Monday, 28 February 2011


8.         Need for Agro-Silviculture to Meet the Demands of Livestock Feed in Nepal

R S Pande

(Published in : Pande, RS, 1992. Proceedings of the Regional Expert Consultation on Agro-Silvi Culture to Support Animal Production in Asia and the Pacific Region. Agroforestry in Support of Animal Production in Asia and the Pacific Región. Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, RAPA Publication 1992/12, September, 1992, Bangkok, Thailand.)

INTRODUCTION
Shortage of fodder is the major constraints for livestock production in Nepal. Forests serve as a major source of tree and grass fodder, especially during lean period. It is estimated that animal production can be increased by 2-3 times by improving feed resources. Besides fodder shortage, diseases and parasites also affect productivity; disease alone is considered to cause about 40% loss in animal productivity. In recent decades, emphasis has been given to improve fodder supply through Department of Livestock Services and other non-government organizations in Nepal.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
Nepal is a mountainous country, lying between India and China. The total land area is 14.7 million hectares. It stretches North-west to South- east between latitudes 26° and 30°. Nepal has an extreme range of altitudes ranging from 61 to 8848 m. There is a great variation of climate. Nepal can be divided into three broad geographic zones. viz. the Terai, mid-hills and high mountains.
The Terai is a fertile strip of tropical low land running along the Indian border from east to west and has a mean elevation of about 200 m. It occupies about 155 of the total land area of Nepal and comprises 65% of the total cultivated land. The midhills lie to the north of the Terai ranging in elevation from 600 to 2000m. Steep slopes and terraced fields are the characterized mid hills. The high mountain extends midhills to high peaks of the Himalayas.
The climate in Nepal ranges from hot dry subtropical in the south to cool moist temperate in the north. The summer is dry and monsoon rains are received from June to September. Rainfall decreases from east to west from 3,000 to 1000m.

LAND USE PATTERN
Nepal is an agricultural country with approximately 93% of the population engaged in agriculture which contributes 56% of the total gross domestic products and provides 66% of the total foreign exchange earnings.
The present population is estimated at 17 million, most of which is generally confined to areas up to 2500 m elevation. Population density is high. Persons per ha geographical area are 1.07 and for cultivated land approximately 6.5. The average holding size per family is less than 0.4 ha and average family size is 6.5.
The land use pattern is presented in Table -1. Total cultivable land is approximately 26% in which more than 20% land is under cropping. Grazing areas, which are mostly in high mountain region, account for about 12% of total land area. Forests occupy about 38% of the geographical area and constitute one of the major natural resources of the country

Table -1. Land use pattern in Nepal
Land use
Terai
Mid hills
High mountains
Total
% of total land area
Cultivable land





a) Cropped area
1496
1222
253
2968
20.1
b) Uncropped area
173
665
149
987
6.1
Grazing area
71
293
1394
1758
11.1
Shrub land
6
443
251
700
4.8
Forests
2063
1759
1783
5605
38.0
Other non-arable
190
61
2479
2730
18.5
Total
3999
4443
6309
14748
199
Source: LRMP, 1986


LIVESTOCK AND ITS USE
Livestock is an integral part of the agricultural system. It contributes about 165 of the total agricultural GDP. National livestock population is presented in table-2.

Table-2 Livestock population in Nepal (000 heads)
Livestock
Terai
Mid hills
High Mountains
Total
Cattle
2242
3242
800
6284
Buffaloes
928
1772
303
3003
Sheep
125
400
385
910
Goats
1394
3099
809
5302
Pigs
153
319
76
548
Poultry
2510
6431
1217
101558
Total
7352
15263
3590
26205
Source: DFAMS, 1988

Livestock is the main source of milk, meat, draught power, wool, manure and hides. Presently, the livestock in Nepal produces 0.834 million tons of milk, .141 million tons of meat and 0.774 tons of wool. Poultry produces about 28.8 million eggs…
The number of livestock per unit of land is probably the highest in the world which has resulted in over utilization and degradation of arable land and forests. In hilly areas, stocking rate is as high as 8 LU/ha (Hopkins 1985) which is beyond the carrying capacity of the land. The carrying capacity of grazing land is estimated 0.06 LU/ha (Rajbhandary 1987). LU (Livestock Unit)=an adult cattle of 300 kg body weight).

FEED AND FODDER SITUATION
The major supply of fodder for ruminants is from forests and crop residues. Grasses from pastures, field terraces and tree fodder also supplement feed supply (Table-3).

