Township hosted meet about windbreaks, live snow fences

Guelph-Eramosa Township hosted an information session for local farmers on Aug. 12 at the municipal office.

The purpose of the meeting was to explain an opportunity for farmers whose property lies adjacent to county and municipal roads where high winds and snow drifts occur in the winter.

Normally, the township negotiates each year with farmers to place standard wooden snow fences in these areas to  reduce drifting and road maintenance, but most importantly, to increase road safety.

An alternative program was initiated in the Mapleton area over the last few years where live snow fences (trees) have been planted at an appropriate distance – usually 30 metres – from the adjacent roadway.

That process results in a diminished wind and significantly reduced drifting on the road, but also improved crop yields with minimal impact on the management of the land (such as cultivating, planting, spraying or harvesting).

The presentation was given by Nathan Munn, of the Grand River Conservation Authority, and Rob Johnson, manager of the Green Legacy program in Wellington County. They covered all the background for the program, the financial benefits for farmers, and most importantly, the benefit to the ecology and reducing the carbon footprint – at literally no cost to the farmer.

Brad Kalbfleish, who owns a 200-acre farm in Mapleton, described the success he has enjoyed with the establishment of a row of spruce trees along a portion of his farm boundary.

That strip was completely prepared by county staff and some 3,500 trees were planted in approximately four hours in a three foot wide plastic mulch strip. Pictures were then displayed on how little impact that process had on standard farming practices.

The township is hoping to have several farmers introduce the program in the Guelph-Eramosa area.

Additional  information sessions will be available. If anyone is interested in the project contact Loretta at 519-856-9596 extension 120.

submitted by Ken Gagnon,

Director of Public Works