Technology for haymaking on large, mechanized farms is developing rapidly. Small-scale farm haymaking, as has been so well illustrated in the case studies, relies on age-old, traditional methods, equipment and crops; how and where can improvements be made in the context of small-scale farms' socio-economic conditions? Direct transfer of methodology developed in other farming and economic contexts rarely works, so what improvements can be foreseen? The realization of the value of crop residues as roughage for livestock is widespread and increasing, and in areas where they used to be grazed, they are often harvested for domestic use or sale.
Expansion of haymaking from natural pasture in areas where it is traditional is probably limited by the availability of suitable herbage. Technical improvements, from clearing, drainage and sometimes irrigation, to resting and fertilizing, are possible if the problems of long-term cutting and grazing rights are resolved. It remains to be seen if the harvesting of coarse, tropical herbage will expand, since its quality is always low and climatic conditions usually preclude curing it before maturity. The possibility of improving harvesting of crop residues should be studied before encouraging the harvest of bush hay. There are, however, great areas of degraded grazing land, especially in monsoonal climates, which could be reclaimed as pasture if the people became involved and, in such climates, conservation of fodder for the very long dry season is essential.
Hay from sown forage is of much higher quality than that from natural pasture, especially legume hay, which is the mainstay in many traditional systems. Considerable improvements are possible in the growing of hay by using good seed of locally proven cultivars, careful cultivation, mineral fertilization and better irrigation where appropriate. The expansion of sown hay into tropical small-scale farm systems is problematical, at least in humid and sub-humid areas: there is no legume to replace lucerne and the clovers as a hay crop. Much hay is produced under irrigation in semi-arid and arid areas; there, availability of irrigated land is a limiting factor to expansion, and the main method of increasing hay appears to be through raising yield per unit area.
Suitable grasses abound, but making hay from them in any quality under such conditions, in anything except tiny quantities, would seem to require mechanization so that mowing and swath manipulation can be effected rapidly enough. Hay in the tropics, to date, is associated with large-scale commercial farming where livestock is important.
Usually the available cultivars are not a major constraint to improving production, although seed availability and quality may be (see below). In traditional haymaking areas, small-scale farms can often attain large increases per unit area by using good seed of cultivars already available through local research institutions. Where hay is already grown, therefore, more emphasis is needed on screening local landraces and defining problems before searching for "high-yielding" crops; hardiness and persistence under the often low-input systems which are common, are essential characteristics. It is, of course, desirable to keep up-to-date with advances in disease and pest resistance. The main small-scale farm hay crops are legumes; sown grasses are little used. Lucerne stands out as the main crop in a great many countries where small-scale farm haymaking is traditional; it is also, of course of paramount importance in large-scale farming. Sainfoin, Onobrychis sativa, is a traditional crop grown alongside lucerne in parts of western Asia and seems adapted to poorer soils and conditions, but its use has not spread. Does it merit wider testing and study? Another crop which is very important in its traditional area but has not become widespread is Persian clover (T. resupinatum).
Problem areas include those with very severe winters, some of which can only use their own landraces, so breeding and selection must be local; very high altitude zones; and the cool limits of the subtropics.
Limited supplies of seed and planting material of adapted varieties is a major constraint to the improvement of hay production in developing countries. Any programme to increase fodder supply will have to address this at the outset. Fodder and pasture species present greater problems in on-farm seed multiplication than do cereals and pulses. Cereals used as fodders are usually easy in terms of seed production, but producing good seed of specialized fodder (and pasture) grasses and legumes requires special skills and equipment, and is usually grown in specialized micro-ecologies. Where holding size is very small, farmers often prefer to buy in rather than use valuable land (and irrigation) on a seed crop. Production by specialist farmers should be encouraged, rather than each small-scale farmer growing his own. International trade concentrates on cultivars commonly in demand in developed countries, and these are not necessarily suited to other areas. Some of the major fodders of developing countries (e.g., berseem, Trifolium alexandrinum) and most of the pasture crops are little grown in developed countries. Although it has often been amply demonstrated that the use of clean seed of an adapted cultivar is the first prerequisite in improving fodder production, the multiplication and marketing of locally adapted fodders lags far behind that of food crops in most developing countries. Improvement of fodder seed supply, which would increase yield per unit area for small, land-scarce farms, is essential if animal production is to be raised. Absence of an official seed production structure is not a bar to fodder production where a vigorous farming community traditionally grows fodder: the Afghan lucerne and shaftal supply is vigorous despite twenty years of war and is exporting; nor need it be a barrier to the uptake of a new crop, as Egyptian clover spread over Pakistan and northern India in a few decades, largely through farmers' own seed production.
