Demonstrator Hub Update – Rothamsted Research – North Wyke – April 2024

30 May 2024

April 2024 – North Wyke Demonstrator Hub Update

North Wyke Site Plan

North Wyke Site Plan

Things are finally drying out at North Wyke and the ground is almost ready to be driven on by tractors. As the crops begin to put on some summer growth we’ve been busy gapping up and sowing seeds plus taking visitors on tours of the plots.

We are into our second dry week and the ground is just about ready to be driven on by tractors. So far only the little mowing tractor has been at work, and it has had to be winched out of the mud twice this month. Gapping up of poplar and black locust has been done. See crop diaries below for dates. No pest or insect damage has been seen.

Grass seed has been sown by hand (15/04/2024) on the 2023 Miscanthus trial plots. No aisle sowing was required due to the extensive seed bank.

25/04/24 – Walk of the Biomass Connect site with the Dartmoor Wood Fuel Cooperative.

Crop Diaries

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

Alder

  • All but one of the SRF alder plants are now in leaf.
  • We have treated the weeds around each tree with 4 l/ha Glyphosate.
  • We removed the spiral guards and canes on 18/04/2024 as last year they suppressed foliage growth.

Black Locust

  • One replacement SRF black locust ‘Turbo’ was planted on 10/04/2024. Buds are swelling throughout the plot but they are not yet in leaf.
  • The old SRF black locust ‘Turbo Obelisk’ trees have been dug out where they were not in the right spot for the new spacings. These were replaced with new stock 09/04/2024. We treated for weeds around each plant with 4 l/ha Glyphosate on 03/04/2024.

 

Eucalyptus

  • The SRF Eucalyptus was treated for weeds around each plant with 4 l/ha Glyphosate on 03/04/2024.
  • We have received stakes but have not yet staked as per B. Elliot’s (Eucalyptus Renewables) instructions. Planning to do that next week. (Week beginning 29/04/24).

Poplar

The SRF poplar was gapped up on 12/04/2024 with:

  • A4A                        x 10
  • Vestern                  x 1

The SRC poplar was gapped up on 12/04/2024 with:

  • AF2                        x 7
  • A4A                       x 3
  • AF7                        x 1
  • Muur                     x 2
  • Oudenburg           x 2
  • Vestern                 x 5
  • Mix                        x 9

Grass was mowed between the rows in both the SRF and SRC poplar on 15/04/2024 and 23/04/2024.

Miscanthus

  • The empty 2023 Miscanthus variety trial plots were sprayed off with 4 l/ha Glyphosate on 11/04/2024. These will be replanted by C. Ashman (IBERS) and team when they visit on 08/05/2024.
  • The 2024 Miscanthus variety trial is an empty plot. Still to be sprayed off again and then power harrowed. These will also be planted by C. Ashman (IBERS) and team when they visit on 08/05/2024.

Willow

  • In the 0.5 ha SRC willow plot we have cut the grass and broadleaf weeds down between the trees with a wheeled strimmer on 16/04/2024. We now plan to treat with Glyphosate from Herbidome 350.
  • In the willow variety trial plot the weeds alongside plant rows were treated with 4 l/ha Glyphosate on 12/03/2024. 6 EWB plots were sprayed off with 4 l/ha Glyphosate on 11/04/2024. The first 5 EWB plots were replanted with 200 x 60cm RR07160 cuttings on 18/04/2024. Cuttings planted 30 – 35 cm into the ground.

 

Sida

  • Grass and weeds are growing away in the Sida plot.
  • Needs spraying before new plants arrive on 07/05/2024.

Reed Canary Grass

The reed canary grass plot needs spraying and power harrowing before seed sowing.

Switchgrass

The switchgrass plot needs spraying and power harrowing before seed sowing.

Plans and Actions

Requests have been made for replacement Eucalyptus to B. Elliot (Eucalyptus Renewables) and we are expecting trees over next couple of weeks. New stakes will be added at same time as planting.

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