Thegrowing popularity of AD plants has seen a dramatic increase in the demand forenergy crops to fuel them, with farmers now increasingly growing hybrid rye toreplace or supplement maize for many the original first choice energy source,according To Bob Miles, Elsoms Seeds Agricultural Director.
Withseed now arrived from Germany we are flat out delivering onto farms, said Bob.We have seen a real acceleration in AD plant owners knowledge of how to getthe best out of their facility, he added.
Clearlythe lessons learned over several years in Germany as to the value of hybrid ryein improving AD plant efficiency are now transferring over to the UK, judgingfrom the high level of interest and strong sales we are experiencing, saidBob.
Wehad a lot of interest in our hybrid rye variety SU Drive at Cereals and havehad to significantly increase the volume of seed allocated to the UK as aresult, commented Adrian Hayler, Elsoms Sales Manager. SU Drive has a veryhigh dry matter yield and is early ripening, but what farmers really seem tolike is that it also has strong resistance to brown rust and rhynchosporium,which gives it a very robust all-round package added Adrian.
Hybrid rye can make a verysignificant difference to the performance of an AD plant, says Bob. Theaddition of hybrid rye to beet or maize provides a different nutrient sourcefor the bacteria in the digester, having a 2-pronged synergistic effect,increasing methane yield and reducing retention time in the digester, he continues.Retention time is very significant as rye will take only 20 days to breakdownin the digester compared with 80 days for maize. The usual ratio for inclusionis 25% rye to 75% maize, he concluded.
Originally farmers werefocused on maize and beet as a means of feeding their plants, but for many thishas put a real strain on spring and autumn workloads with potential impacts onthe rest of the rotation, commented Adrian. Hybrid rye provides much moreflexibility, neatly fitting around other crops with a very broad drilling windowthrough into late autumn and an early summer harvest period, he added.