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Bruce & Liz Wilkinson

Richard Gothard

Somerset miscanthus grower

Closing the fuel loop

"Our biomass boiler sits just 100 metres away from our home grown miscanthus crop. It's sustainability is fantastic in that it just keeps on growing every year, with minimum inputs. Its self-sufficient and reduces our carbon footprint. In all my greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting, the emissions are 12 times lower than the DECC's target."

The grass of the future

"My agronomist described miscanthus as 'the grass of the future' and it's a crop that offers a good alternative for growers to consider. I believe it has an important role to play in the future of renewable fuels.

"We planted eight hectares of the crop in 2002. Now we grow 100 hectares. It looks after itself once it's been established. It also guarantees us returns for 20 years with average margins of £445 per hectare after harvesting costs."

Rhizome propagation

"I also run Miscanthus Nurseries Ltd with fellow director Mike Cooper - as a farmer co-operative, to propagate miscanthus rhizomes for other farmers and growers to start producing their own crop.

We create our own supply of biomass for our heat and power demands. The rest of the cane is baled and sold to miscanthus supply chain experts, Terravesta."

A good alternative to timber

"Compared with timber, miscanthus is capable of yielding twice the amount of dry matter as a deciduous woodland per hectare over a 40 year period.

"It's an under-rated energy crop that could significantly reduce our demand for trees for biomass and fossil fuel, whilst also completing a carbon neutral cycle."

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Farm Facts

Location

Taunton, Somerset

Farm Type

Miscanthus, maize
and grassland

Farm Size

134ha

Miscanthus Planted Areas

100ha

Year Planted

2002

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

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