Tim opening gate

Integrating forestry and farming

Farm Management Change – With Descriptor

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Integrated Forestry Farm Systems is a project demonstrating how integrating dairy and hill country sheep and beef farming with forestry for profitable, sustainable land use can assist landowners, iwi and rural professionals make well-informed forestry decisions and increase confidence in implementing forestry as a land-use option.

Farmers are re-evaluating their farm businesses and farming systems due to a range of drivers:

  • Increasing environmental regulations (nutrients, greenhouse gases, biodiversity)
  • Increasing market regulations
  • Climate change
  • Competing substitute products (e.g. “clean” meat)
  • Market volatility
  • Farm business and family factors that affect farm transition and ownership.

Including forestry in farm business enterprises, particularly on land less suited to intensive agriculture, can provide a practical multi-purpose solution to the above challenges. However, forestry is not viewed favourably by some farmers for lifestyle and community reasons, and because of their perceptions of forestry’s relative economics and timing of returns.

The project has four elements:

  1. Identify farmer perceptions of forestry and barriers to integrating forestry with farming businesses
  2. Undertake a diverse range of farm case studies to illustrate the integration of various forestry options into pastoral farming systems
  3. Undertake case study scenarios on the formation of farm syndicates to purchase and convert land at scale to offset the environmental externalities of members and provide improved returns to them.
  4. Extension activities to agribusiness consultants and farmers to support their, or their clients, decisions.

The Integrated Farm Forestry Systems project is a multi-agency funded research and extension project, led by agricultural consultancy Perrin Ag with funding fromTe Uru Rākau and co-funded by DairyNZ, the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Horizons Regional Councils, Living Water (DOC-Fonterra partnership), Farmlands Co-operative and the Forest Growers Levy Trust

Further information on the project here

Peter Savage

Peter Savage

Fonterra Productive Landscapes Transformation Manager
Jane and Sarah planting

Project Benefits

The case studies provide outputs and resources to enable landowners who aspire to plant trees to have the knowledge and confidence to plant the right tree in the right place for the right purpose. Topics and information provided include:

  • Farm specific information on the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), how carbon trading works, differences in carbon sequestration, ETS eligibility and the financial benefits and risks of registering plantings within the ETS.
  • Robust financial and environmental analysis demonstrating the potential returns, environmental impact and the performance of an integrated farm business.
  • Process for selecting wood harvesters and setting up wood harvesting agreements.
  • Best practice for tree management and harvest process for the case study farms, and how environmental impact at harvest can be mitigated through good planning and harvest management,
  • Illustrates a range of options for how natives can be established to provide integrated ‘best land-use’.
  • Illustrates the planning required and why site selections and silviculture regime are critical success factors for farm forestry.

Progress

What’s Next

  • Farm syndicates case studies are on hold due to Covid-19 – decision to be made on progressing this in September 2021