Agroforestry Open Weekend 2024 coming soon

Farms that are employing agroforestry, from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will be opening their gates for visitors between May 17th and May 20th 2024.

The Agroforestry Open Weekend is a great chance to find out more about agroforestry in action.

Thirty years ago planting trees in lines in a wheat field (as per Wakelyns) was regarded as somewhat eccentric – but the benefits of combining crops, livestock and forestry are at last gaining wider recognition and are becoming mainstream.

In its 2023 Carbon Budget Delivery Plan, the UK Government has committed to 10% of UK arable land being in agroforestry by 2050. This would promote be a substantial change in the landscape and to farming, with lots of carbon dioxide sequestered and lots of new habitats.

To help make that happen, Defra is promising SFI payments of up to £849 per hectare for farmers who maintain agroforestry.

Agroforestry is tree planting deliberately combined with food production on the same land. It most commonly takes the form of either silvoarable (trees are planted at wide spacings and intercropped with a cereal, horticultural or other crops) or silvopastoral (trees are combined with forage, grassland and livestock production). Its key benefits are to:

  • Reduce soil erosion
  • Improve water and air quality
  • Provide shelter for livestock and crops
  • Reduce flood risk
  • Improve food, fuel or timber production potential
  • Increase biodiversity
  • Capture and store carbon
  • Improve climate change resilience

The Agroforestry Open Weekend will help farmers new to agroforestry get a feeling for what it entails, and provide the chance for farmers already working agroforestry systems to share ideas.

Now in its 4th year, the Agroforestry Open Weekend had 37 open agroforestry farms last year and is hoping to exceed that in 2024.

Call for agroforestry farms
If you have an area of agroforestry planting and would like to join in the Agroforestry Open Weekend – find out more here

The photo for this article is from the Dartington Cluster, where two walking tours will take place this year

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