Volume 1 Issue 1, May 6th 1999


Top of the Crop
The Myth About Hemp
Bugs and Biologicals
THC Content of Hemp Oil
E-Interview with Jace Callaway and David Pate
Manitoba Regional Report: Warren Ellis of Prairie Hemp
Northern Ontario Grain Report
Hemp Shorts

DISTRIBUTION & SUBSCRIPTION INFO: The HCFR is available for free to interested parties only on the Internet. Estimated circulation for this first issue is 3,000. We encourage associations working in the industry to circulate the HCFR to their members. We also invite Webmasters to post the HCFR on their sites. Contact us regarding publishing formats.

To subscribe directly to the HCFR, please email subject line SUBSCRIBE. If you no longer want to receive email about Canadian's hemp industry, please email us at the same address, subject line UNSUBSCRIBE.


Publisher: AHEM
Editor: Arthur Hanks
Sales & Sponsorship: Ryan Crawford
Distribution: Jason Freeman

Editorial and Research Assistant: Brian James

Contributors in this Issue:

Jace Callaway, Jon Cloud, Ryan Crawford, Jessica Dawe, John Dvorak, Jason Freeman, Giselle Lussier, David Pate.

SUBMISSIONS: Submissions are welcome. Please contact HCFR editor, Arthur Hanks, with your story, research or information for inclusion in the HCFR.



Smell the coffee and grab a bagel. Dial-up, log on and check for new mail. And it's here. Welcome to the first issue of the Hemp Commerce & Farming Report, a new online-only publication dedicated to the Canadian industrial hemp industry.

Why online only? Distribution. The Internet allows us to quickly and to easily reach our admittedly specialised audience in our small but growing industry. Offering subscriptions for free cuts down on a further barrier to entry; the key issue is to get the information out to all interested parties. Of course, despite the lack of printer, paper and postage bills at our end, there are still costs of doing business. Please take a moment to contact our sponsors and find out what they have to offer you.

As we enter the 1999 growing season, hemp is still one of the few Good News stories in Canadian agriculture. With hemp production remaining in the public eye, it is a great opportunity for other good ideas in the sector to be brought forward. In this light, we have assembled an interesting range of materials for our premiere issue, including articles on organics, "The Myth About Hemp" and IPM, "Bugs and Biologicals". We are taking a look at one of the regulatory issues dogging the industry in "THC content of Hemp Oil". As well, we have reports from Manitoba and Ontario. "Top of the Crop" and "Hemp Shorts" are both recurring features that will present news bites that you may have overlooked.

Like the hemp industry itself, the HCFR is a work in progress. We will be developing features and expanding coverage as we grow this journal. Theme issues on building materials, pulp and paper, and textiles are being planned. We are will be developing into a web site, and publishing semi-annually in print format. We'll keep you posted through our list serv and through this journal.

Enjoy the issue and feel free to write us with your comments.

Before I sign off, I would like to call attention to our hemp media predecessors. Commercial Hemp magazine, HempWorld magazine, Hemp Magazine and the Mid-South Fibre Network all gave years of service in dedication to this useful plant. Their accomplishments were remarkable and they are all missed. From publisher to publisher, I say thank you.

Arthur Hanks

May 1999




WHAT'S IN THE GROUND? - Licenses to farmers have been issued since March this year, and as we go to press, accurate figures are not available. Health Canada has stated that their goal is a two-week turn-around-time in application; farmers will probably continue to receive licenses well into May (its becoming a tradition.).

Over the winter of 98-99 a number of companies and individuals have touted optimistic figures and predictions for acreages this year, well in advance of securing seed or licenses for contracted farmers. According to these early projections, close to 30,000 acres (13,600+ ha.) will be planted in Canada this year, with Manitoba accounting for about half of this figure; hemp production in Ontario will continue to grow strongly, and substantial crops will be planted for the first time this year in BC, Alberta and the Maritimes.

Source: AHEM files

SEED LIST - Health Canada has approved 23 varieties of seed for the 1999 commercial growing season. New entry includes Anka (the first Canadian cultivar). Several other varieties available this spring that were replicated in Canada over 1998 including Finland's FIN 314, The Ukraine's Zolotonosha 11 and 15, USO 14 and 31 and Germany's Fasamo. The Romanian Irene and Secuieni varieties are off the list, as they periodically tested over 0.3% depending on local conditions. Ukrainian strains USO 11, 13, 15 and Zolotonosha 13 were listed conditionally last year, and are not on this year's list.

