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Trees for Fodder

Trees can produce high quality fodder, especially useful in drought conditions and times of feed shortage.

Trees on Farms Videos


Tree Grower articles

  • A diverse sustainable dairy farm and forestry landscape (Access: NZFFA membership)
    Murray Downs, February 2022
    Trees in agriculture, and in particular a dairy farming landscape, are a hard sell, especially when it starts to take up the productive area of a paddock. The question for the…
  • Willows and poplars for drought mitigation (Access: unrestricted)
    Trevor Jones and Ian McIvor, November 2013
    This article, on using willow and poplar for animal feed in a drought, complements the article in the August issue of Tree Grower. The subject is not new but the…
  • Willows and poplars for drought feed (Access: unrestricted)
    Deric Charlton, August 2013
    The drought last summer throughout most of New Zealand exposed the vulnerability of livestock farmers who depend on ryegrass-based pastures. Some had to use balage, silage and hay intended for…
  • Trees for protection – native or otherwise (Access: unrestricted)
    Jim Flack, May 2013
    In geological terms, New Zealand is a young country and still growing. Tectonic plates grind beneath us, pushing the land upwards, while our maritime weather systems try to wear it…
  • Poplar and willow as supplementary fodder sources (Access: unrestricted)
    Grant Douglas and Ian McIvor, November 2010
    The foliage of poplar and willow trees has been used by farmers for many years to feed livestock during drought at various places throughout New Zealand. The fodder has been…
  • Cost-benefit analysis of tree fodder (Access: unrestricted)
    John Stantiall, February 2008
    Analysing the financial benefits of using poplars and willows as fodder trees is a challenging exercise, due to the range of possible scenarios and different perceptions about which costs should…
  • Where is poplar and willow research going? (Access: unrestricted)
    Ian McIvor, November 2007
    New Zealand has developed unique and innovative systems for using poplars in soil conservation on slopes which continue to impress overseas visitors. The need to stabilise our hill country has…
  • Managing poplars and willows on farms (Access: unrestricted)
    Deric Charlton, May 2006
    There is a huge asset growing on our farms and in recent years it has been neglected. I am referring to the widespread and increasing population of poplar and willow…
  • Pruning young poplars (Access: unrestricted)
    Sarah Hurst, Ian McIvor, Carlo van den Dijssel, Steve Green, Lindsay Fung, Grant Douglas and Lex Foote, May 2006
    Since the 1950s over six million poplars have been planted throughout New Zealand. Planting reached a peak during the 1970s in response to government incentives for soil conservation. Unfortunately many…
  • Work on poplars and willows (Access: unrestricted)
    HortResearch, May 2006
    In the past four years there has been a concerted effort to compile information on growing poplars and willows on farms, based largely on farmer experience and on-farm research. There…
  • Poplar fodder trial (Access: unrestricted)
    Murray Harris & Barrie Wills , February 2005
    John and Heather Prebble have been farming for 20 years at Mt Blue. This is 630 hectares of mainly sheep and beef 10 km inland from Palmerston, or approximately 15…


Information leaflets

  • Poplars and willows for drought fodder
    NZFFA Information leaflet No. 22 (2005). In this page: Poplars Willows Poplars After the 1988-89 drought I decided to plant an area in poplars with the specific intention of using…




Other sources of information

  • Sustainable Farming Fund Tree Fodder Project Page
    Sustainable Farming Fund Grant No. 01/208  
  • Fodder Tree Project - New Zealand Poplar and Willow Research Trust
    Findings from the project will assist farmers to sustainably use tree fodder to supplement pasture of low ...
  • Using Trees on Farms
    NZ Grassland Association & NZ Farm Forestry Association. (Workshop proceedings, Palmerston North, 2003, edited by JFL Charlton) 
    Handbook with a series of workshop papers focusing mainly on farmers’ experiences with fodder crops but includes papers on shelter, and alternative species. Available free from NZFFA.
  • Using Trees on Farms
    Farmer experience with tree fodder
  • Fodder willows for Hawke’s Bay 
    Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Land Management series
    Introductory information on choice of willow species and fodder systems for east-country farms.


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