It might be Friday, but it’s going to be a busy day for the Energy Crops Consultancy team at Cockle Park Farm – both from a practical point of view and collaborating with other organisations, all with a strong interest in incorporating biomass production into modern farming systems.

We’re looking forward to participating in the Organic Research Centre’s Living Lab – Agroforestry in the North of England workshop as part of National Agroforestry Weekend. We’ll be visiting the Nufarms Silvio arable agroforestry site which was established by ECC last year using a mixed stand of willow and poplar incorporated into an experimental design devised by University of Newcastle researchers looking into how food and fuel production can be boosted along with the integration of environmental stewardship.

We’ll also be planting the Biomass Connect SRC willow variety demonstration plots. Biomass Connect is a Biomass Innovation and Information Platform – an initiative demonstrating and sharing knowledge to showcase best practice and innovations in land-based biomass feedstock production. We’ll be using our 2-row step-planter attached to our GPS enabled John Deere tractor to ensure not only that the rows are dead straight, but also that plant populations and spacings are precise.