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Dairy Farm Steps up Education Programme

25 March 2013

ENGLAND - A Wiltshire dairy farm is stepping up its campaign to help the banking industry make informed agricultural investment decisions.

Stowell Farms in Pewsey secured funding for an EnviTec Biogas Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant that went live in September. The finance package also covered 75 per cent cubicle and 25 per cent straw yard housing for up to 500 cows, new milking and handling facilities, feed storage buildings and silage clamps.

A viewing gallery and education room were included in the development, and farm manager Gavin Davies wants to host groups of bankers and land agents in a bid to increase knowledge about the viability of both farm-scale AD plants and dairy farming in general.

Mr Davies said: "Our representative from Barclays has been very supportive, and last year we hosted about 20 of his colleagues here. They were all involved in farm lending, and I think it was really useful for them to see at first hand how AD income can make investment in the farming side of the business viable – and vice versa."

"Some bankers and land agents don’t have the depth of knowledge they need to make decisions that could be the difference between a farm guaranteeing its viability and it going to the wall. That’s why I want to invite anyone from those industries to come down here and see what we’ve achieved by building a genuine relationship with Barclays and EnviTec."

"I’ll be happy to share real income and expenditure figures that will help inform decisions they need to take in the future," he added.

The EnviTec plant, which has been running at almost full capacity since November, is capable of producing 4.1 million kWh of electricity and 3.55 million kWh of surplus heat. Electricity produced by the plant will be used on the farm and sold to the grid under the 20-year Feed in Tariffs.

About 85 per cent of the electricity will be exported, the balance being used on the farm, and it will generate annual revenues of more than £750,000. Heat will be used on the farm, and there are plans to pump the surplus to a leisure centre and two schools in Pewsey to attract income under the Renewable Heat Incentive.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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