Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Silvopasture

Silvopasture (Latin, silva forest) is the practice of combining forestry and grazing of domesticated animals in a mutually beneficial way. Advantages of a properly managed silvopasture operation are enhanced soil protection and increased long-term income due to the simultaneous production of trees and grazing animals.

Years ago we planted most of our fields full of pine trees, long before I acquired sheep and realized that I would need pasture one day.

So by default I have begun to practice silvopasturing - grazing my sheep in the pines.  I  mow lanes to set up the electric netting that I use to contain the sheep - and keep predators out.

I have also begun pruning off the lower branches of the pines with a polesaw.  This permits more sunlight to reach the grass and improves the value of the logs that will eventually come from these trees.

It also provides my sheep with a diverse diet of grass, forbs and leaves.




As well as comfort and shade. This is my ram Gunnar. I often find him lying under a thick spruce with low-hanging limbs, which seem to offer some relief from biting insects.

I put bells on a number of the sheep to better locate them in thick brush.

Interestingly, my sheep to relish pine needles during the winter, when they are on a hay diet.  They won't touch them during the summer however.

Momma and son.  The ewes and their lambs are usually found together.
 
I was wondering why the sheep had not eaten the leaves off these saplings.

Here is the reason.  If you've ever thrown rocks at one of these as a kid you know what I mean.
 



 

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