In regards to monitoring, no cultivars will be required to be double-tested this year

Source: Health Canada, Canterra Seeds, GEN-X, Kenex.

PROCESSING - The City of Dauphin, Manitoba has reached an agreement with Consolidated Growers and Processors (CGP) to construct a processing plant - the first dedicated hemp facility in western Canada. The City and Rural Municipality of Dauphin have agreed to contribute $500,000 worth of roads and infrastructure to the project. The plant will process oil and fibre for a wide range of manufacturing uses. CGP has reported that the proposed plant will have capacity for 100,000 tonnes of stock and 15,000 tonnes of seed each year. Most of the supply will be grown within the immediate region. The project will create 100 processing and technical jobs in the region, and will begin construction this summer. The plant is slated to be completed by 2001.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press, Resource News International

AMERICA, AMERICA, AMERICA - As of the spring of 1999, at least 14 US states are exploring industrial hemp legislation or research. In April, North Dakota became the first state to decriminalise hemp growing, reclassifying industrial hemp from a noxious weed to an oilseed crop. Also in April, Hawaii's bill, involving a proposed 10-acre research crop, narrowly passed the state senate after a bitter debate. It is expected to be signed by the governor in June. Significantly, a separate bill requests controlled human and animal trials involving hempseed oil.

Other states where there is legislative action and/or interest include Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.

California state Democrats have also endorsed industrial hemp at a recent party convention.

Any hemp cultivation in the US has to be performed under permit from the DEA; the argument for state legislation is that it will generate moral and political force for such a license to be issued by the Federal agency. Canadians chafing at Health Canada's restrictions and guidelines may find it instructive to review the DEA's stipulations, which include that the crop be surrounded by a 10-foot high chain-link fence topped by barbed wire, that the crop is lighted at night and that it remains under 24-hour armed guard.

Source:, AHEM files

RESEARCH - Looking for a starting point on the Internet for research on new use industrial crops? Check out Agriculture & Agri-food Canada's web site at The ACEIS Search tool will allow you to search all AAFC information on the Internet including ACEIS, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, National Farm Products Council, and of all of AAFC'S partners' web sites.



By Jon Cloud, Cloud Mountain Organics

The myth is that organic hemp can be grown on any field and it will produce a crop that will prove to be economically viable and at the same time, return fertility to the soil. This is especially true for farmers growing organic hemp for seed harvest.

Hemp production is frequently started on farms with marginal income that are looking for alternatives to stop their downward financial spiral. Many times the fields that receive the first hemp planting have a low fertility and have a history of producing poor crops. Traditionally, these fields are low in most, if not all, of the major nutrients and many of the micronutrients. Results of planting on such fields are dismal. It was William Blake who said, "The fox blames the trap, not himself." Thus, no production should occur until the fertility of the soil has been verified. Your basic soil test should analyse the following items: pH, Organic Matter levels, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur, Calcium, Zinc, Manganese, Boron, Iron and Copper. These tests are very inexpensive and local Agricultural Extension Agents of Agriculture Ministry personnel will provide you with a list of acceptable testing labs. You only need take the full battery of tests once every eight years. A reduced lists of tests for pH, Organic Matter Levels, Phosphorus and Potassium should be administered every other year. Do not grow hemp on land that does not meet the following requirements:

pH between 6.3 and 7.8

Organic matter over 3.5% is good and 5% is better

Medium to High Phosphorus Levels (40 ppm)

Medium to High Potassium levels (250 ppm)

Good Sulphur Levels (5,000 ppm)

No Excess Calcium (<6,000 PPM)

Not only are the levels of nutrients important but the ratios of nutrients are equally as important. For instance, if your phosphorus levels are low and your calcium levels are high, the result is that you are getting less phosphorus than you think you are as the calcium is bonding to the phosphorus, making it less available. Thus the phosphorus, critical for seed development and seed yield, is so low that it will prevent respectable yield from occurring.

