Menu
Ed Green

Ed Green

Lincolnshire arable farmer

The Story So Far

I first trialled Miscanthus in one of my problem fields in 2010. Originally planted with wheat, the land there was extremely clay-heavy and ridden with blackgrass - which was so bad, it had even built up a resistance to herbicides. All this meant that my wheat crop was producing very low yields, so I decided to see how Miscanthus would fare. The crop is still flourishing and I now no longer have to spend money on controlling the blackgrass, as Miscanthus acts as a natural remedy.

"In fact, my experience was so positive that I decided to plant Miscanthus in two more of my fields in 2011. Like the first field, one of these had heavy land and blackgrass, so the switch to Miscanthus was an obvious one. The other had very light land, with insufficient depth for growing potatoes. It was also drought-prone, with considerable (sometimes plough-breaking) bedrock, making it very difficult to cultivate. The Miscanthus here has grown particularly well.Within a year, it was 5.5 feet high and about as close to full establishment as you could get. By year two, it had soared to almost nine feet and I was reaping average yields of seven tonnes per hectare. Better still, it doesn't need ploughing - which is a relief, as I'd much rather be farming for my own profit than that of the shear bolt manufacturer!"

Why Miscanthus?

"As an arable farmer, I also grow several other crops on my land, including wheat, sugar beet, opium poppies, spring barley, permanent pasture and potatoes. Faced with low wheat prices and a worsening blackgrass situation on some of my land, Miscanthus held the key to my problems. I'm very pleased I made the decision to plant. Most of my farm is contracted out, so I'm now making significant savings on establishment costs. Planting processes have come on a long way, too, with rhizomes larger and moister than they used to be - meaning they can withstand today's unpredictable weather conditions much better."

Working with Terravesta

"Even before I began working with Terravesta, I already knew its chairman, William Cracroft-Eley, from the local farming scene. As a new and relatively unknown crop, Miscanthus had its fair share of teething troubles in the early days - but Terravesta and Miscanthus Growers Ltd (a non-profit organisation that William also founded), have changed all that. The Terravesta team does extremely well at giving growers the reassurance they need, both by sharing significant expertise and by providing secure, long-term RPIX-linked growing contracts - backed up by their unparalleled relationships with major end users such as Drax Power. What's more, when it comes to rhizome planting, the processes and technology available to Miscanthus growers just keep getting better - and better planting techniques mean better results year after year."

The future

"For me, planting Miscanthus was definitely the right decision. The amount I've planted is just right for my farm, so I don't have plans for any more, but I will certainly keep working with Terravesta to make the most of what I have for the foreseeable future. Miscanthus is a remarkable crop, and is opening up markets that really matter. I'm keen to work alongside Terravesta to help promote it, and its various different uses, to other farmers who could benefit. Thanks to the security and guaranteed returns offered by Terravesta's long-term contracts, Miscanthus has become a truly viable option for farmers looking for a profitable, less volatile alternative to wheat and a solution for difficult land."

< >
prev next

Farm Facts

Location

Glentham, Lincolnshire

Farm Type

Arable

Farm Size

370 ha

Miscanthus Planted Areas

50 ha

Year Planted

2010 & 2011

Cutting Edge

At Terravesta, our growers are at the core of everything we do. Our team of experts is on hand to offer prospective and existing growers professional, bespoke advice to help them make the most of the Miscanthus opportunity.

Why Miscanthus?

10 Reasons to grow the ‘wonder crop’

1. Best ever price

Miscanthus prices have hit an all-time high, and Terravesta is now offering growers £74/tonne for 2015 contracts. What's more, through its new Barn Bonus scheme, growers whose Miscanthus bales have been stored in a barn and meet the required moisture specification of 16% or less will also be rewarded with up to £2/tonne extra. Don't miss out on the Miscanthus opportunity - sign up now!

2. Guaranteed returns

Boasting low overheads, stable pricing, guaranteed returns and reliable net margins for 20 years or more, Miscanthus offers a degree of financial certainty that almost no other crop can.

3. Reduced planting costs

Terravesta's new on-farm planting techniques and processes have brought down establishment costs significantly. Get in touch today to discuss your options.

4. Minimal maintenance

Once established, Miscanthus is a 'hands-off' crop requiring remarkably low input. It doesn't need fertiliser, chemicals or annual soil cultivation, so you can focus your attentions elsewhere - for enhanced overall production and improved profitability. For everything you need to know about growing Miscanthus, download our Essential Growers' Guide here

5. Maximise marginal land

All farms have less productive areas, but the nature of Miscanthus means it can be grown in poorer quality soil - turning your marginal land into profitable land!

6. Virtually weatherproof

As a moisture demander, Miscanthus flourishes in wet conditions as well as dry. What's more, the leaf mulch it produces suppresses weed growth, acting as a natural weapon against blackgrass

7. Annual growth

Miscanthus is a perennial crop with an annual growing cycle, delivering yearly profits at low inputs. It's also harvested in spring, so it doesn't conflict with other crops

8. Reliable biomass resource

With demand for UK biomass far outstripping its production, the opportunities for Miscanthus as an energy crop are endless. In contrast to the decades newly planted forestry can take to deliver results, Miscanthus produces commercial yields within just three years

9. Grow your own fuel

Any grower with a termed Terravesta contract can buy back Miscanthus pellets as heat on a separate energy supply contract - at a significantly discounted rate - through our Grower Fuel Loop (GFL) scheme. This means making a profit on selling bales, as well as considerable savings on fuel (particularly attractive for on-farm heat requirements)

10. Government backing

As well as pledging to treble investment in clean power generation, the government is actively supporting sustainable heating through schemes like the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Demand for biomass is set to increase dramatically as a result, bringing with it an opportunity for Miscanthus growers to reap the rewards now and well into the future

A helping hand

If you have a question about any aspect of Miscanthus growing, get in touch today, or click here to read the Essential Growers' Guide - our ultimate handbook to all things Miscanthus.

Grower Information

Cutting specification Useful contacts Guidelines for contractors
get in touch sign up to our newsletter