- Agronomic: hemp
- Crop Production: application rate management, conservation tillage, cover crops, crop rotation, cropping systems, fertilizers, irrigation, organic fertilizers, postharvest treatment, tissue analysis, varieties and cultivars
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, focus group, networking, technical assistance
- Farm Business Management: feasibility study, new enterprise development
Problem and Justification:
There have been few U.S.-based agronomic studies on industrial hemp since the early 20th century. Information from previous research is important, but may not be applicable for modern production. Industrial hemp is an untested in NJ. Current research is needed on all aspects of production specific to NJ. Therefore, production information gaps may be encountered in the short term.
Production systems differences are greatly based on hemp’s end use. Information is needed to provide recommendations for ASPs and producers. Industrial hemp grown for field grain, oil or fiber production more closely matches existing grain and forage cropping systems, than that of hemp grown for floral production. As of May 2020, 54 farmers obtained state permits to produce hemp in New Jersey on 424 acres. Production and market opportunities are expected to grow in the future.
Solution and Approach:
Rutgers University will conduct research and provide education to agricultural service providers (ASPs) and farmers. A Rutgers team will investigate regional hemp research and develop a draft for “The NJ Hemp Field Production Recommendations Guide”. This project is divided into two segments: 1) initial, 1-year project and 2) 3-year project. With the 1-year project a hemp advisory committee with 3 farmer representatives, 1 agency/regulatory representative and 1 ASP will be formed. The team will conduct 4 advisory committee meetings in year 1 and have regular communications to further develop the objectives of the next 3-year project. The team will also survey 25 hemp producers to determine needs. Surveys combined with advisory committee findings will be the primary vehicles for developing the production guide, and, to provide input for the 3-year project beginning in October 2021. In 2020, the team has started research: university research farm variety trials, a cooperative study looking at nitrogen composition related to chlorophyll content as an indicator of harvest timing and quality with Jim Jemison, University of Maine, and gathering farmer information. The Rutgers team is willing to participate in a multi-state guide, if the information is relevant to NJ’s production needs and environment. A Science-based, non-biased hemp field production information – applicable to the state – with recommendations and educational materials will be developed by the Rutgers team, with the guide’s first draft being completed by October 2021.
The project starts with an in-depth literature and resource review of hemp production recommendations including, university production guides, SARE project reports (i.e. Development of a Sustainable Cropping System for Industrial Hemp Production by Limited Resource Farmers LS20-333, Dingha, Developing Pest and Fertility Best Practices for Industrial Hemp ONE-333, Darby ), and commodity group recommendations. The Co-PI and one key individual of this project team are licensed by the NJDA to conduct hemp research in NJ.
Performance targets from proposal:
This initial, one-year project is designed to investigate hemp production resources to build capacity for training and creating an educational program in the future consisting of The NJ Hemp Field Production Recommendations Guide, supportive presentations and educational materials for Agricultural Service Providers ASP and farmers. The initial project will rely heavily on an advisory group, producer surveys and research of educational materials and studies being conducted by other institutions in the northeast to facilitate the development of a draft NJ Hemp Field Production Recommendations Guide and additional resources during the next 3-year project.