The suitability of Welsh hill farms for growing productive crops of tea is being investigated in a detailed study underway in Powys.
Mandy Lloyd spotted an opportunity to use land on Cleobury Farm at Heyope, Knighton, to grow this high value crop to generate additional income from her 150 acres of hill land.
Although tea is already being grown successfully in the UK, it is believed to be a first on a hill farm.
Mrs Lloyd is able to investigate these due to funding from the Farming Connect ‘Try Out Fund’, a new initiative that gives farmers and growers the chance to test their ideas and bring them to life.
One hundred and forty Camellia sinensis tea bushes are being grown on different plots around the farm.
Mrs Lloyd said: “There is a gap in knowledge about tea growing in Wales and the UK generally as it is a novel crop.
“This project will build on the existing knowledge and could be applied to other novel crops.
“This will be beneficial not only to my business but to others too.
“We are trying crop diversification with the aim of improving profitability within our agricultural business whilst protecting the environment, improving diversity and producing a high-end crop long-term.’’ Mrs Lloyd, who also farms beef and sheep, hopes there will be a positive effect from growing this crop on soil biology too, especially on land with sparse grass coverage.
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