The Biomass Connect project has been given the opportunity to proceed with a willow Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) harvest at a trial site at Easton College in Norfolk.
There are actually 2 events happening:
- A hand harvest of the SRC stand and collection of yield data at the end of January
- A mechanical willow harvester will be in-field to cut the guard rows later in February.
This stand is of note because the trial contains 33 contemporary SRC willow varieties from four separate breeding programmes. This is important as it has the majority of the currently available and near-market varieties.
In spring 2016 Rothamsted Research and Easton College planted it as a yield trial. The soil type is a sandy loam and the trial contains 33 elite SRC willow varieties in three replicates (40 plants / plot with a 12 plant yield area) using a randomised block design (99 plots in total). There is representation of breeding outputs from Rothamsted, EWBP, EWP and SW breeding programmes. The trial was cut back in 2017 and three-year old stems were harvested in Feb 2020. The above ground biomass at the site is currently two seasons old. We will be helping to capture yield data.