Bord na Móna urging farmers to grow energy crops to fuel its power stations
Bord na Móna is urging farmers to grow energy crops to fuel its power stations under a lucrative scheme, the Farming Independent has learned.
As peat production is reduced, the company's CEO Mike Quinn said that a new agriculture scheme, expected to be launched early this year, will prove "very attractive" to farmers, particularly in the midland region.
"We have been talking to Government about launching a willow scheme that would help the farmers establish the crop. Once the crop is established - willow for example - you can start harvesting from the end of year two or year three. Then you get a crop every second year after that".
"They will have an off-take guaranteed for 15 years from Bord na Móna and we can help out with some of the cash flow," he said.
To supply the three power stations in Edenderry, Shannonbridge and Lanesborough, the company needs 37,000ac of energy crops - located within 100km of stations.
However, it's not all about willow. Eucalyptus could be another option for farmers.
"Eucalyptus is a typically fast-growing tree, you can get a forest for harvesting from between 8-12 years, whereas the traditional tree takes 25 years to grow," he said.
"The nice thing about eucalyptus is the yield is quite good and the growing period is half of that of your traditional tree, so it's very suitable for our product."