The Story So Far
William's decision to plant Miscanthus came at a bad time for arable farmers, when wheat prices had fallen to just £65/tonne. He knew that it was time to look for a reliable, profitable and long-term arable solution - and that the increasing market for UK-grown energy crops was the place to look.
After planting in 2006, there ensued a few turbulent
years for the Miscanthus market, and William made it
his mission to bring order and transparency to supply.
He brought growers together by establishing Miscanthus
Growers Ltd in 2009, and went on to found Terravesta to
develop a secure and strong market for Miscanthus as the
UK's no.1 energy crop - grown locally and burnt locally.
As well as boasting low overheads and minimal inputs,
Miscanthus can be grown on poorer quality land whilst still
delivering high annual yields for 20 or more years. By planting
Miscanthus on Hackthorn's marginal land,William has actually
enhanced production across the rest of the farm. Dedicating
10% of his land to Miscanthus in 2006 has seen a reduction of
just 2% in overall cereals yield.
As a truly homegrown biomass fuel resource, Miscanthus also
offers William a level of security that almost no other crop can.
The demand for UK biomass continues to outstrip production,
and in contrast to the decades it takes for newly planted forestry
to deliver results, Miscanthus produces commercial yields in
just three years.
Working with Terravesta
As a Miscanthus grower,William has a 10-year RPIX-linked
contract with Terravesta. As a result, he has a market for all the
crop he can grow, and he can rely on secure, long-term returns.
Through the company's unique Grower Fuel Loop scheme, he is
also able buy back pellets as heat (from up to 50% of his planted
area) and use these to provide renewable, cost-effective biomass
fuel for his farm.
At Hackthorn, William's Miscanthus continues to deliver a reliable
yield year on year. He is also installing three Miscanthus-burning
biomass systems to efficiently meet his heating and hot water
needs at the farm and its neighbouring properties.
Beyond the farm gate, he is actively working with other growers
and with Terravesta's key partners to build quality assurance,
sustainability and growth into the Miscanthus supply chain. His
work has helped propel the crop out of crankdom to become the
market leader, with critical mass and sound commercial models
for both grower and end user - and he continues to champion
Miscanthus as the energy crop of the future.