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How and why two farmers planted timber for crops and poultry

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Agroforestry is estimated to be practised on 3% of the UK’s farmed land, however at 10% the Woodland Belief says it may assist the nation hit local weather change targets.

In a single instance of the apply – shelterbelts – timber are planted to change the pace and path of wind, offering shelter for livestock and crops.

See additionally: £9m fund out there to advise farmers throughout BPS section out

Analysis by Harper Adams College exhibits they enhance livestock well being, welfare and efficiency, alongside advantages together with elevated crop yields, improved water effectivity and better insect and pollinator numbers.

Shelter and shade for poultry

© LJ Fairburn & Son

Planting shelterbelts has helped L J Fairburn & Son, Lincolnshire, enhance the well being and welfare of ranging hens and facilitated a premium value for his or her eggs.

The enterprise is the second-largest egg producer and packer within the UK, with 90 items throughout 23 owned farms – dwelling to five million laying and rearing hens.

It produces colony, barn, natural, free vary, and woodland eggs for main UK supermarkets and wholesalers.

The introduction of shelterbelts resulted from a mixture of observing fowl behaviour and a business alternative. “The fowl is a jungle fowl and desires to feed off the bottom and perch in timber for defense from predators,” explains welfare supervisor Bob Waller.

“On the smaller natural items, producers had been seeing that the birds had been interested in the hedgerows, utilizing them when shifting away from the home. The birds at all times need to really feel near cowl and security from each overhead and floor predators.”

The enterprise then grew to become conscious of the woodland eggs idea, from free-range hens on wooded pasture, offered by means of Sainsbury’s in partnership with the Woodland Belief.

Bob Waller

Bob Waller © LJ Fairburn & Son

Planting

So about 10 years in the past it started planting shelterbelts with a mixture of native species in blocks throughout the natural ranges.

“We planted round 7,000 timber in whole; the blocks are scattered throughout the acreage and every incorporates 30-50 timber masking roughly 30-40m,” explains Mr Waller.

Species embody silver birch, elder, oak and beech, with berry-bearing timber within the furthest components of the vary to maintain any wild birds away from the home.

At current 80% of the enterprise’s free-range farms have been planted to create woodland within the ranges. Every farm has a minimum of 20% woodland protection, with 10% being nicely established.

“We’re about to embark on planting up three extra items – so between 10,000 and 15,000 timber can be planted in whole this yr,” he says.

The woodland surroundings improves fowl welfare. “It permits them to behave extra naturally, which reduces stress.

Timber present cowl, which make birds really feel protected, whereas their scratching is extra various,” he provides. “We’ve got additionally seen much less aggression as a result of they will make house for themselves.”

Well being advantages

Having birds ranging away from the home has well being advantages. “Illness and mortality danger are considerably lowered by not having the birds congregating and producing waste within the speedy space exterior the home,” says Mr Waller.

“The timber additionally present the birds with shelter from the climate – warmth stress can have a big effect on feed intakes, efficiency and welfare – so the shading helps.”  

There are some challenges. “We do in fact get ranges of predation and out of doors eggs – however these are manageable and the flocks’ efficiency isn’t negatively affected, so the advantages outweigh the challenges.”

The shelterbelts have allowed the enterprise to promote premium woodland eggs. The advantages are round, with Sainsbury’s donating 1p to the Woodland Belief for each 12 eggs offered.

Classes realized at L J Fairburn & Son

“The primary 50m of ranging might be fairly barren, so we’re planting one thing fast establishing for winter cowl – however we don’t need to compromise biosecurity,” explains Mr Waller.

“And our contractual obligations are necessary; the surroundings is a giant focus so we see planting as a means of assembly them sooner or later.”

Mr Waller recommend that different farmers trying to combine timber must be conscious that the saplings have to be sorted and guarded for the primary three to 4 years.

“Use tree safety and don’t graze inventory. In drier spells you might want to water them – we used a 10,000 litre water tanker to water every set of timber, however not essentially 10,000 litres of water each time.”

Funding

The Fairburn planting was funded by means of the Woodland Belief’s common Timber on your Farm scheme, funded by Sainsbury’s and the Woodland Belief’s PUR Mission.

It gives free website visits, one-to-one recommendation on how timber can work on your farm enterprise, a planting evaluation for the entire farm and tailor-made planting schemes.

There’s a minimal of 500 timber – advisers will assist select the perfect species for the land and the right safety for the timber.

As much as 100% funding is offered to eligible schemes, with functions being accepted for planting between November 2022 and March 2023.

