Opportunities for integrating farming with forestry
With 75% of farmland in Scotland classified as Less Favoured Area and with current uncertainties over the future of agricultural subsidies, there are significant opportunities for landowners to maximise business productivity by adding value to underproductive land via Woodland Creation. New woodlands have the potential to create an additional sustainable long term income stream for your business and an important source of low carbon, low cost woodfuel, at the same time as realising tax, livestock and crop productivity and environmental benefits (including helping to manage your businesses carbon footprint).
Does tree planting mean a loss of agricultural productivity?
Very often the benefits of planting trees can outweigh the loss of any agricultural land, woodlands can help maximise productivity on adjacent fields. It is possible to maintain your overall levels of agricultural productivity at the same time as adding an additional asset and income stream to your farm; forestry need not be at the cost of farming.
Integrating forestry with farming
Scottish Forestry have worked with a number of landowners over the years who are now benefitting from integrating forestry into their existing rural business.
Gascoigne Farm Woodland
By integrating forestry with his farming business, Peter Gascoigne has successfully;
- maximised business productivity;
- created shelter for improved livestock performance;
- added value to underproductive land;
- created a tax free asset for the future;
- secured his farm for future generations;
- reduced his business carbon footprint; and
- received funding to do this.
We have many other case studies for you to see how other landowners are benefiting from integrating forestry with farming.
Is there funding available to help, if I want to plant trees?
There is a grant package available for landowners wishing to consider woodland creation on their land.
What are the costs involved?
The cost of any scheme will vary depending on the site, scale of planting, the option chosen and the type of ground preparation and tree protection selected so there is no set rule of thumb per hectare.
SAC consulting have produced a costed cast study based on the creation of a 130ha conifer timber crop at Dalfoil Farm, which can help outline the type of costs you will need to consider. Forestry agents can prepare an indicative cash-flow for any potential forestry grant scheme, which can help you decide as to whether it is the right thing for you.
Will there be a market for my timber in the future?
The UK currently imports 75% of its timber, without an increase in production this figure could rise to 80%. At the same time, according to the WWF, global demand for timber products is expected to more than triple over the next three decades. Landowners planting trees today can therefore benefit from a ready market for their products.
Sheep and trees
Our Sheep and Trees partners have helped us develop a new funding package for hill and upland farms. The Sheep and Trees Forestry Grant Package brings together two different elements of the Forestry Grant Scheme. Uniquely, it enables you to apply for both a Woodland Creation grant and the Forest Infrastructure grant for the same area at the same time. This means you'll be able to build access routes to help you get started and then manage your new farm woodland as it grows.
For further information on our Sheep and Trees grant package and to see if you are eligible. Our Sheep and Trees page has more information.
Agroforestry can be described as an integrated approach to land management, where trees and agriculture co-exist to provide multiple benefits. Financial support is available through the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) to help you create small-scale woodlands within sheep grazing pasture.
Where do I go for further information if I want to consider woodland creation opportunities on my land?
We can offer you initial and impartial information on the potential opportunities for woodland creation on your land and explain how related grant funding support works, however you may need to get an agent or consultant to submit an application for funding on your behalf.
Contact your nearest Scottish Forestry Conservancy Office for more information or visit the Farm Advisory Service website for more useful information and resourses.