Miscanthus hailed for benefits on dairy farms

Rural Exchange 22/09/2018

The tall, woody grass plant is being praised for its ability to reduce nitrogen leaching and potential for harvesting as biofuel.

“One of the advantages of it is that it takes up nutrients from the soil… and it stores the nutrients very efficiently,” says Peter Brown, founder of Miscanthus NZ.

In 2017, Lincoln University and Westland Milk Products joined forces to research the benefits of the miscanthus grown on dairy farms.

The trial found that miscanthus can provide farms with animal shelter and increase biodiversity, among 13 other benefits.

The long-lasting perennial hybrid grass can also be used as biofuel, with the capability of producing 15GJ per tonne – without the need for drying.

But despite its benefits, the underrated plant has only been established on around 50 hectares across New Zealand.

Miscanthus grown for fuel in the UK. Photo: Getty.

Miscanthus NZ, the country’s only miscanthus supplier, wants to change that.

“It’s an extremely good way of removing nutrients from effluent water and producing a useful product at the same time,” says Mr Brown. 

Listen to the full interview with Peter Brown above.

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