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Science

Call for Illinois and Wisconsin hemp grower-collaborators

FREEPORT, Ill. — Are you curious about hemp variety performance in the Midwest? Would you find value in a publicly accessible variety evaluation tool?

What about receiving significantly discounted cannabinoid testing in exchange for data sharing via university and private partnerships?

The goal of a project between University of Illinois Extension and the University of Wisconsin-Madison will be to provide insight into agronomic performance and cannabinoid development of industrial hemp varieties across Illinois and Wisconsin.

Industrial hemp is a fast growing, annual herbaceous plant which can be used to produce fiber, grain and cannabinoids.

As a “new” crop to Midwestern agriculture, best management practices and varietal performance of industrial hemp have yet to be determined.

The BMPs yet to be developed include: planting methods, variety performance, fertility requirements, rotational impacts and harvest compliance.

This is of importance as many varieties are being grown across the region without having reliable data regarding their performance. Further, with the impending adoption of the new U.S. Department of Agriculture rules, this will be a valuable year to gain information regarding variety performance of industrial hemp.

Currently, there is a wide range of variability among varieties and seed sources in the market.

This private-public partnership seeks to provide clarity as to how well varieties will perform in the region and, most importantly, be compliant with state and federal regulations.

To gain a better insight on cannabinoid production throughout flowering, a cannabinoid time course experiment is required, focused on testing cannabinoid development.

This project will rely heavily on dedicated grower cooperation to provide useful information to experienced and new growers interested hemp production.

In short, participation in this program provides an exciting opportunity to receive discounted cannabinoid profiling at $30 per sample. This project is made possible through a generous partnership with Rock River Laboratory Inc. and Pride Analytics of Wisconsin.

In order to receive this discount, data on your production system and agronomic performance will be collected and made public via a data sharing tool, the Midwestern Hemp Database Project.

Any identifying personal information will be kept confidential and will not be shared publicly.

Specific instructions regarding floral sampling and shipping must be followed to ensure acceptance into the program. Upon acceptance into the program, collaborators will provide sample and data collection instructions.

Those looking to participate should agree to a minimum of two sampling dates per variety to permit adequate data collection. There is no upper limit on the number of samples that can be submitted for cannabinoid analysis per variety per location.

Licensed Hemp growers in Illinois and Wisconsin will be eligible to apply. In order to determine your eligibility to participate in this project, contact Phillip Alberti, U of I Extension commercial agriculture educator at palberti@illinois.edu.

Interested applicants will receive a grower information form detailing the study in addition to an online application detailing crop reporting district, soil texture, variety, seed and transplant source, previous crop and so forth. This information is required to determine eligibility.

Prospective participants will be alerted of their inclusion into the program shortly after submitting applications. The application period will conclude July 24.

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