Economic return on strategically planting trees on farms is obvious for Greenhythe

Economic return on strategically planting trees on farms is obvious for Greenhythe

Posted 03 November 2021

Managing trees Economic benefits and markets Carbon benefits

Greenhythe, part of the Angus Stud, Landfall, started to invest in trees in a commercial capacity in the late 1990s.

Landfall director Ed Archer told Forestry Australia delegates that his father was part of a benchmarking group that looked at diversifying income streams.

“At that time, it was a lot harder to make money off livestock than it is today,” he said.

“The message that was getting pushed back then was that you needed to diversify to give yourself some financial security.”

Some plantations, including a walnut orchard, was added to the property, which signalled the start of commercial tree growing for the Archers.

The trees were strategically planted to offer distance between the neighbours to reduce the spread of disease between livestock.

Greenhythe has continued to experience the benefit of trees.

“On the back of an envelope, trees won’t compare to livestock. Especially with the way the livestock markets are at the moment,” Mr Archer said.

“But if we can integrate them, integrate the two, try and measure and put a value of the benefits of trees and the benefits they offer to the livestock, plus then the benefits of the trees themselves, the equation would come out much better.”

Mr Archer said the property had recorded an increase in marking rates on paddocks that had good shelter.

“Ewes lambing in areas that had good shelter – that’s not plantation shelter, that’s natives that we’ve fenced off - there was a 4.8% increase in marking rates.

“That works out to be a little over $85 a hectare in income. So if you put that over the life of the tree and then add the value of the timber, that’s very attractive.”

Mr Archer said there were a lot of benefits of trees integrated into farms that are hard to get solid measurements but can be observed daily.

Trees are also strategically planted in areas that are hard to manage and graze, which he hopes will be another income stream in the future.

Greenhythe has plans to plant 1000 natives per year as part of shelterbelts and improve the aesthetics of the land.