All Cloud Mountain farmers, for example, participate in a Quality Production Program. This program analysis the protein percentage, oil percentage, moisture levels, bushel weight, size of the seed and dockage levels being grown at each farm. This program assures customers and consumers that they are receiving the quality they believe they are purchasing.

All of the nutrients listed above also impact on the quality of the product being generated in your fields. Don't make the mistake of expecting your land to produce yields that are not possible. Check out your soil first.



Canada's leading expert in organic growing techniques needs farmers to grow hemp as well as beans, flax, wheat, corn, sunflowers, and lentils.

Call 416-762-0940, fax 416-762-8561 or e-mail to: Include your mailing address and phone number in your communication.



by Jessica Dawe, Nature's Alternative

Wireworm, Spider mites, Lygus and Thrips, these are just a few of the pests encountered by growers in the first season of hemp production. All these pests are a threat to your crop. As yet there are no pesticides registered for hemp and demand for chemical free product is high. So what choice for control does a farmer have?

Natural predators currently used in greenhouses are now making their way outdoors. No longer is it just ladybugs for aphids but there are controls for a multitude of pests occurring in the field. The only concern a farmer must have, as with any pest control program, is monitoring. Through careful monitoring and timely predator application, growers are able to produce high quality product without sacrificing yield. So what pest indicators do you look for and what control do you use?

Wireworm is the juvenile form of the "Click beetle"(Agriotes mancus). They will be visible in the top 6" of soil in late spring and are most abundant in fields formerly pasture or grassland. Damage will appear as irregular patches of stunted plants and roots will appear chewed. The worms are long (0.5-2cm) and segmented with a hard shiny yellow-brown shell. A check for these pests can easily be done in early May, long before your crop is in.

At random spots in your field (1-2 holes/acre) dig a hole 20cm wide and 15cm deep. Place a handful of untreated corn seed and cover with soil, then with black plastic. The germinating seed will give off gases, which will attract nearby worms. In 3-4 weeks go back to the test sites and inspect soil for inhabiting worms. If more than 10 worms are present within the 10 test sites then control will be necessary. Control can be achieved through yearly application of the beneficial nematodes Heterohabidis and Steinernema spp. These nematodes are native to BC and have no detrimental effects on crops but will parasitise over 250 soil-dwelling pests. The nematodes enter the prey through available orifices and once inside, releases toxic bacteria which will slowly kill the pest.

Spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) are nearly invisible to the naked eye. The damage is first seen as small white spots on the top of leaves, usually in the tender upper canopy. As the damage progresses, webs will appear and the leaves will be covered in white lesions. The mites can be seen on the underside of leaves and appear as small black moving flecks. Control with Phytoseiulis persimilis, a prey specific mite which feed's solely on the spider mite should be implemented as soon as damage is visible.

Lygus Spp. otherwise known as the Tarnished Plant Bug was apparent in all hemp crops on the Island in 1998 and throughout crops across Canada. As an adult it is tan coloured to black with a distinctive triangular light coloured spot between the wings. Seen mostly in the apical meristem the insect feeds on the soft new tissue. Often confused with Thrips or herbicide damage, the stem appears stunted and malformed. Brown lesions where the insect has fed will be visible along the upper stem. Management may be assisted with the early introduction of Podisus spp. the Spined Soldier Bug. Podisus are native to BC and are a voracious general predator.

Thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis) A small, elongated insect, ranging in colour from yellow to black, are currently a very serious pest in vegetable crops. Due to their feeding habits, they have the potential to be "The Pest" of Hemp. These insects infest the flower heads and feed on the developing calyx. Eventually the flower will deform, in turn affecting the yield and viability. However, there are a number of predators available for control. Amblysieus cucumeris, and A. degenerens are both predatory mites that are extremely effective when applied early. As well, what saved the crops this year was the high population of the native predator, Orius tristicolor.

Only by increasing our knowledge through ongoing education will we be able to produce this crop more efficiently in the future. Although the past belief of pest resistance in hemp is now a myth, I must give a sigh of relief, as it is better to know thine enemy then to expect no enemy at all.


Nature's Alternative Insectary Ltd.

Providing BC grown Beneficial insects for controlling pests in the large crop or home garden.

