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Norfolk farmer diversifies income and boosts soil health with Miscanthus

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  • 3 min read

Norfolk farmer, Adam Brewer, is planning for the future by diversifying his income and looking after his soils with Miscanthus.

Farmers wanting to learn more about the many environmental and financial benefits presented by the crop are invited to attend a Miscanthus farm walk hosted by Adam, Miscanthus specialist, Terravesta and CLA East on 10 September 2019.

Alex Robinson, general manager at Terravesta, says that more farmers are looking at planting Miscanthus since Snetterton Renewable Energy Plant opened in 2017. “Adam’s farm is 35 miles away from Snetterton Power Plant and we’re looking to work with growers within East Anglia to supply it.

“Terravesta has a long-term contract with the plant for the supply of 25,000 tonnes of whole bales each year,” says Alex. “Many farmers are not only reaping the financial benefits of the crop – studies also suggest that Miscanthus can contribute to soil organic matter, earthworm diversity and stabilised soil structure.”

Adam Brewer manages the farm with his father, alongside running his own audio company, where he works with top international and UK clients. “We were looking to diversify the business in a way that allowed me to continue with my audio work and the environmental impact of our farm is important to us. Miscanthus seemed like the ideal solution, with a very local market,” explains Adam.

“Like most farms, some of our land needed a rest and with Miscanthus, the soil is largely untouched for the lifetime of the crop, which can be up to 20 years,” says Adam.

Adam grows 16 hectares of Miscanthus, as well as wheat, barley, some maize and five hectares of Christmas trees.

“The crop is 2.5 metres tall already and it’s mid-July. It has next to no inputs, although I’d stress the importance of pre-emergent herbicide directly after panting.

“The crop is full of wildlife and we’re looking forward to our first harvest early 2020,” says Adam.

“It’s clear that the farming sector needs to be more sustainable. We’ve tried to switch to minimum tillage on the farm as much as possible and the Miscanthus will hopefully help our soils to recover from intensive farming over the years and leave them in better shape for future generations,” adds Adam.

The Terravesta and CLA East co-hosted breakfast farm walk takes place in Melton Constable, Norfolk, on 10 September from 09:00 – 12:00 and is free to attend. Places can be reserved on our events page.