Farm Ireland

Sunday 17 December 2017

Miscanthus misery

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

More than 3,000t of miscanthus lie unused in storage in Adare, Co Limerick, this week.

The crop was grown on contract by farmers at a guaranteed price of €60/t for JHM Crops, headed by Joe Hogan.

Another 10,000t to 12,000t of the crop is due to be harvested next year, so pressure is mounting on Mr Hogan to clear out the existing stocks to make room for the next harvest.

But his only option is to sell the stored miscanthus at a loss of €35/t. He has already sold 900t, losing more than €31,000 in the process.

Until the Refit tariff is implemented, JHM will continue to make a loss, having contracted hundreds of acres of miscanthus each year on the back of Government promises. "We will lose up to €400,000 per year if this continues," said Mr Hogan. "The whole thing is in trouble."

JHM was the first company to grow miscanthus in Ireland and is the biggest player in the market, but is paying the price for Government inaction.

"As a company, as a business, we don't know where we are going," said Mr Hogan. "Somebody is preventing this going forward."

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