Journal article Open Access
Miscanthus is one of the most promising perennial herbaceous industrial crops worldwide mainly due to its high resource-use eciency and biomass yield. However, the extent of miscanthus cultivation across Europe is still lagging far behind its real potential. Major limiting factors are high initial costs and low biomass yields in the crop establishment period, especially the first year. This study explores the possibility of establishing miscanthus under maize to generate yields from the first year of cultivation onwards. A field trial with mono-cropped maize and two miscanthus establishment procedures, ‘under maize’ (MUM) and ‘standard’ (REF), was established in southwest Germany in 2016. Annual aboveground biomass was harvested in autumn (2016–2018). In 2016 and 2017, the miscanthus dry matter yield (DMY) was significantly lower in MUM than REF. However, the accumulated DMY of miscanthus and maize was as high in MUM as in maize cultivation alone. In 2018, there was no significant dierence between the miscanthus DMY of REF (7.86 0.77 Mg ha-1) and MUM (6.21 +_ 0.77 Mg ha-1). The accumulated DMY over the three years was 31.7 Mg Ha-1 for MUM, of which 10.1 Mg ha-1 were miscanthus-based, compared to 17.7 Mg ha-1 for REF.These results indicate that miscanthus establishment under maize could compensate for its lack of yield in the first year.