Miscanthus NZ

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New website and update

It is over a year since I last put a blog post up on the website, which is far too long. The main reason was the difficulty in getting anything new put on the website as a result of a change in ownership of the old website company and a lack of appropriate expertise on the part of the owner. So this note is intended to be the start of a regular comment that we will be posting, updating readers on...

Blog Post – February 2014

Things were very hectic through January and into February. I do not think I really realised at the time we purchased the Taharoa C Block Incorporation Miscanthus assets, just how much work this would involve. Whereas we had previously been focusing on the production of plantlets with the aim of getting into rhizomes eventually, plus a multitude of end uses for the product once it was grown, we...

Project Update April 2014

Under renewed irrigation, following repair in November of the centre pivot damaged in the September gales, growth rate of established Mxg shelter has remained impressive with paddocks 21 (Fig.1) and 6 reaching an average height of 2.0 m and 1.8 m, respectively, by mid-February. Maximum height for both shelterbelts was 2.3 m. Expected maximum height at the end of season 2 is 3 m so despite early...

Blog Post – January 2014

Well with all the rush of activity immediately prior to Christmas, the monthly chat was noticeable by its absence. This was accentuated by my wanting to delay posting another message until some interesting developments had come to fruition one way or the other. The other significant player in the Miscanthus business in New Zealand – the Taharoa C Block Incorporation – indicated to Miscanthus New...

Project Update January 2014

As anticipated in Newsletter 10, damage to the Centre Pivot at Aylesbury Farm caused problems with some early-season Miscanthus (Mxg) growth but fortunately severe damage has occurred only with the shelterbelt in paddock 22. Pivot repair was finally completed on December 8 but due to part of the pivot falling onto the Mxg shelter in paddock 22 many of the plants were driven over during repair.

Blog Post – October 2013

The growing season for Miscanthus is well underway and even in areas that have not been harvested, the Miscanthus is shooting up extremely quickly. Three weeks ago at a site in the South Waikato area, the Miscanthus was already knee height and the change from one week to the next has been quite exciting to watch. Reports from Canterbury have indicated that while the Miscanthus started growing...

Project Update September 2013

The first signs of re-growth started to appear at the beginning of September. Stems that senesced over the winter remained soft and did not stiffen to produce harder stems, as had been expected. This may be a feature of first season’s growth or may have been a consequence of the relatively mild winter resulting in a slower rate of nutrient transfer. M. x gianteus (Mxg) is not harvested in its...

Blog Post – September 2013

An American colleague of mine who is involved in Miscanthus research and teaching said to me some time back that development of a Miscanthus industry is a business that takes quite some time to get going. For somebody as impatient as I am, it was frustrating to hear that, but she is quite right. So far this season, there has been considerable interest from a large number of different people who...

Blog Post – August 2013

You would really think that because it is the time of year when things are not growing, this would be the quiet time of year in the Miscanthus business. But it is in fact the time of year when we are trying to get people to firm up on their decisions about how many plants they are going to need in the coming spring so that we can produce enough plants to supply them, without overproducing. I sent...

Blog Post – July 2013

June is the month that I always associate with cold damp weather which is characteristic of the National Fieldays. This year, my annual pilgrimage to the Fieldays found that although it was quite cold it was not damp and in terms of weather was quite a pleasant day. It was also different in that I was going there with the express purpose of having at least two meetings with people who had...

Project Update July 2013

Miscanthus plants are now starting to senesce and pass nutrients to their rhizome (Fig. 1). First year-yields are not worth harvesting and so the remaining woody stems will stay in place until new growth commences next spring. Miscanthus planted in the irrigated paddocks of Aylesbury Farm achieved a maximum height of 1.5 m which is impressive considering the late planting and initial lack of...

Blog Post – June 2013

Interest in Miscanthus is growing rapidly and Miscanthus New Zealand (MNZ) has had a number of enquiries from people wanting to order small quantities to establish tiny trial areas of Miscanthus on their properties. These will all be interesting but MNZ is conscious of the fact that they give little information on the possibilities for commercial scale planting. In some cases there are issues...