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Farm case study: stable income in uncertain times

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  • 2 min read

Richard McNeil is a Yorkshire farmer who planted Miscanthus as a buffer to the price volatility associated with cereal crops.

“We planted 24 hectares of Miscanthus in 2008, when cereals were making £60 per tonne, and it’s offered a stable income since,” says Richard.

Miscanthus has the potential to give the farmer a return of over £900 per hectare from mature yield, and yields increase as the crop gets older.

“We’re thinking of planting more Miscanthus, because it’s a low input crop which generally takes care of itself, and its harvested in the spring, meaning labour and farm machinery is available and the price of contracting isn’t as competitive as the summer months,” he says.

Not only has the crop benefitted the farm business financially, according to Richard, its increased the biodiversity on the farm, and soil records show that over eight years, with no fertiliser applied, the soil has maintained the same level of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus (NPK).

“The limited inputs in Miscanthus, the benefits to wildlife, soil health, and the price security means that it’s a no brainer for me.

“Terravesta has long term contracts with power stations, which in turn, have long term government support,” adds Richard.