Trees: From Seed to Sawdust - Episode 12 - Agroforestry: The Answer to a lot of Issues

Towards the end of 2021 there was a farm walk where interested parties learned about Agroforestry - a system of combining trees and grass on the same plot of land and rearing animals around it.
Agroforestry seems to be the answer to farmers worries in relation to trees and taking land out of use for 50 or 60 years - which is the case under the traditional grant aided forestry scheme.  With agroforestry the trees are planted at a lower density and the normal farm practises - like grazing and silage making are carried on as normal.  

Jim McAdam pioneered the system in Northern Ireland and in this programme we hear him deliver a talk at a farm walk in Headford Co Galway where he goes through the benefits of agroforestry and the findings from 30 years of research into the system.  Not only do trees provide welfare benefits to the animals on the site in relation to shelter and shade, the trees presence also means that the land is better drained and the animals can stay out for longer - a farmer doesn't have to bring the animals in as early to house them over winter.  This has knock on effects in relation to ammonia emissions.  Trees also sequester carbon and under an agroforestry scheme the carbon is bound more tightly in the soil and isn't as easily lost to the atmosphere as a result.  

Eugene Curran is a district forestry inspector with the Department of Agriculture and he along with Liam Kelly, Teagasc Forestry Advisor, explains the processes whereby interested farmers and landowners can find out more about the Agroforestry scheme.  Listen to this if you are a farmer on the fence!
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