There is little doubt that biomass burning has been one of the success stories of poultry farming in recent years, combining cheaper, greener fuel with a better environment for the birds.
But biomass is not without its risks – the fact that it is entirely dependent on government subsidies being one of them.
As rival fuel suppliers will happily tell you, there are also questions surrounding the availability, sustainability, price and above all quality of woodchip.
They might have a point. The Forager recently heard about some of the more unusual objects to have cropped up in bulk wood destined for the chipper.
“I have found several things in trees over the years,” one supplier told us. “First we found 1,000 or so mosaic tiles inside the base of a sycamore tree we took down in a back garden in Oxford. Then my men found a 1950’s push-along lawn mower, around 12 feet up and half encompassed by an oak tree. Just the front and handle could be seen.
“They also found a 1960’s bicycle which had obviously been left leaning against the tree and the tree had grown over and around it.”
So the advice is “stay vigilant”. Most chippers can cope with the odd nail or stone, but shoving bits of old lawnmower or bicycle up your auger could be terminal….