Simplify your farming system with Miscanthus

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With a growing number of farmers choosing to branch out into other operations and diversifications to futureproof their enterprises, time can be stretched, making low maintenance systems increasingly attractive.

One Northamptonshire based arable farmer has found the ideal solution. Jim Foster, who farms approximately 253 hectares near Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, has recently planted the energy-crop, Miscanthus, and he is already seeing the benefits of minimal maintenance.

Farmers and landowners in the East Midlands and surrounding counties, interested in finding out about the crop, and how it is helping Jim, should not miss a free farm walk hosted by the miscanthus supply chain expert, Terravesta, on 26 October.

Originally Jim ran a mixed farm, but as times became more turbulent and prices fell, he gradually transitioned to a solely arable business, and now runs various operations outside of farming, which help to balance the books.

“My first crop of Miscanthus was planted in April 2016, after I found out about it at a Terravesta Miscanthus farm walk. I wanted something that could simplify my farming system, and allow me to concentrate more on my other businesses,” says Jim.

“I was so pleased with how the it started off, I decided to plant a further 20 hectares this April. I’m yet to cut either crop, as it does take two years until it’s harvestable, but once it’s established the inputs are minimal, so it’s already saving me time, and will continue to do so for up to 20 years.”

Jim had gained partial control of blackgrass on his farm by planting spring crops, but he wanted to obliterate it, and as Miscanthus creates a thick canopy, it out-competes the aggressive weed, and should banish this problem altogether.

“Our Miscanthus is grown on a variety of soil types, from loam to heavy clay, and because it’s worked so well, we’re also trialling a crop on the site of a recently restored quarry, where all the minerals have been removed. So far, it’s looking promising, and we hope to show the plot to visitors as part of the upcoming farm walk.”

Terravesta provides agronomic support throughout the growing process and organises the supply of rhizomes for growers to plant miscanthus, and buys back the bales for renewable energy. The company has also launched a domestic fuel range compromising of barbeque briquettes, firelighters and fire logs. Terravesta offers long-term, index-linked contracts for growers.

Miscanthus farm walk at Ringstead Grange

Held by kind permission of Jim Foster, Foster Farms (Ringstead) Ltd

Date and time: Thursday 26th October, 08:30 for 09:00 – 12:30

Meeting venue: The Stanwick Hotel, West St, Stanwick, Wellingborough NN9 6QY

Cost: F.O.C

Catering: A breakfast buffet will be provided on the day, so please let us know if you have any dietary requirements

Bookings: Please book online http://www.terravesta.com/ by clicking on the orange sash on the home page, e-mail Jacob Duce on jacobd@terravesta.com or call on 01522 731873.

 

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About Author

Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is an avid follower of Stoke City.