Forages, forests and livestock: Creating a synergistic system though silvopasture

Silvopasture is managing forages, forests and livestock so none of the resources are managed to the detriment of the other.

Cow in a forest.

Silvopasturing is where forest, forages and livestock production take place on the same piece of land over a long period of time. It’s a sustainable, synergistic system where none of the resources are managed to the detriment of the others. Michigan State University Extension educators have been working around the state with farmers who are interested in silvopasture to expand production but also improve farm resilience. Previous demonstration plots around the state showed the complexities related to establishing pasture under canopy and that proper site evaluation is critical to having a successful silvopasture system.

In order to provide farmers with the best recommendations related to silvopasture establishment in Michigan, the MSU Extension silvopasture team put together a video series featuring Brett Chedzoy of Cornell University Cooperative Extension, who has been practicing silvopasture on his own farm for over 10 years. In addition, Chedzoy has a forestry degree and is able to clearly explain proper silvopasture techniques that allow both livestock and trees to thrive together. The fifth video in the series provides an overview of MSU Extension’s silvopasture efforts in Michigan.

Each video is around 30 minutes long and may be viewed independently of the others.

Part 1: What is silvopasture?

Part 2: Benefits of silvopasture

Part 3: Establishing silvopasture

Part 4: Managing silvopasture

Part 5: Silvopasture in Michigan

Education and research projects are underway at several farms in Michigan with plans to turn this work into field days for 2022. Our goal is to have demonstration farms with active silvopastures to showcase techniques for those that are interested in learning and networking.

If you have an idea for silvopasture you would like to explore or if you are interested in cooperating with us on a silvopasture project, please contact one of us below

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