Thursday, December 30, 2010
Goat Garden in the Philippines
A recent article in the Manila Bulletin covered a goat operation in the Philippines, Alaminos Goat Farm, that developed a salad garden as a more economical and sustainable way to feed their animals. They found that the plant indigofera helped to improve the milk yields of their goats. The plant contains almost 25% protein, is about 85% digestible and contains 2% calcium, making it a very nutritious plant.
According to the article, "research work done by Ngo van Man, Nguyen van Hao & Vuon minh Tri of the Animal Nutrition Department, University of Agriculture and Forestry in Ho Chi Min City Vietnam. . . [found that] indigofera’s plant growth rate as well as its biomass yields are much higher compared to most of the plants included in the research. In selecting the tree legumes to be studied, they chose drought resistant species that will perform on poor soils. The soil was fertilized with goat manure and organic fertilizer during the study."
According to the farmers, indigofera must be given to goats when they are young, to get them used to eating it. To be most digestible and palatable, it must be cut every 30 days and fed to them, as well.
They don't say which of the 70 or so varieties of indigofera they use, however. Some varieties of the plant are also used as a dye (indigo) and a pain-reliever.
(Goats above are in Bali, eating a plant that resembles indigofera.)