New Willow and Miscanthus Guidelines Being Launched
‘Best Practice Guidelines’ for the energy crops, willow and miscanthus are being launched at the National Ploughing Championships in Athy, today Wednesday, 22 September. The best practice guidelines were produced jointly by Teagasc and the Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute (AFBI), Northern Ireland. They are being launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith and the First Minister for Agriculture in Northern Ireland, Michelle Gildernew.
Speaking at the launch, Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle said: "These guidelines bring the most recent research findings and information for growing, managing and harvesting of the crops in a user friendly booklet format. The ‘Best Practice Guidelines’ will be updated on a biannual basis as new research findings and information becomes available from both the Teagasc and AFBI research programmes."
Teagasc bioenergy specialist, Barry Caslin said: "There is a renewed emphasis on energy crops at this year’s ploughing, as a number of companies are announcing that they are offering farmer contracts to grow energy crops. Given this development, the availability of these publications is timely for prospective growers and individuals who would like to get involved in energy supply chains."
Barry Caslin continued: "There are a number of exciting developments in the energy crops sector. The main emphasis is on co-firing biomass at our peat burning stations and a major project in County Louth looking at willow logs for the heat market. There is also a number of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) projects ear marked which will require significant tonnage of biomass from energy crops."