Hemp discoveries buzzing at research facility
Oregon State University continues to see opportunities for providing long-term research designed to build a vibrant hemp economy in Oregon.
The goal is to develop comprehensive market access for hemp growers and enhance the profitability for farms by providing alternatives for biomass and other varietals of hemp, including grain, fiber and other expected uses. In Aurora, the North Willamette Research and Extension Center is one of 10 agricultural experiment stations across the state partnering with the College of Agricultural Science's Global Hemp Innovation Center (GHIC) in this ongoing research and education effort.
At NWREC, Dr. Lloyd Nackley (Nursery Production) is the GHIC research liaison. This year he coordinated with Dr. Kristine Buckland's specialty seed program and Dr. Cyndi Ocamb, OSU plant pathologist, to conduct research that would inform North Willamette Valley hemp farmers about preferred planting dates, preferred fertility practices and suitable varieties.
This year's research at NWREC focused on hemp nutrition and a coordinated multi-site variety trial. The nutrition study compared two commercial liquid injection fertilizers — and a no-fertilizer treatment — on the growth and production of three hemp varieties planted at two different dates (early summer and mid-summer).
Nackley said the study was incredibly useful for learning about the timing and rates of hemp field fertigation. The field, surrounded by sunflowers, was always abuzz with bees and pollinators, too.
The NWREC was also part of a two-location variety trial comparing results from identical studies established at two of OSU's agricultural experiment stations. The two farms, NWREC and the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (HAREC), were selected to provide contrasting environments for 10 identical varieties planted at the same time at both
locations. The HAREC crop heated up more quickly and the growth progressed about one week ahead of the NWREC crops. Plants were evaluated for plant size, structure, flower density and flower size.
Another output for 2020 was the development of a new publication providing the basics of hemp pollination. The publication, authored by NWREC researchers Nackley and Buckland, is publicly available through the OSU Extension Service catalog at
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