Australian Fair Food Forum

Silvopasture and tree intercropping - is anyone doing it? What are you producing?

Hi folks, I’ve been reading a bit about Project Drawdown lately. (“The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. Drawdown maps, measures, models, and describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, we describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world.”)

It’s exciting to see so many solutions related to food and agriculture. There are a couple in particular that I’m interested in trialling and am less familiar with in an Australian context. I wondered if others are doing them in an Australian context (or planning to) and what crops and livestock they’re using.

In particular keen to hear about Silvopasture plans

And tree intercropping plans

Anyone else out there trialling these?

You should definitely talk with Bruce Burton at Milking Yard, @Jen. Their system is beautiful and they’re aiming towards 8 months of perennial fodder from the trees… :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the lead @tammois. I’ve just emailed inviting him to this conversation, so hopefully we can continue to build some knowledge on this topic openly here and keep adding to it.

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Thanks guys…am here! Imagine me on a forum.
Happy to contribute

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Hi Jen
Sharing knowledge like this is just wonderful
Thank you

We have a couple of areas under silvopasture. Large range of fruiting and seed trees, both native and exotics. We run pastured broilers in the alleys and experimenting with no till cropping behind the chooks.

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Great to have you here @bruce! Are you producing crops from the trees as part of your farm sales, or are they more at home scale? Tammi mentioned that you were working towards perennial fodder from the trees - what species/system are you using for that? And what native species are you using - are they playing a production role? Would love to know more about what you’re finding works and what you’d do differently if you were starting planting now.

I am really interested in this too especially for laying poultry. I did a literature review about the potential for agroforestry/silvopasture to mitigate key problems including extreme heat for laying poultry and it was very promising…
On our farm we were planning to use chestnuts intercropping with beef cattle. We are not going ahead with this due to the complexities of harvesting and marketing chestnuts but depending on location they are a good crop for silvopasture. We also have beech in grazed laneways (a bit experimental and might fail depending on the impact of climate change and extreme heat, in our situation at the base of a hill soil moisture is very good). We have walnut elsewhere that might in the future have poultry seasonally for pest and weed management. Walnut is not suitable for herbivores as it contains a toxin, juglone.

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