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Meet the contractor: Graham Watts, Northamptonshire

Graham Watts heads up G W Watts Contracting in Northamptonshire, and harvests around 500 hectares of Miscanthus in Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, and Leicestershire each year.

Specialising in baling, chasing, and loading, his positive demeanour and can-do attitude have seen the business evolve and he currently manages eight balers and employs five full-time staff, with additional seasonal workers joining during the summer months.

Harvesting Miscanthus has helped his business, adding an income stream at a traditionally quieter time of year for agri contractors. Miscanthus harvest typically runs from January until the end of April, but in wetter years, like this one, it’s likely to run into May.

Graham is optimistic about the harvest this year, despite the weather delaying baling. “We’ve seen it before, and Miscanthus is a resilient crop with a wide window for cutting and baling. Even if the crop is baled in late spring, it’s not a problem.”

If crops are harvested in May, there can be some new shoots coming through, but Graham reassures growers this isn’t an issue.

“Any new shoots that are damaged will be replaced by new growth. It’s only a small number of shoots that will be run on and the crop will cope,’ he says.

“Miscanthus thrives where most other crops would fail – it’s very robust. It’s a crop for the more challenging areas of the farm, and once it’s established, it will take care of itself,” he adds.

Graham is happy to speak to Miscanthus growers about harvesting their crops and will be presenting at the next Miscanthus farm walk and power station on 15th May in Kings Lynn, Norfolk.

The event, co-hosted by Terravesta, NIAB and the AF Group, will feature a tour of Bill Lewis’s Miscanthus crop, and a talk from Graham covering Miscanthus harvesting best practice.

To book, visit our Terravesta events page.

Miscanthus contractor Graham Watts

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