The Story So Far
"I opted to plant Miscanthus back in 2006 due to the diverse mix of soil types on my farm. I was struggling to achieve strong arable yields on our lighter land, which was drought-prone with blow away sand. Combinable crops simply weren't flourishing, and at a time when wheat prices were particularly poor, I had to make a decision that would make business sense for the farm. I started with 24ha of Miscanthus, and with continued successful yields over the years, this has since expanded to a full 40ha - making up 50% of the whole farm."
Miscanthus was an excellent solution for our difficult light land, because regardless of wet or dry weather, it continues to thrive where other crops would fail. It also provides a level of financial stability that you simply can't bank on with the volatile prices of arable crops. Even the cost ups and downs of sprays and fertilisers are no longer an issue - as it requires such minimal inputs and maintenance."
"I used to contract out the whole farm but I've taken 40ha of arable back in hand and planted Miscanthus because it's so straightforward, plus its growing cycle doesn't conflict with my other crops. Having turned 60, opting to plant Miscanthus has been a definite lifestyle choice and it's given me more time for myself and my other interests - including my Westfield car, which I like to say is powered by the profits I make from my successful Miscanthus yields!"
Working with Terravesta
"I co-founded Miscanthus Growers Ltd (MGL) back in 2009 with Terravesta's now Chairman William Cracroft-Eley. MGL provided an active lobbying forum and trade association for growers up and down the country and Terravesta was born out of this - bringing a strong supply chain and expert support to UK growers. I'm thoroughly behind all the hard work that Terravesta does to grow the Miscanthus market and to encourage best practice amongst farmers, ensuring they achieve the very highest quality crop for best returns. I firmly believe (and it's certainly worked for me) that if you look after Miscanthus correctly, it will look after you!"
"There's no doubt that Miscanthus has a strong future - both for farmers and as an important part of the UK's sustainable energy mix. It's an excellent option for growers with unprofitable marginal land as well as those looking for a secure future with index-linked returns. Living just 20 miles up the road from Miscanthus-burning power station Drax, I know that demand for pelleted Miscanthus as a biomass fuel is high - so the opportunity for farmers is huge. Thanks to Terravesta and its forward-thinking approach, new markets for the crop are emerging and establishment techniques are continuing to evolve to the benefit of growers."