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Black Locust - Robinia pseudoacacia - Cut and Carry Forage for Livestock

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Today I decided to experiment with feeding some black locust leaves to the Shelterbelt Farm "flerd". Below you'll see the process and how easy it was to utilize this wonderful plant as a food for livestock...

What is black locust and why write about it? From, “Black Locust: A Multi-purpose Tree Species for Temperate Climates”:

Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) is a nitrogen-fixing legume, native to southeastern North America and now naturalized extensively in the temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. This tree is useful but underutilized for lumber, poles, wood fiber, land reclamation, beekeeping, fuel and forage. It grows very rapidly survives droughts and severe winters, tolerates infertile and acidic soils (Miller et al. 1987), and produces livestock feed nutritionally equivalent to alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) (Baertsche et al. 1986). Commercial feed production, as silage, hay or leaf meal, appears feasible.
(excerpt from:

It took me 3 minutes to cut this amount of fresh Locust root sprouts (the trunk was cut down Winter 2018).

Yummy "tree alfalfa"

A picture is worth a thousand words, many of the branches were stripped of their leaves.

To learn more about utilizing black locust in your agroforestry system, check out this great article by my friend Steve Gabriel:


Photos by Eric Toensmeier and others.

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