Predators available for controlling;

Aphids, Thrips, Spider mites, Fungus, gnats, White flies, Scale,

Loopers, Mealybugs,

And many, many more. For more information or to place an order please contact

NAI Ltd., 1636 E. Island Hwy. V9P 9A5 or 1-800-668-3367,



THC CONTENT OF HEMP OIL: A Look at the Issue

Or the hemp baby doesn't exist

by Arthur Hanks

Canada is a world leader in oilseeds production and processing, and many companies investing in Canada's new hemp industry are targeting hemp oil and hemp grain as among the first products in the launch of their ventures. Because of their rich source of essential fatty acids and winning nutty taste, Hemp foods are earning a reputation as a good, highly nutritious food. Indeed hemp as a source of food may be the first product that will move hemp closer into the agricultural mainstream. However, there are legal restrictions on using hemp as a food source, centring on the issue of THC content.

* Health Canada's take *

Under the Industrial Hemp Regulations published by Health Canada, allowable THC content for oil and other derivatives is currently set at 10 milligrams per litre or 10 parts per million (for the decimal minded, this is 0.00001 %). Despite the smallness of this figure, it may not be inconsequential.

According to Niels Hansen-Trip, the head of Health Canada's Hemp Project, the limit of 10 ppm was set as the estimated safe amount of THC a 20kg. child could consume if the child constantly used hemp oil and hemp food products. This figure was arrived at as a result of calculations based on figures supplied by industry stakeholders during the drive to have regulations ready by spring of 1998, the year of Canada' s first modern hemp harvest.

There is no THC in hempseed or hemp grain; there is only THC in the flowers, buds and leaves of cannabis. However, as seed is produced in those areas of the plant, resin will remain during harvesting and processing. Any levels of THC in seed and seed derivatives are residual and attributable to the plant variety and to the cleaning process.

The technical challenge of seed cleaning aside, any clear demarcation of the legal limits of THC in hempseed and hempseed derivatives should be motivated by issues of health and not by politics.

* Switzerland is the only nation to have developed thorough guidelines on the issue *

Good information about the effects of THC in a human diet is hard to come by.

It is instructive to look at the Swiss model. For sake of comparison, the Swiss have developed specific limits for a variety of foods, recognising that a hard limit for all products is impractical, as consumption habits vary. The THC limit of hemp oil products is set at 50 mg/kg (50 ppm), while hempseeds are set at 20 mg/kg, breads and pastries 5mg/kg, and spirits 5 mg/kg).

Under this model no instances of side effects due to the consumption of hemp-based and hemp content foods have been reported.

The European Union has not developed standards yet.

* What are the effects of this level of THC to a human? *

A recent study (July 1998) published by Germany's nova Institute tackled this question.

THC-Limits for Food: a scientific study by F. Grontenhermen, M. Karus and D. Lohmeyer (published in Journal of the International Hemp Association, 5(2): 101-105, and available online at analysed the available evidence for the development of possible standards for Germany.

According to the study, most THC studies to date either involve subjecting high doses of isolated THC to animals (100+ mg/kg) or cell experimental studies. These studies are most often designed to determine negative, "toxic" effects of THC. However, the nova study recognises that THC functions differently in the body than other chemicals in food, as it acts only on cannabinoid receptors in body cells. Uniquely, high doses are less effective than one might think as effects decrease with exposure.

Secondly, in regards to children, who are usually more sensitive to harmful chemicals, they have fewer cannabinoid receptors - THC has less effect on them than adults. An Israeli study found that cannabis receptors do not develop until puberty ( A. Abrahamov, A. Abrahamov, R. Mechoulam (1995). An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology. Journal of the International Hemp Association 2(2): 76-79.)

In other words, the "hemp baby" may not exist, and THC limits on food should be developed with adults as a model.

In this light, the nova study suggests that a single dose of 5-mg THC and a daily dose of 10-mg THC do not cause perceptible or detrimental effects on health. To determine a pharmacologically innocuous daily intake, the nova study used a conservative safety factor of 10 in reaching a daily consumption dose of 1mg for a 70-kg person. Recognising different levels of consumption of food products, as well as extreme consumption habits, the study further recommended hemp oil limits in Germany be set at 20mg THC/Kg, breads, pastries and pastas at 1.5 mg THC/kg, alcoholic drinks 0.7 mg THC/kg and non-alcoholic drinks at 0.3 mg/kg. To reach these admittedly conservative levels, a hemp food lover would have to consume more food than would be practical.

