Meet the team helping deliver better Miscanthus establishment
15th October 2021
Terravesta recently announced our BEIS funded OMENZ project, which stands for ‘Optimising Miscanthus Establishment through improved mechanisation and data capture to meet Net Zero targets’. The project is part of the government’s Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, and will help to contribute to 2050 net-zero targets. Terravesta is working with a varied team to help deliver it and we spoke to each of the partners to learn a little more about what they are doing.
University of Lincoln
The OMENZ project is collaborating with the Lincoln Institute of Agri-Food Technology (LIAT) who operate out of the Riseholme Farm Campus of the University of Lincoln. LIAT specialise in interdisciplinary research, including the development of robotic and digital solutions to key challenges within agriculture. Within OMENZ LIAT will support activity to design new planting and harvesting technology and novel techniques to understand barriers to crop establishment. The latter includes the use of drones to image fields and also in field phenotyping techniques.
As part of Terravesta’s OMENZ project, the Cranfield University team lead by Dr Toby Waine, Senior Lecturer in Applied Remote Sensing, are investigating novel methods to monitor and improve the establishment of miscanthus in the field. Initial trials performed in the phenotyping glasshouse facilities of CHAP and Agri-EPI, located at Cranfield, will inform very high resolution drone-based field survey. By automating image processing we can provide accurate information about the miscanthus canopy to growers, to improve establishment and overall crop efficiency.
Liverpool John Moores University
Dr Richard Webster at Liverpool John Moores University is investigating means to improve breaking Miscanthus rhizome dormancy, rhizome emergence, and survival rates. This research involves the novel application of plant growth regulating chemicals and environmental stimuli, to enhance rhizome metabolism and to reduce the heterogeneity in rhizome development and survival rates. Another aspect of the LJMU contribution to OMENZ is to work with partners to develop methods for quantifying Miscanthus emergence at field scale.
CHAP – Crop Health and Protection Limited
CHAP has been brought in for the duration of the project to provide project management expertise to ensure a smooth and successful delivery based on their wealth of experience with innovative agri-tech projects, along with scientific support in the writing of the interim and final reports
Energene Seeds Ltd
Energene Seeds Ltd works with Terravesta to produce the new seed-based hybrids of Miscanthus. In the OMENZ project, we are looking at ways to optimise our existing seed production capabilities. The OMENZ project will also look at the technology needed to establish these new hybrids in the UK.
Salmac Ltd, a leading specialist in planting machinery, is helping to identify existing technology innovations to help improve the existing planting methodologies and working with our other partners to identify where new equipment could be deployed.
Ystumtec Ltd is developing add on technology for the existing Miscanthus rhizome planters that will provide us with accurate mapping of the planting rate. With this data, Terravesta will be able to detect in real-time where and when issues occur during planting and rectify them, increasing efficiency and establishment quality.
To learn more about the OMENZ project, click here.