Tree Planting on Farms to Boost Income & Help The Environment

tree planting on farms

Tree Planting on Farms to Boost Income & Help The Environment

Afforestation is an important strategy for tackling climate change. Science is showing that tree planting on farms is also a good way of keeping soil and animals healthy. Keep reading to learn the benefits of planting trees for farmers and the environment.



Tree Planting on Farms: Soil Grazing 

Agroforestry, where trees and livestock share the same land, shows excellent benefits for farm ecosystems. Combining trees with livestock farming improves the soil’s ability to sustain grazing longer. This happens through (1) enhanced soil trafficability and (2) increased water permeability.

Trees intercept rain, evaporate some of it back, and absorb more as they grow. Tree roots penetrate deeper than grass, allowing more rainwater to be absorbed by the soil. This drying effect enables animals to be turned out earlier and kept out longer. Tree planting on farms can potentially extend the grazing season by several weeks.


Tree Planting on Farms: Livestock Productivity

Well-placed trees provide shelter and protection for livestock. This shelter can reduce lamb losses by up to 30% and increase livestock productivity. Sheep can consume up to 20% of their diet from tree and shrub leaves if they have access to the food source. Cows may include roughly 12% of tree/shrub in their diet. Tree leaves also contain essential minerals, reducing the need for supplements.


Tree Planting on Farms: Financial Incentives

Since the late 1980s, over 23,500 landowners have taken advantage of grants for tree planting on farms. The DAFM (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine) offers generous tree planting grants. These grants can range from €746 to €1,142 per hectare per year, depending on the type of forest planted. To check on the grants available for tree planting, visit the Teagasc Forestry webpage. There is also financial incentive based on the timber harvest. The income from timber harvest varies based on the site and management. However, the demand for timber is high.


Tree Planting on Farms: Environmental Protection

Planting trees along waterways helps improve water quality. Trees can filter out runoff such as sediment and phosphates. Trees also stabilise the soil, reducing erosion from heavy rain and wind. Research in the UK shows that woodland between fields and rivers can reduce:

  • Sediment runoff by 90-100%
  • Nutrient losses by 20-80%
  • Pesticide loss by 60-100%


Hence, tree planting improves water quality, vital for healthy ecosystems and water supplies.


Conclusion for Tree Planting on Farms 

Rather than keeping forestry and agriculture separate, integrating them offers many benefits. Trees and farming can support each other, offering protection against climate change and financial support for farms. Southern Scientific can help ensure agroforestry farms are performing optimally. With our agricultural soil and forestry testing, we can make sure your fields and woodlands are complimenting each other.


Learn more about our Soil and Agricultural Material Testing here!

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