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

18 April 2024

March 2024 – North Wyke Demonstrator Hub Update

North Wyke Site Plan

North Wyke Site Plan

Generally across the North Wyke site things have been looking healthy despite the very wet weather. Access to the plots with machinery still isn’t possible due to the wet ground but we have been busy with other tasks as outlined in the Crop Diaries below.



Crop Diaries

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


  • Buds are beginning to break on the SRF black locust.
  • Buds that were above the guard last year are c.2x bigger than the ones from inside the guard.
  • All looks healthy.

Black Locust

  • The buds are swelling on the SRF black locust ‘Turbo’. Most of the plants are leaning due to the winter wind and some have broken stems. 5 new plants have been planted to replace dead ones.
  • The SRF black locust ‘Turbo Obelisk has been dug out and replaced with new stock at 3x3m spacing. The new stock looks less vigorous than what was removed but was planted with care using an auger.



  • Half of the SRF Eucalyptus plot has been sprayed with glyphosate and the second half will be completed soon.
  • Some E. nitens has frost damage but they may recover.
  • The E. gunnii looks better and is similarly tall.


Both the SRF and SRC Poplar at North Wyke are looking healthy but dormant as is expected at this time of year.


  • The 0.5 ha Miscanthus giganteus and 0.5 ha Miscanthus Athena plots are both healthy and dormant.
  • Chris Ashman’s team (IBERS), is halfway through consolidating the remaining plants from the 2023 Miscanthus variety trial into three repeats instead of five. The plot looks a bit of a mess while this work is progressing.
  • The 2024 Miscanthus variety plot is yet to be planted and to be harrowed, but it is still too wet.


The 0.5 ha SRC Willow plot is in leaf.

The SRC Willow variety trial plot was harvested and cut down to 10cm on 20th & 21st February 2024. The plot needs weed control.


The Sida hermaphrodita is currently dormant but the plot is thick with weeds and needs treating.

Reed Canary Grass

We are awaiting new seed for sowing the reed canary grass plot.


We are awaiting the arrival of Switchgrass seed.


The Silphium seed has arrived but has not been sown yet.

Plans and Actions

  • The land is starting to dry out but is still muddy.
  • We are now waiting until mid-April for the 0.5ha Miscanthus spraying off and cutting, hopefully the ground will be sufficiently dry by then.
  • The SFI plot that was sown last year has had only grasses germinate. This was expected due to the heavy clay soil.
  • A Biomass Connect demo day is to be hosted at the North Wyke Demonstrator Hub on May 23rd.

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