Hub Site Update – AFBI Hillsborough – September 2023

20 October 2023

September 2023 – Hub Site Updates

Plot Observations


  • The SRF Alder is looking well. There have been a couple of casualties but on the whole it is looking good. Inter-row mowing has been carried out to control the grass.

Black Locust

  • The SRF Black Locust ‘Turbo’ are all growing really well. Although some have snapped due to high winds, however those affected are still growing. Wind rock is an issue too.
  • The SRF Black Locust ‘Turbo Obelisk’ have not established as well as the ‘Turbo’ variety. The team have carried out the formative pruning back as instructed.


  • The majority of SRF Eucalyptus look to be establishing well. They are a bit slow growing, but they did go in quite late due to phytosanitary issues. Glysophate has been used around the base of the tree guards to reduce grass competition. These plants are doing well despite their late planting.

SRF Eucalyptus, weeds dying back after spot spray with Glysophate at the base of the tree guard.

SRF Eucalyptus, weeds dying back after spot spray with Glysophate at the base of the tree guard.


  • On the whole, the SRF Poplar appear to be establishing well, although there are a few that look like they never really established after planting.
  • SRC Poplar establishment looks good. The height and health of the plants is very positive.


  • The 0.5 ha Miscanthus Giganteus has shown really good establishment.
  • The 0.5 ha Miscanthus Athena has shown the best establishment compared to any other Biomass Connect site. The crop looks taller than the Miscanthus Giganteus at this stage.
  • The 2023 Miscanthus Variety Trial is looking good. Some plots are growing better than others, but that is to be expected. Post-em’s appear to have controlled Chick Weed.
  • The 2024 Miscanthus Variety Trial area has been cultivated, however the Mustard cover crop seed, although ordered has not been delivered yet. The supplier said they were fine to ship to NI, but this is clearly another example of how phytosanitary issues are causing issues.


  • The 0.5 ha SRC Willow plants look great and there are not many gaps observed.
  • The SRC Willow Variety Trial has some gaps that will have to be addressed in the winter, but on the whole the trial is establishing well.


  • Only a handful of Sida plants have established. An argument could be made to spray off the whole plot prior to planting propagated plants in the spring of 2024.

Reed Canary Grass

  • Reed Canary Grass has been received.
  • The ground has been ploughed, but the seed as yet has not been drilled.

Switch Grass

  • No Switch Grass seed has been received yet but we are aiming for a Spring 2024 sowing.


  • The Hemp crop has established very well, and yields are being taken.

The hemp crop has been a great success here.

The hemp crop has been a great success here.

Site Activities

  • A Herbidome 350 has been purchased, but has not really been used to date.
  • A successful Biomass Connect Demo Day was held on the 28th of September, with some very interesting people attending. It was really felt the networking that was going on between guests could genuinely prove beneficial to the project.

AFBI Hub Site September 2023 Photo Gallery

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