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Abstract Detail

Crops and Wild Relatives

Caton, Tara [1], Omondi, Emmanuel, Dr. [1], Lesher, Emily [1], Smith, Andrew, Dr. [1].

Industrial Hemp: A versatile crop with the potential to improve agroecosystem diversity, mitigate environmental degradation and increase farm incomes.

Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa), a versatile plant grown for its fiber, seed or oil, was a valuable cash crop and a major industry in Pennsylvania for more than 260 years prior to its ban in 1933. Due to its close relationship to the marijuana plant, hemp production became a casualty of a 1933 law banning marijuana, and was later named a Schedule 1 drug by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. In 2017, Rodale Institute was one of 16 organizations that received a permit for the inaugural planting of hemp in Pennsylvania in more than 80 years as part of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. A four-year research project was initiated to evaluate industrial hemp varieties that are most suited to soil and climatic conditions in Pennsylvania. The project has two components; – a variety trial that aims to determine available varieties with greatest seed yield and fiber content and a weed suppression trial that aims to establish hemp as a dual cover to mitigate environmental degradation, and cash crop to increase farm incomes. Three varieties are being assessed for weed suppression, viability, height, hemp biomass, seed yield and effect on soil physical and chemical properties. The weed competition trial is evaluating potential of hemp to act as a substitute cover crop in common organic tilled and no-till crop rotations, as a weed suppression cover crop. Preliminary results indicate that both ‘Santhica 27’ fiber hemp variety and sorghum Sudan grass equally suppress weeds compared to control. The data indicate that hemp suppresses ragweed better than Sudan grass, while the latter suppresses lambsquarter better than hemp. Data also suggest that fiber hemp varieties and Sudan grass reduce soil bulk density. Our research will help growers make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes when hemp is legalized.

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Related Links:

1 - Rodale Institute, Research, 611 Siegfriedale road, Kutztown, PA, 19530, USA

Industrial Hemp
Organic Agriculture
Regenerative Agriculture
agroecosystem diversity.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CWR1, Crops and Wild Relatives
Location: Tucson D/Starr Pass
Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2019
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: CWR1003
Abstract ID:314
Candidate for Awards:None

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