Table -3 Estimated demand and supply of fodder in Nepal (in million tons)

Source
Terai
Mid hills
High mountains
Total
% of total
Agri byproducts
2.5
0.96
0.1
3.57
33
Forest tree fodder
1.3
1.9
0.2
3.37
31
Planted tree fodder
-
0.4
-
0.4
3.7
Forest grasses
0.4
0.6
0.07
1.1
10.1
Terrace grasses
0.03
0.1
0.02
0.15
1.4
Pasture grasses
0.1
1.6
0.4
2.1
19.0
Total
4.3
5.6
0.8
10.7
100
Total BLU*
3.0
4.2
0.8
8.0

Total Demand**
6.0
8.4
1.6
16.0

Balance of fodder
-1.68
-2.8
-0.79
-5.3

Deficit percent
28
34
49
33

 * BLU= Big Livestock Unit= an adult cattle of 400 kg body weight,
** Feed Demand@ 2 tons DM/BLU/Yr
Source: FAO/World Bank 1978; Panday 1982

FORESTS
Forest serves as a major source of tree fodder and grasses for ruminants. It is estimated that 41% of the total feed supply is contributed by forests; contribution of tree foliage and grasses is 31% and 10% respectively (Panday 19820. Rajbhandary (1987) estimated that contribution of forests as a whole in the total digestible nutrients is over 50%.
Most of the forests in the heavily populated areas up to 2500 m are over utilized. Majority of these forests are consequently seriously degraded and mismanaged (Panday 1982, Hopkins 1985). Most of the degraded areas of forest are classified as scrubland. The productivity of the scrubland is estimated to be 0.8 ton TDN/ha/Year (ADB/FINNIDA, 1988).
Besides supplying fodder and bedding materials for livestock, forests also provide fuel wood which is the major source of energy. Campbell (1983) estimated that the average annual consumption of fuel wood in hill areas of Nepal was 640 kg per caput. Mahat (1987) suggested that to meet the present needs of fodder and fuelwood each hectare of cultivated land requires 1.3 to 3.0 ha of unmanaged forest area.

FODDER TREES
Fodder trees play an important role as a feed source for ruminants, especially in hill areas of Nepal. There are over 136 species of shrubs/trees yielding fodder (Panday, 1982). Fodder productivity of indigenous tree species is estimated about 70 kg/tree/year (Panday 1982). Tree foliage constitutes a valuable source of green feed for livestock, especially during the lean period when herbaceous green fodder may not be available. Tree foliage supplements roughage fodder during lean period (Panday 1990), but may not be an efficient sole diet for livestock.
Fodder of most of the trees is rich in crude protein (CP); chemical analysis data of 19 common species of fodder trees at Animal nutrition Laboratory, Khumalatar are presented in Table -4. Information on the feeding value of browse for different species of animals is, however limited.
Table -4 Chemical Compositions of some common fodder trees (% on DM basis)
Tree species
CP
Cell content
Cellulose
Hemi cellulose
Lignin
Tree legumes





Bauhinia purpurea
21.7
49.3
25.4
7.0
19.3
B. variegata
19.7
60.4
17.2
4.2
18.2
Dalbergia sissoo
18.6
44.5
21.9
10.0
23.6
Leucaena leucocephala
18.7
52.7
15.7
3.5
28.1
Tree non-legumes





Artocarpus lakoocha
16.6
44.9
25.9
9.8
19.4
Bridelia retusa
10.3
47.4
29.0
6.4
17.3
Celtis australis
22.8
49.1
20.8
13.2
16.9
Ficus cunia
24.5
31.1
21.7
9.9
18.2
F.glaberrima
22.9
54.3
18.0
7.8
19.9
F. hispida
17.5
38.5
20.3
5.5
35.7
F. lacor
16.2
35.4
21.7
7.8
22.3
F. roxburghii
11.3
44.5
18.0
5.5
32.9
F. spp (Dumri)s
13.9
54.4
21.6
10.3
13.7
Grewia oppositifolia
20.7
30.6
25.8
4.1
39.5
Litsea polyantha
21.0
38.3
22.6
71
31.9
Morus alba
20.3
58.1
22.7
4.1
15.0
Premna integrifolia
21.4
35.3
26.1
10.8
27.9
Terminalia belerica
16.1
63.9
19.1
8.0
9.0
Source: Animal Nutrition Laboratory, Khumaltar, 1989.

