New Energy Farms (NEF) has expanded its programme evaluating new Miscanthus cultivars in the UK by adding some very interesting and exciting new energy canes. The Miscanthus cultivars are from the NEF Miscanthus breeding programme and material from other external breeding programmes outside the EU, the aim being to provide the best new cultivars for projects in the UK and Europe. All the material is sterile which NEF believes is very important. They do not produce seeds so it retains the non-invasive attributes of Miscanthus x giganteus, the current variety grown in the UK.
In addition to the new Miscanthus varieties, NEF will also be conducting the first evaluation of energy canes in the UK. There are a number of types of energy canes, all of which are often referred to as cold tolerant forms of sugarcane, capable of very high yields. Most of these high biomass crops are inter-related, Miscanthus actually features in the parentage of sugar cane, which is the highest biomass yielding crop available. The most interesting aspect of energy canes is the yield potential which plant breeding can achieve in these crops, and NEF has secured access to some of the new energy cane varieties.
NEF’s interest in developing a wider range of high biomass crops for growers around the world is closely linked to its introduction of CEEDS technology, the new method of multiplying and planting vegetatively propagated crops. Sugar cane, Miscanthus and energy canes are vegetatively propagated and NEF is working with production companies, plant breeders and growers to introduce and develop these new high biomass varieties and CEEDS planting systems to provide feedstock for fuel, feed and fibre end uses.
Image of NEF Internal Miscanthus breeding, and energycane.