The 2021 season was full of challenges for Kansas hemp farmers. The KHC research group tested six hemp varieties across various soil types, planting techniques and growing conditions in 2021. Wading through significant crop failure, this season allowed the group to narrow in on best planting and production techniques.
Among the farmers collaborating with KHC in 2021, only 33% had ever grown any variety of hemp in the past. The KHC research group learned some difficult lessons on weed control. We better understand what works and are attempting to scale successful practices. Timing is important and early cultivation is critical. In 2022, we are ready to implement best practices learned for field preparation, weed control, pre and post emergence intervention, harvesting and drying.
Seed sourcing research also builds on 2021 results. Armed with new understanding, hemp production can grow and expand in the 2022 season. Following a full analysis of the 2021 season, field preparation and planting guides will be distributed. In-field preparations are followed by planting in early April. Data collected in 2022 will include: genetics, planting dates and techniques, precipitation, fertilization, pest pressure, weed management, harvest techniques, yields and plant characteristics (height, stalk diameter, days to maturation).
Project objectives from proposal:
Objective: Build on and expand industrial hemp research with support for farmers growing in 2022;
● source genetics
● provide licensing and regulatory guidance
● liaison on behalf of growers with KDA, USDA, other regulators
● share lessons learned in 2021 on field preparation, planting, fertilization, pest control, irrigation, harvest
● increase research acres to 200, collect data regarding inputs and outcomes
● promote industrial hemp with education initiatives that increase successful production throughout the region
● host 4 free, virtual hemp conferences in collaboration with Kansans for Hemp, WSU-SBDC
● host hemp field tour
● connect licensed hemp producers regionally with best practices and community support