Farmers interested in seeing how Norfolk farmer Algy Garrod has benefited from a series of successful farm diversification projects including Miscanthus are invited to a free farm walk on Thursday 7 September.
Co-hosted by the AF Group and Terravesta, the walk will explore how Mr Garrod has planted Miscanthus on his 405ha farm near Fakenham as a risk mitigation measure to help to future-proof the business.
“Miscanthus is planted in awkward corners of fields, in wet areas, and on heavy land, and we have deliberately targeted less productive fields to improve the soil,” says Algy.
“When I looked at my yield maps, certain areas of the farm performed poorly on an annual basis, typically areas on the edges of fields.
“So, I took the decision to put Miscanthus on them. I’ve straightened these fields with GPS, taking out bits near hedgerows or curved field margins and edges.”
Algy has planted 10ha of Miscanthus in total and says squaring off the fields makes them more manageable and efficient for conventional food cropping.
“The aim is to replace some of the lost subsidies with diversification income streams and I’m hoping it will give me some efficiency gains – my sprayer works better when it’s driving in a straight line rather than going around corners, which causes inaccuracies in the application of our inputs,” he says.
Algy’s diversification projects include opening a farm shop, introducing more niche vegetable crops to supply the shop, pumpkin picking, Christmas trees and 10 hectares of Miscanthus.
Miscanthus also provides Algy with game cover.
“I now have permanent cover, which means I don’t have to establish it every year, which is a big advantage,” adds Algy.
About the Miscanthus farm walk
The Miscanthus farm walk in Bintree will run from 9.30-11:30 am and will include a presentation from Miscanthus specialist, Terravesta, about growing, harvesting and selling Miscanthus, a talk from Lee Oxborough, head of crop inputs at the AF Group, a tour of the crop with chance to ask questions and enjoy some light refreshments.
Date and time: Thursday 7 September 9:30 – 11:30am
Location: Bintree, Norfolk
Catering: Light refreshments will be provided
To book onto the walk, visit www.terravesta.com/events.