March 2023 – Overview of progress to date
The grassland site was in good condition ahead of taking management control. Silaging and grazing of the grassland continued to ensure good glyphosate take and good quality ploughing.
Fencing to protect planting where required
There is a highly active deer population at the site. The grazing risk assessment determined a significant risk of damage at the site. A deer fence is due for erection in April 2023 to protect the new planting from vertebrate grazing/browsing.
Standard autumn ground preparation
There was a preference to leave aisle areas uncultivated and maintain the pre-existing grass sward there. The areas to be cultivated received a glyphosate application to kill the grass sward. All areas were then ploughed. Areas for Miscanthus and other energy grasses were left in plough over winter. Areas for woody species were power-harrowed and perennial rye grass (PRG) was established.
The site was monitored over winter and in February and March the following was reported:
- Moles were causing issues in some areas.
- Extending the ploughed area for miscanthus variety trial guards is needed. Ground conditions are improving by the day so this will be completed once ground conditions allow.
- Silage has been cut on the permanent pasture site: 26/8/22.
- Plot areas sprayed (glyphosate): 16/9/22.
- Plough + power harrow: 26/9/22 – 27/9/22.
- Grass sown in SRF and SRC plots: 30/9/22.
- Ploughed areas left as fallow over winter.
Spring ground preparation
- Rain in March has prevented access to the site as it is sitting very wet.
- Demo Plots SRF, SRF POP and SRF EUC are to be sprayed off with glyphosate using an ATV sprayer to facilitate planting these areas.
- When mechanical access is possible, and pre-cultivation, P2O5 and K2O will be applied based on the data from the baseline soil analysis made in December.
- No pH adjustment is needed.
- Once the spray has worked and the site has been inspected to ensure no spray misses (10 days) the timings and plans for planting will be made.