Evaluating and Sharing Techniques in Silvopasture Establishment

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2016: $29,951.00
Projected End Date: 02/28/2019
Grant Recipient: Savanna Institute
Region: North Central
State: Illinois
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Keefe Keeley
Savanna Institute

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Agronomic: grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Fruits: apples, apricots, berries (brambles), berries (other), cherries, peaches, pears, plums
  • Nuts: chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans
  • Additional Plants: native plants, trees
  • Animals: bovine, poultry, sheep, swine


  • Animal Production: feed/forage, grazing management, grazing - multispecies, grazing - rotational, housing
  • Crop Production: windbreaks
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, budgets/cost and returns, new enterprise development
  • Natural Resources/Environment: afforestation, biodiversity, hedges - woody
  • Pest Management: competition, cultural control, field monitoring/scouting, prevention
  • Production Systems: integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, permaculture

    Proposal abstract:

    Silvopasture – the integration of livestock, forage, and tree crops – can generate multiple high-value products with minimal off-farm input while enhancing ecological functions. Silvopasture is common worldwide, but remains largely untested in the North-Central region. Silvopastures can be created by establishing pasture under existing trees or establishing trees within existing pasture. This project aims to fill knowledge gaps faced by farmers in this region without suitable existing trees who are establishing seedling-stage silvopasture. We take a comprehensive approach to generating and sharing knowledge. To gather knowledge, we will conduct on-farm trials of establishment techniques, contextualize results with whole-enterprise records, and interview experienced practitioners of silvopasture. To spread knowledge, we will host field days, present at a conference, publish a results bulletin, and release edited podcasts of the interviews. We will also create a novel map-based online hub for information exchange among social networks of perennial agriculture practitioners, potential silvopasture adopters, researchers, educators, and other stakeholders. We target the whole region, with on-farm trials in three states and cross-region outreach. We anticipate the knowledge gained and shared will be most useful to diversified and beginning farmers and graziers.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Perform replicated trials of fencing and tree protection strategies in seedling-stage silvopastures on four farms, each integrating different species of livestock

    Track costs and required labor of establishing and managing seedling-stage silvopastures

    Record interviews and publish podcasts of conversations between beginning graziers and experienced silvopastoralists about best practices in establishing and managing silvopastures.

    Develop an online silvopasture hub for knowledge exchange within a map-based network of perennial agriculture practitioners, researchers, and educators

    Share research results via silvopasture hub, field days, conference presentation, and a bulletin

    Provide on-farm demonstration of effective silvopasture establishment techniques to field day attendees.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.