Managing Hedges for Firewood Production
Ross Dickinson, a commercial farmer and wood fuel supplier in Dorset, explains "I changed the management of one of my hedges from trimming it every year to letting it grow and coppicing once every 15 years for firewood production. Taking into account the savings on trimming costs, I was able to return a good profit - enough to keep someone employed". Ross has been managing many hedges on his farm like this, some for three coppice cycles. His son is now working with him on the family firewood business. Both see a strong future in managing and cropping hedges for firewood, particularly with rising prices for logs. As they say "What could be better? We are producing an environmentally friendly fuel for a profit just by changing the way we manage our hedges. The loss of production from the fields is negligible. Even better, the condition of the hedges is improving and they are better for wildlife."