Some tree species contain inhibitors such as hydrocyanic acid (HCN) (Panday, 1982) and Tannin (Shrestha and Pakhrin 1989). These compounds affect forage quality and animal performance Panday 1982; Shrestha and Pakhrin 1989)

PASTURES
Majority of community grazing area are found in high mountainous regions between 2500 and 5000 m elevations. Contribution of pasture from community grazing area is estimated to be approximately 19% in the total feed supply (Panday 1982) (Table -3), they however, locally provide about 50% of the fodder.
Productivity of the grazing areas is generally low, and greatly depends on the ecological conditions. The productivity of communal grazing areas is estimated to be about not more than 0.3 to 0.5 metric tons/ha (Archer 1987) and that of alpine pastures as 1.6 ton TDN/ha ADB/FINIDA 1988.

AGRICULTURAL BY PRODUCTS
Agricultural by-products consists mainly of crop residues such as paddy straw, maize and millet stover, wheat husk etc. and contribute about 33% in total feed supply (Panday 1982) (Table- -3). These have very low nutritive value which can be improved by treatment with urea (Bajracharya 1985; Shrestha and Dhoubadel 1987; Panday 1988) or by supplementing with green feed.

PASTURE AND FORAGE IMPROVEMENT
Livestock Development Services (DLS) are devoted to improve animal health and feed and fodder resources to increase the production potential of livestock and to attain self sufficiency in animal products. In recent decades, improvement of pasture and forage is getting due emphasis in Nepal through Department of Livestock services and other NGOs. Since the establishment of DLS in 1980, there is a significant increase in various aspects of livestock development. Forage cultivation e.g. berseem and oat has become quite popular, especially in Terai region. During 1985-86 to 1988-89, the total area brought under forage crops is estimated to be 2200 ha (Table -6). encouraging result of forage development programme is evident from the recent export of forage seeds to Bangladesh. similarly, 585630  seedlings of different species of fodder trees were distributed during the above period.
In high mountainous regions, long term programme for the improvement of community grazing areas has been implemented (Table-7). The introduced  pasture species such as perennial ryegrass, cocksfoot, white clover etc have been broadcasted. A total of 3200 ha of community grazing areas in high altitude region have been improved so far. It is assumed that the productivity of the local pasture land can be improved 2-3 times by incorporation of these improved species (Archer 1987).

Table -6 Forage and pasture Development Activities
Activities
Financial year
Total

1985-86
1986-87
19987-88
1988-89

Area covered by forage crops (ha
414.5
329.9
697.0
880.0
2221.4
Distribution of fodder tree seedlings
36946
64787
216700
267200
585630
Pasture Development (ha)
735
898
919
853
3405
Source: DLS 1989

CONSTRAINTS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
a) Better Fodder Tree Species
Most of the tree species are low in productivity. Forage of some of them exhibits low digestibility. Many tree species take 5 to 20 years to yield reasonable amount of DM (Panday, 1982; Hopkins 1985). Selection of better species of tree/shrubs for different ecological zones and management conditions is urgently required.
Fast growing multipurpose shrub species offer much greater potential compared to tree species. Short shrub species may be browsed directly without additional labour involved in lopping. Leucaena leucocephala is threatened by psyllid. Multipurpose leguminous shrub species such as tagasaste (Chamaecytisus palmensis), Gliricidia maculata), gorse (Ulex eurapeaus) could be suitable shrubs for Nepal.

b) Potentiality of Indigenous Pasture Species
Various exotic pasture species have been tested at different farms in Nepal e.g. Pokhara, Jiri, Mustang and Dolkha. Most of the introduced pasture species have been found to have some problems in seed production and propagation. There is an urgent need for research to evaluate the production potential, suitable methods of establishment and management, etc.
Many local species such as Medicago falcata (locally known as ‘ Kote”) have shown promising results. More emphasis should be placed on identifying potential indigenous pasture species suitable for various ecological zones. It is suggested that while formulating strategies and programmes, first consideration should be given to quantity rather than quality of DM yield to meet the growing demands of feed.

c) Use of Unutilized Community Pasture Areas
Most of the accessible grazing areas in high altitude regions are overexploited. The dominant species are unpalatable grasses and weeds; and the proportion of palatable grasses is decreasing. Approximately 42% of the grazing areas are still unutilized (Table-7) due to steepness of slopes and unavailability of drinking water.  There is an immediate need to open these pasturelands after necessary improvements.

