Growers are invited to a tour of a full miscanthus farm system on a Somerset farm. While world wheat prices continue to sit at low levels, and pressure is on to meet the three crop rule, arable farmers are looking even more closely at what crops offer viable alternatives.
Miscanthus, the long-term energy crop, is one that is catching a lot of attention, both because of its ability to offer great returns, and because of interest in energy production from farmland.
Somerset grower Mike Cooper has been involved with the energy crop for over 15 years, and invites growers to come along for a tour of a full miscanthus farm system at Lower Marsh farm in Taunton on 25th June.
Mike works with growers in the south of the UK on behalf of Terravesta, the miscanthus supply chain specialists. He also runs a Rhizome Propagation Co-operative business for a group of miscanthus growers.
The Lower Marsh Farm walk will give visitors an insight into the different processes involved with miscanthus growing, the propagation of rhizomes, and a biomass boiler that heats the farmhouse accomodation, farm offices, washing facilities and a drying floor in the farm buildings.
“The farm walk will be a chance for me to show farmers the opportunities they have in growing miscanthus, and the benefits it can offer, in terms of fixed returns, low inputs and the opportunity to profit from its end use. They will be able to see the process from the field right through to use in a biomass boiler on site.
“The biomass boiler will be of particular interest, as the sustainability check on the final carbon intensity (including land change) for C02 emissions has a ceiling of 34.8 grams per MJ of energy, and the plant at Kingston is 2.8 grams per MJ, almost twelve times lower than the limit.
“Miscanthus Nursery has 89.9ha of miscanthus growing at Lower Marsh farm which is all contracted to Terravesta. This year we will supply 44.97ha of bales to the company, for pelleting and 44.93ha is first, second year or regenerated rhizome production crops,” says Mike.
The Terravesta farm walk will showcase the compelling, immediate and long-term commercial opportunity miscanthus presents. The Terravesta team will educate visitors about how to grow the crop, the market for it, what growers will get for it, and why it’s a sustainable and financially viable option. There’ll also be a chance to ask questions, talk to other growers, and take a look around the farm.
William Cracroft-Eley, miscanthus grower and Terravesta chairman, is enthusiastic about places already being booked up. “Our farm walks are popular and offer growers a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with the experts from Terravesta. The team will answer any specific queries and provide professional advice on all aspects of successful miscanthus growing and long term, fixed price contracts and markets.”
Miscanthus farm walk at Lower Marsh Farm, Kingston St Mary, Taunton, TA2 8AB. Held by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Richard Gothard. For more information or to book online, visit www.terravesta.com; e-mail Helen Holman on Helenh@terravesta.com or call Alison Fisher on 01522 731873