The intensive feed garden (IFG)
This is a relatively new concept which is currently receiving a lot of research attention at ILCA. The IFG aims at intensive cultivation of fodder trees and grasses on a small plot of land, usually close to the farmer’s animal holding area. It is especially suitable for situations where alley farming may be inappropriate for one reason or the other, and can also be used, in some cases, to supplement feed resources from alley farms.
The prototype IFG contains the legumes leucaena and gliricidia on one half and the grasses Panicum maximum and Pennisetum purpureum on the other. The gardens are 200 m and predicated on intensive nutrient cycling through the application of manure or fertilizer to maximise feed production from a limited area. The goal is to have gardens which will provide the major feed requirements for 4-6 animals.
Current research aims at further intensifying the gardens through modifications in spacing and design (spatial arrangement of trees and grasses), as well as quantification of their productivities and carrying capacities.