RALEIGH — On June 19, 2017 we planted our first industrial hemp variety trial at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville, NC. This has been a big joint effort led by my program, the NC Alternative Crops and Organics Program in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University; with support from the incredible staff of the Mountain Research Station who got the drill, prepped the field, and worked with us all day to get this planted; Keith Edmisten and Angela Post in the Crop and Soil Sciences Department who arranged to get many of the varieties and provided lots of advice; and Eric Mathis and Bert James of the Bio Regen Innovations Coop who also provided many of the varieties.
In this study we are looking at 15 varieties planted with a cone drill or broadcast by hand and rolled with a cultipacker. There are 3 replications. We also planted big swaths of each variety side-by-side for easy comparisons.
A short two weeks after sowing the seeds, we can see big differences between the planting methods and the varieties. Felina 32 (shown above) is one of the better varieties with good germination and strong healthy looking plants. In contrast, Santhica 27 (shown below) has been slower to germinate and the plants look like they are struggling a little bit.
If you are interested in viewing these plots in person, we welcome you to join us at Mountain Research Station Field Day on July 18, 2017. Registration opens at 1:30 pm and the program starts at 2:30 pm. We will have an Alternative Crops and Organics Program field tour in August where you can have a second opportunity to view the plots.