Tree based systems for small ruminants in drylands


A long-term experiment was conducted to assess the performance of stocker ram lambs utilizing stockpiled foliage and forage from established “Leucaena leucocephala- based” silvopastoral system vis-à-vis natural pasture.  The treatments were: (1) stockpiled foliage and forage in a “L. leucocephala –based” silvopature (SILVOPASTURE) and (2) stockpiled forage in a natural grasslands (NATURAL) consisting primarily Sehima nervosum, Heteropogan contortus, Dichanthium annulatum, and Chrysopogan fulvus. Deccani ram lambs grazed treatment pastures from mid September to late March in all three years. Each treatment was replicated three times in a completely randomized design. SILVOPASTURE treatment produced more (P<0.01) forage than the NATURAL treatment, with the SILVOPASTURE producing 4.11 t ha-1 and the NATURAL producing 1.36 t ha-1. When the foliage of L. leucocephala was excluded, the SILVOPASTURE treatment still produced higher (P<0.01) crude protein (CP) than NATURAL. Average daily gain (P<0.01) was 87.2 g for the ram lambs in the SILVOPASTURE  and 59.1 g  for the ram lambs in the NATURAL  treatment. Gain per ha was greater (P<0.01) in the SILVOPASTURE than in the NATURAL treatment (236 vs. 160 kg) over the grazing season. Organic C, available N, P and K were increased over the 4 years of experimentation under the silvopastoral system due to accumulation of biomass leaf litter. The present study shows that the stockpiled foliage and forage from the silvopastoral system would meet the nutrient requirements of ram lambs even during drier months of the year and improves fertility and productivity of the soil in the long run.

Hortipature system for small ruminants

Three on farm experiments – experiment 1 (E1, 130 days), experiment 2 (E2, 120 days) and experiment 3 (E3, 120 days) were carried to evaluate the performance of Nellore Zodpi ram lambs grazed in established hortipastoral systems (mango and sweet orange orchards of above 5 years old with natural and established pasture of C. ciliaris, S. hamata and with boundary plantation of L. leucocephala) in rainfed areas. The forage and crude protein (CP) yields (t ha-1) were significantly (P < 0.01) higher from established pasture than natural pasture in orchards. The established pasture contained medium (C. ciliaris) to high (S. hamata) CP and medium in vitro dry matter degradability (IVDMD), where as the natural pasture contained low CP and medium IVDMD. The lambs with supplementary grazing on established pasture or supplemented with L. leucocephala foliage gained significantly (P < 0.01) higher live weight than grazed solely on natural pasture in all the experiments. Similarly higher (P < 0.01) average daily gain (ADG) was also observed with supplementary grazing. Income from ram lamb production under hortipastoral systems seems to be quite remunerative in all the experiments. Net gain ($ ha-1) from the hortipastoral systems ranged from 40.4 to 70.1 through ram lamb production. Further, higher income was observed with supplementary grazing on established pasture or supplementation of L. leucocephala foliage. The present study reveals that the orchards (mango and sweet orange) over 5 years old can be developed as hortipastoral systems with suitable understory grass species and boundary plantation of L leucocephala for higher biomass production. These systems can be efficiently integrated for ram lamb production in rainfed areas. Season plays a lot in availability of nutrients and subsequently the growth of the ram lambs under hortipastoral systems in rainfed areas, hence the lambs could be introduced preferably in the middle of rainy season (September month) for maximum weight gain.

Blogpost and illustration by G.R.RAO, D.B.V.RAMANA and N.N.REDDY of Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA) (Santoshnagar, Saidabad, Hyderabad) – grrao(at)


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50 People have left comments on this post

» Dr. R.P. Dwivedi, Principal Scientist, Jhansi said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 11:02:09 }

well done Dr.Rao and Co. Keep it up for the benefit of small marginal farmers.

» Dr Mahesh Chander said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 11:02:21 }

I appreciate & vote the blog since it attempts to improve fodder availability scenario, which require attention of all!

» P.janaki said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 12:02:02 }

Only way to sustain livelihoods of rainfed poor farmers, commendable work

» P.janaki said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 12:02:12 }

Only way to sustain livelihoods of rain-fed poor farmers, commendable work and a way forward

» P V PRASHANTH KUMAR REDDY said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 12:02:43 }

Excellent Work of Dr Rao, Dr Ramana and Dr Reddy need to be upscaled in Indian Drylands.

» G.Raghu said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 03:02:14 }


» Aditya said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 03:02:18 }

Good Work, Keep Going sir..

» Suresh Kokkula said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 03:02:28 }

Nice Dr.Rao and Co. Keep it up for the benefit of small marginal farmers.

» Sampath kumar N said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 04:02:19 }

I can appreciate persistence of Dr.Rao and Co.. ‘Valuing our life support systems’.

» Sampath kumar N said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 04:02:33 }

I can appreciate persistence of Dr.Rao and Co.. ‘Valuing our life support systems’.

» G.Raghu said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 04:02:03 }

Great Effort of DR R Rao, need to be luxury in Indian Drylands

Thank you

» rajesh said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 05:02:01 }


» Sanjay said: { Feb 4, 2014 - 10:02:37 }

Excellent work

» A.G.k.Reddy said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 04:02:08 }

Excellent Work by you people need to be takenup in Indian Dryland regions for livelihood of farmers

» Vasudev K L said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 06:02:14 }

Sir u have made great effort and the information is very much useful to all…..