* Oil spills *

The Swiss model and the nova Institute study are worth considering as Canada develops its own hemp food regulations. Of course, any THC should be adapted to local consumption. According to Statistics Canada (1996 figures), Canadians consume twice as much oil products (72.6 grams/daily) and half as much alcohol (255 ml/day) as their German counterparts (33g and 466 ml respectively). One issue in adapting the methodology of the nova study to the Canadian experience would be to recognise Canadian's continuing propensity for deep-fried oils - something hemp oil would never be used for. Also, keep in mind the nova Institute's very conservative safety factor; the standards appear higher than whatever was used for the 20 kg. child model.

As well, much of the debate on THC content in hemp foods has been negatively focussed on drug politics and not on food safety or nutrition. This is ignorant of the considerable health information compiled on hemp oils' therapeutic benefits. As well, the therapeutic benefits of THC itself are poised to be explored on a serious basis by the health community. Stay tuned.

For the development of the Canadian hemp foods industry, it is important that the regulations are founded on good methodology and the rules we develop are safe and sensible. Let's have no consumer surprises and let's allow for commerce to flourish as free markets are created for Canada's newest resource.





The HCFR recently approached Dr. Jace Callaway and David Pate of the University of Kuopio's Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry with some topical questions regarding hemp oil content in food. Jace Callaway, "The Father of Finnish Hemp", and the original breeder of FIN-314, is a recognised expert in the broad area of hemp foods; David Pate holds a Master's degree in plant biology, and is working towards a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry. The interview was conducted by email in May 1999.

Q1. The industrial hemp regulations in Canada currently set the THC limit in hemp oils at 10 PPM. What are your concerns with that limit?

A1. Normally, seeds from EU fibre varieties come out of the field with a 20-30 PPM THC value. Overall, we are concerned that the 10 PPM level is too low for this emerging industry, and unnecessary as well.

Q2. What are the effects of low-level amounts of THC in the system? What about build-up?

A2. None have been reported in the scientific literature. Build up, or bioaccumulation, is only significant in the interpretation of urine tests for THC.

Q3. Are these effects different for a diet including oils versus a diet of flour-based or beer-based products? Or are they all the same?

A3. The source of THC is not relevant, but the levels may differ in various products. It is important to note the way in which these foods are used or processed, as heated (above 60 C) hemp foods have a portion of their THC in its 'free' form (vs. its natural carboxylate form). This is important because the THC-carboxylate is not absorbed by the digestive system. Steam-sterilised seed, for example, probably has a higher percentage of its THC in the free form, compared to fresh viable seed. This is just one example of the way in which uninformed regulation is counterproductive.

Q4. Ever hear of a THC allergy?

A4. No, but the possibility exits. One can find examples of allergies to almost anything, including many foods.

Q5. What do you think of the Swiss model of regulation with their different levels of limits for different foods? Is it a good model?

A5. Yes, this is a good model, in our opinion.

Q6. What's going on in the EU with this issue? Do they have standards, or are developing to standards?

A6. Neither the US nor the EU have standards in this regard, and no health problems have resulted.

Q7. In the recent IHA journal, Karus et. al. made recommendations of 20 PPM as a safe and conservative dose. Could you provide a comment on this study?

A7. This was a good study. However, their recommended limits were the result of an extremely conservative approach involving safety margins upon safety margins. Considering the lack of acute or chronic toxicity for THC and other cannabinoids at reasonable doses in humans, such an approach seems unnecessary.

Q8. In their calculations of safe limits, the Karus group relies upon average food figures for the German population. Could you speculate on how different diets (say in Canada, we may eat more pastries like hemp donuts) may affect similar calculations?

A8. The limits proposed in this study were so conservative that such variation in diet is not of practical importance.

Q9. Adequate seed cleaning has been touted as a solution that can effectively deal with the THC problem. What's your experience with this and can you recommend a technology or processing practice?

A9. Extensive cleaning may lower THC levels, but some residual resin will remain adherent to the seed. This problem can be minimised by using very low THC varieties that are especially suited for food production, such as FIN-314.

Q10. Hemp as an animal feed in Canada is also something on the regulatory table. Can you point me towards any studies that deal with THC content in Feed (from chickens to beef)?

