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Planting kicks off this month

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  • 3 min read

More miscanthus planting is needed to meet a sustainable growth in demand.

We have more loads going to whole-bale power stations than ever and we’re pleased to report that planting this year’s crop has commenced.

The total rhizomes being delivered to farms is 2,625,000, and planting these at a rate of 15,000 per hectare equates to 175 hectares of land.

Planting is spread out and includes Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Wiltshire, across to the west midlands in Redditch – Worcestershire, and as far south as Essex and Ipswich.

The conditions have been spot on, and this means the soil needs to be at least 8 degrees celsius and not too wet. It needs to be knocked down with a power harrow to a fine tilth, and ideally, the rhizomes should be planted on a dry warm day.

When the rhizomes are in the ground, they should be rolled by a Cambridge roller – don’t use a heavy roller. The Cambridge is used to increase cohesion between the rhizome and the soil, without causing compaction.

Top tips for spring 2018 planting

With foresight for meeting market growth, more miscanthus growers are needed and if you’re thinking about planting, it’s important to prepare in advance.

The practical work starts post cereal harvest, but forward planning can begin now.

When farmers have harvested their standard cereal rotation, they need to spray off the stubble, and then muck spread. At this time of year, it’s advisable to take a good representative soil sample – covering all types of soil on the farm.

It’s crucial to prepare the soil well in the autumn before planting the following spring. Heavier clay soils need to be ploughed and subsoiled well in autumn. If it’s left to overwinter, the frost will break down the soil further, leaving it finer for the following spring.

When it begins to warm up at spring time, give the land a chance for weeds to grow and spray them off in March. Work the field down to a fine tilth with a power harrow as close to the planting date as is possible.

Planting takes place between April and May and Terravesta will provide all the support you need to plant a successful crop.

If you’re interested in planting next spring and want to hear from a farmer who is already growing miscanthus, we have two farm walks in May so contact me or book here before places run out.