Harvester trials

All the experience gained from growing energy crops indicates that the harvesting and transport methods are crucially important to profitability. Iggesund Paperboard is therefore testing a range of harvesters in order to find the best possible machines and methodology for local conditions in Cumbria.

“We’re testing harvesters from southern England, Ireland and Denmark,” explains Neil Watkins, Alternative Fuel Manager at Iggesund Paperboard. “We’re responsible for the harvesting in this project so we’re highly motivated to find the best possible solution.

“We’ve already done some tests on Ronnie Jenkins’ land in Durdar. Some of his crop should have been harvested earlier because the thicker the willow stems, the trickier the harvesting. But we’ve succeeded fairly well.”

Such detailed investigation is not needed when it comes to transporting the crop. Iggesund Forestry, a part of Iggesund Paperboard, has been responsible for acquiring raw materials for the company’s mill in Workington for more than 20 years. Sitka spruce trees are felled in both Cumbria and Scotland and the timber is transported to Workington.

“The infrastructure for bringing timber to Workington has been in place for a long time and we don’t expect any significant difficulty in also organising the transport of willow to the mill,” says Gavin Davidson, General Manager of Iggesund Forestry.