Miscanthus is a hardy perennial energy crop that can help to increase soil health and stability.

Grower Robert Hammond, of Hammond Farms, has benefitted since planting Miscanthus on land he says was previously ‘bottoming out’.

Mr Hammond said: “Machinery was sinking into the land which was previously in an arable rotation of potatoes, sugar beet and maize. The soil is light, and occasionally the harvester was dropping into the subsoil during harvest. With Miscanthus, the root structure creates a ‘matt’ meaning the soil is firmer and harvesting is not a problem.

“In fact, the crop was planted in 2016 and harvested a year later. Usually the first harvest is in the second year of growth, and this is because rhizome (root stock) quality and planting practices have improved so much early harvests are becoming more common.

“We also had a bad weed problem in that field, and the Miscanthus, once established, has helped to combat this. I’ve been impressed so far, and I’m hoping to plant more in 2019.”

Miscanthus grows up to 12 feet high and has the potential to yield 15 tonnes per hectare, which can give farmers a return of over £900 per hectare from mature yield.

Vigorous annual root growth, combined with older root decomposition, generates organic matter, increasing fertility and opening soil structure. Additionally, lack of annual cultivations and ample leaf and harvest residue litter create the ideal environment for invertebrate and earthworm population growth.

Increased demand for Miscanthus from Brigg and Snetterton Power Stations, means more planting is needed in Lincolnshire and surrounding counties.

Terravesta is the Miscanthus supply chain specialist behind the growth of the Miscanthus market.