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Wiltshire Miscanthus open day for farmers

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In response to growing interest in Miscanthus, crop specialist Terravesta will host an information day for farmers in and around Wiltshire on 10 October 2018.

Miscanthus is a perennial carbon-negative renewable energy crop which is currently grown on around 6,000 hectares of low-grade marginal land in the UK. It’s becoming an increasingly attractive diversification option for farmers due to the long-term price security and environmental benefits it presents.

Local farmer and deputy chief executive of bioscience research organisation BBSRC, Steve Visscher, is showcasing 42 hectares of Miscanthus on his Wiltshire farm at the event. “I’ve been interested in the crop since 2008 when I became familiar with research going into the future viability of several bioenergy crops including Miscanthus. I felt it had an interesting future with many possible uses beyond burning it as a biofuel and I was impressed by its environmental credentials.”

“We planted 10 hectares in 2016, 21 hectares in 2017 and a further 11 hectares this year. The land is fairly flat, heavy clay loam and can get waterlogged. The Miscanthus has coped remarkably well with this year’s drought and some of our farming neighbours are quite surprised with how green and tall it’s looking.

“We harvested the 2016-planted crop this year for the first time and had a reasonable yield of five tonnes per hectare, which we expect to increase significantly in the next few years of the crop’s 20-year life span,” says Steve.

“I’ve found it to be resilient in coping with adverse conditions such as drought and waterlogging, it has good environmental benefits, needing no nitrogen and minimal inputs, it sequesters more carbon than other crops and it’s attractive to wildlife. Ultimately it makes good business and environmental sense, it has a growing long-term market demand and we’re in a secure long-term contract with Miscanthus specialist Terravesta,” he says.

The Miscanthus open day will be co-hosted by locally based chartered surveyors Woolley and Wallis, who will be offering advice and guidance on land management options including Miscanthus. Christopher Woody from the company is positive it will be an informative day for forward thinking farmers. “Miscanthus is an interesting crop in that it works on poor quality land, it also has a strong market and the event will hopefully be a draw for practical farmers wanting to see it working visually.”

The Miscanthus open day

Date: Wednesday 10 October 2018

Time: 09:30 – 15:00

Miscanthus field tours: Taking place at10:00 12:00 14:00

Grower host: Steve and Ann Visscher

Location: Clyffe Field Farm, Clyffe Pypard, Swindon, SN4 7QB

Cost: F.O.C

Catering: Food and drinks will be served all day