Why Plant Trees / Supporting Agricultural Production / Shade & Shelter /
Wind Effects on Crop and Pasture Production
Why Farm Forestry
Why Plant Trees
Markets for products & services
Designing a Farm Forest

Wind Effects On Crop and Pasture Production

Many research trials around the world have suggested that well designed shelterbelts can actually enhance crop and pasture production, despite taking land out of production and reducing yield near belts as a result of direct competition. Commonly, gains in production occur from 3 or 4 shelterbelt heights out to about 10 or 15 heights.

Reference: Cleugh, H. (1997), 'Trees for Shade and Shelter' in Design Principles for Farm Forestry: A guide to assist farmers to decide where to plant trees and farm plantations on farms eds. Abel, N. et al, RIRDC, Canberra, pp.39-52

Competition between windbreak trees and crops for water, light and nutrients can negatively impact on crop yields up to approximately 2H. Further out, beyond this zone of competition, micro-climatic conditions become more favourable for crops than in an open paddock. This can lead to an increase in yield in the zone from 2H out to 15H. Yield gains commonly offset losses, due to competition along the edge of the belt and loss of land taken up by the windbreak. In some cases the response has been enough to significantly improve overall yields.

The crop response behind shelterbelts is due to a variety of interacting factors including the direct effect of wind on plant water use, a reduction in physical damage, ambient and soil temperature fluctuations, as well aschanges to levels of CO2 and relative humidity in the air above the crop. Leafy crops such as potatoes and broadleaf fodder crops may be particularly susceptible to wind damage. Horticultural crops are often downgraded due to wind-induced bruising and require good quality shelter. Young crops planted on sandy soils can be sand-blasted in strong winds, drastically reducing yields very early in the growing season.

Effect of Shelterbelts on Microclimate

Wind Erosion

Back to top

Farm Forest Line © 2009 | Disclaimer