Too Wet? Too Dry? Silvopasture Can Make it Just Right
An recent article on agroforestry served as an excellent illustration of the way that silvopasture can turn problem fields into prime pastures.
The land in question, a floodplain site at a North Carolina State University research farm, had patchy soils with concentrations of both sand and clay. The sandy areas dry out quickly, especially under tillage, losing organic matter and failing to hold enough water to support crops during rain-free spells.
The tight clay patches, on the other hand, remain inundated for long periods after flooding, causing crop damage and even loss.
Both trees and perennial pasture grasses have deeper and more extensive root systems that allow them to withstand such shallow-soil moisture fluctuations. Instead of losing money year after year on drought- and flood-stricken crops, the floodplain land can produce income from cattle, and, in the long term, from timber harvest as well.