Dirt Rich Episode 10: Implementing Silvopasture

Dirt Rich

Jared Luhman and Tyler Carlson return to further discuss Silvopasture: “the intentional integration of trees, forage, and livestock into one intensively managed system.” Formerly a trope to “keep livestock out of the woods,” now farmers have the tools to properly manage their impact. 

By intensively managing trees to optimize the growing environment for the forage below, as well as the timing and location of livestock grazing, farmers can reap numerous benefits. Silvopasture practices can boost soil health, water quality, wildlife habitat and diversity, and carbon sequestration. Silvopasture can also raise timber value, animal performance, and overall economic returns, making this system an attractive option for some farmers.

Tyler describes his own operation, from his intensive study of agroforestry as a student at the University of Minnesota, to his 200 acres in Todd County today. He and his wife raise grass-fed beef, pastured lamb, and perennial fruits on their farm. Tyler shares his experience in working with both existing woodlands and establishing silvopasture on cleared land for those looking to get started.