In the early 1980's we started to look at different tree species that would be multipurposeful across the farm. These trees produce fodder for the sheep in times of the year when feed is short, add to the farms biodiversity and help drought proof the farm. It took many years of planting and assesing tree species to find ones that fitted our criteria.
We now have extensive plantings of fodder Oaks that drop acorns for sheep feed. These Oak trees are maintenance free, highly productive and as they are deciduous their leaves add to the organic matter in the soil. Our Honey Locust plantings also produce good quality fodder for the sheep but the trees have long thorns and need careful management to avoid harming the sheep. We are currently researching thornless varieties that produce the same volume and quality of fodder.
Sheep Grazing Acorns
Productive older Oak trees can produce up to 150kg of acorns in early autumn.
Also a sheep favourite, the Carob tree produces highly nutritious, sweet pods. This tree is slow growing and in for the long haul.
An example of acorns on a young Oak tree.
Six Year Old Oak Plantings
With our soil management and reminerlisation program, the Oaks are producing acorns within 6 years.
Honey Locust Pods
Another fodder tree planted on the farm is the Honey Locust, which is a high yielding tree and loved by the sheep.
A very hardy tree, the nuts are a little prickly for the sheep but we enjoy them roasted!