sweet potatoes as forage

Rene and Lorraine van Raders rvraders at tpgi.com.au
Mon Jan 5 00:05:13 EST 1998

Hi all, especially Dan

We grow six varieties of sweet potatoes in inner zones.   We've found they
love well drained soils and doubt they would persist in really wet areas
with foraging as no tubers would be developed (I think they would rot). 
But it's worth a small cautious trial, I suppose.  They certainly persist
in damp areas as vines when there's no grazing.

We've attempted to establish sweet potatoes in outer zones and offer the
following experiences and thoughts.

We were unsuccessful as geese would overgraze the tops and native rats and
another native animal (the bandicoot) would eat any tubers.   I think any
success with sweet potato as forage would depend on how palatable it was to
the animal in comparison to other forage available or how stock was
rotated.   Sweet potato can easily be eradicated or nearly so by heavy
browsing.   Part of our problem was that the potatoes never got established
enough to develop a great network of roots.  Perhaps leaving the field
ungrazed for the first year or two might make a big difference, or very
short grazing periods, or you might have refuge areas that cattle were
denied access to, from which the potato could again spread as grazing
pressure was removed.

(must say I've never seen it in pastures during any of our travels through
asia, either)

Hope this is of some help

Cheers Rene (and Lorraine)

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