Planting has not however been without its problems. Firstly the machine planter we used did not plant the MxG plant plugs deep enough. Immediately after planting there was a good downpour of rain and subsequent inspection of the MxG plants showed many of the plugs had become too exposed. Most plants were subsequently planted deeper which was important as the surface soil dried very quickly but moisture remained at a depth of 10cm plus.
The weather has been very dry since planting with only one significant rainfall event two weeks after the initial rain following planting. Most days have also had persistent drying winds which incidentally the MxG shelterbelt will hopefully eventually protect the pasture plants from. Providing sufficient water has been a problem but to date survival rate is good, 80 – 90 % in most paddocks. The plants that are starting to get away do have a robust look about them. Once plants get their root network established the plants should be fairly resilient.
Planting has also started on Karetu farm and should be completed tomorrow.Thank you Marv for organising the contractors to get the areas cultivated. Conditions here are harsher than at Aylesbury Road. One paddock should receive some water from the irrigator but the other paddock is part of the dry block. All plants have been hand planted to ensure they are placed at sufficient depth. This is feasible due to the relatively small area being planted. Also all plants were well watered for several days prior to planting. Some plants can be drip irrigated but initially they will be left to see how they cope with the conditions unaided. However if the dry weather continues for some time some means of watering the plants may be needed.
By the time of my next report I will know how well all plantings have established themselves and work can then begin on starting to monitor the ecosystem service benefits generated by Miscanthus plantings.
The plants that have already established themselves are growing well at present.