Industrial Hemp Variety Evaluation
Industrial Hemp Variety Evaluation for Georgia
College Station, Athens
Variety trials were conducted throughout the state of Georgia in 2019 to evaluate industrial hemp varieties for CBD-production.
Industrial hemp was legalized federally with the 2018 farm bill and in Georgia with the passage of House Bill 213 in May 2019. The market for CBD-related products derived from industrial hemp is projected to reach $24 billion in the U.S. by 2023. Georgia previously did not participate in the hemp pilot program as authorized by the 2014 farm bill. Therefore, no variety performance information is available for Georgia farmers.
In June 2019 variety trials for industrial hemp grown for CBD production were initiated at 3 University of Georgia research sites (Blairsville, Watkinsville, and Tifton). These 3 locations represent unique climate zones within the state. The number of varieties trial in each location ranged from 11-25, with the same 11 being grown in all locations. Plants were grown using typical practices for growers in the SE U.S. Crops were harvested in September and October 2019 and biomass data collected. In addition, samples were taken for subsequent analysis of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Biomass data suggest that yields are highest when grown in the northern regions of Georgia, decreasing some as you move south. Yields ranged from 600 to more than 4000 lbs of dry biomass per acre, with most varieties producing between 1200-1400 lbs/acre of floral biomass in Watkinsville. This data will be used for Georgia farmers in 2020 when they produce their first legal crop of hemp in more than 70 years. Given the current value of hemp for the CBD market, an increase of 500 lbs/acre biomass at 10% CBD (dry weight) would be worth $15,000 per acre.