Question: To farmers who are interested in practicing agroforestry on their farms - what's your biggest obstacle?

IFarmers

Member
Trade
Soil Association recently released this film on the benefits of agroforestry and the stories of farmers who practice it:

But it'd be good to hear from farmers who've tried, or want to try, but are having trouble making it work for their business. Also be good to hear some success stories too!
 

Agrivator

Member
Trees planted on grazing land, not only take years to establish, each individual tree needs secure protection from rabbits, squirrels and roe deer, and also needs very expensive permanent fencing for at least 30 years to protect it from browsing sheep and scratching cattle.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Sheep, grazing sheep makes individual tree protection expensive. Planting trees in rows makes trees expensive!
So as soon as the lambs are ready to wean, the lot can go and we'll get planting.

I think the main "barrier" is the farmer's own infatuation with machinery, we are getting away from all that and so trees/shrubs will add a lot to the landscape
 

glasshouse

Member
Location
lothians
Sheep, grazing sheep makes individual tree protection expensive. Planting trees in rows makes trees expensive!
So as soon as the lambs are ready to wean, the lot can go and we'll get planting.

I think the main "barrier" is the farmer's own infatuation with machinery, we are getting away from all that and so trees/shrubs will add a lot to the landscape
Fine if you are a hobby farmer
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
Sheep, grazing sheep makes individual tree protection expensive. Planting trees in rows makes trees expensive!
So as soon as the lambs are ready to wean, the lot can go and we'll get planting.

I think the main "barrier" is the farmer's own infatuation with machinery, we are getting away from all that and so trees/shrubs will add a lot to the landscape
They do add another dimension to the landscape dont they.

Grazing livestock around them , is not a bother at all, they like the shade tbh, yes I guess they should be fenced off but the mature ones here arent, will be one of those things' I hope to do ' :rolleyes:tbh they dont cause any major harm to them tho, just scrape around the soil a bit from the base of the trunk, young trees well that's a different matter.

Weve always had some parkland and it can be in arable if so wish and it has been in the past, but the trees are a pita for that.
 

Jackov Altraids

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Devon
Sheep, grazing sheep makes individual tree protection expensive. Planting trees in rows makes trees expensive!
So as soon as the lambs are ready to wean, the lot can go and we'll get planting.

I think the main "barrier" is the farmer's own infatuation with machinery, we are getting away from all that and so trees/shrubs will add a lot to the landscape

No sheep and no machinery..... What will be the source of income?

As someone who has kept a lot of what was already here for the benefits [not financial] they provide, I don't see any advantages in growing more.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
They do add another dimension to the landscape dont they.

Grazing livestock around them , is not a bother at all, they like the shade tbh, yes I guess they should be fenced off but the mature ones here arent, will be one of those things' I hope to do ' :rolleyes:tbh they dont cause any major harm to them tho, just scrape around the soil a bit from the base of the trunk, young trees well that's a different matter.

Weve always had some parkland and it can be in arable if so wish and it has been in the past, but the trees are a pita for that.
We're going to around 800 paddocks as you know, so that is a whole heap of corners to plant out. Shade, fodder, shelter, diversity, water storage, mineral cycling, and amenity value.
Oh, and it devalues the property for "proper farming" which is the major one - @glasshouse you got that one right on.
Unless someone wants to bulldoze them all out of the road in future, keeping machines off our land is a pretty big consideration.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
No sheep and no machinery..... What will be the source of income?

As someone who has kept a lot of what was already here for the benefits [not financial] they provide, I don't see any advantages in growing more.
Grazing cattle. It's too profitable and too simple for any other livestock operation to come close to matching, other than cheap cows feeding 3 calves at a time.
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
We're going to around 800 paddocks as you know, so that is a whole heap of corners to plant out. Shade, fodder, shelter, diversity, water storage, mineral cycling, and amenity value.
Oh, and it devalues the property for "proper farming" which is the major one - @glasshouse you got that one right on.
Unless someone wants to bulldoze them all out of the road in future, keeping machines off our land is a pretty big consideration.
Yeah The 'worst' thing that could happen down the line is that someone will have fuel for their log burner :sneaky:

I used to do a bit of work on a large estate , trees everywhere on the whole area dodging them was an occupational hazard :ROFLMAO::unsure:.

But seriously it was a Beautiful place to work in Summer or winter.
 

Samcowman

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Wiltshire
I think for a small proportion of people that can get their head around it agroforestry is a good idea.
But I think more progress can be made on the whole by getting all farmers to change a little bit than a few farmers to totally change. I have been making a mental note of trees in ours and neighbours fields and a lot of them are old with no young trees coming through due to mostly the affects of modern Hedgecutting which just cuts everything down to one level.
This are used to have a lot of elms so I’m old till they got wiped out. Now ash dieback is around chances are they might all be gone as well so in 100 years time there will be even fewer trees in our landscape.
From my point of view it would be great if every farmer planted a sapling to replace every old tree they have. Ok this might not work in some areas but do we really want our descendants to not have trees at least in their hedgerows??
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Yeah The 'worst' thing that could happen down the line is that someone will have fuel for their log burner :sneaky:

I used to do a bit of work on a large estate , trees everywhere on the whole area dodging them was an occupational hazard :ROFLMAO::unsure:.

But seriously it was a Beautiful place to work in Summer or winter.
It's funny really, much of the knowledge we draw on is grounded in the early stock-keeping systems from the UK - "working trees" for mitigating hot and dry seasons several hundred years ago.

All the answers are there, just a matter of working out what you want to achieve.
But I can see why it isn't adopted more today, as per my first comment - makes pretty much any job with a combine, tractor etc a lot more difficult unless trees are in one place, and crops another.
 

Bury the Trash

Member
Mixed Farmer
It's funny really, much of the knowledge we draw on is grounded in the early stock-keeping systems from the UK - "working trees" for mitigating hot and dry seasons several hundred years ago.

All the answers are there, just a matter of working out what you want to achieve.
But I can see why it isn't adopted more today, as per my first comment - makes pretty much any job with a combine, tractor etc a lot more difficult unless trees are in one place, and crops another.
Yep and same reason as why some of the hedges were grubbed out but I guess setstocking had a part to play in that as well, where as trees dotted around doesn't quite put the same constraint on that particular way of grazing ......
.....Well that and tbf housebuilding sites :rolleyes:
 
Agroforestry trials in NZs Southland during the 1970 and 80s using Pinus radiata for high quality peeler logs (plywood) had some interesting conclusions.
  • Moderate cost of 2 x two wire electric fences along each row of trees until hard bark develops (10+ years).
  • Lamb production per hectare (finishing) was reduced, but only by the area ungrazed for tree protection (between the fences) in the first decade.
  • Total sheep production (sheep breeding/finishing) decreased as canopy area per tree increased due to reduced annual pasture growth and pasture species changes (less light led to less legumes and increase in coarse grasses such as Cocksfoot), despite trees being thinned by one third before the first 10 years.
  • After 30 years there wasn't much difference in profit between pure sheep grazing and agroforestry. However the log price had a big influence.
There are some people now using this system with higher valued timber trees (a neighbour has 7000 Black Walnut trees for gun stocks) but grazing really only fit for horses after 15 years.

Do what you are passionate about, or success may be problematic.
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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