At the seminar which took place on the 11th September at Harper Adams University and jointly organised by the University and the Woodland Trust farmers learnt how trees can play a key role in improving the resilience of their livestock systems.
A mix of industry experts, researchers and farmers discussed how narrow shelter belts, hedges and trees along water courses can provide a range of benefits; providing shelter, supporting grass growth and reducing poaching and nutrient run off . A presentation by Mike Townsend gave the story behind the Pontbren farmers tree planting programme. Workshops led by a local dairy farmer and a leading sheep vet highlighted how trees can improve the health and well being of livestock; being part of preventative measures to reduce the incidence of liver fluke and lameness, reducing neonatal lamb losses and when browsed helping to reduce intestinal parasites and improving the efficiency of digestion in dairy cows.
Discussions also took place around the functional value of trees on farms to provide additional sources of income, such as by providing wood fuel and as a source of animal bedding either through new planting or improving the management of existing woodland on the farm. The potential increase in productivity from a given area of the farm from silvopastural schemes was also explored in a session led by Dr Jo Smith of the Organic Research Centre.
Please find presentations from the day below. We would welcome any further feedback on the seminar or enquiries at: firstname.lastname@example.org