Powering up renewables and growing great woodland

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More than a dozen Argyll farmers brushed up their knowledge of farm woodland and renewable technology at a North Knapdale training day organised by SAC.

There are plenty of different systems to choose from in the renewables world, as SAC senior renewables consultant John Farquhar told the audience, but the important thing is to select a system that suits individual circumstances and that will prove cost-effective to operate.

Systems discussed included heat storage, photovoltaic electricity generation, biomass heating, ground/air source heat pumps and hydro electricity generation.

The key message was that during a time of dwindling government support for renewables, it is more important than ever to do your sums and ensure capital costs and savings are genuinely worth it in the medium to long term.

Also making the journey to Mid Argyll was SAC woodland consultant Douglas Priest, who gave a whistle-stop tour of farm woodland. In a knowledgeable presentation he covered practical topics such as getting the most from farm shelter belts and farm woodlands in financial and farm management terms.

Echoing the renewables presentation given by John Farquhar, his message to the farmers present was that farm woodland needs to be of the right type, in the right place, and for the right reasons.

Hamilton Brothers were there in the shape of Alastair Dixon and Ted MacDonald to demonstrate the latest flail mower technology – the Flailbot – for gorse management.

The event, held at Danna Farm on Tayvallich Estate, was organised through the Farm Advisory Service, and holding the event together was Campbeltown-based SAC technical admin officer, Helen Pickering.