Fodder bank establishment and management for dry season maintenance of small scale livestock industry: A review
The objective of this study therefore, was to review fodder bank establishment and management for dry season supplementary feeding of livestock. Fodder banking involves fencing, planting, concentrating, storing and reserving of forage legumes in hays and silos to which concentrates, mineral and vitamin premixes are added. In addition, legume trees and shrubs such as Acacia spp, Leucaena leucocephala, Mangifera indica, Musa spp, Cajanus cajan, Tamarindus indica, Stylosanthes guianensis, Centrosema pubescens, Desmodium spp etc. are also good fodder crops which are commonly used. Fodder bank converts the above mentioned crops into supplementary or fall back forage kept in small to large plots for dry season use by aging, ailing, nursing, and lactating and high producing animals. The relatively deep roots of these woody perennials allow them to reach soil nutrients and moisture not available to grasses and herbaceous plants. This characteristic enables these plants to retain fresh foliage into the dry season. The ability of some legumes to fix atmospheric nitrogen makes them protein rich feeds. As with all tree planting activities, fodder bank establishment must be planned to coincide with the rainy season. This ensures high seed emergence, plant survival and establishment. Good site selection is paramount, accompanied with thorough land preparation for excellent establishment of fodder banks. These processes are accomplished by mechanical or chemical means. Methods practiced locally for other high value crops are also often used. The goal is a wider seed-bed, in which plant growth and survival will be maximized.
Keywords: Fodder bank, Management, Dry Season Feed, Livestock, Nigeria