Cereals: The Arable Event

Apples form the core of extra income for farmers

04-May-2017 by: Dee Smith Woodland Trust

A Nottinghamshire farmer is finding out how productive his farm can be thanks to apples.

With help from the Woodland Trust’s Trees For Your Farm scheme, David Rose, of Home Farm, Screveton, has diversified into alley cropping, creating a silvoarable scheme integrating rows of trees within his 500 acre arable crop.

The trees take up just eight per cent of his land while the remaining 92% is cropped under the existing cereal rotation.

Agroforestry schemes such as this are more productive than monocropping. Once the fruit is in full production the combined yield and economic output of the apples and cereals will be greater than that of the original cereal crop, despite there being fewer cereals in the ground. 

As well as the boost to the farm’s income, the trees are providing protection and nourishment to the soil, attracting pollinators and encouraging local wildlife. 

David will be sharing his experiences of agroforestry at a technical seminar at Cereals on 14 June, alongside Woodland Trust Director of Woodland Creation John Tucker.

David said

“Farming is going through such changes and there needs to be a way that smaller or medium sized farms can have an opportunity to have a sustainable business. 

“I believe that agroforestry gives that opportunity to produce food in a way that maximises the potential of every acre. 

"The Woodland Trust has helped take the environmental management of our farm to a new level with the creation of a silvoarable scheme which will provide economic, environmental and social benefits to both the farm and the wider community for years to come. Their expertise is making the farm grow.”

The seminar will also discuss the opportunities presented by leaving the EU.

John Tucker said: 

“Farmers can be reluctant to plant trees because, despite the many benefits, they fear losing subsidies and are often confused about what is allowed, how tree planting grants work, and what is acceptable under CAP rules. 

"The current CAP system doesn’t encourage tree planting activity – in England the application window for new planting is very short, farmers are worried about being penalized for getting things wrong and the rules are complex.

“As a consequence of voting to leave the EU, we now have the best opportunity in a generation to reshape land management policy. The artificial administrative boundaries between forestry, woodland and farming can be removed. This means landowners could be effectively rewarded for the wider environmental benefits that carefully located and well managed trees and woods can deliver for society.”

Visitors to the Trust’s stand at Cereals (754) will be able to have a go on bicycle-powered scratter and pressing machine and enjoy a glass of apple juice produced using apples from Cambridgeshire farmer Stephen Briggs, who is also reaping the beneifts of alley cropping.

Experts will be on hand to discuss how trees can be working partners on a farm, whether they are planted to reduce soil erosion, provide shelter for livestock, create a source of woodfuel or provide an extra crop. Visitors can also enter a competition to win one of three Targeting Tree Disease tree packs worth £60 each. Each pack contains a mix of 45 native one and two-year-old saplings, tree guards and stakes. 

The benefits of trees on farms will be discussed further at an agroforestry conference being organised by the Trust in partnership with the Soil Association and Royal Forestry Society at Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, on Thursday, 22 June. Tickets are available via www.woodlandtrust.org.uk 

Notes to Editors
For more information contact Dee Smith on 01476 581121 or deesmith@woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims:  i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.

The Woodland Trust is one of 46 voluntary organisations that make up Wildlife and Countryside Link, which is working to set out a vision which delivers benefits for farming as well as for our natural environment, in order to contribute towards a more sustainable agricultural sector.



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