How Windbreaks Work

Windbreaks are barriers used to reduce and redirect wind. They usually consist of trees and shrubs, but may also be perennial or annual crops and grasses, fences, or other materials. 

Windbreak and Shelterbelt Appraisal

Living windbreaks and shelterbelts are important assets in rural areas of the Great Plains that protect homes, crops and domestic animals from wind throughout the year. They offer a safe haven for wildlife and provide attractive visual barriers. Windbreaks and shelterbelts can have measurable monetary value, and if they are damaged or destroyed, a professional appraisal may be necessary to determine their value.

Windbreak Establishment

A successful windbreak planting depends on proper establishment and care during the first few years after planting. Time spent in site preparation, weed control, and replanting is repaid many times during the life of the windbreak. Take no shortcuts in the planning and establishment of your windbreak. 

Windbreak Maintenance and Renovation

Windbreaks are integral parts of many Nebraska farming and ranching operations. They protect man, animals, crops and buildings from cold winter winds, hot summer winds, and deep snows. Windbreaks prevent wind erosion and provide wildlife habitat. All windbreaks, even well-designed ones, need regular maintenance. Some windbreaks, especially those that are older or neglected, may need more drastic treatment or renovation.

Windbreak Management

The windbreaks on your farm are an important part of the agricultural landscape. They provide protection for the farmstead, livestock and crops; provide habitat for wildlife, and contribute to an overall healthy envi­ronment for you and your family. They are living systems with youth, maturity, and old age. Like any other living thing, they need proper care and manage­ment in order to continue to function at their best.

Windbreaks for Livestock Operations

Windbreaks play an important role in the protection of livestock, particularly in young animals and in areas with cold northerly winds during the winter and early spring. Properly placed windbreaks can provide benefits to feedlots, livestock pastures, and calving areas. Reducing wind speed in winter lowers animal stress, improves animal health, and increases feeding effi­ciency. Livestock windbreaks provide significant amounts of wildlife habitat, protect the working envi­ronment in and around the livestock area, and screen noise and odors associated with livestock operations.

Windbreaks for Rural Living

In many parts of the United States, the constant force of the wind exaggerates daily weather conditions and can make living in these areas seem unbearable. A well-designed windbreak around the home, ranch, or farmstead slows the wind and improves the overall environment. Farm and ranch windbreaks conserve energy, provide snow control, improve working and recreational environments, enhance wildlife populations, provide visual screening and dust control, and increase the production of various wood and food products.

Windbreaks for Snow Management

In areas of high winds and blowing snow, windbreaks can reduce the amount of effort spent on snow man­agement. They can be designed to spread snow across a large area or to confine it to a relatively small storage area.