Health

Which Hemp Seed Variety is Right for Your Farm? 4 Things to Consider

As the hemp industry matures, success will hinge on choosing the right hemp seed for your farm.

What are your specific growing conditions? What hemp knowledge and ability do you have? What’s your existing infrastructure and what equipment do you already have?

These are all critical questions to consider before any 2020 hemp seed purchase.

1) Which Varietals were Bred to Thrive in Your Climate?

Hemp breeding is still in its infancy compared to crops we’ve been growing for decades. But breeders are offering more selections for 2020 and should have more field trial knowledge.

How soon you can plant in the spring and how long of a growing season you have are essential considerations. There are hemp subspecies that have been interbred, then varietals selected to perform better taking into consideration different climates, day length, and growing needs.

Ask breeders for field trial data to back up any specific varietal recommended for your region. If they don’t have it, how did they know what works for your location?

2) Weather Patterns are Important to Evaluate

Occurrences of hail, wind, rain, drought and any common harsh weather extremes must be considered.

Harvest-time weather can be a big factor. High humidity levels can quickly mold your hemp flower. Select varieties that you can plant early enough and mature quickly flower and mature before wet fall weather sets in.

In general, when growing for cannabinoid production Cannabis sativa or “Sativa” dominant strains do better in longer-season, forgiving climates like California and Florida. While Cannabis sativa subspecies indica, or “indica” dominant strains, are shorter, bushier plants that mature faster and are more appropriate for windy and unforgiving climates.

3) What Sort of Infrastructure, Equipment and Farming Knowledge Do You Already Possess?

When biomass prices tumbled in the fall of 2019, many hemp farmers turned to the smokable hemp flower market. However, curing hemp smokable flower requires an added level of infrastructure, knowledge, and labor.

If you have smaller acreage, with the appropriate infrastructure and labor, then a higher cannabinoid varietal with a higher pay-off per pound at harvest time is worth considering. Tobacco farmers are good candidates.

Traditional corn, soy or grain growers, on the other hand, should focus on low production costs. Your existing planting, cultivating and even harvesting equipment may be utilized with some minor adaptation — assuming you select the right varietal to match a farm-appropriate growing plan from the get-go.

Tri-crop varietals like “Boax,” introduced by Colorado Breeder’s Depot for 2020, are bred for grain, fiber, and cannabinoid production. Direct-seeded at a much denser planting rate that reduces weeding costs without the need for rogueing out male plants, tri-crop varietals offer the potential for three revenue streams with much cheaper production methods. Plus significantly cheaper seed costs.

4) Choose your Hemp Seed by on Realistic Harvest Prices

The 2020 hemp market is still very volatile, with uncertainty on regulations and demand. Don’t make a substantial investment based on speculation.

However, there is still plenty of money in growing hemp, especially compared to most other crops.

For experienced farmers, it’s just a matter of thinking about hemp like all your others. Be conservative about harvest price potential. Work backward and make sure your production costs won’t exceed a realistic return.

For more information on hemp seeds available for 2020 — including our extensive field trial data —plus free ongoing consultation and help to develop a smart hemp growing plan for your farm, check out the Colorado Breeder’s Depot website at https://coloradobreedersdepot.com. Or feel free to email us at [email protected] or call us at (719) 275-7770.