Hamons, G.1; Wickline, B.2; Peplowski, J.3
1Ag & Natural Resourses Extension Agent, WVU Extenison Service, Marlinton, WV, 24954
2Ag & Natural Resourses Extension Agent, WVU Extension Service, Union, WV, 24983
3Ag & Natural Resourses Extension Agent, WVU Extension Service, Lewisburg, WV, 24901


Industrial Hemp Production in West Virginia

Research Abstract

The goal of this project was to assess every aspect of hemp production on multiple sites in the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia.  The need for this arose as the number of acres in production rose from 14-acres in 2017 to an estimated 640-acres in 2019.  Data for economics, hemp yields, nutrient management, diseases, insects and IPM issues were collected and analyzed.  Collection of such data will allow agents to advise producers in production of hemp including startup costs, variety selection and sourcing, integrated pest management, and nutrient recommendations.

The primary focus of hemp production has shifted to cannibidiol (CBD) oil from hemp fiber.  With such a new and emerging industry there are and will continue to be numerous questions surrounding growing hemp for CBD production.  With those questions, agents saw an opportunity to partner with producers to capture data and gain knowledge about the concept of growing hemp, troubleshooting issues, nutrient management and various hemp variety performance.

By scientific name, both hemp and Marijuana are the same, however, varietal differences exist between the two.  The primary difference is Marijuana varieties have a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) value greater than 0.3% (typically much greater; 5%-30%) and very low CBD concentrations; desirable hemp varieties contain very low levels of THC with high concentrations of CBD.

Data was collected at eight sites with six different hemp varieties.  Collected data included plant variety, production yields, CBD concentration, THC concentration, and tissue analysis.  At each site four plants of the same variety were evaluated.  Each plant had a green weight taken and divided into leaf material, bud material and stem to evaluate potential bud mass ratio, stem ratio, and leaf ratio of each plant.  Each variety then had two plants dried to determine moisture level of the plant at harvest. Plant and bud material were then sampled for CBD and THC content using a certified and accredited lab.

The collected data from the field and an additional producer questionnaire(s) were analyzed to garner information we can share with current and future hemp producers. 


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