Carrington Research Extension Center


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Let’s Talk About Hemp


Today seems like a good day to talk about hemp!

Hemp production is intriguing to many people in our region. It is unique in that it is a ‘new’ crop but already has several established and several emerging markets, including three different harvest methods depending on the desired product. The three harvestable products are seed oil, cannabidiol (CBD) oil, and fiber. There are varieties best suited to each type of product, and generally you can only harvest one product from your hemp crop. CBD hemp production took off in a big way in 2019, often encompassing the majority of hemp production discussions. Growing CBD hemp is considerably different than seed oil or fiber production. The CBD market is currently the most volatile of the three due to its rapid increase in popularity but also rapid increase in acres. Currently, there are no large markets for hemp fiber in our region. Hemp seed oil is the most stable hemp product in our region and is the focus for this post.

The hemp variety trial at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center in early July 2019.

Three hemp variety trials were conducted in 2019 across North Dakota. The trials were located in Langdon, Carrington, and Dickinson. Langdon has been conducting hemp variety trials for several years already, while it was the first time at the other two sites. Variety performance is listed in Table 1. Here are some useful hemp production tidbits:

1) The hemp variety trials were planted at 30 lb/a in 7 or 14” rows the last week of May.

2) Currently, there are no labeled herbicides for hemp production in North Dakota but there are some labeled insecticides.

3) Low levels of cercospora leaf spot and white mold (among others, I am sure) have been observed in ND at non-injurious levels, so crop rotation needs to be a consideration.

4) As in sunflowers, bird predation can be an issue near maturity.

5) Determining when to harvest and how to properly dry it may be the most difficult part of hemp production. This subject would take too much time to cover in this post, but here is a link that includes information about harvest and much more.$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/crop15539/$file/HempHarvestStorage.pdf?OpenElement.    


NDSU is working to increase regional knowledge of best hemp production practices. Over the next few years there will be study results that include: more variety information, herbicide tolerance, fertility management, bird predation assessment, and CBD hemp management.


Mike Ostlie, Ph. D.
Research Agronomist

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