- Agronomic: hemp
- Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, fertigation, irrigation, tissue analysis, varieties and cultivars
- Education and Training: extension, networking, technical assistance
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, value added
- Pest Management: field monitoring/scouting
- Sustainable Communities: values-based supply chains
Hemp production in the U.S. has seen inconsistent performance due to genetic and environmental interactions that influence crop chemistry. This research will evaluate how the phytochemistry of common hemp varieties changes when grown in different New Mexico environments and with different cultural practices. The goal of this research is to help NM farmers better anticipate the results from their hemp crops. By establishing continued two-way communication with local producers, this work can be best tailored to represent the real-world interests of the NM hemp industry. The primary cultural practice of interest is irrigation method. Irrigation infrastructure exists across NM in several forms, some of which may contribute to under-performing hemp production. Changes in hemp biomass chemistry impact downstream product potential. Production environment and practices will be correlated to biomass yields of stalks, seeds, and flowers, and CBD content of floral material. Small-scale extraction with supercritical carbon dioxide will be used to compare extracts from test crops with those found in retail hemp markets. Project results will be disseminated among registered hemp producers and processors through the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) and New Mexico Environment Department (NMED); to the NM agricultural community and general public through regional meetings, field day demonstrations, and NMSU Extension publications; and to the wider scientific community and hemp industry stakeholders through open-access digital content including peer-reviewed journal articles and demonstration videos. Lessons learned and relationships developed during this project will serve as the foundation for future hemp research at NMSU.
Project objectives from proposal:
The first research objective is to evaluate how the phytochemistry of common hemp varieties differs from their expected profiles when grown at multiple sites throughout New Mexico. Factors to be considered are environmental conditions at each location and production practices (especially irrigation method).
The second research objective is to determine how differences in phytochemical profiles correlate to the quality of hemp extracts for cannabinoids. This information will be used to identify inputs that result in high-quality products for downstream manufacturing. This will aid in developing tools for NM producers to consult in order to produce a crop that will result in the highest quality end product.
The first educational objective is to establish recommendations for hemp producers as they decide which varieties to grow and which cultural practices to implement. These recommendations will be shared as digital content, such as production management videos and extension fact sheet publications, as well as presentations and interactions at in-person events such as field days.
The second educational objective is to aid in the development of courses for a hemp production certificate program at New Mexico State University (NMSU). As the state’s land-grant institution, NMSU is best positioned to aid in statewide agricultural efforts. With the increased interest in hemp production across NM, it is vital that NMSU act as an agricultural leader to guide the establishment of this new industry within NM agricultural sectors.