Thirteen studies on traditional haymaking in small-scale farm or pastoral systems follow. Only the West African study deals with the introduction of haymaking as an innovation. They cover a wide range of existing practices and serve as background to the preceding chapters. There are studies from ten countries in Africa, Asia, western and southern Asia and Latin America. Some of the material has been contributed by national specialists; the rest is based on the author's experience during the many opportunities provided for travel on behalf of FAO.
Although the study areas are not claimed to be representative of all small-scale farm haymaking, some rough conclusions can nevertheless be drawn from them. Nine of the thirteen studies involve hay from natural herbage, but it is only a major component in six of them: Ethiopia, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Nicaragua and the Sahel. All excepting Mongolia are in tropical or monsoonal situations, with haymaking only feasible after the rains, when fodder quality is very low. The Mongolian site has too short a thermal growing season for sown fodder, and herbage quality at haymaking is satisfactory. Many sites for natural hay are on mountainous, marginal land; problems of access and rights to hay-cutting hinder improvement of their management.
Leguminous hay is produced in seven of the cases: Afghanistan, Argentina, the three Chinese sites, Pakistan and Turkey. In all it is the major hay source, and in five of the seven it is irrigated. All the legume-growing sites are in subtropical or winter-cold, semi-arid areas and, Argentina apart, are in Asia. Lucerne is the most widespread hay crop, with shaftal (Trifolium resupinatum) important in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) is mentioned from Turkey. No small-scale farm study reports grass being grown for conservation (although used on large-scale farms in similar climates). Oat hay is only important in Pakistan, although also grown on a large scale in North Africa.
Most of the fodder sown is from poor quality, home-saved, seed of local landraces. Low seed quality and non-availability of seed of better, locally-proven cultivars is frequently mentioned. The study from the Northern Areas of Pakistan demonstrates how the introduction of an adapted lucerne cultivar can have a big effect in an area where the traditional ecotypes are unsuited to the local climate. Again in Pakistan, the introduction of multi-cut oat varieties changed the crop from a minor fodder to a major hay crop and source of cold-season green fodder.
Lack of maintenance fertilizer leading to yield decrease and poor persistence of lucerne stands is mentioned on several occasions. Poor hand-mowing techniques and timing of cuts, especially for lucerne, is also frequent. However, training in this may be complicated in many areas because much of this work is done by women and children. Competition with food crops for scarce land and water resources is a major constraint to the expansion of haymaking, and the need for a better lean-season feed supply is stressed in all studies, so the strategy will have to be increasing yields per unit area.
Mowing by hand is general, usually by sickle, sometimes by machete, and rarely by scythe. Only the Altai case reports use of mowers. There, the fodder area per family is quite large (4 ha) and most of the herders are on transhumance during harvest. Elsewhere hay is often cut, a little each day, and carried to the homestead for final drying. Much of the natural hay, especially on mountain sites, is from land where mowers could not be used. Rolling or tying hay into trusses or small bundles is widespread and is reported in seven cases, again all in Asia apart from Argentina. This is a traditional means of reducing leaf-loss in dry areas, both during curing and transport. Baling is rare and associated with long-distance transport; it is usually organized by merchants rather than by the producers.
Growing coarse cereals specifically for drying as fodder is reported from some tropical and subtropical areas with a well-marked dry season: India, Nepal, Nicaragua and Pakistan. Drought-affected crops may also be so used. Frequently, coarse cereal "hay" is grown where moisture would be inadequate to ripen a grain crop. Hand-harvesting methods for maize, millet and sorghum often allow the stover to be cut and dried at a much earlier stage than does mechanized harvesting, and so produces a higher quality feed
The use of straw and stover as feed is reported in all but one case (the Mongolian site cannot grow cereals), but the degree of care taken in harvest and storage varies. Straw treatment is not at all widespread, and is reported from Afghanistan and Pakistan only. Nine cases report that some of the hay and straw is sold. Sometimes, as in India, natural hay is harvested specifically for sale. Oat hay is now a cash crop in Pakistan. In other cases, hay is sold for ready cash and the farmers' own stock have to survive on straw.