Willow holds the key for Irish growth
Willow holds the key for Irish farming to expand aggressively in the future, according to biomass entrepreneur John Gilliland.
The Derry-based farmer believes that if farmers planted 5-7pc of their worst land and water boundaries with willow, they would soon be able to offset the increasing greenhouse gas emissions that would inevitably follow increased output.
"Planting these areas would have little negative impact on farm output because they tend to areas that are difficult to farm," said Mr Gilliland.
"They would be able to soak up nutrients that would otherwise be heading into watercourses, along with providing a natural disease barrier and a source of renewable energy on the farm."
Mr Gilliland believes that dairy farmers could save on their energy bills by installing wood-chip burners to utilise the chipped willow.
He has already been in discussion with Teagasc about establishing a trial on one of their demonstration farms.
Food Harvest 2020 for NI?
It appears that the success of the Food Harvest 2020 report has spawned a similar initiative in the North.