Farmer Progress – 2017 planting
249 acres of trees have been planted on behalf of our 2016 shareholders in Canada, USA and Costa Rica. We have visited about a third of the farmers so far this summer to see how they are doing – and the team will be visiting the remaining farmers over the course of the season.
These trees were planted in Spring and Summer of 2017 – so they are only a year old. The best thing to do with a healthy one year old tree is to cut it down! That’s right. Many of the farmers from our 2017 planting coppiced their trees in the spring, cutting the stems right down to ground level. It takes a bit of courage for a farmer to cut down their beautiful trees in this way – but it is worth it. The coppiced trees grow twice as fast and twice as strong, allowing us to produce big straight trunks.
The picture below is from a tree that was coppiced in May and shows the results of 6 weeks growth. The tree had grown over a metre a week since coppice.
In Canada, at Empress Acres, we have set up time-lapse cameras on the coppiced trees so that by the end of the summer you will be able to see the amazing growth over time. Here is a sneak preview of the first few weeks after coppice.
Visiting the farmers
We visit all our farmers each year. Right now (September 2018) Roy and Nick are on the road visiting our US farmers. Earlier this summer Wendy, Cathy, Nick and Mariana completed a tour of the Costa Rican farms. The 2016 trees are incredible. One farmer showed us a tree he had coppiced that had grown over 6 metres in 6 weeks. “I have never seen a tree like this,” he said. His trees have been inter-cropped with coffee and it is the perfect example of how well these plants perform together.
While we were there we shot some video that we will be using to promote the program in Costa Rica. All the trees and farmers in this video are from the 2016 planting. Much of the video is in Spanish, but the smiles on the faces of the farmers and the beautiful growth of the trees speak for themselves.
Hurricane season is here
Many people have been asking us about the whether the trees have been affected by some of the weather extremes we have been experiencing. Fortunately, none of our plantations have been in the vicinity of the terrible wildfires that struck North America this summer.
Last year the fall hurricanes did not come near to our plantations and we are hoping to be just as fortunate this year. As I write this we are watching the progress of hurricane Florence and hoping she runs out of puff before she does any damage to anyone’s homes or land. We are sending good wishes to the communities in the Southern USA and our farmer friends.