Published 28.02.2023

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Ellinglund: Integrating trees to farm in harmony with nature

Ellinglund has established an agroforestry system that is expected to improve carbon sequestration, soil fertility, animal welfare and biodiversity on the farm.

Ellinglund is one of the host farms of the project: “Agroforestry - a sustainable agricultural system for plant breeding and milk production (ROBUST)”, which is led by the Innovation Centre for Organic Farming. In this article, the owner of Ellinglund, Gert Lassen, answers a few questions, two years after implementing the agroforestry system.

What are your experiences so far? 

“We have experience in letting our cows enter hedgerows around the fields where they are grazing. At first, the animals had to get used to the fact that they were allowed to walk in between the trees, but now they use the hedgerows quite frequently. It improves their ability to thermoregulate, as they have the option to find shade during the hottest times of day. For instance, when it rains, they seek shelter under the trees. It is our impression that the animals use the trees in the best possible manner.

More recently, we have established a three-row hedgerow with a special focus on benefitting pollinators. We tried to plant a wide range of trees and bushes, including willow, linden, elder and rose hip. The species are chosen specifically for their ability to survive interaction with cows and to provide shelter and food for insects and birds”.

What have you learned about agroforestry the past two years?

“We have had many Aha! moments. We are already seeing new species in the hedgerows we planted, that we haven’t seen before on our farm. The hedgerows provide food for birds and small game in the field. This was actually apparent shortly after establishment and even though we haven’t actively crawled around under the trees to look for insects, we can imagine how many spiders, beetles and other insects are living on and around them. I have observed an enormous number of birds in the tall trees, which must mean food is available”.

What will happen over the next couple of years?

“We are ready take the next steps. We would like to establish agroforestry several places on our farm, but we need to collaborate with an investor who will help start up the project without necessarily expecting a profit immediately.

The primary benefit of our agroforestry systems is the ecological space that is created for insects and small animals within agricultural fields, and showcasing that it is possible to make a difference. I dream of establishing an agroforestry system with fruit trees and berry bushes, which will benefit entrepreneurs in the long run by providing an alternate source of income. We hope to be able to establish 10-20 hectares of agroforestry over the coming years in collaboration with someone who is willing to invest in biodiversity. On a less practical level, I think our established agroforestry systems have reached a point where we can remove the protective fencing so that deer and hares can move more freely around the trees".


  • Farm: Ellinglund, owned by Anne and Gert Lassen
  • Current production: Dairy production with 300 cows annually. Delivers milk to the local cooperative Them Andelsmejeri.
  • Agroforestry system: Three separate agroforestry systems with different species and functions.
  • Area: 6 ha of agroforestry out of 600 ha total.
  • Purpose of the agroforestry systems: Positive impact on carbon sequestration, soil fertility, animal welfare and biodiversity.