OMENZ is £3.3 million government-funded project which will facilitate more planting of Miscanthus, and partners met this month to present their findings 42% of the way through.
The project will deliver improvements on the entire Miscanthus establishment process, including approaches to producing planting material, field preparation, innovative agri-tech, new planting techniques, and cutting-edge technologies to monitor establishment in the field.
“It was a fascinating day hosted by project partners, Cranfield University. All partners presented research findings so far, from assessing Miscanthus root growth, to trials on growth stimulants, and evaluating rhizome emergence,” explains Terravesta operations director, Alex Robinson,
“Cranfield University presented its impressive drone image processing, and its AI plant identification and counting model. We also learned about an innovative new Miscanthus rhizome splitting and processing line.
“The day was wrapped up with an interesting tour of Cranfield University and its facilities which included a glasshouse owned by CHAP (Crop Health and Protection Limited), which has incredible multi-spectral imaging, LiDAR, and other sensors to detect diseases in different crops,” says Alex.
“We also saw Cranfield’s extensive and unique soil sample collection from England and Wales, plus the WOSSAC international soil archive,” he says.
“The project is 42% of the way through and well on track to facilitate and enable the upscaling and expansion of Miscanthus planting in the UK. It was great to see the learnings and understand how we can improve crop establishment, monitor crop performance, and develop efficiencies to increase the commercial value of crops,” adds Alex.
OMENZ stands for ‘Optimising Miscanthus Establishment through improved mechanisation and data capture to meet Net Zero targets’. Part of the government’s Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme, the project will contribute to 2050 net-zero targets.