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Centre for Alternative Land Use


CALU NEWS - July 2006


The first of this summer's CALU open days took place on 5th July at Rose Cottage Farm, Milford Haven. Visitor's to Adam Thorne's farm were able to see demonstration plots of a range of potential 'alternative' crops ranging from oil seeds to parsnips. Paul Radcliffe, from Pembrokeshire Biomass, spoke about the opportunities for biomass production in south west Wales.
12th July was the date for the annual CALU / Henfaes Research Centre Open Day. Around 100 people attended this popular event showcasing research and development relating to agriculture and the environment.






A banana plant at Aberglasney Gardens, near Llandeilo, has just produced a crop of fruit.

The five year old banana tree was bought from a nursery in Holland last year. Aberglasney's Director, Graham Rankin, expressed his surprise at how quickly the fruit appeared. "It's amazing how quickly it developed. It was in bud for two or three weeks and now to our immense excitement these bananas have arrived.

Aberglasney is home to CALU's Carmarthenshire horticultural discussion group - Carmarthenshire Growers Association.

Dr Edward Dickin of Bangor University explaining the benefits of naked oats at the CALU Henfaes Open Day.


A new project has begun on Anglesey which is assessing the viability of hydroponic production techniques for horticultural production in Wales.

The project, Môn Hydroponics, is based at Cae Gwyn, near Llanerchymedd, where Rowena and Philip Mansfield have been producing herbs hydroponically since 2004.

The project held its first open day on 3rd July when members of the public were able to discuss all aspects of hydroponics production, from equipment to cultivation, with Rowena, Philip and their consultant, Geraint Hughes.


The hydroponic demonstration tunnel at Môn Hydroponics, Anglesey

The market for oats is looking better than it has for a long time. Developments by food manufacturers, such as microwaveable oat based breakfast cereals, and increased demand from pig and poultry producers have lifted contract prices above £70/tonne.

Naked oats, as featured in CALU's novel crop demonstrations, are particularly popular. These oats are not only huskless, but also have a higher oil content than traditional varieties - an important consideration for feed composition.



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An environmental consultant, based in Devon, has planted 120 olive trees in the hope of capitalising on the effects of global warming.

Mark Diacono has sourced four varieties of olive from Maremma in Tuscany, an area which is subject to winter snow and spring frosts.

Mark is also cultivating a range of other crops more usually associated with Mediterranean climates, for example almonds and apricots.

Source: Daily Telegraph


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 Welsh Assembly Government