Demonstrator Hub Update – NIAB, Headley Hall – May 2024

20 June 2024

May 2024 – Headley Hall Demonstrator Hub Update

Headley Hall Site Plan

Headley Hall Site Plan

Most crops are now growing well at the Headley Hall Demonstrator Hub. As the weather improves and the days lengthen growth rates increase in both the crops, and the weeds and grass. We’ve been keeping on top of these. The Sida plot was also planted at the beginning of May.

Crop Diaries

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


  • The SRF alder trees are looking good.
  • Sprayed around the bases of the trees with 4l/ha Glyphosate on 21st May.

Black Locust

  • The SRF black locust ‘Turbo’ is looking OK. Weeds were knocked down with a strimmer or hand pulled and then pathways were sprayed with 4l/ha Glyphosate.
  • Some of the newly planted SRF black locust ‘Turbo Obelisk’ plants have green shoots on them but many are still bare.


  • The area around the  SRF Eucalyptus trees were hand weeded and then sprayed to try and keep them free of weeds for a little while. 4l/ha Glyphosate applied.
  • Some of the E. Denticulata trees seem to be wilting and the leaves look like they are dying.


  • The SRF poplar trees are looking good, with new growth on them and the trunks are getting a bit thicker. We weeded the area around the trees for the open day on the 16th of May and then sprayed around tree bases on 21/5/24.
  • The SRC poplar trees are looking good. The leaves are going a red colour on some of the trees but still look vigorous.


  • The 0.5 ha Miscanthus giganteus plants at Headley Hall are growing well. There isn’t much in the way of weeds present under the canopy and they are a nice green colour.
  • The 0.5 ha Miscanthus Athena™ plants are emerging, with a rough estimate of 50-70% emergence across the plot. Weeds are starting to grow as well.
  • The 2023 Miscanthus Variety Trial area has been mown in the aisles and sprayed to keep plots defined and clear of weeds. A lot of height has been added to the plants by the fairly warm and wet weather.  All plots are looking dark green.
  • The majority of plants in the 2024 Miscanthus Variety Trial are starting to show green shoots. The plugs are starting to push through the polythene that was placed over at planting. Not too many weeds as of yet, but we are keeping an eye on them in case there is a post-emergence spray that can be applied to keep the area clear of weeds.


  • There has been a lot of new growth in the  0.5 ha SRC willow plot. Some of the lower leaves are starting to senesce off, not sure if this is due to more energy being taken up to grow the willows larger. The Inger variety has a lot of brown leaves on them.
  • The willows in the SRC willow variety trial are starting to shoot off height-wise, with a big difference in growth from this time last week. The aisles have been strimmed down and sprayed off with Glyphosate at 4l/ha to try and keep on top of the weeds.  We are hoping that as the willow continues to grow the increased canopy cover will help supress the weeds in the future.


  • All sida plants that were planted are still there. (Planted 9th May)

  • Some have added a bit of height and stems seem to be thickening up.

  • Stems are starting to turn black, not sure if this is meant to happen or if there is an issue on the horizon.

Reed Canary Grass

  • The reed canary grass is growing away nicely.
  • The area that was unplanted due to shortness of seed has been added (28/5/24).


  • The switchgrass is starting to appear with a fairly even coverage across whole plot.


  • The Silphium is not planted yet but is on the to do list of jobs.

Plans and Actions

  • The electric fence has been put back up and is being monitored daily to check it is putting out a pulse.
  • We will be spraying around the base of the fence soon as we don’t want the SFI mix to get too close and cause interference with the fence.
  • The Open Day on the 16th of May went well. Visitors seemed to be happy that the field was in a fairly good state of fare with weeds in plots fairly low.
  • The Data logger and antenna on the Weather Station have been upgraded.

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