SFF Project Summary
||Poplars and willows for environmental management and fodder
|Name of Applicant Group:
||National Poplar and Willow Users Group
Private Bag 11008
||06 351 8072,
||06 356 8019
||06 351 8032
|Total Project Funding:
|Proposed Start Date:
|Proposed Finish Date:
||Manawatu, Wairarapa, Southland, Hawkes Bay
||Feed & forage
Animal health & welfare
This project aims to integrate poplar and willow into livestock farm systems
for multiple goals particularly nutrient management, supplementary fodder, and
sustainable control of parasites in lambs, in addition to their well established
roles of soil conservation, shelter and shade. The project team comprises
farmers and regional council land managers in the lower North and South Islands,
with technical support from Massey University, CRIs, and consultants.
The main components of the project are the development of a Planting and
Management Plan for poplar and willow on farms. Much of this information is
widely dispersed and this project will collate it, and add relevant new
findings. Appropriate management will be defined for special-purpose
tree-pasture systems (coppice, pollard, and browse blocks). The effect of
willows on water and nutrient patterns will be determined for an established
browse block. The team will also investigate the potential of willows in a
tree-pasture system for controlling parasites, followed by studying the effect
of willow on hogget reproductive performance (co-funded by Meat and Wool New
Zealand). Cost-benefit analyses will be conducted for tree-pasture systems.
Demonstration trials will include existing trees of various ages and established
browse and pollard blocks on farms, and new plantings. Project findings will be
communicated through a regular newsletter, PWNews, farming magazines,
newspapers, TV, radio, field days, and a website.
Problem/opportunity that the project is addressing
Many old poplar and willow trees have become too big to manage effectively
and this will become an increasing problem as many thousands of trees age. It is
vital to determine what to do with these trees and this project will develop
robust guidelines on optimum tree management and future planting patterns.
An option for sheep/beef farms with boggy areas is to establish tree-pasture
systems, which have dual roles of increasing feed supply and environmental
enhancement. On intensive dairy farms where effluent management is an increasing
issue, alternative/complementary methods to the commonly used method of spray
irrigation of effluent on to pasture are required. Tree-pasture systems offer
potential environmental benefits and supplementary fodder supply on smaller
areas of land than required by all-pasture systems.
Progress to date
In spring 2004, a coppice block trial was established on a dairy farm in
Otago, and pollarding treatments have been imposed on established poplars on an
Otago sheep and beef farm. A parasite control trial at Massey Universitys
Riverside Farm began in December. A database of farmers and regional council
participants, and other interested parties, is being developed, and website
development has commenced.
Related web pages Tree Fodder project (www.hortresearch.co.nz/projects/fodder)
Dairy effluent project (www.hortresearch.co.nz/projects/dairy
effluent) The Willow and Poplar Research Collective (www.hortresearch.co.nz/wprc/)
- A paper on using willow browse blocks for drought protection and management of internal parasites was presented at the November 2006 annual conference of the NZ Grassland Association in Dunedin.
- Issue No. 5 of the project’s PWNews newsletter was distributed to 250+ participants in December06 and loaded on to the project’s website at
- Articles on two project participants featured in the farming section of The Dominion Post in January and February 2007.
- Further reviews of drafts of the booklet on planting and management guidelines for poplar and willow on farm were conducted by project participants (farmers, regional council staff, consultants, scientists). Final reviewing is nearly complete and it is now being prepared for printing as an A5 booklet with colour cover.
- Economic analyses/models of systems involving pollarded trees, browse blocks and coppiced trees for nutrient stripping, based mostly on case studies in the project, were refined.
- In Otago, on-going work on commercial farms continued to determine 1) the responses of poplars to pollarding and 2) practical options for using willow to manage dairy effluent disposal.
- Experiments determining nutrient and sediment loadings in poplar and willow browse blocks were completed at Massey University’s Riverside Farm, Wairarapa, and at a site at the Palmerston North campus. The key findings were reduced soil moisture, runoff, sediment and nutrient losses in willow-pasture and poplar-pasture systems compared with open-pasture.
- The last of the sheep grazing trials at Massey University’s Riverside Farm was completed, and data add to the considerable amount of information collected at the site on grazing responses on willow browse blocks with respect to various aspects e.g. reproductive performance, hogget mating, and parasite management.
