Trees provide fodder and boost production

Tim Downes is an organic dairy farmer based in Shropshire, who has benefitted from the incorporation of trees on his land for some time. His dairy business has 280 spring calving cows and he sells his milk through the Organic Milk Suppliers Co-Operative (OMSCO) and producers milk for the National Organic Program US antibiotic free market. Initially Tim introduced trees on to his land to aid with shelter, soil conditions and water management; and to provide a source of wood fuel. He now believes there are significant benefits to be had in terms of trees providing nutritional and medicinal fodder for his herd. Working in partnership with Harper Adams University and the Woodland Trust he is undertaking a trial to monitor the benefits of cows browsing trees in situ. Benefits can come through three routes; either directly influencing productivity through protein content, through secondary metabolites acting as anti-parasitics and altering digestive processes, or through improved trace element provision.


Theme: agroforestry
Published: 28th January 2016
Author: Tim Downes