A10. Again, concerning putative THC toxicity, this is a non-issue. The animals do not suffer toxicity from their feed. Moreover, there is no evidence to suggest that animal-transmitted cannabinoids reach the human consumer. The risk of transmitting prions, growth hormones, antibiotics and pesticides

from animal products is a far greater health risk.


ARE YOU A small company looking for an affordable source of high quality hempseed oil?

If so please contact Jason Freeman at 604-255-7979

or, subject line HEMP OIL



Warren Ellis of Prairie Hemp: One grower's thoughts

By Giselle Lussier

As grain prices are on a steady decline, farmers have no choice but to investigate different ways of diversifying their farms as a way of supplementing their income. Will hemp production be considered a new ray of hope for the future of today's farmers? Warren Ellis, of Ellis Seeds in Wawanesa, is one of Manitoba's commercial hemp farmers who are exploring this option.

His advice: "Don't grow more than you can afford to lose." So when Ellis took part in forming Prairie Hemp Ltd. in 1998, his strategy was to contract out about 10 - 20 acres each to 40 farmers throughout the province. "Hempola is one of Prairie Hemp's major stockholders and we have a contract of about 500 acres of hemp per year with them," he explained, holding up one of Hempola's products, a bar of hemp soap.

Feeling that the big market for hemp will lie strongly with organic products, Ellis commented that he imagines hemp could be grown without herbicides - something that he personally would like to see in the future. But in his experience, the organic growers can't get enough fertility in their crop and they aren't getting paid enough to take a yield loss. Ellis reported that in 1998, an organic hemp grower averaged about 200 - 250 lbs. per acre while the conventional growers averaged about 670 lbs. (with some acres not harvested) with a price difference of $0.60 for a conventional grower and $0.80 cents for an organic crop

Although there were many differences between crops, Ellis commented that the contrasts were not relative to any specific location or soil type. "There was one guy who had 1600 pounds an acre and his neighbour only had 1,000 and we can't identify why the one was so much better," said Ellis, also commenting that they are still analysing management techniques that could affect the quality and yields.

* Costs of Production *

While a good yield of hemp can bring a big payoff, Ellis reported on the factors that one has to consider before getting into hemp production. "You are dealing with a seeding cost of about $80 per acre and each field has to be tested by the government for THC levels which also costs," he said. It was initially thought that fertiliser costs would be fairly significant, however Ellis commented that the commercial growers have decided to treat hemp in the same way as a high managed wheat. "If you apply too much fertiliser the growth tends to get unwilling to harvest."

Although hemp is famous for its tall spears that grow so dense it is actually known to repel weeds, the initial planting has to be dealt with very carefully, as the seeds are tiny and not very vigorous. "It's a little slow getting out of the ground and if you plant it a shade too deep it won't move too fast, so the initial emergence is to have weed control," explained Ellis.

Ellis has found that the crops are susceptible to Bertha Army Worms, a number of insects and sclerotinia. "Early influxes of weeds can cause serious problems and there really is nothing that you can spray on them," he explains. While Ellis and his partners do know that hemp doesn't like to sit in pools of water, they aren't sure of how the plant would react in dry conditions.

Observing and analysing is an ongoing exercise with any crop and hemp is no exception. Although they are not certain, Ellis' group of producers feels that hemp could be a daylight sensitive crop. If they are correct it would mean that if the crop were planted a little later in the season you might get the plant to flower at a shorter height. "That is very critical as a shorter plant would result in an easier harvest," surmised Ellis.

* Harvesting *

One of the biggest problems with hemp is trying to harvest the tall golden reeds that often stand about 13' high. "That is why we suggest that the growers not invest more then they can afford to lose, because if they get in the position where they can't harvest it - that's the best loss, to take the first loss. If you work at it too long, you will lose your combine," he said, reporting that during last year's hemp harvest, a few combines were lost, a few bearings were broken and a few caught on fire.

There were some producers who experimented with swathing by putting a swather on the front end loader of a tractor and cutting the tops off the hemp plant. "This worked out quite well as then we were only putting through two feet of product through the combine. But the down side is something that we suspect, although we can't really say for sure, we think the swath sucked some moisture out of the plant as the swathed hemp had considerably more dockage and a lot of empty seeds with no meat in them."

