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Shade and shelterbelts

· Farm life

We've been getting into shade. To increase our shade footprint significantly, we've planted lots and lots of trees on the farms. Creating shelterbelts of decidious trees gives our cows shade and shelter which helps keep them cool in the heat and / or protection from strong winds that regularly sweep across Milton. When dairy cows have access to good shelter and shade, according to formal scientific studies, there are measurable improvements to milk quality, milkfat yield, conception rates, and overall growth and wellbeing. 

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now." (See Dairy Australia's Climate Toolkit.)

The shade and shelterbelts we've planted in our paddocks and along the fencelines are in addition to the thousands of native trees added to Narrawilly's patch of subtropical rainforest each year. (Find out more about our subtropical rainforest here and here.)

Enjoy these photographs of our joyful Shade Project which involved sourcing, collecting and planting 100 young maple trees. Four types have been planted: the fast-growing Acer negundo; the silvery Acer saccharinum; Acer saccharum or sugar maple; and the showstopping Acer x freemanni jeffersred

These beautiful trees were sourced from Cascades Nursery in Batlow. Ian and Manda McCorkindale, who own and run Cascades, have incredible knowledge about trees. Rob met them in the pre-delta days of late March at a Canberra farmers' market (where else?) and has enjoyed and benefitted from their advice and guidance in selecting the right trees for our shelterbelts. 

Months later, and days before NSW went into its state-wide lockdown, the trees were readied for collection from a meeting spot near Queanbeyean where Ian amd Manda carefully handed over these lovely young maples.

After a short trip in a horse float, our 100 tall, barerooted, young trees arrived back in Milton, ready to be planted into holes expertly dug by the super-professional Croobyar Excavations. (Big shoutout to Croobyar Excavations for a great job.) Once in the ground, there were regular waterings from the IBC on the back of the farm ute, and the installation of protective fences to keep the young maples free from nudges and nibbles of our curious cows.  

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Image 1: Young maple trees, bundled together, packed into a horse float. And, yes, we did get asked by someone at a rest stop if we had a very quiet horse in the float. And no, we reassured her that the horse's name wasn't Ms Maple.

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Image 2: Definitely a job for the machines. There's Milton Monzonite beneath this farm, mate.

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Image 3: If you want it done properly, hire a professional. Croobyar Excavations did a brilliant job.

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Image 4: What's a farm ute for if it doesn't have a bit of rust and dirt to go along with an IBC full of water?

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Image 5: Water, Ms Maple? Why, yes, don't mind if do.

Humans and bovines are definitely going to enjoy the magnifcent colours these trees provide.