Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Elephant grass

While out walking I've seen lots of fields full of miscanthus giganteus, or elephant grass as it is often called, which as you probably know is supposed to have potential as a quick-growing biofuel. It sounds like a good idea, but as with all things green, it's as well to look below the surface.

I found this interesting thread on miscanthus from Farmer's Weekly. It's worth a read, because it comes from real farmers with tales to tell. The first year of planting seems to be heavily subsidized and after that experiences are mixed.

On the whole, yields seem to have been lower than farmers were told to expect and profits a little shaky, but on the basis of this very limited bit of research, maybe elephant grass does have something going for it. I hope so, because it's less unsightly than windmills and as a fuel it can be stored, unlike the wind.


Anonymous said...

A truism in farming is that if you keep doing the same thing then for five years you will be behind the times, for five years you will be ahead of the times and for five years you will be with the times.

You will however be good (or bad) at what you do and you will avoid the costs of chopping and changing.

A K Haart said...

Roger - fields I've seen are small, as if many farmers are just giving it a trial, although I saw some large fields near Peterborough.

James Higham said...

Grows crazily, that stuff.

A K Haart said...

James - and that seems to concern some farmers - is it invasive?