New research shows Miscanthus stabilises flooded soils

The low input carbon negative crop Miscanthus is hailed a robust diversification option for an arable or mixed enterprise. New research shows that it not only thrives on waterlogged land, it helps to stabilise flooded soils.

Results of a recent study from the Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University conclude that Miscanthus can grow well in waterlogged and flood-prone areas. It also provides much needed soil stability, and crop yield is not affected by excess water.

According to the leading author in the study, Dr Jason Kam, crop quality is not compromised by flooding. “There is no significant difference in yield and other physiological development. Observed height and tiller number have no differences between winter flooded and non-flooded ground.

With estimates from the Environment Agency stating that the annual soil erosion rate for the UK is 2.2 million tonnes of topsoil with over 17% of arable land showing signs of erosion, finding ways to stabilise our soils is now critical.

“Because of Miscanthus’ perennial nature, annual planting is not needed. This therefore reduces soil disturbance to a minimum,” says Jason.

“The structure of Miscanthus rhizome and root helps to stabilise soils, making it more resilient against flood-caused soil erosion,” adds Jason.

Miscanthus specialist Terravesta says that interest in the crop has never been greater.

“As a solution to land that is becoming increasingly unlikely to plant up with arable crops, Miscanthus is a profitable option,” says general manager Alex Robinson.

“Miscanthus not only helps to stabilise land, it also feeds depleted soils, retaining vital nutrients,” says Alex.

The company launched Terravesta Athena™ in June 2019, which is the world’s first commercially bred Miscanthus hybrid variety, delivering a much faster establishment and quicker yield ramp up, improving grower return on investment. The cut off for orders of Terravesta Athena™ for Spring 2020 planting is 15th December 2019.

To find out more about planting Miscanthus visit www.terravesta.com.

 

 

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.