Green energy crop gets farmer’s vote

Edward Green
Edward Green

A Glentham farmer has found a profitable solution for three of his problem fields - in the form of a new energy crop called miscanthus.

Edward Green first trialled the crop on his arable farm in 2010, when a persistent problem with blackgrass weed left him searching for a viable alternative to wheat.

The energy crop was thriving a year later, prompting Edward to plant miscanthus in two more of his problem fields - one of which had very shallow, stony soil.

With 50 of his 370 acres of land now planted with the crop, he continues to reap the benefits of financial returns year on year.

Edward, who also grows other arable crops including wheat, sugar beet and opium poppies, said: “The crop is still flourishing, and because it acts as a natural remedy to blackgrass, I no longer have to spend time, effort and money controlling the problem.

“Within a year, it (the crop) was five-and-a-half feet high and about as close to full establishment as you could get.

“By year two, it had soared to almost nine feet and I was reaping average yields of seven tonnes per hectare.

“Miscanthus held the key to my problems and I’m very pleased I made the decision to plant.”

Edward added: “As a relatively new and unknown crop, it had its fair share of teething troubles in the early days.”

An energy crop is a plant grown as a low-cost and low-maintenance harvest used to make biofuels, such as bioethanol, or combusted for its energy content to generate electricity or heat.