The remarks about seeds are often also applicable to legume inoculants, which have the added problem of difficult storage, especially under high ambient temperature conditions. Even when inoculant production facilities are available in-country, there are serious problems in distribution, especially in hot climates, and in training extension staff and farmers in their use.
Hay must be made rapidly and each activity completed on time; purely manual work, therefore, is highly labour-demanding and only small quantities can be made. Ways should be sought of speeding up operations to improve timeliness and increase the area that can be handled at one time with the available labour. Frequently, however, only the most rudimentary tools are used, so even a sharp sickle instead of a saw-edged tool designed for cereals would speed up work and cut more cleanly. A simple fork or rake for turning is a great improvement over turning by hand, yet such tasks are often done without tools, perhaps because women and children often undertake them. There is scope for training and demonstration here, as the technology required should be well within the capabilities of a village smith and carpenter. Animal-drawn equipment is often difficult to obtain, and mowers designed for horses do not suit oxen. In many areas, however, contract mowing by tractor, now common for wheat in some places, may be ousting animal-powered work.
Simple improvements in haymaking techniques could improve quality in areas where they are not yet used. Two such improvements are the use of tripods and similar aids to aeration in humid areas where wood is cheap, and better swath handling and trussing to reduce leaf-fall in arid zones.
These were always important in many places, and are increasing in importance as the availability of "free" grazing decreases with expanding cultivation. The initial emphasis would be on early and careful harvest and storage. Proper use and supplementation is essential for such coarse feed, and this should be part of any training. Cereal improvement programmes are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of straw and stover in small-scale farm systems, but the impact of this has still to be felt in the field. Residues are easier to dry than hay, and are used in all but the wettest climates. Conservation of rice straw in very wet climates and sites presents particular problems, and treatment with ammonia or urea can be used as a fungicide and preservative, as well as a means of improving palatability and feeding value.
Treatment with urea and ammonia is now a well-understood method of improving the feeding value of straws and stovers. Its applicability should always be studied in any area where they are available; the main factors governing its use are economic and vary widely from place to place.
There are many hay crops and ways of making hay and using crop residues; some areas are more advanced than others in growing or curing. Within an area it should be possible to transfer adapted technology with little risk, preferably through farm visits. Transfer between neighbouring areas with similarities can have excellent results, preceded by some simple testing and demonstration, as the case study on Pakistan's Northern Areas shows. Technology transfer between dissimilar areas and farming systems, however, has a long history of failure, especially "demonstration farms" of a different scale from the surrounding small-scale farms.
Figure 63. Technology transfer must be adapted to the local farming system; "model farms" showing technology developed elsewhere rarely work. Hay transport at Ambatondradama, Madagascar, with an ill-adapted cart and labour force who have not been trained to load it.
Farmer training is a high priority; in countries where sown fodder and hay are traditional, improved and appropriate technology and cultivars are available at research institutions and have been for many years, but have not reached the farmers. Often this is mainly because the farmers have not heard of them or do not have access to their seeds. Research which does not reach the field is wasted. Much could be done by firstly making technicians aware of these results through in-service training and, thereafter, to farmers. Such demonstration and training must be through on-farm work with collaborating and participating farmers to ensure that the conditions are those of the target group. Talks and audio-visual aids can be used, but the greatest impact is usually through a spread of on-farm fields and farmer-to-farmer information exchange. As for the technicians so for the farmers: hay and fodder must be put in the context of their farming systems, as a component of livestock feeding, and all aspects should be dealt with: from land preparation, through growing and curing, to storage and use. Crop residue harvest, storage and treatment may be dealt with at the same time, since it is so closely related and will almost certainly be done by farmers already.