Richard Hartley

Richard Hartley

Oxfordshire arable farmer

The Story So Far

"R Hartley and family have lived and worked on this site since 1916, although some of the land has been farmed by generations before since 1882. Mr Hartley planted cereal crops on the farm before making the decision to use this area for Miscanthus."

Why Miscanthus?

"We chose Miscanthus as the land we have is split in to small, awkward fields with poor access and poor drainage. It is hungry land that is low in nutrients, so obviously it is hard to farm and high on input costs.
We have found that Miscanthus benefits us in lots of ways. It is an energy crop with minimal inputs and whilst it is a complete diversification for us, having Miscanthus in fields where previously there were cereal crops has helped to protect us against poor cereal prices."

"There were some establishment challenges initially and yes you must be on top of pre-emergence herbicides, but ultimately it is about timing the harvest correctly.
We store all our bales undercover on the farm and it was 2 years after planting that we harvested the first yield."

Working with Terravesta

"I have known of Terravesta for a long time. I know Mike Cooper very well as we have work together in previous years. When Mike and his wife started with renewable energy crops in 2007 I took their lead and followed. I feel that our relationship has definitely helped when working with Terravesta. It is a great working relationship."

The future

"We are in the process of using a harvestable grain cover crop and we even looked at using Miscanthus as a fuel source for ourselves. Nothing came of it at that time but I think maybe it is time to look at it again. We have been keeping an eye on it!
It is currently mainly a source for larger power stations and it would be a shame if it couldnt be utilised on-farm for individuals like myself. Terravestas Grower Fuel Loop is something we will have to look into in more detail.
However the rules are always changing and governments change, so it is a case of keeping up with all the changes and doing something when the time is right."

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Farm Facts



Farm Type

Pigs and Arable

Farm Size

540 hectares

Miscanthus Planted Areas

22 hectares

Year Planted


Cutting Edge

At Terravesta, our growers are at the core of everything we do. Our team of experts is on hand to offer prospective and existing growers professional, bespoke advice to help them make the most of the Miscanthus opportunity.

Why Miscanthus?

10 Reasons to grow the ‘wonder crop’

1. Best ever price

Miscanthus prices have hit an all-time high, and Terravesta is now offering growers £74/tonne for 2015 contracts. What's more, through its new Barn Bonus scheme, growers whose Miscanthus bales have been stored in a barn and meet the required moisture specification of 16% or less will also be rewarded with up to £2/tonne extra. Don't miss out on the Miscanthus opportunity - sign up now!

2. Guaranteed returns

Boasting low overheads, stable pricing, guaranteed returns and reliable net margins for 20 years or more, Miscanthus offers a degree of financial certainty that almost no other crop can.

3. Reduced planting costs

Terravesta's new on-farm planting techniques and processes have brought down establishment costs significantly. Get in touch today to discuss your options.

4. Minimal maintenance

Once established, Miscanthus is a 'hands-off' crop requiring remarkably low input. It doesn't need fertiliser, chemicals or annual soil cultivation, so you can focus your attentions elsewhere - for enhanced overall production and improved profitability. For everything you need to know about growing Miscanthus, download our Essential Growers' Guide here

5. Maximise marginal land

All farms have less productive areas, but the nature of Miscanthus means it can be grown in poorer quality soil - turning your marginal land into profitable land!

6. Virtually weatherproof

As a moisture demander, Miscanthus flourishes in wet conditions as well as dry. What's more, the leaf mulch it produces suppresses weed growth, acting as a natural weapon against blackgrass

7. Annual growth

Miscanthus is a perennial crop with an annual growing cycle, delivering yearly profits at low inputs. It's also harvested in spring, so it doesn't conflict with other crops

8. Reliable biomass resource

With demand for UK biomass far outstripping its production, the opportunities for Miscanthus as an energy crop are endless. In contrast to the decades newly planted forestry can take to deliver results, Miscanthus produces commercial yields within just three years

9. Grow your own fuel

Any grower with a termed Terravesta contract can buy back Miscanthus pellets as heat on a separate energy supply contract - at a significantly discounted rate - through our Grower Fuel Loop (GFL) scheme. This means making a profit on selling bales, as well as considerable savings on fuel (particularly attractive for on-farm heat requirements)

10. Government backing

As well as pledging to treble investment in clean power generation, the government is actively supporting sustainable heating through schemes like the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Demand for biomass is set to increase dramatically as a result, bringing with it an opportunity for Miscanthus growers to reap the rewards now and well into the future

A helping hand

If you have a question about any aspect of Miscanthus growing, get in touch today, or click here to read the Essential Growers' Guide - our ultimate handbook to all things Miscanthus.

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