Two new contract options were unveiled by homegrown energy specialists International Energy Crops (IEC) at Cereals 2012 to enable UK farmers to take advantage of increasingly attractive miscanthus returns, without the initial risk involved in the perennial crop.
The company is offering both contract farming agreements and farm business tenancies index-linked to the cane price. Under both arrangements IEC will take all responsibility for establishing and managing miscanthus on areas of 20 hectares or more for up to 10 years, after which the mature crop will become the exclusive property of the farm for its own use at no cost.
Explaining the new options, IEC managing director Keith Wilson said: "We are putting our money firmly where our mouth is in miscanthus growing. Straightforward contract farming agreements allow us to share the risk and reward with growers.
"Alternatively, standard FBT agreements mean we bear all the risk. So those who may not be confident in their own ability to establish and bring crops into full production can rely on us to do the job. And we shall pay them for doing so at attractive rates based on yield potential, area involved, location and specific farm conditions.
"With crops yielding up to 20 tonne per hectare each year for little or no inputs and having a life of at least 20 years, at the end of these agreements producers will be able to enjoy a further 10 years or more of highly profitable energy growing under conventional production contracts.
"We're offering the ultimate risk-free way into miscanthus simply because we know our agronomy will produce the goods even on difficult-to-manage land and we have firm, index-linked markets for all we can produce."