A before & after look at the most successful area of the property.Altitude: 950mAbout 6 degrees south of the Equator.Spacing of saplings: 3.2m (triangular fo...
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Started by Ben Hirsh. Last reply by Corrine Wright Mar 1.
I recently purchased 500 acres in the southwest corner of North Carolina. The property contains around 30 acres of developed pastures. There are another 100 acres of forest that was selectively…Continue
Started by Katie Commender. Last reply by Dylan Heagy Jan 31.
Appalachian Sustainable Development is searching for a part-time, regionally remote Agroforester to join our team! This new position will be responsible for providing technical and financial…Continue
Started by John Foye Sep 8, 2022.
Hi all -- glad to be a part of the group! At Working Trees we get producers paid for the carbon stored in silvopasture…Continue
Started by Kate MacFarland May 13, 2022.
Agroforestry Note #50: Considerations for Establishing Silvopastures on Wooded Sites is now online at the…Continue
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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.