|Regenerative Agriculture Technologies for the Hill Farmers of Nepal: An Information Kit (IIRR, 1992, 210 p.)|
|Livestock and fodder|
The sporadic use of the local small-leafed mulberry "kimbu" as fodder is common in the hills of Nepal. In a particular area of Dhankuta, however, farmers have adopted a large-leafed local mulberry as fodder for feeding during the period of fodder scarcity and have also begun planting many trees.
The generic name of mulberry is Morus. Several local species have been identified and there are also several introduced species. Local species are Moms serrata (illustration), M. australis, M. alba and M. macroma.
The local name of the large-leafed mulberry located in the Dhankuta-Kagate-Hile area is Ilchiro. Its botanical name has still to be determined.
Mulberry can be planted from the Terai to 7,000 feet elevation.
Compared to the other mulberry species, the leaves of Ilchiro are large, averaging 6" wide and 8" long. The number of leaves per stem is high as well. Yield is estimated as being 40-50 kg/year from a well-grown tree. It comes into flush in February and can be fed from March until November as it is non-toxic during the flush period. It has a high crude protein content, ranging from 14- 20%. It is highly palatable, including the bark, and can be fed to buffaloes, cattle, goats, sheep and pigs.
TRADITIONAL LOCAL METHOD OF PROPAGATING ILCHIRO
Farmers generally prefer to cut large branches, 2-3 years old at the start of the monsoon and plant them in-situ. This eliminated the need for protection of new plantings as the upper parts are already above the reach of animals.
Branches used for cuttings can be as long as 12 feet of which at least 2 feet is inserted into the soil. This method has one drawback: it requires a lot of planting materials to obtain one plant.
NEED FOR PLANTING MATERIALS
Although other species of mulberry are widespread in the hills, this particular species is confined to a specific area. Introduction to new areas requires establishing cutting nurseries at several locations to eliminate the need for transporting large number of cuttings at some cost. To achieve this a package of practices had been developed which includes the initial supply of potted seedlings and dissemination of knowledge and skills related to propagation from cuttings, including the stool bed technique, to ensure a continuous supply of cuttings.
THE STOOL BED TECHNIQUE
The bed is dug to a depth of 30 cm and a doko of manure or compost added and mixed into the soil. A bed 2 m wide and 3.5 m long will take 12 plants spaced thus: 1 m between rows and 1/2 m between plants. This spacing is used because the plants become larger after 2-3 years and need adequate space to spread. Cuttings or rooted plants in plastic bags can be planted in the beds.
1. Obtaining and Preparing Cuttings. In this method practiced in winter, the size of 1-year cuttings could vary from 6-10 inches, the length being determined by the moisture status of the soil. When soil is high in moisture, cuttings can be short; when soil moisture is low, cuttings should be longer. To differentiate top from bottom, the top is cut at a slant, as illustrated:
Obtaining and preparing cuttings
2. Planting Cuttings. Raised beds are prepared and cuttings are planted with at least half of the cuttings' length below ground, to reduce drying.
3. Planting the Potted Seedlings. The potted mulberry plants are planted at the beginning of the monsoon in prepared pits whose depth is the same as the size of the pot. Remove the plastic by cutting with a sharp knife before planting.
Planting the potted seedlings
4. Obtaining Cutting from Stool Bed. Cuttings are taken from the branches which have sprouted from the main cutting a year after planting. The sketch shows the sequence of growth and cutting done over a two-year period. This practice continues over the life of the plant and is an effective method of providing a continuous supply of cuttings.
Obtaining cuttings from stool bed
OUT PLANTING OF CUTTINGS
Cuttings obtained at the beginning of the monsoon from stool beds and distributed to farmers can be planted directly, providing protection is given, or seedlings can be raised in beds for subsequent planting.
Mulberry is planted either along the edge of terraces or as a boundary plant. Good protection is required as even the stem and bark are eaten by animals.
Terrace edge: As this species has a high-tight interception capability similar to Nebharro, the distance between trees or terrace edges will be determined by its management (what height it is allowed to grow). Coppiced trees should be spaced at 15 ft and non-coppiced at 20 ft. Closer spacing results in reduced crop yield.