previousnext 31/3/2009

200 flock to see New Holland willow header provide fuel for power station 

200 farmers, landowners and agricultural contractors attended two open days at E.ON’s Steven’s Croft power station near Lockerbie to see New Holland’s first demonstration of its new specialist short rotation coppice (SRC) header.

Held in conjunction with E.ON and Lantmännen Renewable Fuels, visitors watched as New Holland’s FR9000 forage harvester utilised the new short rotation coppice header on 18th and 19th March on a field adjacent to the power plant.

The willow header has been designed to double the harvesting acreage so far achieved by competitor products of short rotation coppice willow, a renewable biomass crop.

230 tonnes of harvested willow wood chip was delivered over the two days and was used to fuel the power station and generate green electricity.

Willow is normally harvested every three years and yields for first harvest are generally estimated at 7-10 tonnes of dried matter per hectare, per year.

At the demos, five hectares of two year old willow coppice produced an impressive 10.2 tonnes of dried matter per hectare, per year. Willow stems between 5-10cm diameters were processed straight into wood chip in one pass.

As well as the coppicing demonstrations, visitors were also treated to a tour of Steven’s Croft, which is the UK’s largest wood fired biomass station, and a presentation on the benefits of growing willow by Lantmännen which plants, harvests and supplies the SRC wood chip for fuel.

New Holland’s Harvest Marketing Support Specialist Symon Bradney said: “Both days were extremely successful, with people coming from as far as Denmark and Germany as well as current willow growers from the surrounding area, local farmers, landowners, agricultural contractors and forestry commission representatives. The header ran without any problems over the two days and proved itself more than capable of handling short coppice crop.”

Robert Smith, Managing Director of Lantmännen Renewable Fuels, said: "We’re really pleased with the performance of the crop and encouraged by the high yields at a young harvest. The open day offered an opportunity for farmers to come along and look at the crop and see it harvested using the New Holland machinery and then taken straight into E.ON’s power station - it's a perfect showcase for a complete supply chain for energy crops, from field to power in one step.”

The harvesting was carried out by Metcalfe Farms who specialise in harvesting willow alongside their main operations which include an agricultural contracting business, haulage and dairy farm.

For further information on growing willow coppice or E.ON please contact Pernilla Tweddle at Lantmännen Renewable Fuel on 01904 720575 or by email: pernilla@renewablefuels.co.uk

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