Factsheets

  • AGFORWARD

Why combine maize with cherry trees?

Maize is in great demand all over Europe as livestock feed. However, intensive maize production requires large amounts of inputs, including fertilizer and water, which results in low returns and high environmental costs.

Currently, quality timber cherry trees have a high market value due to a shortage of supply.

 

 

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  • AGFORWARD

Facing climate change

Global food production should at least double by the end of this century to meet the needs of the increasing human population. However, crop yield potential has stagnated, and some reduction in the crop yields is expected as consequence of climate change.

Silvo-agriculture can be regarded as an adaptive cultivation system that can help to mitigate the negative effects of climate warming and help meet the challenges arising from the increased frequency of extreme weather events.

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  • AGFORWARD

Why pollard trees?

Pollarding trees optimises renewable biomass production and facilitates local production of firewood, ramial chipped wood (RCW), lumber and fodder. Harvest occurs over decades, depending on the chosen frequency of pruning and utilization. Many tree varieties can be pollarded to provide a range of products. Pollarded trees have an increased lifespan. As their growth is limited, they better resist wind and drought, and this may be of particular benefit in global warming conditions. Old pollards use compartmentation to ensure living cells are protected from diseases and dead cells in the middle of the trunk. The tree trunks, and even the roots, are also great biodiversity habitats for flora and fauna.

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  • AGFORWARD

Why should you plan carefully?

The potential benefits from grazing apple orchards with sheep include a reduction in mowing costs and an additional source of grass for the sheep. The sheep can promote nutrient cycling and can benefit from the shelter in winter.

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  • AGFORWARD

Why graze orchards with sheep?

Orchard grazing can offer financial and environmental benefits. The experience of stakeholders in the AGFORWARD project is that some lowland sheep breeds (e.g. Shropshire) can successfully graze on orchards which have been pruned to a height of 1-2 m without noticeable losses in apple yields. Sheep producers can profit from an additional source of grass in the orchards, and the release of grazed land for hay production. Orchard owners can profit from reduced mowing costs, increased nitrogen cycling and a rent from the sheep owner. There can also be societal benefits in terms of employment and plant biodiversity.

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  • AGFORWARD

Why graze orchards with sheep?

  • Sheep can reduce the cost of grass mowing in orchards
  • Sheep can promote nutrient retention and cycling within the orchard
  • Sheep can eat fallen leaves (a refuge for apple scab spores) and fruits (a refuge for pests such as sawfly andcodling moth) which should result in reduced need for pesticide applications
  • Sheep could reduce vole populations (which can damage trees)
  • Grass can be used to maintain ewes or fatten lambs, which can increase farm income

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  • AGFORWARD

Why intercropping?

Market-focused farmers manage orange tree (Citrus sinensis) varieties by pollarding and crafting. This procedure can take up to 15 years for the tree to reach maturity and attain maximum fruit yields. In the meantime, farmers can take advantage of the wide and open space created by the pollarding, to produce a variety of vegetables and raise a further income to supplement that earned from the orange trees.

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  • AGFORWARD

Traditional land use system

Olive (Olea europea) is the most widespread cultivated tree in Greece (Schultz et al. 1987). Olive trees alone, or in orchards, are found in all parts of the country that have a mild Mediterranean climate. The olive tree is considered to be one of the least demanding cultivated trees in terms of soil nutrients. For this reason, it is planted in poor, rocky areas with soils mostly derived from hard limestone. In traditional systems, practically all olive trees came from wild plants which were grafted. Edible olives and olive oil are the main products of olive trees, while secondary products include fodder for animals and firewood.

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  • AGFORWARD

Why chickpeas?

Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L.) are valued as a high quality food for humans. They are also an excellent source of protein for animal feed. They are easy to cultivate, requiring little management and, in general, have low treatment costs. They have high monetary value, so a farmer can gain considerable additional income from cultivating chickpeas among trees.

 

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