The potential for Miscanthus to thrive on difficult farm land is being showcased at a Beeswax Dyson Farming and Terravesta co-hosted farm walk on Thursday 24th October in Compton, Berkshire.
Farm manager, Ed Hall, explains that the land is unsuitable for food production and is susceptible to water-logging due to an underground river running through it. “Some of the land can flood badly and this doesn’t seem to affect the Miscanthus.”
Planted in May 2018, the crop had a difficult start in life due to major drought throughout the beginning of the establishment period. “It took a longer than usual to establish but it’s recovered well and we’re hoping to get a cut in its second year next spring 2020,” says Ed.
“It’s had no nutrition, no fertiliser and no pesticides. The only thing we have applied is a non-selective herbicide to ensure the crop is clean during the early stages of growth. I’ve been surprised this year at how well it’s performed, even where it seemed thin in its first year, the rhizomes have sent out more shoots and its thickened up well.
“Because it’s harvested in the winter and spring months it fits in well with the farm because we have staff on hand and it’s at a relatively quiet time of the year,” adds Ed.
The crop is on a long-term supply contract to Miscanthus specialist Terravesta, who will be outlining the compelling, immediate and long-term opportunity presented by Miscanthus at the event.
William Cracroft-Eley, Miscanthus grower and Terravesta chairman, is enthusiastic about places already being booked up. “Our farm walks are popular and offer growers a unique opportunity to meet face-to-face with the growers and experts from Terravesta. The team will answer any specific queries and provide professional advice on all aspects of successful Miscanthus growing, long term, fixed price contracts and rapidly emerging markets.”