Need suggestions for rain fed short term crop

I have about 5 acres of land that is barren and cannot be irrigated by drip due to its location. I would like to plant short term or fodder crops that will grow during monsoon season without irrigating it .

Suggestions would be appreciated. I am not planning to invest much money apart from initial ploughing. Labor involvement will be minimal apart from during harvest. Preference would be given to fodder crops so that I can use it as a feed.

    in maharashtra most of farmers prefer soybean as rain fed crop .  It is also less prone to pests, insects .

What is the planting material ? Seeds ?
Can it be fed to goats ?

    you need seeds to plant . Cattle do not eat soybean so it is considered as safer even where wild animals trouble .
It fetches good rate somewhere between 3000 to 4000 rs .


Consider inter cropping of Gliricidia and millets. Both do well in rain fed conditions. Millets can be used as fodder while Gliricidia can be used for both fodder as well as green manuring.  Additionally, you will get biomass from Gliricidia (for mulch or other uses) and it fix Nitrogen into the soil improving its characteristics.  Gliricidia is a wonder tree that grows very quickly and can be trimmed every few weeks.

More info:

Soil Health Improvement with Gliricidia - Green Leaf Manuring in Rainfed Agriculture - On Farm Experiences

Growing gliricidia for fodder [Hindu]


I know you have mentioned short term crop. I am replying, since it will be used for feeding goats.

I would suggest you to plant jack fruit trees. However in the first year you may have to irrigate if rainfall is low. in TN it is low. But if it survives the 1st year of planting then there is no looking back.
It is a very sturdy plant. Plant banana or some other crop that can give it shade for the 1st year. And if some saplings perish plant them again next year :slight_smile:

Jack fruit tree is a excellent and only main feed used for goats in olden time. they love the leaves. I know a person who planted 1 acre full of jackfruit trees. land was fenced and 40+ goats released on the land.. Jackfruit sheds leaves through out the year. So goats easily survived on the fallen leaves.

Once the trees are tall and fruit bearing after 6 to 7 years. You can market jackfruit Jam(source - or feed it to cattle provided you remove seeds and the spikes from the skin. It fills their stomach very well and milk production increases considerably. After few years sell timber which fetches good market price. Timber is of superior quality, would resists termite to a very great extend if properly harvested and taken care. Attached house was built by our ancestors and is almost 110 years old. Complete structure is made of jackfruit wood(but the timber would be from 200 to 300 years old tree, we fell one huge tree few years back on our land, so I can guess by the size the trees used would be very old).

Not just that jackfruit tree has amazing ability to make soil fertile. It also has the ability to leach stones with its feeder roots. I have notice soft fertile soil with almost no stones inside the canopy of the tree where as on other part of the same land, it is full of stones and non fertile soil.
You will create a store house of food and create a forest like environment. Water retention of the soil will improve.

This person should be able to source you sapling and get some more idea on jackfruit tree.
Each year he distributes more than 3000 sapling in Kerala.

Thakns Anoop.
What spacing is required for jack ?

According to Hindu article, animals may not prefer it due to odour…


Generally the tree becomes very large. If you plan to prune the tree then 3 to 4 meter is good enough. If not then 8 to 10 meter is preferred.

yes gliricidia is not a good feed as per my experience. my cows do eat it but in limitation only when grass or other feed is not available.
Not just that their dung smells bad if consumed in large quantity.

Is cowpea a good option ?

Gliricidia is very high in protein and is given as a supplement with other feed material for increased productivity. It is unpalatable to cattle when given as whole feed. Animals will eat it when it is given as supplement.

See following extract from a FAO publication

Despite these mixed perceptions of gliricidia as a forage crop, its use has been widely promoted and researched, due largely to its high productivity and quality.  […] Gliricidia is generally used as a high protein supplement to low quality basal feeds such as grass, straw and other crop residues. Supplementation levels vary but are usually in the range 20-40%. There are numerous reports of increases in weight gain and milk production in both large and small ruminants when gliricidia forage is used as a supplement.

Source: Gliricidia sepium - a Multipurpose Forage Tree Legume

You can also intercrop Gliricidia with cowpea - using Cowpea seeds for sale and leaves, pods and hay as feed with Gliricidia as supplement. As both crops are legumes, they will enrich the soil with nitrogen. Surplus Gliricidia cuttings can be used as green manure.