Table -7. High altitude community grazing areas under Northern Belt Pasture Development, DLS, Nepal
District
Total Pasturelands (ha)
Percentage of utilization
Improved pasturelands (Ha)
Taplejung
30451
50
263.0
Sankhuwasabha
39256
50
128.5
Sindhupalchok
19505
50
649.0
Dolkha
34127
40
569.5
Gorkha
58990
50
220.0
Manang
48990
40
115.0
Mustang
147679
30
435.2
Humla
141449
30
380.0
Dolpa
249731
30
267.0
Mugu
91927
50
195.0
Total
862105
42
3222.2
Source: DLS, 1990

d) Need for Agro-silviculture
Increasing demand for food, fodder and fuelwood has led to overexploiting of forests, and consequent degradation. Soil loss in Nepal is estimated to be 20-50 tones/ha/yr (Hopkins, 1985). The rate of land lost due to landslide in Nepal, which is estimated to be about 120 m2/km year (Ives and Messerli 1981). Such soil erosion needs to be checked. Agro-silviculture offers the opportunity to conserve the soil and also provide fodder and fuelwood.
Agro-silviculture has just been introduced in Nepal and very little work has been done in this aspect. Intercropping of maize and Leucaena leucocephala increased maize yield by over 50% and produced about 2 tones of fuelwood in addition (Fuller, 1987). It is evident that a multi-commodity farming system is more advantageous than mono-cropping system.

CONCLUSIONS
Increasing human as well as livestock population is placing heavy demands on land. Cultivable land and forests are over exploited. Deterioration of ecosystem, severity and extent of soil erosion, and loss in productivity of soil are the results of mismanagement and overuse of land and forests. Besides strengthening the existing programme for fodder and pasture development, massive scale afforestation with multipurpose tree/shrub species could improve the supply of food, fodder, fuelwood and timber besides ensuring soil conservation. Adoption of agro-silviculture is the need of the day.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
My sincere thanks to the Director General Dr Udaya Singh, Department of Livestock Services, Nepal for his support and valuable comments and suggestions in the preparation of this report.

REFERENCES
·        Archer, A.C., 1987: Consultant Report, Himalayan Pasture and Fodder Research Network, Consultant Report, RAS/79/121/FAO., 1987.
·        ADB/FINNIDA, 1988. Master plan for the Forestry sector, Nepal. Ministry of Forest and soil Consurvation, Kathmandu.
·        Bajracharya, J. 1985. Effects on intake and milk yield of cows fed on urea-treated paddy straw.NEp.J.Anim.Sci.2:1.
·        Campbell, G.W. 1983:  People and forests in Hill Nepal, Community Forestry Development Division, Kathmandu, Nepal, 1983
·        DFAMS, 1988. Department of Food and Agricultural Marketing  Services (DFAMS), Nepal,
·        Fuller, J. 1987.Agroforestry: A new farming system, Raising Nepal. 27 Apr.1987. Kathmandu.
·        Hopkins, N.C.G. 1985. , Nepal Fodder trees. World Animal Review, 56:18-23.
·        Ives, J.D. and Messerli, B. 1981. Mountain hazards mapping in Nepal, Introduction to an applied mountain research Project. Mountain Research and Development, 1:223-230.
·        Jones, R.J. 1979. The value of leuceana leucocephala as a feed for ruminants in the tropics, World Animal Review, 31:13-20.
·        Mahat, T.B.S. 1987. , Forestry Farming linkages in mountain, Occasional paper no. 7, ICIMOD, Kathmandu.
·        NAS, 1977.Leucaena- promising forage and tree crop for the tropics. National Academic of Science, WashingtonD.C, USA.
·        Panday, Kk. 1982. , Fodder trees and tree fodder in Nepal. Swiss Federal Institute of Forestry Research Birmensdorf, Switzerland. B509
·        Pande, R.S. 1990, Feed value of tagasaste (Chamaecytisus palmensis) for goats and preferential browsing activities by goats and sheep in multi species shrub/pasture conditions. M.Agr. Sc. Thesis, Massey University, New Zealand.
·        Panday, S.B. 1988. Effect of concentrate mixture supplementation on intake and digestibility of urea-treated rice straw with green grasses by male calves. Nep. J. Anim. Sci. 4:12.
·        Panday, S.B. 1990. Feeds and fodders. In: A study on dairy farmers in Nepal. New Era, Katmandu.
·        Shrestha, N.P.; Dhaubadel, T. 1987. Effect of urea treated Paddy straw on milch buffalo. Nepalese Journal of Animal Science, Vol. 3. 11-19
·        Shrestha, N.P. and Pakhrin,B. 1989. Effect of different tree fodder on milk production in buffaloes, PAC, Technical paper no.17, Pakhribas Agricultural Centre, Nepal.
·        Wyatt_smith,J. 1982. , The Agricultural System in the hills of Nepal. APROSC, Occa. Paper no. 1. Kathmandu.

\

No comments:

Post a Comment