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Miscanthus farm walk to explore resilient cropping in wet climates

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Farmers are being invited to attend a free farm walk in Norfolk on Wednesday 15th May to learn more about the growing and harvesting of Miscanthus, including the crop’s capacity to thrive on flooded land.

Starting at 9.30am, the event will be co-hosted by Miscanthus specialist Terravesta, the UK’s fastest growing crop science organisation NIAB and the UK’s biggest member owned rural cooperative the AF Group, at the farm of Miscanthus growers Bill and Tom Lewis in Kings Lynn, west Norfolk. Talks on growing, harvesting and supplying Miscanthus, particularly during a wet year, will accompany a tour of the crop itself, which will be followed by a pub lunch, plus a tour of Snetterton Biomass Power Plant.

The carbon sequestration capabilities of Miscanthus and alternative crops will be examined by NIAB’s Dr Lydia Smith, lead researcher on the four year ‘Centre for High Carbon Capture Cropping (CHCx3)’ project, aiming to help UK farmers and growers target Net Zero and build farming resilience through the diversification of arable and forage cropping. The importance of co-ops for UK agriculture will also be discussed on the day.

Bill and and his son Tom Lewis grow around 30 hectares of Miscanthus and believe that it’s a lucrative cropping option with a sustainable future. Bill commented:

“The price for Miscanthus increases every year, as has our yield, and Snetterton power station has a long-term commitment to using the fuel.”

“We’re arable and sheep farmers, and Miscanthus is a secure buffer for the farm, when cereal prices continue to be volatile, and weather becomes increasingly unpredictable.”

“The company (Terravesta) supplies the rhizomes, supports farmers through growing and harvesting the crop, and buys bales annually, to supply power stations, which they have long-term contracts with,” added Bill.

Terravesta’s managing director Florian Ilias was keen to underline the long-term business opportunity available, saying:

“Terravesta has a long-term contract to ramp up supply to 25,000 tonnes annually into Snetterton Power Plant. We also have a long-term contract to supply Brigg Renewable Energy Power Plant in Lincolnshire.”

“Farmers attending this event will have 10% off the cost for spring 2025 Terravesta AthenaTM planting,” added Florian.

Any farmers wishing to take part in the farm walk can register for free here

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