If you are looking to diversify your holding, you might want to get your head around the range of biomass crops (for example, miscanthus and short rotation coppice) and see if they are suitable for your land to provide an alternative income stream.
If you want to get a quick answer, from an independent source, without spending any money, this is where the Envirocrops web app will come into its own.
The Envirocrops app is a collaborative development between the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Kevin Lindegaard of Crops for Energy, NFU Energy and software developer Calvium. These organisations have been working in the biomass sector for nearly 30 years.
Kevin says: “It’s a complicated process. These crops are perennials that stay in the ground for more than 20 years, so it’s important that you make the right decision. Various biomass crop options are suited to different land types and climates. Yields can vary considerably.
“It’s a complicated process. These crops are perennials that stay in the ground for more than 20 years, so it’s important that you make the right decision.”
Kevin Lindegaard, Crops for Energy
“On top of this, there is the range of harvesting regimes to consider – miscanthus is harvested annually, SRC willow is harvested every three years, while short rotation forestry is harvested at least eight years after planting. The woody crops are harvested wet while miscanthus and other grasses are harvested dry. It does feel like you are comparing apples and pears!”
The UK’s biomass strategy is due to be published in the spring of 2023. This is expected to highlight the massive need for expansion in biomass crop land coverage to meet essential net zero commitments. In order to meet this challenge, farmers will need to be agile in their decision-making processes.
The Envirocrops web app will enable this by providing price comparisons for producing and selling biomass crops, an encyclopaedia of information on how to grow and manage the crops, a directory of all the main players and an online trading platform with a local dimension.
Be part of this revolution by joining the user forum and subscribe for the latest updates at envirocrops.com. The project is just six months old and the first release of the web app will be live at the end of March 2023.
Play and learn with Cropper
Currently, the Envirocrops team has produced a useful game called Cropper which provides a quick way to understand the management of these crops and the important dos and don’ts.
You can find out more about the game, and download it, at: Envirocrops game aims to upskill next generation of rural decision makers | NFU Energy