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Centre for Alternative Land Use


CALU NEWS - February 2006


Interest is growing in the sea vegetable Salicornia (also known as marsh samphire, sea bean, glasswort and poor man's asparagus). TV chef, Rick Stein, is a fan of the vegetable and has greatly increased public awareness of it.
This succulent little salt tolerant plant, which grows wild around the coasts of Wales, is collected on a small scale for sale to restaurateurs and domestic consumption. Now a new project in Gwynedd being run by the Menterra project is aiming to develop a commercially viable cultivation technique for the crop.

Israel has pioneered a cultivation system for the crop and Israel's largest marketing organisation, Agrexco, believes there is considerable scope for sales of salicornia in the UK.





Hybu Cig Cymru, in collaboration with ADAS, IGER, Coleg Meiron-Dwyfor and the University of Wales, Bangor, has launched a new project looking at the suitability of woodchips for animal bedding. The trials will see woodchips from a variety of tree species used as bedding for both cattle and sheep. Evaluations will be made of the utility of the woodchips in terms of cost, labour input and animal welfare.
Soiled bedding will then be composted and analysed to assess its suitability for use in a range of environments.
The project is timely with increasing uncertainty over the availability of straw in the future, and growing awareness and concerns about the environmental impact of transporting straw from the East of England to Wales.
The project will be hosting a series of Open Days - details can be found on Hybu Cig Cymru's website.

Tesco has reported that sales of beetroot have risen by more than 50% since last year. The vegetable is being hailed as the latest "super food" and receiving widespread publicity. Originally, beetroot was cultivated for its leaves (it is from the same family as chard and spinach), cultivation for its roots came later.
These days claims for the beneficial effects of beetroot range from it being a "mood food" that can help to beat depression, to a cholesterol lowering, low glycaemic index diet food.


The UK's first Miscanthus fuelled biomass plant, Eccleshall in Staffordshire, has hit a setback. Planning permission had been sought for additional storage areas for storing wood chips and bales of Miscanthus, but Stafford Borough Council has delayed approval of the planning application. More than 350 hectares of Miscanthus have already been planted to supply the power station which is expected to produce electricity for more than 2,000 homes.
Source: The Farmer


February 28th 2006 is the deadline for all poultry keepers with 50 or more birds to register with Defra. In this context poultry includes ducks, geese, quail, guinea fowl, partridges, pheasants, pigeons reared for meat, ostriches, emus, rheas, cassowaries and kiwis. The registration forms can be downloaded from the Defra website. The Poultry Register Helpline is open from 8.00am to 8.00pm Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 1.00pm Saturday and Sunday, tel: 0800 634 112.



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Forestry Commission Wales is looking for entrants to the Woods for Wales Award - an annual award for excellence in woodland management, or the innovative use of wood as a raw material.
The winner of the competition will receive £1,750, with a runner's up prize of £500.
Application forms are available from Forestry Commission Wales - tel 01873 850060.
The closing date for entries is 27th February 2006.


CALU exists to transfer technology to any business in Wales that is interested in horticulture, biomass, alternative crops, alternative livestock and/or farm woodlands.

CALU is funded by the WDA and Welsh Assembly Government