- The Riverside Farm grazing trial: Lambing is complet and data analysis
is being conducted.
- The Planting and Management Plan: The final review of the draft by
project participants is nearly complete.
- Economic models: Further development has been carried out on the model
for willows used to manage dairy farm effluent.
- Three media articles were published - 2 x Dominion Post; 1 x
- The September assessment and report of the Otago poplar pollarding trial
- On-going work on nutrient/water use patterns in fodder blocks was
conducted at Riverside Farm and Massey University.
- The year 3 plans for the dairy farm effluent trial in Otago was
prepared, with more focus on effluent management than fodder attributes.
PWNews Issue no. 4 was distributed to 200+ people.
Articles were published in Tree Grower (2) and Growing Today (1); other
publicity in CADB's June newsletter, and in press/radio
Field days were held in central Hawke's Bay and Otago.
A presentation to the annual conference of Tree Crops Association was held in
Planting & Management Plan guidelines and economic analyses updated.
- Further updating of Planting and Management Plan following feedback from
farmers, regional council staff, researchers/consultants.
- Commenced grazing trial at Riverside Farm, Wairarapa - progressing well.
- Widely publicised field day in central Hawke's Bay to be held on 4
- Measured regrowth of coppiced/pollarded trees in Otago and Hawke's Bay
- Further revision of economic analyses in consultation with project team
- Further treatments imposed in trials determining herbicide techniques
(product, rate, timing) to kill large trees.
- Several media releases distributed, 2 papers offered to Nov06 NZGA
- Distributed Issue No. 3 of PWNews to 200+ people; one article was
reproduced in Gisborne District Council's Conservation Quorum newsletter.
- Planning has been completed for Riverside Farm lamb hogget and parasite
trial, and blocks have been browsed in preparation for January 2006 start.
- An article on willow and poplar use by Taihape farmer Fraser Gordon, was
published in Dominion Post.
- Fine-tuning of economic models for browse, coppice and pollard blocks
- Draft Planting and Management Plan document was expanded considerably and
distributed more widely for comment.
- Trials commenced at two Manawatu/Rangitikei sites to determine efficiency
of herbicides for killing large poplar trees.
- Trees in Otago trials are growing well and planning has been conducted for
harvests in summer 2006
- Developed draft economic models for pollard, coppice and browse block
systems and held meeting to progress.
- Completed drafts of two sections of Planting & Management Plan, and sought
feedback from experienced farmers and land managers from regional councils;
commenced further revision.
- Willow browse blocks have been prepared at Riverside Farm (Wairarapa) for
the upcoming grazing trial on parasite effects.
- Run-off water from tree-pasture systems continued to be collected and
analysed; soil water content and pasture and tree production were also
- The trial on a dairy farm in Otago was visited to check on spray effects
and the condition of existing willows, and plant new willows.
- Another 200 poplar poles were planted at the pollarding trial site in
- A media release on poplar and willow pole planting was distributed to
rural media, and a popular article was accepted for publication in "Growing
- Draft 2 of the economic models for browse, pollard and coppice blocks
have been prepared, and are being reviewed by selected project members.
- The Massey University trial determining the potential of willow-pasture
systems to help control internal parasites, was completed.
- Issue No. 2 of the PWNews newsletter was distributed to about 200
- The project's website www.hortresearch.co.nz/index/page/549 was updated.
- A field day was held on a farm near Taihape in April.
- Data were analysed for the coppice (Otago) and pollard block (Otago and
Hawke's Bay) trials.
- More information has been collated for the Planting and Management Plan.
- A media release and popular article were prepared, and the project
featured in the June issue of the northern edition of Country-Wide newspaper.
to March 2005
The draft economic models for browse, pollard and coppice blocks have been
prepared, and are being fine-tuned in discussion with farmers and other project
- The Massey University trial determining the potential of
willow-pasture systems to help control internal parasites, is nearly complete.
- Issue No. 1 of PWNews newsletter has been distributed to about 200
The project's website is now operational at www.hortresearch.co.nz/index/page/549
- A field day has been organised near Taihape in April.
- Measurements have been made on the coppice (Otago) and pollard block (Otago
and Hawke's Bay) trials
- An outline of the Planting and Management Plan for trees on hillsides has