Friday, 18 August 2017

How To Make Silvopasture Work: Reminders And Best Practices

Silvopastures pose unique challenges to farmers who intend to try different grazing environments for their livestock. The careful blending and management of trees, forages, and livestock can be difficult and time-consuming at first, but future benefits usually outweigh these initial troubles and quandaries. One just needs to advertently plan and gather valuable information about the method, making sure that decisions also take into account the characteristic needs of the location and the animals.

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An option for farmers with already a sizable woodlot to spare is to deal with the existing forest cover and canopy. A fair amount of work might have to be done since there are crucial things to consider like the density of crown cover which might prevent enough light from reaching the forage. Clearing undergrowth and, in some instances, pruning must be performed to open up the area. Pasture grasses suitable to these shade conditions should be chosen.

Proper integration in these multispecies ecological systems means ensuring their health and continued propagation, including the trees and natural water systems if they are part of the environment. Measures have to be in place to prevent animals from harming trees, but great care must be exercised as well in making sure the trees truly complement farm resources and not compete with them.

Most farmers prefer rotational grazing in this kind of pasture. Management of grazing and animal movement can be rewarding in the long run. Proper spacing and distribution of trees should be studied. When animals compete for shade in a pasture with few trees, this could destroy grass and might also be conducive to disease transmission.

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Geoffrey Morell acquired a 95-acre property and turned it into a farm that raises pasture-fed livestock and organically grown species. Apart from providing consumers with high-quality farm products, he also offers tours and classes of his farm. To learn more about traditional farming practices, visit this blog.