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Continued assessment of the agronomy and yield potential of Miscanthus for industrial cropping in the UK. - NF0405

Generating energy from biomass grown on agricultural land is now central to MAFF and Government strategic objectives. This has the dual benefit of providing CO2 ‘neutral’ sources of energy and alternative non-food uses for land, with corresponding environmental and socio-economic benefits on a local and national scale.

Miscanthus has been identified as a perennial crop with high potential as a biomass species during previous MAFF-funded work which has studied the crop during the first six years of its productive life. Before the true commercial and strategic value of this species can be identified there is a need to identify the longevity and yield profile of the species. Thus it is proposed that the existing seven Miscanthus sacchariflorus sites in ADAS are continued for an additional 4 years, consisting of monthly morphological measurements and final yield and yield components taken from a central 36 m2 area. Further non-destructive physiological measurements at three of the sites (Rickwood, Boxworth, Mowthorpe) will be taken, in order to cross correlate with existing physiological data and produce accurate predictions of yield potential throughout the UK. This will ensure maximal strategic value is derived from the measurements taken hitherto. In addition, whilst Miscanthus has so far been free of economic-scale pest and disease problems, a number of potential problems have been observed, and the seven sites will be monitored for the presence of these (moth larval activity and autumnal saprophytic and necrophytic stem basal diseases). The economics and Markets review of Miscanthus will be thoroughly revised and updated. A vigorous programme of technology transfer will be undertaken.

1. To determine the yield profile and components of yield at harvest (leaf litter, stem) of Miscanthus sacchariflorus growing at two densities at seven sites in England, in their post-establishment phase.
2. To identify and where appropriate quantify yield loss inducing factors (pests, lodging, stem basal diseases)
3. To identify key environmental variables, their effect on crop growth and development based upon previously determined measures of physiological efficiency.
4. To maintain the National Miscanthus collection
5. To revise the economic model for Miscanthus, based upon additional growth and yield data
Project Documents
• Final Report : Continued assessment of the agronomy and yield potential of Miscanthus for industrial cropping in the UK.   (829k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1999

To: 2003

Cost: £464,579
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Arable Farming              
Fields of Study
Non-Food Crops