30 June 2021

Paulownia as an excellent alternative crop

Many farmers, especially cereal growers, have changed the traditional crops, which they have sowed for years, to alternative crops in order to increase the profitability of woody crops such as almonds, olives and pistachios. One of these alternative crops is Paulownia so we are going to give you more details about it in the following paragraphs. 

Characteristics, requirements and management 

Whenever you hear about Paulownia, you will hear about the fastest growing, most profitable and fastest tree in the world, which also helps to combat climate change. However, what are the most important details? This crop has been grown in Spain for many years, but it is only today becoming important because the industry is looking for these materials and the sale of wood is easier than before. The demand for sustainable building materials is currently on the rise and fast-growing trees are very important. Paulownia exists all over Europe, but it is in warm, irrigated regions where these trees have the most potential, especially in Spain and Italy. Paulownia trees can grow up to 4 metres in the first year, which in some varieties such as "Phoenix One®" begin to be harvested in the fifth year after planting. 

We have contacted the WeGrow company (Talavera de la Reina-Toledo). It has more than 600 ha in Europe (300 ha in Castilla-La Mancha area) to know the requirements of this crop. In addition, WeGrow sells plants, provides technical advice and buys timber. After more than 10 years managing plantations, they are specialist in studying the crop, identifying the necessary requirements and optimising yields. 

The most important aspects to know are the following: 

  • It is a very fast growing plant and adapts to poor soils, but getting the maximum yield requires maintenance of the trees. 
  • It is important to know the limiting factors, in order to choose the right fields. 
  • Profitability is high because the price of timber is high, in spite of the costs of establishing the crop.  

The conditions for cultivation: 

  • Except for certain areas, it is an irrigated crop, which is drip irrigated in quantities of 2,500 to 3,000 m3/ha per year. 
  • Soils should have a low clay content, more than 40% clay is not recommended. In addition, soils must be deep and not have a water table near the surface. 


  • Planting frames: WeGrow works with varieties that allow intensive cultivation, with frames of 3x4 metres with the "Phoenix One®" variety. With other varieties, the frames are wider, depending on the canopy width, with frames of up to 6x6 metres. 
  • Soil preparation tasks are very similar to that of other woody crops, with deep and medium tillage during the winter. 
  • The first year is the most intensive in terms of maintenance because the trees grow very fast and require continuous pruning. 
  • The work decreases from the second year onwards because the trees already have the structure formed.  
Costs and Profitability 

Paulownia can be grown for timber or biomass but the value of the second is very low. In contrast, the price of timber has been high and stable over the last few years. The costs of establishing the crop are about 9,000 €/he. After that, annual maintenance costs are around 1,000 €/he. 

The cultivation cycle is 7 years. A thinning is done at 5 years of age and the final cut at 7 years of age. After cutting, trees resprout up to 3 times, giving 2 more harvests. The average amount of wood produced in each cycle is 0.6 m3 per tree. From the age of 21 years, the ideal is to replant and start again. 

Currently, WeGrow offers what they call the "Growing Partner Programme" to guarantee the purchase of timber. This year, the timber contracts of the new Growing Partners have set prices from 110€ to 160€ per cubic metre of timber, depending on the diameter. These prices are 15% higher than 2020 prices. 

Competing crops 

Nowadays there is a clear focus on high-value crops and many farmers are converting their farms to the alternative crops of the moment: almond, pistachio, etc. Among these high-value crops is Paulownia for timber. It also has certain advantages that, provided the growing area is suitable, make it a great choice. The initial investment is higher than for other crops but the return on investment is earlier than for crops such as pistachio or almond trees. On the other hand, the profitability of selling Paulownia wood is more profitable and the demand for this product is growing. Other products such as almonds and pistachios have a large market, but demand is not growing and the number of farms producing these fruits is increasing every year. Therefore, Paulownia has a great competitive advantage. 

WeGrow recommends us to be very demanding when determining whether or not our soil is suitable for this crop. The success of a Paulownia plantation is marked by two factors: the correct choice of site and variety, and rigorously following the schedule of maintenance operations. If you follow these two steps well, they indicate that success is very high because in recent years the price of timber has risen steadily and continuously. 

Paulownia has a second product: carbon sequestration. The rapid growth of Paulownia has the effect of capturing CO2 from the atmosphere in higher quantities than other crops or a traditional forest. One kilogram of wood stores the carbon of 1.6 kg of CO2, so extrapolating this to cultivation, in the case of Paulownia, this translates into 40 tonnes per hectare per year, 10 times more than traditional forest crops. 

Versión en español.

10 June 2021

Spare parts at home within 24 hours

Once the machinery has been purchased, one of the most common purchases made by farmers are spare parts for the machinery (tractors, combines, implements, etc.) and if there is something important in machinery, that is their maintenance (the life cycle cost of the product). So a few days ago, we decided to search and buy on Internet some spare parts that we needed... the experience has been worthy and quick that we will tell you about it below. 

We needed a socket spanner set, some filters and oils, so we started to search on Internet and in the first few entries the Kramp website appeared. On this website, you can buy in different ways that we indicate below but basically we contacted them and they immediately pointed us to the product we were looking for and provided us with the nearest distributor in our area... within 24 hours we had the socket spanner set, among other things, at home. A fantastic shopping experience!! 

As we indicated, it is possible to buy through these 4 options, although it is highly recommended to visit the contact page where you have all the details. 

If we talk about Kramp's website, you can see that it is very structured in clear sections by brands and models of machinery. For example, for our tractor, we have the Deutz-Fahr section and more specifically the M-Series Agrotron section, so it is very easy to find the spare parts (both original and generic adaptable spare parts are available)... perhaps if the prices were visible it would be much better. 

Researching a little more about Kramp, we highlight that it is a company that was founded in the Netherlands in 1951 and is currently present in more than 24 European countries. Sales are focused on its distributor deals (Kramp currently works with almost 4,000 distributors in Spain and Portugal). Kramp runs 3 own brands (Kramp, Gopart and Farma) and also offers a wide range of products from more than 4,000 brands

In 2018 it merged with Recinsa, offering farmers a range of more than 500,000 references and they have a complete catalogue of spare parts for machinery and implements such as implements. Agricultural spare parts make up the bulk of Kramp's product offering but they also have a selection of parts for gardening, forestry, public works and livestock machinery. And also a selection of accessories with everything you might need in a workshop: tools, work clothes, storage, etc. We think they follow the idea that customers find everything in Kramp and customers do not need to order from many different suppliers. 

In conclusion, we would like to point out that in our opinion it is very appropriate for spares acquisition having a digital shop window to allow users from all parties to access a large product catalogue, which provides us with a service with very short response times that translates into improved maintenance and support times for our machinery. 

Versión en español.