The Vetiver Network International


Vetiver as a livestock forage source

Introductory photo essay VS_Forage.pdf (

Vetiver grass, when correctly managed makes, an acceptable feed for livestock. It can be used as a “cut and carry” feed product, as well as on site grazing. In both cases timing of harvesting is critical. Vetiver’s nutritional value is best when the leaves are young – generally at about 60-80 cm in length – normal cutting interval is about every three months, although some farmers cut more frequently. On site grazing by cattle is probably best, following Alan Savory’s holistic methods. Intense grazing for short periods will help to ensure that livestock do not pick and choose, but eat all that is offered.  There has been very little research on the grazing and management of vetiver for forage, a topic that warrants investigation. What we do know is that younger leaves have good nutritional value, that most livestock will eat it (especially horses), and that it is pretty much drought proof. Some observations from Nigeria appear to indicate that horses prefer C.zizanioides over C. nigritanus.

Figure 1 Feed value analysis of vetiver compared to Rhodes and Kikuyu grass

Feed value analysis of vetiver compared to Rhodes and Kikuyu grass

Under the right conditions (tropical) vetiver biomass yields are in the order of 100 tons dry matter/ha.  Biomass yields vary tremendously between vetiver cultivars. Dr. Umesh Lavania (India) and his team have been investigating vetiver cultivars. Recently he released a new sterile cultivar named  FORAGIKA that has softer leaves and double the biomass of other cultivars.

Photo 2 – above FORAGIKA – A new vetiver cultivar selected for forage (Umesh Lavania) Below horses appear to favor vetiver – we have heard resports that horses that eat vetiver appear to be free of round worms (South African report)
Photo 3 Most livestock can be fed vetiver if fed at the right stage of growth. In the recent drought in Australia vetiver was cut from a waste water vetiver wetland and was shipped in bales for cattle feed.
Photo 4 Vetiver managed correctly and feed at the right time makes a good feed for cattle – especially during drought periods

A Cooperative for cattle production based on Vetiver grass forage established In Yunnan Province, China Microsoft Word – cooperative of raising cattle.docx (