Vasudev, K.L

» anilkumar said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 07:02:54 }

Excellent work

» sridhar said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 07:02:05 }

excellent work

» Mohan Saxena said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 07:02:06 }

Excellent work that will contribute to sustainability of small holder farmers. Congratulations to GR Rao et al.

» Dharmendra Tripathi said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 07:02:27 }

It may help in bridge the gap of fodder for small ruminants in india.

» I. srinivas said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 08:02:06 }

It promises the guaranteed feed to the small ruminants in viilages

» H.Y.PATIL said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 08:02:28 }

Sir I can appreciate your work to sustain livelihoods of rainfed small and marginal farmers, , commendable work

» Dr. Ram Newaj said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 09:02:52 }

It is very valuable research work under dry land and in present scenario , it is necessary for livestock for adaptation of climate change.

» Dr. Ram Newaj said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 09:02:11 }

It is very valuable research work under dry land and in present scenario , it is necessary for livestock for adaptation to climate change.

» Dr. Zahida Rashid said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 10:02:29 }

Dr. Rao is working with great sincerity and he has the zeal to change the scenario of dry land farming in india as well as around the globe. My sinxere wishes to Dr. Rao and his team.

» ravi dupdal said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 10:02:46 }

excellent work.keep going on sir

» aahladitha gandhe said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 10:02:17 }

Great job by Dr. G.R.RAO & team..keep it up!

» Dr.G.M.Bhat said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 11:02:12 }

I appreciate and vote the blog. it is a great effort of Dr.Rao sb.

» Dr. Naresh Kaushik said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 11:02:54 }

Good way to harvest fodder specially for resource poor small farmers.

» Dr. Bajrang Singh said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 12:02:07 }

Commendable work , I would like to appreciateit and reward properly

» Dr R Banyal said: { Feb 5, 2014 - 02:02:11 }

Its really a praiseworthy work and needs appreciation & recognition. I congratulate Dr Rao & his team for such a nice work in the benefit of the farming communities of dry land areas.

» Dr WS Dhillon said: { Feb 6, 2014 - 03:02:21 }

An excellent piece of work. Carry on. Congratulations.

» salini k said: { Feb 6, 2014 - 04:02:48 }

it is an excellent work and viable solution for fodder scarcity in the country

» K SRINIVAS said: { Feb 6, 2014 - 04:02:16 }


» K. Ravi Shankar said: { Feb 6, 2014 - 06:02:36 }

Excellent short, crisp and focused work

» V,PALANICHAMY said: { Feb 6, 2014 - 06:02:13 }

Congratulations NN Reddy Sir and his team for the excellent work done.

» Dr Rajesh Uppal said: { Feb 6, 2014 - 09:02:39 }

commendable work work for the livelihood security of marginal farmers under dry land conditions

» Manoranjan kumar said: { Feb 6, 2014 - 11:02:04 }

Excellent presentation of good work. All the best wishes.

» Dr. L. R. Tambade said: { Feb 6, 2014 - 11:02:04 }

Its really a praiseworthy work and needs appreciation & recognition. I congratulate Dr Rao.

» Dr. ramesh singh said: { Feb 6, 2014 - 11:02:04 }

Excellent study and it prooves that tree based system is the best practice for managing soil resources and livestock in dryland areas

» VENKATESH G said: { Feb 7, 2014 - 03:02:11 }


» mamootii said: { Feb 7, 2014 - 03:02:49 }


» Dr. M. Ravindra Kumar Reddy said: { Feb 7, 2014 - 05:02:46 }

Congratulations, excellent work keep going on. all the best for you and your team . . . . .

» sanjeev chauhan said: { Feb 7, 2014 - 07:02:04 }

Animals are integral component of farming system in India but forage requirements are normally met from natural grazing sites. Still the cultivation of fodder is not taken on priority but increasing pressure on forests has increased the realization of silvipastoral systems. This important aspect is taken up on priority in developed nations but still lacks in India. Nicely addressed issue on important aspect.

» kasdasfwr said: { Feb 7, 2014 - 11:02:32 }
» Ganesan RP said: { Feb 8, 2014 - 02:02:44 }

The benefits of integrated system, The Agroforestry. You get biomass / fruit along with livestock, which manures the fruit plants. No wastage and harmonious growth.

Lot of scope in India, as unviable agriculture forced many farmers to horticulture.

» Dr.PEDABABU BADDA said: { Feb 11, 2014 - 08:02:33 }

Dr.Rao is worthy to receive our praises as the trees not only provides biomass to the animals particularly in drylands and is helpful for the maintenance of balance of terrestrial ecosystems which is a must to combat the extremes of the climate change globally.

» RS Yadav said: { Feb 11, 2014 - 09:02:33 }

Good piece of information for the development of vast degraded lands in the country and livelihood security of small and marginal farmers on such lands.

» Dr.N.senthil kumar said: { Feb 13, 2014 - 12:02:42 }

Congratulations Dr.G.Rao Sir and his team for the excellent work done.

» Dr.N.senthil kumar said: { Feb 13, 2014 - 12:02:56 }

Congratulations for the development of marginal poor farmers of Dr.G.Rao Sir and his team for the excellent work done.

» arvind_patel100\ said: { Feb 14, 2014 - 03:02:48 }

Good work on Agroforestry

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