Short rotation coppice plantation are increasing in extent within the community and are set to increase substantially with the proposed revisions to the CAP and GATT agreements. Whilst the technology for growing the crop is reasonably well advanced a major stumbling block lies in the cost of harvesting and delivery systems where costs of harvesting, storage and drying and delivery can amount to up to 70 % of the total delivered costs. This project aims to reduce these costs by development of low-cost methods of harvesting, drying and storage of willow, poplar and robinia crops. A systems approach will be used to synthesise viable combinations of post-harvest operations evaluated in multidisciplinary research in 6 participating countries.
The three main research tasks have been allocated to 10 research and industrial organisations in the 6 participating countries:
Task 1 : to progress towards an optimum specification for coppice harvesters through coordinated trials of commercial and prototype European and Scandinavian machines.
Task 2 : to develop economic systems of storage and drying of chips, chunks and bundles by using mathematical models of the physical and biological systems to interpret, coordinate and apply results from studies of artificially and naturally-ventilated storage systems.
Task 3 : to recommend, from these research findings, economically viable systems for harvesting, storage and delivery systems across species and geographical ranges in Europe.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
MK45 4HS Bedford