Miscanthus NZ

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 Zealand Limited (MNZ) that they wished to cease involvement in Miscanthus in the future. They approached MNZ to see whether we would be interested in purchasing their assets. Naturally we were very interested and negotiations ensued. What was to be a short, sharp discussion and agreement on a suitable price for the approximately 60 tonnes of baled Miscanthus and approximately 8 or 9 hectares of Miscanthus established mainly at one site but also at several other trial sites, became a six week negotiation. Another competing party was bidding for these assets so MNZ had to pay more than it really wanted to in order to secure them. But agreement was reached, the money changed hands and we are still learning just what we purchased. Luckily, MNZ has been pleasantly surprised so far and MNZ has found that several opportunities that it did not expect to pursue until some time in the future, are now potentially viable in the coming year.

We will keep you informed of developments in this area. The Miscanthus that MNZ customers have established over the last few years almost all continue to thrive. The original Hawkes Bay planting was well over 2 metres by early December and the reasonably regular wet weather this season has helped in the development of the Miscanthus.

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Miscanthus in Hawkes Bay 6 December 2013. Fourth growing season. (with 1 metre rule) 2
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Third growing season Miscanthus (with 1 metre rule). Weeded on right. Unweeded on left.

One of the results of our purchase mentioned above, is that we now have access to another clone – namely Illinois clone. We will be putting in trials to assess the relative merits of the two clones on various sites in New Zealand.

Use of the Miscanthus harvested product for fuel, renewable diesel, stock bedding, emergency stock feed, garden mulch and other more technological uses is all being actively pursued by MNZ staff and associates. So if you are interested in any of these, get in touch with us. And the growing plants are being use for shelter and also now even being planted as cover for pheasants. The ingenuity of NZ’s primary industry people continues to surprise and please me.