The primary objective of this project was to develop techniques for biomass production on marginal land in Europe by improving the understanding of land suitability for Miscanthus cultivation in general and especially on marginal land and developing concepts for sustainable integration of the Miscanthus crop on individual farms and at landscape levels.
Concepts examined include utilisation of heavy metal contaminated land; sustainable intensification on marginal land; ecological and environmental improvement of intensively managed arable land. The project considered both the impact of the crop on soil quality, the impact of the soil parameters on the crop yield and biomass quality. Low input Miscanthus cultivation offers potential for the improvement of agricultural sustainability through erosion control, nutrient management whilst providing a perennial habitat for wildlife, which is increasingly threatened by modern agriculture.
Field test results on Miscanthus biomass production on marginal land in the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland showed that yield potential of seed-based hybrids is often in the same range as standard Miscanthus x giganteus. It was also shown that most of the next-generation hybrids are very suitable for climate conditions in Poland and Germany, giving high yield both at green and brown harvest. Miscanthus showed heavy metal phytostabilisation potential due to low contaminants uptakes to aboveground biomass. Roots and rhizomes in the topsoil are expected to deliver overall soil improvements. The project showed the strong potential for anaerobic biogas production, giving a market for upscaling Miscanthus cultivation.
MISCOMAR also investigated the integration of Miscanthus into crop rotations, specifically how it can best be cleared at the end of its lifetime. We found that plant regrowth could be successfully suppressed by the growth of different crops, such as barley, ryegrass and maize, when the latter were fertilised.
*At the time of the proposal. Please consider this data as an accurate estimate; it may vary during the project’s lifespan.
Total costs include in kind contribution by grant holders and can therefore be higher than the total requested funding.