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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1995

SUSTAINABLE LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION IN FORESTRY SYSTEMS

A N F Perera
University of Peradeniya

Forest systems, both natural and cultivated, have a very high potential for livestock production. The fodder for feed could be obtained from forestry systems. This biomass can easily be converted to cash generating products through animals. Therefore, 'GOAT' is an ideal livestock species, best suited for these systems.

In the Dry Zone under natural browsing in scrub jungles live-weight gains up to 50 - 75 g d-1 have been achieved. The rumen ammonia levels were higher (400 mg N l-1 SRF) than those where grazing was in pure Brachiria pastures. The blood urea levels were satisfactory (10.3 m moll-1). In cultivated forests such as Eucalyptus and Pinus, similar potentials exist. Under Pinus forests in the Mid-Country, goats on natural pastures gained 45 g d-1 and with Gliricidia this increased to 55 gd-1.

They are also efficient "Biological Weeders". Removal of weeds reduces weeding costs, competition and fire hazards. A single goat will remove nearly 0.5 mt. of weed dry matter per year and convert this to 25 Kg of meat. Five goats can keep a hectare of moderately weedy land clean (2500 Kg Dm ha-1 y-1), while returning 28 Kg N, 18 Kg P2O5 and 11 Kg K2O as nutrients to the system. Livestock fit well into agroforestry systems, where tree/ shrub species are grown as hedgerow and more biomass is produced than is needed. Therefore, the specified 'SALT-2' system is well suited to improve the family budget and sustain the soil productivity for Mid-Country farmers.


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