There has never been a better time to find out all there is to know about biomass crops such as Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow, Short Rotation Forestry poplar and Eucalyptus and perennial grasses such as Miscanthus and Reed Canary Grass. The Biomass Connect project is all about knowledge exchange on these crops and informing a wide range of stakeholders including farmers, small holders, project developers, biomass and carbon traders, consultants, academics and students. If you want to immerse yourself in all things biomass then look no further than the Biomass Connect website. Here you can find bang up to date information and events and can sign up to get news updates every quarter.
If you sign up, you won’t get bombarded with spam. You’ll get bespoke information that is crucial for you. And how do I know this? Because I write it! If you don’t want to miss a beat about the forthcoming UK Biomass Strategy, the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMs), anticipated announcements on Sustainable Farming Initiaitive (SFI) payment rates for perennial crops then you need to subscribe. There will also be information on the different innovation projects and dates for your diary.
If you want to get the low down on different crops, markets, logistics and legislation then you can’t afford to miss the Biomass Connect Webinars. I facilitate these online events and each time introduce two bonafide experts who provide their hard won wisdom on a given subject. Join the livestream and you’ll be able to get your question answered there and then. Alternatively, watch later on our YouTube channel. There will be 14 webinars over the course of the project which will deal with:
- Land preparation – starting off on the right foot (watch the recording here)
- Emerging markets for biomass crops (watch the recording here
- Biomass crops – some interesting alternatives (deals with Eucalyptus and RCG – 23 Feb sign up here)
- The Regs – How to play by the rules when planting and using biomass crops (23 March sign up here)
- Integrated pest and disease management
- Managing fuel storage and drying to best practice quality standards
- Maximising biodiversity in your Biomass crop plantation
- Carbon markets and biomass crops
- Biomass crops and water management
- Harvesting your crop, everything you need to know
- Economics – the impact of management on costs, yield and income
- Horses for courses – What to plant and where
- Plan Bs – How to turn it around when something goes wrong
- Game changers- new techniques and technologies and how they might help the upscale challenge
Meet the expert farm events
Of course experts come in many forms. There are consultants and contractors who have trodden the hard yards and really know their stuff and then there are farmers who have been there and done it. Biomass Connect and Envirocrops are putting on a host of events that allow you to speak to both types and get real life experiences. You’ll get to hear how these practitioners have managed to make it work for them and how they dealt with red tape, growing crops in the extremes of the British climate and developing markets for their products.
In the next month there are several events planned:
For more information on other events see the Biomass Connect What’s On page.
Biomass Connect will be establishing hub sites at eight locations across the UK. These will include plots of willow, poplar, Eucalyptus, black locust (Robinia spp), Miscanthus, reed canary grass, switchgrass, Arundo and Sida. The hub sites are located at:
- Agri-Food Biosciences Institute (AFBI)*
- Bio Global Industries (BGI)
- IBERS Aberystwyth*
- Newcastle University
- Rothamsted Research*
- Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) – Ayrshire*
- Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) – Edinburgh
Over the duration of the project there will be many events staged across these host sites allowing anyone to come and see these crops standing next to each other. The ones marked with an * will also have yield trials of the newest willow and miscanthus varieties. The events will include planting and harvesting demos and presentations by team members. There will also be crop specific events at Biomass Connect spoke sites across the country. To keep abreast of these events see the Biomass Connect What’s On page.
So there you have it! And this is just the tip of the iceberg of what Biomass Connect intends to do over the next two years and beyond. Please sign up so we can Connect with you.
This project is supported by the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, a £36 million programme, funded through the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes through the 2020s and 2030s.