|Regenerative Agriculture Technologies for the Hill Farmers of Nepal: An Information Kit (IIRR, 1992, 210 p.)|
|Livestock and fodder|
Due to the attack of psyllid on Ipil-Ipil (Leucaena leucocephala) in Nepal, its popularity has been decreasing. People have become suspicious of growing exotic species in their farms. As a consequence, farmers have given local fodder tree species priority in the last two years. However, local species alone could not meet the fodder demand during the dry season, nor could they provide nutrients to the soil as a legume species. Given this situation, the following exotic species have been tried as alternatives to Ipil-Ipil. Three years of initial testing in the miDhill districts have shown good results as compared to local species. These species require further adaptive testing before being widely promoted.
1. Flemingia congesta known in Nepal as Bhatmase is a member of the Papilionoideae subfamily of the Leguminosae. It grows to a height of 2 meters. The leaves can be harvested as fodder six times a year and provide excellent fodder during the dry months (AprilMay). Flemingia is a hardy plant that can resist long dry spells and is capable of surviving on very poorly drained and occasionally water logged soils. Bhatmase grows best along water courses (Kulo) on clay soils. Biomass production per year is 44 t/ha (fresh weight).
2. Calliandra calothyrsus widely called Kaliandra is a fast-growing multipurpose fodder tree species in the sub-family of Leguminosae (Mimosoideae). The average height of a three-year old plant is four and a half meters. Kaliandra yields large quantities of firewood and can produce up to 46 t/ha of fresh fodder. It can be directly seeded into areas with steep slopes and on poor sites. Calliandra tetragona is also showing good performance in some of the midhill districts of Nepal. Farmers are slowly beginning to grow it.
3. Cajanus cajans or Rahari (Pigeon pea), is a leguminous shrub. It attains a height of 5 meters under good conditions. It is an excellent fodder (with 1524% CP) and is a commonly eaten pulse. It is hardy, widely adaptable and is comparatively more tolerant to drought and high temperatures. Under less intensive management 3-# dry t/ha of fodder is expected (NFTA 198#). Stems are an important household fuel wood in many areas.
4. Sesbania sesban known as Sesbania belongs to the legume subfamily Papillonaccae. It is a fast-growing fodder shrub and can be grown from the Terai to 3,300 meters elevation. It can grow more than 6 m in height and reaches a height of 5 m in one year; It grows 011 a wide range of soil conditions, including both acid and alkaline soils.
Based on observations from Nepal and trial results from other countries associated with the Nitrogen-Fixing Tree Association (NFTA), three varieties of Ipil-lpil - L. collinsi L. pallida L. esculenta - have been identified as being psyllid-resistant, although they are not as prolific and productive as older varieties such as L. Ieucocephala and L. diversifolia. These three varieties have also been cross-bred with L. diversifolia and L. Ieucocephala and have produced other hybrids which are moderately resistant to the psyllid. All of these varieties are known in Nepal as Ipil.
· L. collinsii (K-740) is suitable to the lower valleys and the Terai areas of Nepal but can-grow at elevations of up to 3,000 ft. It has large leaflets (as compared to the other two varieties) and has a good coppicing ability. It is more suitable on deep, sandy alluvial soils and well-drained conditions. Trees are generally 12-15m in height with coarse branches and a spreading crown.
· L pallida (K-376) is well-adapted to the central midhill districts of Nepal. It has good fodder and seed production. Fodder is highly palatable to livestock. A three-year old tree will reach a height of 5m.
· L. esculenta (K-897) is a high-altitude variety. It has small leaflets but larger compound leaves, as compared to the other two varieties. The trees reach only 10m in height. The trees are cultivated for their edible pods and produce high quality firewood.
Potential alternative exotic fodder species