Miscanthus NZ

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 developments in the New Zealand world of Miscanthus. This is possible because we have changed to an experienced and businesslike website company that has developed this new website from scratch so we now have a system that will be easy to keep up to date.

harvest1In the past year, a lot has happened and this will be reported on progressively over the next few months. We have carried out the first harvest of our own material. This was very successful and we were lucky to get a contractor who sorted out the best way to do the harvest by combining trial and error and watching Youtube videos.

These bales pictured are just a small part of the harvest and we now have a system for processing this material into higher value product.

Lincoln University has continued with excellent supportive research in Canterbury on centre pivot irrigated dairy farms and has been writing papers, articles and promotional material, all of which is very helpful for the development of New Zealand’s Miscanthus industry. See the picture below.

Miscanthus New Zealand Ltd is also doing its own research – on a tiny scale so far but with dramatic results in terms of first year growth. Would you believe 3 metres in the first year from rhizome cuttings! We now plan to do a more extensive trial in the field this Spring. But I will write more about that later.

A lot of excellent work has been done by a local engineering business which has been developing purpose-built machinery for Miscanthus harvesting; for initial ground preparation where there are brushweed and other species present; and for efficient harvesting and planting of Miscanthus rhizomes.

Market development of end uses is now making great strides with the development of machinery for cubing Miscanthus to make transport and handling of the harvested product more efficient – particularly for boiler fuel use. These cubes are like a cross between wood pellets and tiny hay bales with a dimension of 40mm square. We are also getting much closer getting a Miscanthus based renewable diesel plant into New Zealand.

Look for more detailed updates on these and other topics, starting next month.