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Seeds from International Hemp show greatest promise in U.S. research

Henola & Bialobrzeskie growing on test plots in Poland.Henola & Bialobrzeskie growing on test plots.
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A Polish hemp variety outperformed 12 other cultivars for grain production in research carried out at a university in the U.S. state of North Dakota. Results showed that Henola, a cultivar developed by researchers at the Institute of Natural Fibers & Medicinal Plants (IWNiRZ), Poznań, Poland, yielded 1,720 lbs. per acre (780 kg/0.4 hectare), roughly 340 lbs. (~154 kg) more than the second-highest yielding variety, X-59, a Canadian cultivar.

The variety trial, which also included 11 Canadian strains and one from the USA, was conducted by the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Carrington Research Extension Center. The research center trials a diverse range of crops and varieties each year aimed to help inform North Dakota farmers which cultivars are optimal for their region.

Henola’s background

Developed specifically for grain farming through seven years of breeding research at IWNiRZ’s Pętkowo Experimental Station, Henola made its debut in Europe on a limited basis in 2017, later entering the U.S. market in 2018. The variety is registered with Poland’s Central Research Center for Cultivated Plant Varieties in 2018, and is approved by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Białobrzeskie, a dual-cropping strain from the IWNiRZ seed catalog which was also in the NDSU study, was the second-best performer in height, reaching nearly 64 inches (~1.5 meters) while also delivering 963 lbs. of seeds per acre (~437 kg/0.4 hectares).

The first Polish variety of fibrous monoecious hemp, Białobrzeskie is characterized by its high quality fibers and ample seed production. Historically grown for textile fibers, its stem cores are also used for a variety of hurd applications such as hempcrete construction and animal bedding; its flowers have also proven to suitable for CBD and other extracts, primarily due to a cannabinoid profile that is stable at less than 0.2% THC.

Financial returns

Białobrzeskie also promised the greatest financial returns among 11 hemp cultivars in a separate study by researchers at the University of Kentucky (UK) released earlier this year, producing the highest grain yield, with estimated potential returns from the sale of seed and biofuel material of $1,564 (€1,328) per hectare ($632/€536 per acre). That study looked at six fiber-only hemp varieties and five varieties that produce both fiber and significant grain, comparing their economic potential as commodity crops.

International Hemp, the exclusive licensor and distributor of Henola and Bialobrzeskie in the Americas, supplied U.S. farmers, non-profit researchers and land grant universities with certified seed in more than 40 states across the USA.

Focus on fiber, grain

While much of the focus in the U.S. has been on cultivating hemp for cannabinoids, International Hemp has focused on importing, propagating, and distributing Polish-bred fiber and grain hemp varieties.

In addition to X-59, the Canadian hemp varieties in the NDSU variety trial were CFX-2, CRS-1, Katani, Grandi, Canda, Joey, Altair, Vega, CFX-1; NWG Abound of the USA was also in the study.

North Dakota, a traditional grower of soybeans, corn, sugar beets, wheat, and canola, was the 7th biggest producer of industrial hemp among U.S. states this year, with 7,070 acres (2,860 hectares), double the area planted the previous year. Neighboring Montana was the USA’s leader in 2020 with 44,910 acres (18,175 hectares).

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