Hidden Blossom Farm incorporates silvopastures into our rotational grazing system because the practice benefits our land, our animals, and the climate. Silvopasture is the intentional integration of livestock, trees, and forage on the same unit of land.
These savanna-like pastures contain widely spaced trees which are managed so that light reaches the ground level, encouraging forage growth. Animal welfare is maximized because trees provide shade for cattle and a microenvironment that increases the nutrient content of forages. Cattle are regularly moved in and out of silvopastures to ensure tree health and soil integrity. The carbon sequestered by trees has climate benefits when compared to treeless pasture.
Our silvopastures also have wildlife benefits on the farm. The savanna-like forest structure is unique to our region and provides habitat for mammals and birds, including excellent hunting ground for our resident great horned owls. Silvopastures on the farm allow us to avoid grazing in our treeless pastures during the month of June when rare grassland birds, such as bobolinks and tree swallows, are nesting among the grass. The mosaic of forest, silvopasture, and treeless pastures on our farm supports abundant biodiversity.
Silvopastures on Hidden Blossom Farm also serve an academic role as examples of agroforestry in practice and a platform for research. Joe Orefice is a licensed forester and holds a PhD in natural resources from the University of New Hampshire. He has been involved with the study and practice of silvopasture for 15 years. Our farm regularly partners with other organizations to host educational programming and agroforestry research. This fencing video is just one example of how we contribute to advancing sustainable agriculture through practice.