Demonstrator Hub Update – NIAB, Headley Hall – April 2024

31 May 2024

April 2024 – Headley Hall Demonstrator Hub Update

Headley Hall Site Plan

Headley Hall Site Plan

The Headley Hall site is looking good. Gapping up to fill initial losses has been completed on most plots and Spring growth continues apace throughout. Weed control has been an ongoing process but well worth it as we now look forward to a productive summer season.

Crop Diaries

Click on the titles below to find out how each of the crops are progressing.


  • The SRF alder trees are looking good.
  • There are green leaves on most of the trees with no visible signs of any issues.
  • Weeds in the rows have been topped and are to be sprayed.

Black Locust

  • The SRF black locust ‘Turbo’ plants are looking well, and some have grown quite big. Many still have yellow flowers on them. Dead ones were removed and replaced on 9/4/24.
  • The SRF black locust ‘Turbo Obelisk’ plants were replanted on 9/4/24. It was extremely wet when this was carried out, so we will keep a closer eye on them to make sure there are no problems with establishment. Clipped down to ground level on 12/4/24


  • The SRF Eucalyptus trees are looking well and all are flowering.
  • We are still having to manage wind rock a bit and straighten the plants up after medium to strong winds.


  • The SRF poplar trees are looking well, and the majority have survived winter. Dead trees were replaced on 9/4/24.
  • The SRC poplar trees are looking good, they are quite tall in places. Gaps were filled in 9/4/24. Weeds were mowed out of the pathways.


  • The 0.5 ha Miscanthus giganteus plants at Headley Hall  are coming away nicely. They are now looking green after they were cut down to 15 cm. The grass underneath seems to of been taken out by the glyphosate spray. 
  • The 0.5 ha Miscanthus Athena™ was planted and rolled into good ground conditions on 17/4/24.
  • The 2023 Miscanthus Variety Trial plants were cut back to 50cm taking only last year’s growth and none of the new green shoots. This was carried out 12/4/24. C. Ashman and a team from Aberystwyth came up and filled in the gaps in the harvest areas with plants from the guard rows on 17/4/24.

  • The 2024 Miscanthus Variety Trial was planted by C. Ashman and the IBERS team along with help from the team at NIAB. They were planted in wet conditions into cloddy soil on 18/4/24. 1.5 l/ha of Stomp Aqua was applied in 200 l/ha water rate on 22/4/24.


  • The willows in the 0.5 ha SRC willow plot are growing nicely and have some height on them. All have green leaves and there appear to be no signs of any issues. There is a bit of creeping thistle in the plot so we will need to get in and spray this off.
  • The willows in the SRC willow variety trial are starting to grow back after harvesting. Weeds are very present in this area so we will need to spray the area to keep them under control.


  • Waiting on the weather to improve before planting the Sida.

Reed Canary Grass

  • The reed canary grass was planted on 25/4/24.
  • The area was rolled after planting.


  • The switchgrass seed was broadcast on the 25/4/14 into good ground conditions.
  • Rolled after broadcasting.

Plans and Actions

  • The electric fence has been temporarily removed to allow us to get a local farmer in to plant our SFI mix around the site. This was carried out 25/4/24. We will put the electric fence back up as soon as possible to stop pest damage.
  • The ground has been worked for the SFI mix to be drilled.

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