NSA and Woodland Trust unite to give tree planting advice to farms

The National Sheep Association (NSA) and Woodland Trust have launched a booklet giving sheep farmers practical guidance on planting trees.

The role of trees in sheep farming was released at the NSA Sheep Event in Malvern this week (18 July) and also sets out how the current barriers to tree planting must change in a post-Brexit era.

Planting density in agroforestry is typically 75-200 trees/ha. This is too low for woodland creation grants, which require a minimum of 400 trees/ha, explained the Woodland Trust.

See also: How planting trees on farms offers extra income stream

It means that eligibility for tree planting on farms under pre-Brexit Basic Payment Schemes has largely been dependent on the interpretation of rules by individual Rural Payment Agency inspectors.

Woodland Trust said this must change, particularly as links between the environment and farming are being increasingly scrutinised and important discussions are ongoing about paying farmers for the provision of public goods post Brexit. 

Helen Cheshire, Woodland Trust senior farming adviser, said this year’s extreme weather had highlighted the valuable role trees can play in providing shade and shelter on farms, adding: “The Beast from the East, followed by the drought, have really emphasised how trees can play a role. The environment sector and farming sector can work together to push for much better schemes.”

The booklet also provides practical guidance on:

  • Creating the best shelter belts for livestock
  • Choosing species
  • Planting
  • Maintenance
  • Case studies of farmers from across the UK who describe the benefits of tree planting

Download a PDF copy of The role of trees in sheep farming.