Animal bedding from Miscanthus

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A British company produces horse and small animal bedding created from “Miscanthus”, which is alternatively grown for energy crops over a 15-year period, with the first harvest taking place 3 years after sowing.

The crop is harvested by the processing industry using conventional forage harvesting equipment which turns the Miscanthus into chips. These are transported to the processing site in silage trailers, where they are tipped up and dried, dust is extracted and the chips are then packed into bags to be distributed.

The practice triggers direct economic benefits. There is an increased revenue for each bale sold for £6.05 or £218.00 per pallet of 36 bales whereas conventional bedding is £7.00 per bale or £252.00 per pallet of 36 bales. Representing savings for users.

This still represents an increase in income for farmers as the contracted price for miscanthus grown for energy in the UK is circa £70/tonne at 16% moisture. This in turn means that there is an opportunity cost for farmers to bag and extract dust of £148.

The crop yields up to 14tonnes/hectare, which at £70/t results in an income of up to £980/Ha for energy production, or up to £3052/Ha for bedding.

The processing of the crop is the same throughout up to delivery to the plant where it is dried, dust is extracted and it is bagged. It is a niche product and, as such, returns are higher for all parties involved.

Additional benefits include:

Comfort for Animal - Users report that horses can get up easily and do not damage limbs

Saves Labour – It needs less frequent changes of bedding

Technical - The product lasts longer than traditional bedding

Consistent – “bale to bale” The Material comes all from the same producer

Nikos Kyriakoulis