Miscanthus: Planting and Growing (PB5421)

Introduction

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This booklet has been produced to introduce farmers to a new crop. It gives guidance on the most appropriate location, land preparation, planting techniques and crop management required to grow miscanthus as an energy crop. The booklet summarises current research, which is ongoing, and these guidelines may be modified as further experience is gained. Please check that you have the latest version of the booklet with the DEFRA office at Crewe.

This booklet should be read in association with the Energy Crops Scheme explanatory booklet, Establishment grants for short rotation coppice and miscanthus.

 

Why Grow Energy Crops?

The market for energy crops crops which are grown specifically to be harvested and burnt in power stations or heating systems is now developing in response to the need for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) abatement. The UK Government identifies biomass derived energy as one of the ways that it can achieve its obligations to the Kyoto Climate Change Protocol of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5%. It has a target to generate 10% of the nations electricity from renewables by 2010, and aims to reduce CO2 output by 20% relative to 1990 levels. These targets could mean the generation of 500 - 1000 MWe from biomass by the year 2010, an undertaking that would require as much as 125,000 hectares of energy cropping.

One energy crop is miscanthus. Grants to establish this crop can be obtained from DEFRA under the England Rural Development Programme (Energy Crops Scheme). For details of the grant scheme, ask for a booklet from the DEFRA office at Crewe (see page 18), or see the DEFRA ERDP website www.defra.gov.uk/erdp/default.htm.

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