Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 113–121 | Cite as

Lamb productivity on stockpiled fescue in honeylocust and black walnut silvopastures

  • Gabriel J. PentEmail author
  • John H. Fike


Trees in silvopastures can provide forage-livestock systems with multiple goods and services, including shade, shelter, and browse, but the provision of browse has received little exploration in temperate systems. Honeylocust trees (Gleditsia triacanthos) produce nutritious pods that could serve as supplemental fodder for livestock grazing stockpiled tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus). This study compared lamb performance in honeylocust (cv. Millwood) and black walnut (Juglans nigra) silvopastures with productivity on open pastures during a six week winter grazing trial. Treatment pastures were rotationally stocked with three (walnut) or six (honeylocust and open) lambs per experimental unit based on forage availability. Lambs were naïve to pods and did not readily consume the fodder until four weeks into the trial. Forage availability did not differ (P = 0.7580) between honeylocust silvopastures and open pastures (mean = 5090 ± 90 kg ha−1) but was greater (P < 0.0001) than forage availability in the black walnut silvopastures (3790 ± 90 kg ha−1). Average daily gains did not differ (P = 0.3763) among treatments over the six weeks of study. However, lambs within the honeylocust silvopastures began consuming pods at about week four of the study and had greater (P = 0.0251) average daily gains in the final period (0.12 ± 0.02 kg day−1) than lambs within the open pastures (0 ± 0.02 kg day−1). These data suggest that honeylocust pods may support greater lamb weight gains, but previous exposure and longer study periods may be necessary to see their nutritional benefit when grazing high quality forages.


Fodder Honeylocust Sheep Silvopasture Stockpile Winter 



The authors acknowledge Lina Godine and Sarah Kate Pent for assistance with lab and field work, Bradley Ellis and Dr. Chris Teutsch for assistance with forage nutritive value analysis, the Kentland field crew for assistance with site management, and Drs. Kevin Pelzer and Sierra Guynn and the Food Animal Field Service staff at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine for assistance with veterinary care. This work was supported by the John Lee Pratt Animal Nutrition Endowment, Virginia Tech; and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture [Grant Numbers GS14-130, LS13-255].


  1. Atkins OA (1942) Yield and sugar content of selected thornless honeylocust. In: Alabama Ag Exp station 53rd annual report, pp 25–26Google Scholar
  2. Brokaw L, Hess BW, Rule DC (2001) Supplemental soybean oil or corn for beef heifers grazing summer pastures: effects on forage intake, ruminal fermentation, and site and extent of digestion. J Anim Sci 79:2704–2712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dixon RM, Stockdale CR (1999) Associative effects between forages and grains: consequences for feed utilisation. Crop Pasture Sci 50:757–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fannon AG, Fike JH, Greiner SP et al (2017) Hair sheep performance in a mid-stage deciduous Appalachian silvopasture. Agroforest Syst. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Foroughbakhch R, Dupraz C, Hernandez-Pinero J et al (2006) In vivo and in situ digestibility of dry matter and crude protein of honeylocust pods (Gleditsia triacanthos L.). J Applied Anim Res 30:41–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gold MA, Hanover JW (1993) Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos), a multi-purpose tree for the temperate zone. The Int Tree Crops J 7(4):189–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Johnson JW, Fike JH, Fike WB et al (2012) Millwood and wild-type honeylocust seedpod nutritive value changes over winter. Crop Sci 52:2807–2816. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Johnson JW, Fike JH, Fike WB et al (2013) Millwood honeylocust trees: seedpod nutritive value and yield characteristics. Agroforest Syst 87:849–856. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kallenbach RL, Kerley MS, Bishop-Hurley GJ (2006) Cumulative forage production, forage quality and livestock performance from an annual ryegrass and cereal rye mixture in a Pine Walnut Silvopasture. Agroforest Syst 66:43–53. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kaplan RM, Burke JM, Terrill TH et al (2004) Validation of the FAMACHA (C) eye color chart for detecting clinical anemia in sheep and goats on farms in the southern United States. Vet Parisitol 123:105–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lin CH, Mcgraw RL, George MF, Garrett HE (2001) Nutritive quality and morphological development under partial shade of some forage species with agroforestry potential. Agroforest Syst 53:269–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Loy TW, MacDonald JC, Klopfenstein TJ, Erickson GE (2007) Effects of distillers grains or corb supplementation frequency on forage intake and digestibility. J Anim Sci 85:2625–2630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Macoon B, Sollenberger LE, Moore JE et al (2003) Comparison of three techniques for estimating the forage intake of lactating dairy cows on pasture. J Dairy Sci 81:2357–2366Google Scholar
  14. Moore JE, Brant MH, Kunkle WE, Hopkins DI (1999) Effects of supplementation on voluntary forage intake, diet digestibility, and animal performance. J Anim Sci 77:122–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. National Research Council (2007) Nutrient requirements of small ruminants: sheep, goats, cervids, and new world camelids. The National Academies Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  16. Neel JPS, Belesky DP (2017) Herbage production, nutritive value and animal productivity within hardwood silvopasture, open and mixed pasture systems in Appalachia, United States. Grass Forage Sci 72:137–153. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Scanlon DH (1980) A case study of honeylocust in the Tennessee Valley region: pods as feedstock for biomass energy. In: Tree crops for energy production on farms. U.S. Solar Energy Research Institute, Golden, COGoogle Scholar
  18. Sharrow SH, Brauer D, Clason TR (2009) Silvopastoral practices. In: Garrett HE (ed) North American agroforestry: an integrated science and practice, 2nd edn. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI, pp 105–131Google Scholar
  19. Stritzke JF, Croy LI, McMurphy WE (1976) Effect of shade and fertility on NO3-N accumulation, carbohydrate content, and dry matter production of tall fescue. Agron J 68:387–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wilson AA (1991) Browse agroforestry using honeylocust. For Chron 67:232–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension CenterVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlackstoneUSA
  2. 2.Department of Crop and Soil Environmental SciencesVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

Personalised recommendations