Power company sets up energy crops farm Drax has become the first UK electricity company to set up its own farm dedicated to testing and developing energy crops.

The 28ha (70-acre) “Smart farm” has been established in partnership with Masstock and Brown & Co on marginal land within its power station site near Goole in Yorkshire. Crop planting is due to start in earnest this autumn and next spring, although an initial 4ha (10-acre) plot of miscanthus has already gone in.

Alongside miscanthus and short-rotation coppice trials, different cereals will be cultivated to test for longer straw length; Drax has a straw pelleting plant three miles from the power station, capable of pelletising 100,000t of wheat and oilseed rape straw for co-firing. There will also be a sorghum trial to examine potential yields and pest problems.