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close this bookLivestock and Poultry Production (IIRR, 1992, 106 p.)
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View the documentSimple agro-livestock technology (SALT-2)
View the documentIntensive feed garden
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View the documentForced-feeding technology (including Batangas cattle-fattening system)
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View the documentOn-farm fodder sources in agroforestry (trees and grasses)
View the documentOff-farm fodder sources in agroforestry (trees and grasses)

Intensive feed garden

Intensive feed garden

Intensive Feed Garden (IFG) is the planting of forage and leguminous trees together on a piece of land as potential nutritional source of animal feeds throughout the year. It requires 200 sq m of land to feed 5-6 heads of native goats and about 400 sq m to feed a cattle.

The concept of an IFG aims at maximizing the production of fodder in a limited land area (10m × 20m) through extensive cultivation of leguminous trees/shrubs and grasses. This technology is recommended where compound farming is practiced and livestock have to be confined. It is appropriate where feed is scarce and not readily available or for "cut-andcarry" system.

Benefits from an intensive feed garden

1. Provides renewable and inexhaustible sourre of nutritious and palatable fodder, fuel and green manure.

2. Curbs soil erosiconserves soil moisture and increases soil fertility

3. Increases the productivity of a given piece of land by interplanting diversa species of fodder trees, shrubs and grasses

4. Provides a stable agricultural system for semi-arid tropics, drought-stricken areas and other adversa environments

5. Reduced danger of toxicity problems from noxious weeds and contaminated poisonous fodder.


Total Herbage Yield (DM/HA per year)

Nitrogen (KG/HA per year)

Crude protein (%)

Gliricidia sepium

5.5 - 15.0




7.4 - 24.0



Napier Grass

15.0 - 40.0



5.0 - 20.0


When to cut/harvest the fodder

Grass: 6-8 weeks after planting, then regularly cut every 4-6 weeks 15 cm from the ground.
Trees: 8-12 months after planting, then regularly cut 812 weeks 1 m from the ground.

Management care

Put a fence around.
Do not allow grazing of animals.
Cut fodder trees/grasses basad on season.
Apply fertilizer/compost.
Weed areas between hills.
Provide drainage on waterlogged areas.

Return 50-70 percent of the cut leaves from the the species to the soil in the form of mulch.

Table 2. Recommended fodder trees and grasses and a their propagation

Scientific name

Common name


A. Fodder trees

Gliricida sepium

Madre de Cacao

seeds, seedlings, stem cuttings

Leucaena leococepgala/L. diversifolia


seeds, seedlings

Cajanus Cajar


seeds, seedlings

Sesbania grandiflora



Flemingia macrophylla



Calliandra calothyrsus



Desmodium rensonii



B. Grasses

Pennisetum purpureum

Napier or Elephant Grass

seeds, stem cuttings

Panicum maximum

Guinea Grass

seeds, root stocks

Brachiaria mutica

Para Grass

seeds, stem cuttings

Cynodon plectostachysus

African star grass

seeds, stem cuttings

Digitaria decumbens

Pangola Grass

seeds, stolons

Pennisetum clandestinum


seeds, rhizomes

Dicanthium aristatum

Alabang X

seeds, root stocks, stem cuttings

Brachiaria decumbens

Signal Grass

seeds, root stocks

Chloris gayana

Rhodes Grass

seeds, root stocks

Land preparation and planting.

Land preparation

The land should be cleared of ali weeds before land preparation and planting. Since forage grass (Panicum) seeds are small, they require a fine seedbed. If vegetative planting materials are used, a rough seedbed is tolerated. Leucaena and Gliricidia can be planted either on a flat or ridged land and must be planted ahead of the forage grass to minimize shading for the first 4-6 weeks. Forage trees may be planted by direct seeding or by seedlings previously raised in a nursery. Direct seeding is easier, cheaper and feasible in area where annuai rainfall is 1,200 mm or more with a minimum growing season of about 200 days. Planting by seedlings is recommended at the start of the rainy season. If irrigation is available, planting can be done any time of the year. The ideal depth of planting should be about 2.0 cm for both Leucaena and Gliricidia with 2-3 seeds per hill, 4-6 weeks atter planting. In drier environments, one seedling per hill is desirable. Leucaena seeds have hard rover and should be scarified with hot-water treatment. Both Leucaena and Gliricidia seeds should be inoculated with soil from areas where the trees are already growing before planting so that they will have the ability to nodulate and fix atmospheric nitrogen.

For small livestock famms of not more than 400 sq m, it is suggested that more leguminous trees than forage grass should be planted to provide increased protein supplement and palatable fodder for the animals.

This modification is established solely with legume trees. The trees may be planted at interrow spacings of 1.0 m with 25 cm between hills. This should be cut on a 10-12 week cycle for optimum productivity, while grasses and leguminous shrubs/vines are mature for cutting in 6-8 weeks. More frequent cutting will reduce total productivity.

Land planting

In areas assisted by IIRR where there is limited land area, farmer-cooperators have modified IFG by using the following:

a. Diversified hedgerows along the contours of the farms.

b. Leguminous trees/shrubs are planted on the boundaries of farms serving as fences and one meter along this boundary; they interplant fodder grasses.

c. Green grasses are planted along earthen dikes, irrigation canals and road banks. Planting fast-growing grasses, like Pennisetum purpureum, in earthen dikes yield more than three kilogram dry matter of forage per ten linear meters every 30 days during rainy season. One draft animal will require 750 linear meters planted to grasses and Gliricidia to meet its entire fodder requirements per year on cut-and-carry system. Gliricidia produces five kilogram dry matter per tree of top quality fodder spaced two meters apart.


PCARRD Technical Bulletin No. 12 MBRLC Data