Silvoarable brings a number of advantages

Silvoarable – the apply of integrating timber with cropping – helps natural blended farmer John Pawsey realise an ambition to boost farm biodiversity and diversify revenue streams at Shimpling Park Farm, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

He farms 1,630ha, comprising 650ha at dwelling and 980ha of contract farmed land.

The arable enterprise produces wheat, barley and beans, in addition to oats, quinoa and spelt for premium markets. The farm additionally runs 1,000 New Zealand Romney sheep, that are offered domestically or by means of an natural co-operative.

The farm consists of Alpheton Wooden, a website of particular scientific curiosity (SSSI) historical woodland, and conventional restorative coppicing produces wooden for chipping, in addition to timber for premium markets.

Objective

John Pawsey © Jason Bye

Agroforestry pioneer Martin Wolfe is Mr Pawsey’s inspiration. “I may see the large advantages to be gained from enhanced farm biodiversity, and from making a perennial revenue alongside the annual crop,” he says.

“However you begin to consider what may go unsuitable reasonably than what may go proper. It was when Martin died that I believed I simply wanted to get on with it.”

So in 2020 Mr Pawsey enlisted the assistance of agroecological graduate Sam Morgan to develop the agroforestry venture.

His main goals with silvoarable had been to keep up excessive ranges of productiveness, safe long-term business and environmental beneficial properties, and create extra diversification and amenity alternatives.

Utilizing species already discovered on the farm would go well with the farm’s soil varieties and supply the proper habitat to draw native bugs and wildlife.

The planting would additionally mimic the SSSI woodland and create important wildlife corridors by connecting woodland with the broader farming surroundings.

Planting

Aerial view of agroforestry on Shimpling Park Farm

Shimpling Park Farm © John Pawsey

Mr Pawsey needed to take into account cropping and tree alley width to keep up efficiencies and productiveness on his 9m managed visitors system. “We selected 36m-wide cropping areas with 4.5m-wide tree allies and no planting on the headlands,” he says.

Over the winter he planted 3,500 timber in three fields masking 20ha. These went in on the latter finish of a two-year grass ley and the primary arable crop grown alongside can be spelt, drilled this autumn.

The timber had been planted as 30cm whips in 1.5m tubular tree guards. “Whips catch up shortly, typically rising out the highest of their guards by the tip of the season.

“Bigger saplings are dearer and susceptible to planting shock, which will increase the price should you’re having to exchange losses,” he provides.

Fifteen native tree species had been planted, together with oak, cherry, hornbeam, aspen, area maple, wild service, and goat willow, with the principle driver being to boost farm biodiversity.

Advantages

“We’ve got 20 years of biodiversity knowledge as a benchmark, so we can assess the impact of the agroforestry because it matures,” says Mr Pawsey.

“Timber have potential to enhance crops by benefiting water effectivity, soil well being and stability, carbon sequestration and safety from climate,” he provides.

“Considerations round crop shading and drainage might be managed by eye and by sustaining area ditches.”

Lesser reliance on the SSSI woodland will safe future timber sources and protect habitat, with hazel planted alongside premium timber as protecting nurse timber and coppiced on a 10-15 yr cycle for woodchip.

The various mixture of species and coppicing will keep away from a transparent fell system. “We’re aiming for a dwelling useful resource for the long run,” says Mr Pawsey.

The goat willow will finally present sheep with looking materials and shelter, with research displaying encouraging liveweight beneficial properties in agroforestry programs.

Recommendation

Mr Pawsey charges the Woodland Belief’s recommendation and grant funding. “With the recommendation we had we had been assured the spending was essential; however the funding did make a distinction.”

For anybody trying to combine timber, it’s necessary to know your long-term goals, he says. “This can make decision-making and planning a lot simpler. And simply get on with it as quickly as attainable.”

Because of Woodland Belief, whose sponsorship made it attainable for us to run this text. Farmers Weekly had full editorial management of its content material.

Woodland Belief MOREwoods scheme

Woodland Trust

Timber must be in each farmer’s toolbox. They increase productiveness, resilience and the well being of the surroundings – without having to commerce off with manufacturing. Make your planting venture successful with the Woodland Belief’s MOREwoods scheme, funded by Lloyds Financial institution.

Plant a minimum of 0.5ha and we may cowl as much as 75% of prices. An skilled will go to to debate the perfect choices for what you are promoting and if eligible, organize tree supply and safety.

All timber are sourced and grown within the UK and Eire. No obligation recommendation is offered even should you resolve to not plant.

Study extra at woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant

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