Agricultural Productivity

Windbreaks, alley farming and rotational grazing

Ecological Engineering

Windbreaks provide shelter for stock, pasture and crops by lowering windspeed up to 30 times the tree height. Increases in productivity can be up to 20% over farming systems without windbreaks (Cleugh, 2003) through reduced desiccation of inter-belt pastures and shelter for stock from heat and cold stress.
Alley farming (alternating bands of tree belts and cropping or pastures), combined with rotational grazing can significantly improve overall enterprise productivity and resilience, especially under extreme climatic conditions of cold or drought.

photo 29  p8110223

Conventional Engineering

Stock exposed to open conditions without shelter from windbreaks expend energy in extremes of cold or heat. Pastures and crops may be more exposed to desiccating winds. Lost agricultural production may not compensate productive land converted to windbreaks.

photo 30

Stock shelter

Ecological Engineering

Clumps of trees provide shelter for stock, reducing energy loss to heat and cold, and increasing live-weight gain.

photo 31

Conventional Engineering

No practical options. Shelter sheds and shade structures for stock in extreme weather situations help minimise stress from extremes of temperature.

photo 32 check-shade

Agricultural insect pest management

Ecological Engineering

Alley farming (alternating bands of trees belts and cropping/pastures) provide habitat for birds and bats that act as natural predators of insects (reducing but not eliminating need for insecticides).

photo 33

Conventional Engineering

Insecticide spraying in the absence of integrated pest management may increase levels in the environment and provides no biodiversity benefits.

photo 34