Norfolk farmer Algy Garrod will host a miscanthus farm walk on his farm this September to display how he has benefitted from different farm diversification projects.

The free event will take place in Bintree from 9.30am until 11.30am on Thursday, September 7.

The walk, co-hosted by the AF Group and Terravesta, will explore how Garrod has planted miscanthus on his 405ha farm near Fakenham as a risk mitigation measure.

Attendees will receive a presentation from Terravesta about growing, harvesting and selling the crop, as well as a talk from head of crop inputs at the AF Group, Lee Oxborough, and a tour of the crop.

Garrod’s miscanthus planting was a strategic decision made to help future-proof his business.

“Miscanthus is planted in awkward corners of fields, in wet areas and on heavy land, and we have deliberately targeted less productive fields to improve the soil,” Garrod said.

“When I looked at my yield maps, certain areas of the farm performed poorly on an annual basis, typically areas on the edges of fields.

“So, I took the decision to put miscanthus on them. I’ve straightened these fields with GPS, taking out bits near hedgerows or curved field margins and edges.”

Garrod has planted 10ha of miscanthus in total, and has said that squaring off fields makes them more manageable and efficient for conventional food cropping.

“The aim is to replace some of the lost subsidies with diversification income streams and I’m hoping it will give me some efficiency gains – my sprayer works better when it’s driving in a straight line rather than going around corners, which causes inaccuracies in the application of our inputs,” he he said.

Garrod’s diversification projects include opening a farm shop, introducing more niche vegetable crops to supply the shop, pumpkin picking, Christmas trees and the 10ha of miscanthus.

Miscanthus also provides the farmer with “permanent cover” which means he does not have to establish it every year.

Those who attend the farm walk will have the chance to ask questions and can avail of some light refreshments. Booking for the event can be done via the Terravesta website.