Fodder shrubs, or forage shrubs, can be incorporated into mixed farming systems to provide greater options for farmers. The term fodder refers to cut and carry feed; forage refers to feed that animals eat directly from the plant. In some farming systems, shrubs are used to provide fodder; however in the broadacre mixed farming systems with which Future Farm Industries CRC generally works, forage shrubs are more common – the animals are taken to the plants, rather than the plants cut and taken to the animals.
The Future Farm Industries CRC’s Enrich project has collected data on the potential Australian native shrubs have as forage shrubs. The project is developing profitable shrub-based grazing systems that deliver good outcomes for livestock management, farm profitability and the environment. One component of Enrich is to assess how shrubs can best be managed to enable livestock to self-medicate, by taking advantage of beneficial secondary compounds in plants (such as those useful for parasite control or reducing methane production).
Another Future Farm Industries CRC project relating to fodder shrubs is the Perennial Legume Forages for a Dry Mediterranean Climate project. This project has focused work on three key fodder shrub genera – tedera, Cullen and Medicago – and their usefulness and compatibility with crop and livestock systems in the low to medium rainfall zones of southern Australia.
Below is a link to a historical document relevant to Fodder Shrubs.