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Willow Harvesting Demonstration

Special guests in attendance

(Syracuse, NY) – The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) will conduct a willow shrub harvesting demonstration at 10:15AM, Friday, June 30, 2006 on a property located one mile south of the SUNY-ESF La Fayette Road Experiment Station.

The video originally included in this story is no longer available via this page. Contact web@esf.edu if more information is required.

SUNY-ESF has been working with Case New Holland over the past two years to develop an effective and efficient harvesting system based on the New Holland line of forage harvesters.

Special Guests for Demonstration

John Gilliland, who grows and harvests willow on his farm in Londonderry, Northern Ireland will be in attendance. Gilliland is visiting ESF to share his knowledge and experience while learning about developments related to the use of willow biomass in North America.

Gilliland is Managing Partner of Brook Hall Estate family farm where he is diversifying his farm business from arable production into willow biomass production. He has set up the United Kingdom’s first on-farm, willow-fired, combined heat and power plant which supplies 100 kilowatts of electricity to the national grid, plus heat for grain drying, and hot water and heating for the farm buildings.

Representatives from the office of Congressman James T. Walsh will also view the harvester trials on Friday. Congressman Walsh has directed over $4.2-million in Federal funding for SUNY-ESF’s willow and woody biomass research and development.

Ms. Deborah O’Shea, Executive Director from Atlantic Corridor U.S.A., will also attend. Atlantic Corridor USA is a not-for-profit specialty economic and business development agency based in Buffalo. The organization is dedicated to the sustainable growth and prosperity of Upstate New York through partnerships and alliance building between the economies of North America and the European Union.

SUNY-ESF has been developing short-rotation woody crops in New York State for over 20 years that can be used for bioenergy and biofuels production, living snow fences and remediation of brownfield sites.

Commercial biomass energy crops, like shrub willow, put marginal farmland back into production, create an alternative source of income for landowners, protect the environment and enhance wildlife habitat.

The SUNY-ESF goal is to have several thousand acres of shrub willow growing in New York within a few years. In addition to the ESF plantation in Tully, NY, over 500 acres have been planted in Central New York near Canastota, on the Tughill Plateau, and in Western New York.

One of SUNY-ESF’s partners, Catalyst Renewables Corporation established the first commercial shrub willow energy crop plantation to support the Lyonsdale Biomass Combined Heat and Power facility in Lyons Falls, NY. Lyonsdale Biomass produces nearly 20MW of renewable grid power and 15,000 pounds per hour of steam to the Burrows Paper Corporation.

Syracuse headquartered O’Brien & Gere Engineers, Catalyst Renewables and SUNY-ESF have joined forces to design, engineer and construct the first commercial wood-based sugar extraction facility for the production of ethanol from shrub willow as well as northeastern hard wood forests.


The La Fayette Road Experimental Station, located at 452 La Fayette Road, houses ESF’s arboreta and plays an important role for students learning to identify woody plants with glasshouses, a tree nursery and a combination of plantation and natural tree stands.

From Brighton Avenue, take La Fayette Road approximately 1.5 miles to the Station entrance (see attached map). The harvesting site is one mile south of the Station.


Release No. 71, June 29, 2006