TRIAL planting of 'Sunergy' – a new, multi-purpose perennial crop – is currently underway at farms in Kent, Sussex, Wales, Northern Ireland and Lincolnshire.

The hope is that with trials taking place in such diverse locations across the UK, valuable insights will be gained into how adaptable this crop is to climate and soil variations.

Supporters of the initiative reckon that by monitoring the inputs required, the improvements in soil health arising and the utilisation of Sunergy as an anaerobic digestion crop, the trials will give all the information necessary to secure its reputation as the 'crop of the future'.

According to Newtone Agriscapes, the company conducting the trials, 'Sunergy' – Silphium perfoliatum – offers farmers an opportunity to turn areas of land that are less productive, difficult to access or too restrictive for large equipment into long term, financially productive areas with minimal intervention needed.

The average Sunergy crop is claimed to only require two or three passes a season; a digestate application in early spring followed, potentially, by harvest of a fodder crop when the plants are in early flower, prior to a harvest for AD feedstock in the autumn.

In the first year of trial cultivation, the Sunergy will grow its ground covering rosette whilst establishing a root system in preparation for the following spring, when each rosette will form between three and 20 square stems. Each stem will reach a height of around 3.5m and by July 2023, Sunergy will be in flower right through until September, providing a nectar source for pollinators with its bright yellow blooms.

Year on year the root system of each plant will continue to grow, undisturbed by annual rotations, allowing networks of beneficial microbes to flourish, further increasing the carbon sequestration of the soil. Improved water filtration and soil structure should also develop.

Director of Newtone Agriscapes, Nick Green, said: “We are very encouraged by the interest in this little yellow flower of the future. Uptake has been very positive as growers understand that Sunergy fits the brief as an ideal perennial crop. With low inputs and high output, Sunergy will be key in future proofing overall farm performance.”

Another step in the crop's journey are the Autumn planting trials which will be taking place in September. This second set of trials will give crucial information on how well it performs in any growing season. Anyone interested in taking part in those trials is invited to get in touch with Newtone Agriscapes via email to