Shelterbelts help grow productivity
An Australian National University study in the eastern states is showing that planting shelterbelts have an impact on farm productivity. The results show they reduce lamb mortality, improve live-weight gains and increase wool production. These ‘windbreaks’ could also play a role in agriculture reducing net emissions as some of the woodland trees potentially hold a large amount of carbon.
Senior research officer Dan Florence said growing concerns about animal welfare were also contributing to the rise of shelterbelts. "Animal welfare is now becoming more topical from a consumer and buyer perspective." he said. "With a changing climate and really hot summers people are thinking more about their livestock's health and trying to give them a bit of shade and protection."
Mr Florence said the windbreaks could also play an important role in agriculture reducing net emissions. "Some of those woodland trees hold a potentially large amount of carbon in them," he said. "There is the potential to sequester a large amount more through targeted tree planting." (ABC Rural/ Hamish Cole)
NSW farmer Will Johnson said planting shelterbelts had “revitalised his property.”
"The birdlife has increased really well, there are a lot of small, native grass birds that you see most days.” He said the windbreaks created improved pastures for the livestock which led to improved production quality.
More information on ways to improve the natural assets on a farm can be found at the Sustainable Farms website here.