Best Practice Guidelines: Reed Canary Grass

Reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) is a perennial grass which is naturally distributed throughout Europe and in temperate regions of Asia and North America. The grass is tall and leafy and in natural conditions is most commonly found growing along water margins.

Reed canary grass (RCG) grows rapidly under northern European conditions and is recognised as a crop with multiple uses; the principal market being heat and electricity production (a ‘biomass crop’). These guidelines, therefore, are written with the expectation the crop is being grown for the energy market. However, reference is made to other uses.


As a bioenergy crop, RCG occupies its own niche and offers an alternative to other bioenergy crops such as Miscanthus and Short Rotation Coppice willow. RCG biomass yields on mineral soils are unlikely to be as high as other biomass crops, but the cheap cost of establishment means that production costs are typically quite low. It is, however, easy to establish compared to other bioenergy crops and grows well on poor, wet soils on which other crops can struggle. Additionally, its earlier harvesting interval enables a greater year-around spread in biomass supply.

Download the full Best Practice Guidelines here: Best Practice Guidelines – Reed Canary Grass.

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