Kidderminster-based sheep farmer, Marcus Wilson, has planted 40 hectares of Miscanthus on his farm, to tap into the long-term price security it presents.
He’s showcasing his crop on a Miscanthus breakfast farm walk on November 28th to help other Midlands farmers learn about growing, harvesting and selling it.
“Miscanthus is a long-term solution to price volatility. Aside from the Miscanthus, I have 32 hectares of permanent grass and 300 ewes,” says Marcus.
“The sheep market can be volatile meaning you don’t know what you’re getting from one day to the next. Miscanthus is a good buffer and provides an assured income with minimal costs.”
Marcus believes putting time and effort into planting and crop establishment is crucial, and this takes good planning, but otherwise the crop takes care of itself. “Having a guaranteed price and market for the crop is a big reassurance. The only variables are yield and moisture which are all within the control of the grower.”
Marcus is looking forward to his first harvest. “I’m amazed at how much the Miscanthus has thickened up and we’re looking forward to a good harvest in spring 2019,” he adds.
Uptake for Miscanthus is seeing a rapid shift, according to crop expert Terravesta, with more farmers planting up marginal land with the crop in a bid to alleviate future uncertainty.
“We now work with over 300 Miscanthus growers on long-term, index price linked contracts to supply numerous markets, including whole bale power stations which we currently supply with 50,000 tonnes annually, on 14-year agreements,” says Jacob Duce from Terravesta.
About the Miscanthus breakfast farm walk:
Date and time: 28th November 09.00 am – 12.00 noon
Address: Chaddesley Corbett, Worcestershire
Format: Coffee and registration with breakfast provided, followed by a presentation from Terravesta and a tour of the Miscanthus