This month we’ve had the highest levels of processing. During the second week in October, we processed over 1,000 tonnes.
This is roughly a 10% uplift, when compared with the tonnage processed in an average week. It’s a greattestament to our growers, because it’s down to the high quality bales that we’ve seen during 2015. In fact, for the first time, all bales have been harvested within specification, that’s below 16% moisture content.
Even more encouragingly, the average moisture content of bales received this year has been 10.5%.
Farming practices are continually improving, and our growers understand the importance of ensuring the crop is dry during harvesting and baling stages and also, crucially, during storage.
Currently 65% of growers are storing bales in sheds and barns, and the vast majority of these are not purpose built – they’re utilising cattle sheds, or empty grain stores. We pay up to £2 per tonne more for barn stored bales, and with miscanthus being such a low input, high yielding crop, this incentive stacks up.
This year, we will have processed over 34.5 thousand tonnes of miscanthus bales in total. 2015 has been a great growing season and, with 216 farms currently on contract to Terravesta, providing we have a good spring in 2016, we hope to repeat, if not better, the yield and quality we’ve seen this time.
If growers continue to strive for top quality bales, processing is easier, because less energy is required to shred, hammer mill and pellet the bales. This is not only better for the environment, but quicker too.
Ultimately, the better quality the bales, the more the financial reward. The difference between bales with moisture content that’s as high as 23% and below 16% can be as much as £15 per tonne.
If I were to give any pointers to growers for 2016, I’d direct you to read the Miscanthus Growers Guide, which contains everything you need to know about growing, harvesting and storing the crop. I’d also say that listening to your contractor’s advice is crucial, as is speaking to Terravesta throughout the process.
Our growers and contractors have been fantastic this year, and we appreciate the continued support and feedback.
We’ll be announcing the dates for our grower and contractor forums in November. The forums are a fantastic platform for sharing knowledge, ensuring we continue to improve our processes. They’re also a great place to share experiences with the crop, and we encourage you to come along.
We always welcome input from our growers, and encourage you to share this with us at any time of the year. So please pick up the phone and get in touch.
Thank you, Alex.