Planting low input and ‘carbon negative’ crop Miscanthus can help mitigate flooding, new research has shown.
Researchers from Aberystwyth University found the perennial crop grows well in waterlogged and flood-prone areas, while also providing soil stability, and crop yield is not affected by excess water.
Dr Jason Kam, who led the study at Aberystwyth’s Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), said: “There is no significant difference in yield and other physiological development. Observed height and tiller number have no differences between winter flooded and non-flooded ground.
“Because of Miscanthus’ perennial nature, annual planting is not needed. This therefore reduces soil disturbance to a minimum.
“The structure of Miscanthus rhizome and root helps to stabilise soils, making it more resilient against flood-caused soil erosion.”
Miscanthus specialist Terravesta said the crop could help farmers diversify while at the same time help manage flood risk.
The crop averages yields of up to 15 tonnes per hectare and is burned in biomass plants.
“As a solution to land that is becoming increasingly unlikely to plant up with arable crops, Miscanthus is a profitable option,” said Terravesta general manager Alex Robinson.
“Miscanthus not only helps to stabilise land, it also feeds depleted soils, retaining vital nutrients.”
To find out more about planting Miscanthus visit www.terravesta.com.