One question hemp producers are asking is: "Were last year's yields average, above average, or below?" After a few more years of commercial hemp production these questions will be answered - at present they can only guess. "We feel that last year's yields were average, but there is no way to be sure until we can compare the yields from year to year," he added.

"So far it seems like a crop of opposites," he says, explaining that last year the crop seemed to grow against conventional rhythm; first, with a late planting, and secondly, harvest seems to go smoother when the field has a moisture content of about 30%. "This year we are going to shy away from microclimates. Initially we thought growing hemp in a micro climate would work really well, however it worked too well as it grew up to 13' high and was impossible to harvest."

Ellis and other hemp producers are curious to see how the crop would fair in a fertile sandy soil. "It would be really neat to see what would happen. I've been told by some farmers in this area that sand doesn't dry out. Even during dry years when the moisture drops you can dig down and find moisture. I have a suspicion that if there is moisture four feet below the hemp plant could draw it up. The yields may suffer a little bit, but we don't know that yet."

* Where are the markets? *

Ellis's attitude right now is to have some fun with the crop, experiment with it, and analyse its growth by judging what he feels will affect it. As hemp production enters its second commercial season, it still holds a certain mystique and to many it is still considered "the forbidden fruit" arousing a special amount of curiosity amongst producers.

While Ellis says that there has been a tremendous amount of interest in the crop he commented that the market is still unstable. "We don't know how deep or strong this market is, and we don't know if the prices will drop if we get a huge supply."

What would Ellis like to see happen in the near future and where has he set his goals? He ponders for only a moment before answering, "A hemp oil processing plant is definitely a goal for the future of Prairie Hemp Ltd., but there will have to be consistency in the market first. At this point what we would like to see is our growers, and maybe a few others, form a co-operative where everyone is equal."

"The bottom line is, unless hemp develops an apparent value to justify its high price (hemp products are presently very expensive), or unless the price comes down, it could lose its mystique quite quickly," surmised Ellis. The biggest challenge on the production side is the harvesting - if there is a way to overcome this obstacle Ellis feels that while hemp may not be a Cinderella crop such as Canola, its production on a small scale may offer a few farmers a nice comfortable niche and a ray of hope for their future.

A version of this article was previously published in The Glenboro Gazette and The Brandon Sun.


WORKING IN FOOD OR AGRICULTURE? Wherever you are in Canada, QAC will assemble the resources and funding you need to get your business up and running.

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Contact Ron Schnider, President, Quality Assurance Consulting, or Doug Brown, Project Manager at: 604-732-8203, Fax: 604-732-8273 or email at



By Ryan Crawford

A new report by Herb Hinz, An Analysis of the Characteristic of Industrial Hempseed Grown in Northern Ontario, looks at data collected over 1998 by Gordon Scheifele, Northern Ontario Research Co-ordinator for OMAFRA and The University of Guelph.

The Northern Ontario research project was conducted on 32 plots across the region including sites in Dryden, Thunder Bay, Rainy River, Sudbury and Manitoulin Island. Cultivars covered in the study included Felina 34, Fedrina 74, Secuieni, Irene, Zolotonosha 11 and 13, Fedora 19, and FIN 314. Research such as this in important in determining the viability of foreign cultivars in this under performing agricultural region.

At each of the locations grain samples were collected from three test plots one square meter in size. Results obtained from the samples were averaged and extrapolated to produce yield values in tonnes per hectare. The study found an average yield of 1.01 tonnes/hectare. Fedrina 74, Felina 34, Fedora 19, Secuieni 1, and Irene had average yields of 1.23, 1.1, 1.02, 1.03 and 0.74 respectfully. Hinz cites previous research by David Marcus in suggesting that an average yield of hempseed between 0.7 and 1.2 tonne/hectare is an economically viable endeavour.

Average oil content in this research ranged from 24.97% to 28.85%. Secuieni 1 produced the highest average oil yield at 28.85%. The tendency of Secuieni 1 and Irene to exceed the legal 0.3% THC limit was observed in this study as well.

The Finnish variety FIN 314 had a average oil content of 26.2%, which is low in comparison to the reports stating this variety contained as much as 37% oil by weight. However, FIN 314 was not planted until early July and received a 60 day growing season whereas most other varieties received 110 to 120 days of growth.

