Opportunities for integrating farming with forestry

With 85% of farmland in Scotland classified as Less Favoured Area (LFA) 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). 

Encouraging tenancy businesses to plant trees

In partnership with the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association and a Crown Estate Scotland tenant, we've produced a woodland creation case study to encourage more tenancy based businesses to consider growing trees. The case study is based on fully worked examples on a real tenanted farm.

Tree planting and 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's possible to maintain your overall levels of agricultural productivity at the same time as adding an additional asset and income stream to your farm.

Integrating forestry with farming

We've worked with a number of landowners over the years who are now benefitting from integrating forestry into their existing rural business.

Gascoigne Farm Woodland

Watch the Gascoigne Farm Woodland Creation video

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
  • andreceived funding to do this

We've many other case studies for you to see how other landowners are benefiting from integrating forestry with farming.

Available funding

There's a grant package available for landowners wishing to consider woodland creation on their land.

Visit the Rural Payments and Services website for more information.

Please note, there's no set rule per hectare (ha). The cost of any scheme will vary depending on the site, scale of planting, the option chosen and the type of ground prep.

SAC consulting have produced a costed cast study based on the creation of a 130 ha 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's the right thing for you.

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.

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 80% of its timber. At the same time, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WFF), global demand for timber products is expected to more than triple over the next 3 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 Initiative brings together two different elements of the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS). Uniquely, it enables you to apply for both a woodland creation grant and a 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.

Visit our 'Improve your farm's viability' web page for more information. 

Agroforestry

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 FGS to help you create small-scale woodlands within sheep grazing pasture.

Read our Forestry Grant Scheme support for Agroforestry for more information.

Contact

We can offer you an 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 us for more information or visit the Farm Advisory Service website.

Case studies

View our case studies.

Related links

Integrating Trees Network

Farm Advisory Service website - Woodland creation, management and conservation support