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Specialty planters for miscanthus growers

March 16, 2012  By Dave Harrison

Founder of New Energy Farms Group, Dean Tiessen. This is a new, warm season, later flowering cultivar under large scale trials at the New Energy Farms site in Canada. The crop is currently half way through the growing season and just over three metres in height.

Aug. 4, 2010, Leamington, Ont. – Growers of the energy crop miscanthus now have two planters available from New Energy Farms (, the leading miscanthus development company in North America and the EU.

Founder of New Energy Farms Group, Dr. Paul Carver. Seen here is Dr. Carver inspecting the outdoor growing system by Lewis Taylor Farms, a New Energy Farms Affiliate Partner, in Tifton, Georgia.

Miscanthus is a perennial grass harvested each year for the bamboo-like cane stems, which are classed as renewable biomass and are used to generate green electricity and heat and liquid biofuel. Miscanthus is planted once and can remain productive for over 20 years; it is important that every effort is made to maximize crop establishment in the year it is planted.

New Energy Farms Automatic Miscanthus planter developed and built by WH Loxton Ltd.

Commercial miscanthus crops are planted from rhizomes (underground stems), and as the industry has developed and the demand for miscanthus biomass increased, it has been necessary to develop the equipment to enable growers to successfully plant their crops. In many respects, miscanthus is no different from all other arable crops when it comes to establishing good plant stands. It is a combination of the correct seed bed, equipment developed for the specific crop and high quality planting material – in this instance fresh rhizomes.

New Energy Farms (NEF) has pioneered an affiliate program across North America and the EU which regionalizes the production of miscanthus rhizomes, ensuring that any affiliates who plant commercial crops for biomass production do so from freshly harvested rhizomes. This high quality planting material coupled with the choice of planters from NEF will produce high quality stands of miscanthus.

NEF has announced its relationship with WH Loxton Ltd. ( ). Affiliates and research collaborators now have access to an NEF automatic miscanthus planter, developed by WH Loxton Ltd, the most experienced developer of these planters. This is a robust four-row planter that has been widely used throughout Europe for a number of years. NEF recently imported two models into Canada, where they planted miscanthus crops in this past spring. It has a very efficient “separation” system in the rhizome storage hopper to tease apart the individual rhizomes before they are delivered down the carefully designed coulters into the furrows.

The new addition to the NEF machinery lineup is the NEF Precision Planter, the only precision planter that is available to plant miscanthus. This has been developed and assembled using genuine Grimme components and can deliver a range of precise plant spacings. The planter is a four-row unit.

A number of planters are available for 2011, and New Energy Farms is the only company able to offer this precision planter. It is available to NEF Affiliates involved in miscanthus multiplication or large scale production planting, and by researchers who wish to have very high levels of precision in their experimentation.

Both planters are available to NEF Affiliates and research organizations to either purchase, lease or rent. Please contact New Energy Farms for details of these costs and for more detailed specifications of the two types of miscanthus planters.

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