Willow SRC Perennial Crops

The benefits of growing SRC Willow crops for your business and the environment are far reaching.

In professional environments, it’s important to consider all options. While tropical areas may benefit from the fast growth of energy crops like bamboo – which can grow up to 10cms in just 24 hours – colder areas such as the UK require a different approach. This is where willow comes into play.

SRC Willow is an excellent choice for farmers looking to diversify their farmland. Its adaptability to less-than-perfect ground makes it a suitable crop for areas where traditional food crops may not be viable. However, it is important to note that it is not intended to replace arable food crops or livestock for dairy/meat.

At Eco Crops Ltd, we specialise in assisting growers in diversifying into SRC Willow alongside their livestock and arable farming. With years of experience in developing and promoting energy crops, we are confident in our ability to help farmers establish and maintain healthy SRC Willow crops. Additionally, SRC Willow has a high biodiversity value, attracting over 260 beneficial insects such as Ladybird beetles and lacewings. These insects prey on pests that farmers and gardeners alike struggle with, making SRC Willow a smart and sustainable choice for agricultural diversification.

Key Features

How Willow battles against carbon -

One important aspect of willow is its role in carbon fixing and cycling. A single hectare of willow from short rotation coppicing can produce an amount of energy equivalent to 5,700 litres of oil. This is significant when considering that the average household typically utilises around 3,000 litres of oil every year. Utilising the stumps for carbon fixation allows for the transformation of carbon dioxide into organic compounds by living organisms through photosynthesis.

Carbon sequestration -

SRC willow cultivation has the potential to effectively capture carbon, preventing its release as GHG. After the above-ground biomass has been harvested for wood chip, carbon storage can occur in three ways: non-harvested above-ground biomass (stumps), below-ground biomass (coarse and fine roots), and carbon input onto soil organic matter. SRC willow can sequester approximately 0.12 t of carbon per hectare per year.

The total amount and rate of change in soil carbon sequestration by SRC willow are determined by a number of factors, including the carbon inputs during the net primary production phase, decomposition of major carbon pools (affected by soil moisture and temperature), initial soil carbon content (an inverse relationship to sequestration rate), crop management (including harvest intervals and re-plantation), and depth of soil influenced by the willow (which affects the total amount of carbon sequestered). Plantations utilised for the bioremediation of effluents and sludges can further enhance the amount of carbon captured by SRC willow.

Carbon Mitigation Potential – Key Facts

Natural flood management solutions -

Willow SRC perennial crops are also beneficial for Natural Flood Management Solutions, which aims to enhance water retention in the landscape and mitigate the runoff rate into rivers. This is achieved by implementing various measures that restore or replicate the natural features of rivers, floodplains, and the broader catchment area. NFM encompasses four main goals: water retardation, water storage, elevated soil permeability, and rainfall interception.

Harvested every 2-4 years -

Willow is a highly sustainable, low-maintenance crop that is harvested every 2-4 years. It not only yields a substantial return, but also offers environmental benefits, including natural flood management and soil retention.

Find the right end markets -

Willow wood chip from SRC are highly sought after in a variety of End Markets. Our team will guide you through the entire harvesting process to ensure that your crop meets the highest quality standards and commands top prices. We are committed to a long-term partnership with you, beyond just the planting stage.

“One of the things that made me comfortable with it, was Neil. He is very pro-farmers. He knows you need to build a relationship with us.”

Brian Wilson

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