Tree fodder plays a central role in the farming systems of the mid-hills of Nepal. With declining forest resources, farmers are increasingly relying on establishing on-farm tree fodder resources. An inventory of fodder species grown and a detailed investigation of farmers' knowledge of the comparative fodder quality of different species revealed a complex set of criteria for comparing the 90 species cultivated. Fodder quality was determined by: the ability of fodder to satisfy appetite; the effects of fodder on milk and ghee (butter fat content) production including the effects of fodder on milk odour; the ability of fodder to improve animal growth rate (body weight gain); the effects of fodder on animal health; the comparative preference of different livestock for different fodder; and the palatability of fodder. A number of attributes were known to influence fodder quality. These were: leaf texture; leaf maturity; leaf bitterness; fodder toxicity; season; and the management regimes applied to the fodder tree. © 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.
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