Date Posted: June 21st, 2010
Fodder crops are grown explicitly or primarily to feed animals. They can be temporary or permanent. Temporary fodder crops, like the mucuna in this story, are cultivated and harvested like any other crop. Permanent fodder usually refers to land used only for grazing, such as pastures.
Temporary fodder crops are normally used very intensively, with several cuttings per year. They include three major groups of fodder: grasses, legumes (like mucuna), and root crops. All can be fed to animals fresh or dried.
Here are links to further information:
-A comprehensive list of tropical fodder crops can be found at http://www.tropicalforages.info/
-A magazine article about an innovative project approach to fodder:
Reassessing the fodder problem
Farming Matters, March 2010.
You can also read a related FRW news item from Issue 54:
Rwanda: Local cattle breeds still preferred (Syfia Grands Lacs)
The following Farm Radio International scripts discuss various aspects of fodder:
-“Trees provide fodder for livestock” (Package 74, Script 5, March 2005)
-“A Fodder Hedge Provides Feed for Cattle in the Dry Season” (Package 51, Script 8
-“The adventures of Neddy the ParaVet: Fodder trees provide nutritious livestock feed all year” (Package 63, Script 8, April 2002)
-“Good cow feed for all seasons” (Package 30, Script 6, October 1993)
Insufficient animal feed is often a constraint to livestock production in Africa. This news story touches on a difficult issue – what happens when it is more profitable for farmers to grow fodder than food for their own consumption? If you broadcast to an area where improved or exotic cattle breeds are raised, you could run a call-in show to discuss this:
-Should farmers focus on growing food crops or on earning money from fodder?
-How will their choices affect local food supply?
-What would be a satisfactory compromise?
-To what degree is this issue affected by the cattle breeds raised in the area?