Submitted to: Association for Temperate Agroforestry Meeting
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2006
Publication Date: 12/10/2006
Citation: Feldhake, C.M. 2006. Appalachian Silvopasture Research. Association for Temperate Agroforestry Meeting, on-line posting.
Technical Abstract: Small farms in the hilly Appalachian Region are comprised of primarily pasture and woodlots. Income producing potential is low for both of these land uses and more intensive agricultural practices used in other parts of the country are poorly suited to the region due to topography and soil limitations. The Region is also the source of rivers producing much of the water utilized by cities in the Eastern U.S. thus care must be taken to ensure that any new management practices do not adversely impact water quality. We have studied the feasibility of developing silvopasture options that maintain pasture productivity while generating additional income from appropriately spaced trees. We have found that partitioning solar radiation interception equally between trees and forages produces satisfactory forage yield with spatial pattern effects ranging from increased forage yield for sites receiving mottled shade in the afternoon only, to decreased yield and quality for sites shaded most of the day. This work provides guidelines for natural resource management advisers to present to farmers and help them improve their production and land management. It points to ways to diversify what can be produced on small farms in an environmentally responsible manner. The Appalachian region is 23% larger than the state of California. Improving and diversifying income from this largely rural area will benefit the economy and help stabilize small communities.