Yield performance of 14 novel inter- and intra-species Miscanthus hybrids across Europe

Danny Awty-Carroll, Elena Magenau, Mohamad Al Hassan, Enrico Martani, Mislav Kontek, Philip van der Pluijm, Chris Ashman, Emmanuel de Maupeou, Jon McCalmont, Gert-Jan Petrie, Chris Davey, Kasper van der Cruijsen, Vanja Jurišić, Stefano Amaducci, Isabelle Lamy, Anita Shepherd, Jason Kam, Annick Hoogendam, Michele Croci, Oene DolstraAndrea Ferrarini, Iris Lewandowski, Luisa M. Trindade, Andreas Kiesel, John Cedric Clifton-Brown

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Miscanthus, a C4 perennial rhizomatous grass from Asia is a leading candidate for the supply of sustainable biomass needed to grow the bioeconomy. European Miscanthus breeding programmes have recently produced a new range of seeded hybrids with the objective of increasing scalability to large acreages limited by current clonal propagation. For the EU-GRACE project, new replicated field trials were established in seven locations across Europe in 2018 with eight intraspecific M. sinensis hybrids (sin × sin) and six M. sacchariflorus × M. sinensis (sac × sin) from Dutch and UK breeding programmes, respectively, with clonal Miscanthus × giganteus. The planting density of the sin × sin was double that of sac × sin (30,000 & 15,000 plants ha−1), creating commercially relevant upscaling comparisons between systems. Over the first 3 years, the establishment depended on location and hybrid. The mature sin × sin hybrids formed tight tufts of shoots up to 2.5 m tall which flower and senesce earlier than the taller sac × sin hybrids. Following the third growing season, the highest yields were recorded in Northern Italy at a low altitude (average 13.7 (max 21) Mg DM ha−1) and the lowest yielding was on the industrially damaged marginal land site in Northern France (average 7.0 (max 10) Mg DM ha−1). Moisture contents at spring harvest were lowest in Croatia (21.7%) and highest in Wales, UK (41.6%). Overall, lower moisture contents at harvest, which are highly desirable for transport, storage and for most end-use applications, were found in sin × sin hybrids than sac × sin (30% and 40%, respectively). Yield depended on climate interactions with the hybrid and their associated planting systems. The sin × sin hybrids appeared better adapted to northern Europe and sac × sin hybrids to southern Europe. Longer-term yield observations over crop lifespans will be needed to explore the biological (yield persistence) and economic costs and benefits of the different hybrid systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-423
Number of pages25
JournalGlobal Change Biology. Bioenergy
Issue number4
Early online date30 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

For additional information and data collection many thanks to Oberer Lindenhof field station staff (OLI), Unifarm workers (SCH), experimental station Šašinovec technical stuff (ZAG). The authors are grateful for the support of the staff at the research stations at PAC. With particular thanks at the Trawsgoed site (TWS) to Robin Warren, Chris Glover, and the late Kevin Roderick. Thanks also to Michael Squance for use of and assistance with the Physis™ data management platform.

The GRACE project has received funding from the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (JU) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 745012. The JU receives support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Bio-based Industries Consortium.

Data Availability Statement

Full data available on OSF https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/Y795N.


  • biomass
  • M.sinensis
  • Miscanthus
  • Miscanthus×giganteu
  • Miscanthus seeded hybrids
  • multilocation field trials
  • perennial biomass crop


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