Lifting farmgate profitability through high value modular agroforestry (RRD401-1516)

This project aimed to increase the number and area of trees on farms in configurations that will promote increased farm gate profitability. The objective was to demonstrate that trees can be a profitable component of farming systems, such that farmers will be keen to establish them based on their merits. The intention is that this will lead to a natural scaling up, and avoid the necessity for direct government investment in as many tree plantings. The establishment of more trees in the landscape will lead to much greater returns of both the public and private benefits of tree planting.

The methods that this project adopted were:

(1) conducting a review of agroforestry options to better understand the economic and biophysical basis for the range of benefits that targeted agroforestry systems can offer for farm enterprises,

(2) Understanding farmer motivations around tree planting, and the barriers to adoption through applied social science, 

(3) Experimentation to fill critical gaps, including 

     a. understanding the shelter benefits of windbreaks on wind speed, microclimate and pasture productivity, 

     b. exploring the opportunity for Tasmanian manuka to be used as an agroforestry species, and 

     c. better understanding the influence of woodland patches on microclimate and windspeed

(4) Integration of biophysical and economic information using the Imagine bioeconomic model to bring the multiple benefits of agroforestry systems into a single balance sheet to explore the impacts of different configurations, and rotations on the range of benefits that accrue to the farm bottom line, focusing on the 4 case study sites in Tasmania

The project has produced a number of publicly available outputs, including two CSIRO reports, 5 published papers and more on the way, 3 conference presentations, and 6 fact sheets (see Appendix 1.1 for details). In addition to this, project members have contributed to at least 7 field days and fora on agroforestry with farmers, and established 4 key experiments in the northern and southern midlands of Tasmania which have been a nucleus for activity and interest in the project findings and implications for farm enterprises. 



This work was supported by funding provided to FWPA by the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE), via the Rural R&D for Profit program (15-02-029).