Record miscanthus yield
"We've seen a record yield on our miscanthus harvest, and the crop is not quite two years old. Usually the first harvest isn't until year three.
We harvested 8.82 tonnes per hectare, and this figure is the largest documented on a second year crop to date.
"Typically, the first miscanthus harvest isn’t for another year, and the expectation would be for 4.5 tonnes per hectare - around half our yield in year two."
Planning is Key
"In 2013 we made the decision to plant 15 hectares of miscanthus in a field that was historically poor permanent pasture, prone to flooding.
We tried growing winter wheat, sugar beet and linseed on it and it all failed.
"It's the sort of land that's difficult to establish crops on, because it's water logged. The land is low lying, at 20 foot below sea level, so the surrounding land drains into it. This meant we were spending a fortune on preparing the seed beds and on inputs.
We had 90% miscanthus establishment, and the support we've received from Terravesta has been invaluable. They advised on our herbicide regime, which is very important in the establishment year."
Well ahead of budget
"Under contract with Terravesta we got back £73.80 per tonne, less haulage, and harvested 133 tonnes of crop. We didn't expect to be making over of £8,000 in our second year.
"Next year the yield should double, with thicker canes and more of them. We've also invested during 2015 by planting another 15 hectares and will plant another four hectares following this."
Working with Terravesta
"We utilised the planting package that Terravesta offer, where they supply the rhizomes, a precision planter, and support us with hands on agronomic advice for the duration of the crops life.
Andy Lee, Terravesta farms advisory manager, has worked closely with us to ensure that the crop established well.
"The key to a successful crop is good soil and seed bed preparation, and the only thing to follow this is a pre and post emergence herbicide application, and if the site is prone to rabbits and hares, the crop needs to be fenced off.
After this it requires minimal inputs, no fertiliser and next to no crop protection. It fits in with the rest of the arable work, and Terravesta are continually growing the market for the crop."