Farmlands joins forestry project

Farmers are having to re-evaluate the way they farm in light of new climate change and environmental regulations as well as shifts in consumer behaviour. Forestry, native and exotic, provides both an income diversification opportunity and a means to boost farm environmental performance.

 

ForestryTo support decisions on how to integrate trees into the farm business, landowners need up-todate, easily accessed information on different forestry options tailored to their circumstances. 

Farmlands, knowing the importance of quality advice on forestry for its members, is delighted to be a partner and investor in a 12-month initiative, funded by the One Billion Trees Fund, alongside Dairy NZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, multiple regional councils, Forestry Growers Research and Living Water. The project, to be delivered by Perrin

 

 

Ag Consultants and forestry scientists, will generate new insights on how to optimise the integration of different forms of forestry with existing land use activities. The project team began in October and will work with industry, dairy farmers and dry stock farmers in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Rangitikei regions. The range of farm types and land classes will result in guidelines for which forestry option is likely to be best suited to a property. 

 

  • Farmers are currently being interviewed to identify their knowledge of farm forestry and to select 10 farms for in-depth case studies. Three of these properties will be Maori-owned.

 

  • Whole farm business analyses will be used to compare physical and financial performance when different forestry options are incorporated.

 

  • The effects on environmental performance (water quality, erosion control, enhanced biodiversity) and greenhouse gas emissions will be modelled along with benefits arising from the inclusion of the trees that qualify for the Emissions Trading Scheme.

 

 

To achieve the "right tree, in the right place, for the right purpose", a range of silvicultural options and forestry species, both native and exotic, will be assessed. This will include the indigenous species pinus radiata, Douglas fir, manuka and apiculture for carbon and biodiversity. It will also include short-rotation exotic species for carbon and wood fibre.

Management guidelines to achieve a high-value end product from trees will cover tree varieties, management, pest control, area required to be viable and harvesting implications. Information provided by the case studies will also highlight the resources, tools, industry support and grants needed to support landowners implementing forestry programmes.

Three other case studies will be used to explore how farmers might benefit from establishing or joining a forestry syndicate. It is thought the syndicate may best suit dairy farmers on highquality, intensively managed properties to help them diversify their income and benefit from the sale of carbon. A fourth catchment case study, co-funded by Living Water, will consider riparian and biodiversity benefits.

 

 

Farmlands Director - Agri Products and Services, Andrew Horsbrugh is looking forward to working with the project team to ensure results are made available to shareholders. Information will also be shared via field days, workshops and rural presentations. "We expect shareholders to gain a lot of value from the project findings. It will help to inform the design of transition pathways best suited to reducing a property's environmental footprint while sustaining financial returns," he says.