We’ve been experimenting with onsite feed production for the herds at Project Wadi Attir. The feed produced is high-quality and supplements the overall diets of the animals. To produce the feed we utilize manure from the herds as fertilizer—embodying the waste-the-resources approach of the project.
Feed for the herds is being produced at Project Wadi Attir under the direction of Dr. Stefan Leu, the leading research scientist behind the project’s ecosystem restoration initiative. To produce the feed, we seeded approximately 8 hectares of land onsite with barley. Of these 8 hectares, 5 received irrigation, and harvest of the feed yielded approximately 2 tons of feed per hectare. The remaining 3 hectares did not receive irrigation, and yielded about 1 ton of feed per hectare. Both sections of the barley plot resulted in high-quality feed, and the plots also serve as grazing areas for the herds. We also conducted smaller experiments using other plants, such as clover, maize, and alfalfa. The clover plot yielded particularly interesting results: we supplemented part of the plot with manure from the herds, and found that the manure-enhanced clover plots yielded very high-quality feed. We plan to integrate the use of manure in future feed growth initiatives, as the recycling of manure generated from the animals exemplifies the project’s approach of converting waste into resources.
Feed harvest at Project Wadi Attir
A hay bale produced onsite
We are now working on optimizing our cultivation methods for the coming year. We intend to grow feed that remains at a very high-quality, while minimizing inputs of water. We will experiment with the use of manure on the future barley plots as well. Our home-grown feed will account for a significant percentage of the total food required for the herds, cutting down the costs of feed for the animals while representing an innovative approach to recycling excess manure onsite, and allowing us to provide important grazing areas for the herds. This will result in happier and healthier herds, and in turn, higher-quality dairy products!
The herds grazing in green pastures at Project Wadi Attir
Sheep grazing at Project Wadi Attir