An introduction to silvoarable systems

Sharing knowledge on integrating apple trees into fields sown with grass and barley

Parkhill Farm, Newburgh, Fife

10:30am 24th February 2022


Join us at Parkhill Farm and hear from Roger about his experience so far integrating apple trees into fields sown with grass and barley.

About this event

This free event is open to farmers, land managers and crofters, and will be held in person with guest speaker and farmer Roger Howison at Parkhill farm, Newburgh, Fife.

We will meet at 10.30am for tea/coffee and an introductory chat with Roger. We'll then head on for a farm walk with Roger, to see the silvoarable system in action. This will be followed by a light lunch and further discussion.

This is designed to be an interactive event with time to share knowledge, ask questions and build a peer support network of people working in farming in Scotland.

More about Parkhill farm:

Roger and his wife Rachel were given approval in 2016 from the Woodland Trust to plant 750 heritage apple trees and 10,000 native broadleaf trees. The apples are grown as a commercial crop to make cider and apple juice, sold from local delicatessens and farm shops in the area as well as from neighbouring Lindores Distillery.

Improving biodiversity and establishing a low input crop that lasts for decades were the primary motivators. Ten rows of apples trees were planted with in rows 27 metres apart in a field sown with grass, switching to barley for two years and then back to grass. The ambition was to mix arable crops with apple trees, with the trees providing shelter for the crops, helping to improve biodiversity, and providing an additional low input commercial crop, with the trees lasting decades. The broadleaf trees were joined up with existing shelter belts, providing a wildlife corridor and space for grazing livestock. The species are a mix of oak, silver birth, rowan, hazel, Scots pine, with flowering wild cherry and elder to attract pollinating birds.

Background on the event series:

This workshop is part of a series of events, jointly led by the Food, Farming & Countryside Commission and Soil Association Scotland, that supports arable and mixed farmers in Scotland to share practical knowledge and skills that will enable a transition to agroecology. A third and final session will be held in person during March. Check back soon for further details and booking information.

This forms part of a bigger series of on-farm and online events being held by a group of organisations - Nourish Scotland, Nature Friendly Farming Network, Soil Association Scotland, Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, Landworker’s Alliance and Pasture Fed Livestock Association as part of the Scottish Government’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF) project Agroecology – Facilitating Mindset Change. Between January and March 2022, we will be running a total of 15 online and in-person free events designed to appeal to a wide range of farmers and crofters. Full details of all the events will be available here.

If you have any questions about this event, or those coming up in the future, please contact Lucianne Wardle: or David McKay: