Bio-Protection Research Centre PhD student Chris Littlejohn’s research on using bio-energy grass as a farm shelter has featured on TV3 News.
Misanthus giganteus is a tall, sterile hybrid grass originally from Asia. Chris is measuring how well miscanthus performs as a shelterbelt on a dairy farm in Canterbury. His research is investigating whether planting miscanthus around paddocks can deliver a number of ecosystem services such as improved pasture growth, soil quality and increased biodiversity of insects.
Miscanthus also has the potential to increase dairy farm income as it can be harvested at the end of each growing season and used to make liquid biofuels, or alternatively as animal feed or bedding.
Unlike other shelterbelts the grass is flexible enough to allow irrigation booms to pass through it, and miscanthus has greater potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions than other biofuel crops.
This research is funded by Westland Milk Products with additional support from DairyNZ.