Cowpea on Feedipedia

Gliricidia on Feedipedia

From Feedipedia link above

Gliricidia sepium is a good forage for goats (Srinivasulu et al., 1999). Goats prefer the whole foliage (leaves and stems) to the leaves (Keopaseuht et al., 2004), though they find gliricidia less palatable than Leucaena leucocephala (Odeyinka et al, 2000). Supplementation with Gliricidia sepium of basal diets such as Panicum hay, rice straw, sorghum, rhode grass or natural grass had usually positive results, with increases in daily weight gain, dry matter intake and digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, and crude protein (Kenya: Abdulrazak et al., 2006; Vietnam: Nguyen Van Hao et al., 2001 ; India: Srinivasulu et al., 1999; Indonesia: Ondiek et al., 1999 and Sukanten et al., 1996). Mixing gliricidia with an energy source such as maize bran was also successful (Ondiek et al., 1999 ; Srinivasulu et al., 1998). Inclusion levels range from 30 % to 50 % dietary level (on a DM basis). The whole foliage is more digestible than the leaves (Keopaseuht et al., 2004).

Finally, you can compare nutritional content of fresh Jackfruit leaves and fresh Gliricidia leaves on the linked pages. The latter has 23% higher crude protein. Moreover, crude protein of Jackfruit leaves is said to be less digestible due to significantly higher tannin content - 147 g/kg dry matter on average as opposed to 11 g/kg DM in Gliricidia leaves.

adding that

jack fruit trees with proper puning can be use as supporting wood for creper like black pepper and some of the vegetable plants .


Agree on the fact that gliricidia has high protein content.

  • Answer lies within your comment. (It is a supplement food and not main feed). So why plant and waste 5 acres of land.
  • Gliricidia is a american tree and not native. I some what feel it to be invasive. But this doesn’t mean I have cut down all the existing gliricidia trees on my land neither have I stoped cows from eating it.
  • Fish meal has more protein than gliricidia, does it mean you will feed it to animals??? (I agree most cattle feed consist of fish meal). Can you consume meat 3 times a day for months or years at a stretch?? Even Eskimos don’t completely rely on meat.
    Goats like jackfruit leaves no matter what you say. Diversity of feed is the answer to any healthy animal. goats feed on co3 grass, gliricidia when they are starving, or if you train them since childhood.
  • Roots and pods of gliricidia are used to kill rats, this tree is also know as “rat killer tree”. However it is ok for cattle it seems.

yes cowpea is a good option. Cows eat fresh leaves, whole plant except roots, fresh pods and even dried crispy pod. (check attached image)


Yes pepper can be used for jackfruit, but that will need complete trimming of the branches or large area of the canopy, or else you may not be able to get the desired pepper production. Because pepper pollination takes place with rain drops and not bees, birds or insects(This area has not been much researched but I will stick to what our ancestors say). This one of the reason why pepper is mostly seen on areca plants.

Greater yam is one amazing creeper. It makes it way for sunlight. There is no limit to the size of yams. I have personally seen a 100 kg yam. One farmer from trivandrum holds the world record of 275 kg from one single yam. The taller the yam reaches the bigger the root.


  • Answer lies within your comment. (It is a supplement food and not main feed). So why plant and waste 5 acres of land.[/quote]

I have suggested Gliricidia as an intercrop with millets and not on entire land. The suggestion is based on the requirements mentioned, which are, minimal effort, low maintenance, rainfed irrigation and poor soil condition. The suggestion is also derived from experiences of cultivation of Gliricidia with millets in degraded soil and rainfed conditions documented in neighboring Karnataka state (see second link provided in original post)


  • Fish meal has more protein than gliricidia, does it mean you will feed it to animals??? (I agree most cattle feed consist of fish meal). Can you consume meat 3 times a day for months or years at a stretch?? Even Eskimos don’t completely rely on meat. [/quote]

Once again, if you read my post, I never suggested to feed all Gliricidia output to goats, I have said that the surplus should be used for green manuring / mulching to improve soil quality.

Goats like jackfruit leaves no matter what you say. [/quote]

Never said goats dislike Jackfruit leaves.

ok. got it.  :sunglasses:

But these lines triggered me to reply.

“Gliricidia sepium is a good forage for goats”

Yes I did see the links mentioned by you. Things is as per my experience all the research and finding is to mostly benefit the corporate or things alike and not actual farmers. Most people are misguiding farmers or people in every field.

Traditional knowledge is time tested and result oriented. Even if the production is low it is mostly the same through out and not like surplus short term gain and after few years complete disaster.

Gliricidia sepium is not having any Commercial except for Green Manure.