Biomass Connect Hub Site Updates – November 2023

07 December 2023

With Winter on its way, growth has all but stopped at the hub sites. So, rather than have an individual update for each Hub Site we have a quick round-up below along with some photos. Starting in the north and working our way south.

SRUC Ayrshire and SRUC Boghall in Scotland

We don’t have a report from our most northerly sites from November, but we did run two very successful demo days at the sites at the beginning of the month, just before the crops had become fully dormant.

Newcastle University Cockle Park Farm Hub Site

Most tree species here are now in senescence although the Poplars are still green, as are the Eucalyptus. The Miscanthus is growing well and the Miscanthus Giganteus has flowered and senesced.

AFBI, Northern Ireland Hub Site

Again, the majority of the deciduous tree species have now undergone senescence. The exception is the Endurance variety of willow and one variety of Poplar which still has most of its leaves and is most likely still photosynthesising. Some varieties of Eucalyptus have put on quite a bit of growth over the past month. The Miscanthus has started to senesce as well.

NIAB Headley Hall Hub Site

Senescence here isn’t as well progressed as at the previous sites. The Alder is still green. The Black Locust have lost their leaves after a heavy frost. The Poplar is still growing well although leaves have now started to fall. The willow is also starting to go dormant for the winter. The Miscanthus plants are growing well.

IBERS, Aberystwyth Hub Site

The deciduous trees have all senesced, with the exception of one variety of willow (presumably Endurance). The Eucalyptus continues to put on above-ground growth, although some are showing some frost damage to the top leaves. The Miscanthus Giganteus continues to grow and around 20-30% of the stems are flowering and beginning to show the first signs of senescence. The Miscanthus Athena are still smaller than the Giganteus and there is no flowering, but they too are now showing the first signs of senescence. The Miscanthus hybrids in the variety trial are now beginning to senesce too. There is a significant difference in senescence with the seed-based varieties staying completely green whilst GNT 9 is almost fully senesced.

BGI Hub Site

Leaves remain intact on the SRF Alder, SRF Poplar and SRC Poplar at the BGI Hub Site. The Willow and Black Locust have senesced. There is some frost damage on some Eucalyptus varieties. The Brown Mustard seeds that were sown to maintain soils before the replanting of Miscanthus in 2024 are showing signs of germination. Giant aphids have been spotted on some of the willows in the variety trial.

North Wyke Hub Site

Most varieties are now fully dormant for the winter. In common with the other hub sites, the willow leaves have mostly turned yellow and are starting to fall, with the notable exception of Endurance which remains green. There has been some wind damage during the autumn storms. The Miscanthus Giganteus has started to senesce.


Hub Site Gallery, November 2023

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