Articles

Why Hemp Field Trials?

February 10, 2021

FRB Field Trials provide a wide range of data to make our customers' harvests successful.

Environmental Stresses, Pests and Disease Tolerance

Overall vigor, pest and disease resistance, as well as environmental stress response are very important to the final outcome at harvest. Knowing the absolute maximum amount of environmental stress that our hemp varieties can endure and still have a successful harvest is important when there is a, potential for tornadoes, excessive drought, heat waves, high wind, hurricanes. In 2020, some trials were exposed to wildfire smoke in the western regions, early season snows in Colorado, late season increased rainfall and disease-causing humidity in the Pacific Northwest. Trialing FRB varieties across the country helped evaluate how successful our plants will be in a multitude of challenging environments.

High rainfall and humidity in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest, drought issues in California and the western US, and high winds and other weather related issues can all contribute to increased pest and disease issues. At FRB, we want to know which varieties tolerate disease and insect pressure, in combination with environmental stresses, so that we can make the best variety recommendations to our customers and help reduce costs by reducing inputs in pest and disease control.

Knowing Your Photoperiod

Photoperiod plays a critical role in determining when to plant hemp varieties and when they will initiate flower. Photoperiod is the amount of time each day during which a plant receives light. Combining a series of early, mid, and late flowering varieties can allow a grower to stagger harvest, grow seasonally, and/or have harvest product continually available throughout the year. Growers can identify if varieties aren't suitable for their region by recognizing the photoperiod at which a variety begins its flower initiation. For example, since Maine has late-spring and early-fall frosts, late maturity varieties won't produce enough biomass in this region.

Extraction and Recovery Ease

We evaluate extraction recovery and ease of extraction to determine what can be expected in the final harvest product. This is especially important for the minor cannabinoids like, CBC, CBG and varin varieties. If good management practices are followed, we can determine a reasonable expectation of cannabinoid percentage recovery at harvest.

Chemotypes, Phenotypes and Compliance Testing

We truly enjoy identifying novel phenotypes and/or chemotypes that enrich the diversity of the FRB product portfolio. We look for minor cannabinoids, like CBG or CBC,  pink pistils, really frosty white flowers, larger plants for biomass yield, or smaller and terpier plants which are better suited to indoor and greenhouse production. Knowing the differences in these novel phenotypes and chemotypes helps us make recommendations for varieties that are interesting and useful for hemp production operations.

We test our plants throughout the flower cycle to determine cannabinoid ratios and THC levels to provide the necessary data for farmers to develop a harvest plan that fits their production schedule. It is critical to follow experienced agronomic practices and harvest recommendations in order for hemp varieties to maintain a healthy growth cycle and stay THC compliant.

Our field trial data enables us to properly advise farmers on how to achieve maximum results.

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