Most of my opinions about getting a job based on agroforestry / regenerative agriculture stem from the time I was fresh out of college a little over one decade ago.At that time I was considering…Continue
Hello folks. Are there any consultants here who advise and plan forestry thinning for silvopasture in PA? Or can you point me in the direction of anyone who provides those services in PA? Thank you!Continue
I live in south central Texas on 21 very wooded acres. I have a plan to thin the trees to open up the canopy for allowing grasses to grow. I have 31 large piles of brush which I had planned to burn,…Continue
In 2020, a local grazier friend did an intensive thinning on 70 acres of mature woods to create silvopasture. Learning from other's past mistakes (including mine) of leaving too much logging debris…Continue
What is the primary goal of the project?
We want cattle to graze on the grass and herbaceous plants below the trees. The goal is to satisfy personal supply line needs and to also be profitable selling surplus fruits. When we started we did not give much thought to being profitable (planned on just working in the USA during the initial years, but plans changed. That's another story). So the way we implemented the project was too long-term focused, and intensive & diverse to make any economic sense. At least during the early years. Hindsight is 20/20.
I think if I could go back in time, we would have left large alleys without trees and fenced these alleys with barbed wire, to be able to graze cattle from day one. Also it would have been good to interplant each tree with a coffee shrub (the commodity crop here with an easy market). That would have given us early cashflow, and the cows would have at least maintained some of the property so the amount of annual weedwacking cost would have been reduced.
I was thinking to move forward we will probably need to wait one or two more years for cattle. I've been giving it a lot of thought, and think that dairy cows would be the only animal to profit from here. It doesn't look like this is enough land to hit the scale where beef cattle would be profitable. No market for sheep or goats. Pigs require a lot of feed inputs, which doesn't make much sense after transportation way out here. We've been having limited success with pasture-raised poultry using pvc tractors. They require minimal feed inputs, and we haven't figured out how to make a profit from them, but they have been a great way to feed ourselves high quality meat for cheap.
Maybe if we had a lot more capital we would pay to install a high perimeter fence, and apply for the application to raise wild animals. Then we could create a sanctuary to re-introduce the native deer and tapir, which would increase the tourism potential.
We are renting our house for vacation rentals, but our goal is to make ends meet purely from the farming. Here is our vacation rental in case anyone is curious:
I'll upload an update video of the site next month.