Silvopasture

They grow a lot of apples in Normandy and Brittany, probably because cider is such a popular beverage. When we were on vacation there 10 years ago, I noticed that their apple trees were in cattle pastures.  It makes good sense of course.  The cows keep the area grazed and fertilized.  The trees shade the cows and the cows eat the fruit that’s allowed to fall.  The Bretons and Normans probably get better apples and better beef this way.

Silvopasture is the practice of integrating animal pastures and tree crops.  It makes good sense.  Allowing livestock to come in and clean up under fruit trees, as they do in France, is one way of doing it, but certainly not the only way.

If I was starting our farm from scratch I’d plan to use silvopasture principles. We have trees in our pastures, but they’re not there specifically as a dual human/livestock food source.  Other than some black walnut trees, I don’t think we have any trees in our pastures that produce human food.

Trying to establish fruit trees inside an existing pasture would be problematic of course.  We’d have to fence them out for years, and that just isn’t feasible for us.

But we do have plenty of fruit trees on our farm and we plant more every year.

Maybe some day, in the distant future, someone will graze animals around them.

I hope so.

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