VINCENNES, Ind. — Researchers at Southwest Purdue Agriculture Center are studying hemp and the benefits of growing it.
“Hemp research is in its infancy,” said Josh Kraft, Ph.D. student at Purdue University, during the virtual SWPAC field day. “Most research is from Europe or Asia. These countries use genotypes that may not perform the same here in the Midwest. So, it’s hard for us to tell how these results translate. There’s also little information available for organic farmers.
“To try and answer some of these questions, we’re undertaking a crop rotation experiment at Purdue University.”
Research detailing hemp’s effect on weed seedbanks, and publications detailing hemp’s effect on soil characteristics, are also in the works.
About Industrial Hemp
Hemp is a multipurpose crop that is grown for three primary uses: seed, fiber and secondary metabolites.
“Hemp seed is rich in fatty acids,” Kraft said. “It can be used as food for humans or animals, or pressed into oil. That oil can be used as a salad dressing, or used to make plastic, cosmetics, etcetera.
“There are two main types of hemp fibers: bast and hurd fibers. Bast fibers tend to be longer and stronger. Those are typically used for textiles and clothing. Hurd fibers are used mostly for construction materials.”
Hemp also can be used for secondary metabolites.
“By law, the THC level has to be less than 0.3 percent,” Kraft said. “However, CBD is a popular, lucrative metabolite produced by hemp. It’s known to have anti-epileptic effects. It’s thought to be an anti-anxiety (product) and possibly a pain reliever.”
Hemp has a deep root system, so it’s thought to increase soil organic matter. Hemp may also decrease weed pressure in fields.