Maximising the value of feedstocks used for anaerobic digestion (AD) is essential for any biogas plant operator, but the need to do so will only increase in the future, according to Tom Gill from Promar.

The firm has been working on two products that could help those supplying maize for biogas achieve higher yields of both crop and energy. The first product to be made commercially available is a growth promoter for maize, which the firm claims can increase freshweight yields by up to 20% and dry matter yields by 12-13%.

On a typical 15t/acre crop, that equates to an extra 2t/acre for a cost of around £30/acre.

The powder is mixed with seed before drilling and boosts germination and rooting, making the crop better able to withstand dry conditions and disease pathogens, Mr Gill says. “Even in the challenging conditions of last year, the powder still gave an 11.5% increase in dry matter yield in trials with the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University.

“These are significant results for all farmers growing maize, including those growing it for AD,” he adds. “We know that for the AD industry to meet the demands of the pipeline of new plants, it will need another 35,000ha of land by 2020. “