Windbreaks: A Strategy for Crop Protection and Income Generation
Farm Operation: 160 Hectare (400 Acre) Cash Crop Farm and Sawmill
The 4,500 trees in Bob Taylor's windbreak protect his crops from the damaging effects of prevailing winds and provide habitat for nesting birds.
Bob Taylor - Zorra Township
Bob was inspired to plant a windbreak of his own after attending a windbreak workshop in 1982 at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus. He has been working closely with his local conservation authority ever since. He maintains that the conservation authorities are valuable partners when planning and planting a windbreak. Their role in conducting farm assessments and guiding site preparations a year prior to planting the trees is valuable for establishing a successful windbreak.
The west and east side of Bob's farm are bordered with two-row windbreaks consisting of Norway spruce and white cedar. Bob believes these species are a good combination in the double row format, but they would also work well in a single row windbreak when planted in an alternating stock pattern.
Return on Investment
The most noticeable benefits from the windbreaks are financial. For Bob, windbreaks have increased his financial returns by:
As land values have increased, Bob realizes it is vital to maximize the land he has for crop production. Even though windbreaks use some of his cropland, he believes that the windbreaks make a significant difference to his crop yields and provide an additional revenue source.
"I think it has been a success. Certainly in ways that I hadn't anticipated, such as:
And I wouldn't give these trees up for all the money in the world." - Bob Taylor
To help the trees to grow and to remain healthy, Bob thinned the windbreak once in the last 20 years and is planning to thin it again. In Bob's opinion, "even though pruning and thinning is hard work, it is necessary for tree health."
Bob Taylor taking a walk along his windbreak with a conservation authority forester.
Removing low-hanging branches protects farm equipment from potential damage from stray branches.
The trees were machine planted and band sprayed with simazine for grass and weed control.
Bob hopes to continue to use the products from his windbreak and sawmill to finish constructing his new home. He also uses his sawmill to process lumber received from local clients.
Bob's portable sawmill for processing rough windbreak logs into dimensional lumber.
Windbreak Maintenance Benefits and Tips
Watch our windbreak videos.
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