The hemp industry is booming. With demand for hemp-based cannabinoid products through the roof, and the legalization of hemp production in late 2018, it’s full steam ahead. In fact, the global hemp market is expected to be worth $26.6 billion in five years. With that in mind, cultivators and producers are looking at ways to bolster their strategies in order to go the distance and grab a piece of the pie.
One big consideration hemp cultivators have to make is which cultivars to grow. There are dozens and dozens of different strains, all unique in their own way. From cannabinoid content to flowering time to actual plant size, there are many variables at play. Read on to learn more about what to look for in a hemp strain.
What is the End Goal?
Hemp is an incredibly versatile plant. It can be used to make everything from textiles to bioplastics to skincare products. Arguably the most popular hemp products right now are those containing high amounts of cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, and CBG. CBD has become extremely popular in the health and wellness vertical, with demand for things like CBD tinctures, gummies, and capsules at an all-time high.
Before deciding which hemp phenotypes to cultivate, producers will want to determine how the plant will be used after harvest. Some growers will want to sell their harvest to brokers or extractors, while others may want to create their own finished goods in-house. Toll processing is also a popular option. If the end goal is to manufacture hemp rope, that is going to require different phenotypes than ones producing large amounts of CBD bud. Growers should keep this in mind when selecting strains they wish to produce.
How Much Space Are You Working With?
Hemp plants come in many different shapes and sizes. Some may be tall and lanky with wispy leaves while others are short and bushy, reminiscent of the shrubs lining your sidewalk. Cultivators should always take the time to research the strains they are interested in growing to understand their unique characteristics, especially as they relate to eventual height and width.
The plants’ life cycles may also vary, another key thing to note during the initial research phase. Depending on the scope of operation, it may be more efficient to choose cultivars with similar flowering and veg cycles.
Consider the Genetics
When obtaining hemp seeds or clones, cultivators should only source from reputable breeders. There should be information available about the genetic makeup of the seeds, including their ability to produce CBD or other desirable cannabinoids. Feminized seeds are the best option since female plants produce the buds containing the majority of the cannabinoid content; male plants are typically a lot of seeds, typically less desirable on the market overall.
The genetics may also provide insight on the overall health of the plant and whether it’s susceptible to disease. Additionally, genetics have a lot to do with how the plant grows and its yield.
Hemp is an extremely versatile and nuanced plant, with a seemingly endless list of uses. Thousands of years of cultivation, and recent developments in breeding, have resulted in hundreds of varieties available for cultivation. Growers are far more likely to have success in their business if they do the homework necessary to determine just which strains are right for their farm.
While some trial and error may be necessary, tools like KLER can help keep track of what’s working – and what’s not. From cost per harvest to cannabinoid testing, our software provides all the data you’ll need to truly understand the strains you grow.