The Study also looked at the Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) profile of the cultivars, including Linoleic Acid (Omega 6), Linolenic Acid (Omega 3) and Gamma Linoleic Acid. The ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 in nearly all varieties was 3.1 to 1. The highest producer of GLA was FIN 314 at 4.22%. Other varieties ranged between 1.73 to 2.51. The average Protein content of the 8 varieties was 34.44% with an average Fibre content of 29.06%. The moisture content of samples used for the study was 12%, which according to Gordon Scheifele exceeds the standard practice of drying hemp grain to 5% moisture prior to pressing.

According to the study, the French varieties Felina 34, Fedrina 74 and Fedora 19 and Ukrainian varieties Zolotonosha 11 and 13 all exhibited acceptable yields, as well as good oil content and EFA profiles. The below average performance of FIN 314 in this trial warrants a fresh look with a normal 100 to 120 day growing season. Research in Northern Ontario will continue this year.



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TICKER TAPE - John E. Dvorak (Boston Hemp Co-op and ex-Hemp Magazine) has created an online portfolio tracking the performance of a selection of companies working with industrial agriculture and pharmaceuticals. Companies include the Real Goods Trading Company, Consolidated Growers and Processors, and Kafus Environmental Industries.

To access CANNABIS HEMPSTOCKS, go to and click on Portfolios. Use "hempstocks" as Yahoo ID, and "hemp" as the password. To have another company added to this portfolio, contact John at

R&D MANAGEMENT CHANGE - Ruth Shamai, president of R&D Hemp Inc. has announced that Dr. Dave Hutcheson has left R&D. Dr. Jack Moes, of The Great AgVenture and formerly of Manitoba Agriculture, has agreed to work with R&D to provide production information and assistance to R&D farmers.

According to Ms. Shamai, the break-up with Hutcheson was friendly and mutually agreeable. R&D Hemp's production is on schedule for the coming season, having expanded to 600 exclusively certified organic and/or native grown acres.

"We have great relationships with our farmers and with our customers," commented Ms. Shamai. "Our focus on the certified organic crop and our breeding work set us apart from many other companies."

R&D is hoping to register a new variety for commercial propagation and sale later in 1999, and will continue to breed its proprietary, high-GLA, CanEFA variety. R&D also expects to make several new product announcements before the end of the year.

Source: R&D Hemp

KENEX ANNOUNCES NEW WESTERN US BROKER -Pain Court Ontario's Kenex has added Hemptech's John Roulac to their sales team. Roulac will be the Western US sales broker for Kenex's hempseed products, which include hulled hempseed and hempseed oil. Based out of Sebastopol, California, Roulac brings in a considerable knowledge base in hempseed products, marketing and new product ideas. Kenex also reports that Roulac will provide assistance in the development of new product lines; they have also announced the opening of a new warehouse in Ontario, California. Check out for more details.

Source: Kenex, Hemptech

HEMPWICH BUTTER IS WINNING FANS - Hulled hempseed is winning fans across North America for its versatility and absence of gritty shells. Hemp nut butter can be used as a delicious substitute on breads, for use in dips and spreads or to add body to soups and sauces. Try this one out:

1 1/4 cups hulled hempseeds

2 tablespoons hemp oil or olive oil

1 small clove garlic

1 teaspoon soy sauce

sea salt and pepper

Toast the seeds lightly. Once they have cooled, grind one cup of the seeds in a coffee grinder, blender or Champion juicer. Combine the rest of the unground hulled seeds, the ground seeds, oil and pressed garlic in a small bowl, and blend them thoroughly with a fork. Season with soy sauce, salt and pepper. Add more oil for a softer consistency.

Tastes great on bagels or bread. Be sure to refrigerate the butter in a closed jar.


THIS JUST IN - Discover Industrial Hemp in Quesnel, BC! All are invited to a Public Meeting on Industrial Hemp to be held in Quesnel on Saturday, May 8th at 2 PM. Free admission and local speakers and specialists; hemp snacks will be served. This meeting is being held during International Forestry Week, and a report will be presented at the Economic Development Summit to be held at 108 Mile House, BC on May 13-15. If you want to attend, contact Mike Doyle at, Tel: 250-002-3611 or Fax: 250-747-4377.



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