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CTA. 1987. Fodder Banks. Spore 7. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44583
Fodder banks provide cattle farmers with high quality fodder for the dry season. In Nigeria's sub-humid zone around Kaduna the number of these banks nearly doubled in 1984; the number of fodder banks managed by pastoralists increased spontaneously...
Fodder banks provide cattle farmers with high quality fodder for the dry season. In Nigeria's sub-humid zone around Kaduna the number of these banks nearly doubled in 1984; the number of fodder banks managed by pastoralists increased spontaneously from 24 to 46. The method of operation consists of sowing legumes into the natural pastures just before the onset of the rains, using the herd to trample the seed into the ground. Research has shown that cattle can graze the fodder banks for four weeks after sowing. But some farmers have been reluctant to use this method because of the risk of worm infestation. However, this problem can be overcome if the fodder bank area is divided into several sites, with the cattle confined for just one night on each site. Researchers from the International Livestock Centre for Africa carried out tests during the 1983/84 season. Two groups of animals grazing fodder banks were compared with cattle on natural pasture. One group of cattle grazed the fodder bank for two hours each day, the other for four hours. Between January and April 1984 the group of cattle on natural grazing lost 56 kg (23.5 % of their initial body weight). The group grazing the fodder bank for four hours a day lost only 26 kg, while the two-hour group lost 31 kg. Six of the 14 cows in the group on natural grazing died, but there were no deaths in the other two groups. Two fodder banks were used in these tests, each being planted with a different species of Stylosanthes: S. hamata or S. guianensis. Observation showed the animals preferred S. hamata. Although this variety tended to lose its leaves in the dry season, the cattle eagerly consumed them. S. guianensis is prone to anthracnose so S. hamata is now preferred until other resistant varieties can be found. For further information: ILCA Annual Report 1985 International Livestock Centre for Africa P O Box 5689 Addis Ababa ETHIOPIA