A friend recently inquired if it would be possible to convert her low site-index oak/white pine woods into silvopatures to expand the grazeable acreage on her cattle farm.  Most any site can be managed to grow forages and browse for livestock grazing, but not every site can grow enough food to make the investment worthwhile.  Another consideration is the senstivitiy of the site, particularly in the case of steep slopes or poorly drained areas. 

One approach to answering the question "should I?" is to conservatively estimate all of the likely benefits (increased grazing days, increased shaded grazing, improved timber management, invasives control, greater production to amortize fixed costs, etc) as well as an honest estimate of all of the costs (fencing, water, net thinning costs, etc).  If the ratio appears to be positive, then it probably makes sense to develop a given wooded area into silvopasture.  However, there may be additional barriers on low-quality sites that are difficult to overcome.  On poorly-drained sites, for example, the "window" for suitable ground conditions may be so narrow that total forage growth over the course of the season can't be efficiently harvested by livestock and the site may become overgrown with undesirable plant species due to low grazing pressure.  There may also be added risks such as increased incidence of foot rot or deer worm.

On the other hand, a droughty, low-pH site with low soil fertility (such as the oak/pine stands mentioned above) may need soil ammendments and disturbance of the oak leaf litter in order to grow enough quality forage - and will there be enough soil moisture to grow the forage when it's really needed?  These are all case-by-case decisions that have to be made. 

Views: 78

Comment

You need to be a member of silvopasture to add comments!

Join silvopasture

Forum

[Iowa] Looking for a critique of my plan

Started by Jesse Matt. Last reply by Joanne Vaughn Jan 11. 7 Replies

Hello All,New to silvopasture practice.  I am a forestry and Global Resource Systems student from Iowa State University.  Agroforestry has really stolen my heart, and I've been trying learn as much…Continue

Searching for tree seeds

Started by Benjamin Harris Jan 11. 0 Replies

Hey y'all,I'm in search of tree seeds - fruits, nuts, fodder, N fixers, etc. Do you have favorite seed/nut sources or cultivars? I'm looking for production and vigor. Disease resistance will reveal…Continue

Anyone else seeding forages into pasture round bale leftovers

Started by Jonathan Bates Dec 17, 2019. 0 Replies

Thought I'd share this video I just uploaded about my silvopasture forage establishment trials in Brooktondale, NY. Enjoy!…Continue

Wooded Pasture & Forestry NE History

Started by Elliot Baratz Dec 17, 2019. 0 Replies

Hello, I am looking to learn more about the relationship between New England foresters and wooded pasture owners during the 20th century. In my research, I found mentions here and there about ill…Continue

Members

© 2020   Created by Peter Smallidge.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service