Derek and Murk Schoen, Killeneen
Derek and Murk Schoen, run a 7000 acre mixed farming property near Corowa NSW. Over the past 25 years they have been strategically revegetating the property with mixed species shelterbelt plantings. Nearly every fence line on the farm now has a treeline along it.
Derek initially had concerns that the trees might have an adverse affect on his crops by taking moisture out of the soil. However he soon observed that his crops actually looked a lot healthier up to 100 metres downwind of the trees, due to the effect of the shelterbelts in reducing wind velocity.
Derek and Murk have taken a strategic approach to revegetation on the property, taking advantage of the under-utilized areas in the corners of the cropping paddocks, as well as any rocky areas unsuitable for farming. They also plant a range of understorey species in addition to trees, to maximise the habitat values of their shelterbelts.
Derek and Murk are enthusiastic in describing the many benefits they’ve experienced from their revegetation efforts. In addition to improving the productivity of their cropping paddocks and providing protection for livestock, they also appreciate the enormous increase in bird life on the farm as well as the aesthetic values of the plantings.
Their remarkable efforts have been a win-win situation for production and wildlife conservation. “I’d like to think we’re putting our best foot forward for the next generation, for the longevity of the environment”, says Murk.
"The rewards are just enormous - the attractiveness of the place, the amount of bird life that we have, and also the shelter for crops and stock." – Derek Shoen
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