliziana, Hoslundia opposita, Plectranthus iginansus.
Verbenaceae:Avicennia africana, Clerodendron myricoides, Premna vibumoides.
Burseraceae:Commiphora africana, C. boiviniana.
Euphorbiaceae:Acalypha fructicosa, Securinega virosa.
Rhamnaceae:Ziziphus mauritiana, Z. mucronata.
Simaroubaceae:Balanites aegyptiaca, B. maughamii.
Amaranthaceae:Sericocomopsis hilderbrandtii.
Annonaceae:Annona aremaria.
Asclepiadaceae:Oxystelma bourmouense.
Bombaceae:Adansonia digitata.
Boraginaceae:Heliotropium albohispidum.
Cyperaceae:Croton dichogamus.
Ebenaceae:Dispiros mespiliformis.
Erythroxylaceae:Erythroxylum zambesiacum.
Hypocratheaceae:Hypocrathea africana.
Liliaceae:Asparagus spp.
Loganiaceae:Strychnos innocua.
Lythraceae:Hypocratea africana
Lythraceae:Lawsonia inernis.
Malvaceae:Hibiscus micranthus.
Moraceae:Ficus gnaphalocarpa.
Moringaceae:Moringa oleifera.
Ochnaceae:Ochna stuhlmannii.
Oleaceae:Ximenia americana.
Plumbaginaceae:Plumbago zeylanica.
Salvadoraceae:Salvadora persica.
Sterculiaceae:Cola laurifolia.
Ulmaceae:Celtis integrifolia.
Umbellifera:Steganotaenia araliacea.

Below is another citation linking to this paper

Vandermeulen Sophie, Ramírez-Restrepo Carlos Alberto, Beckers Yves, Claessens Hugues, Bindelle Jérôme (2018) Agroforestry for ruminants: a review of trees and shrubs as fodder in silvopastoral temperate and tropical production systems. Animal Production Science 58, 767-777.