Volume 2, Issue 14, October 2000 ISSN 1488-3988
Brant County Hemp Mission to Germany
By Doug Albin
In August 2000 three Ontario businessmen from Brant/Waterloo County travelled to the former state of East Germany. We witnessed first hand the latest techniques for growing, harvesting, processing and marketing of hemp products.
In Germany hemp is marketed as a superior animal product. It is used as pet food and for pet & horse bedding. In insulation and building products hemp contains significant structural and environmental benefits. The automotive industry is presently the largest user of hemp fibre. Substantial growth is expected in this segment.
Keep in mind Germany provides significant financial support to farmers and new industrial ventures and acts as a catalyst for new businesses to market new products.
A thriving Canadian industrial hemp fibre and food industry is still a few years away. In the mean time we need to prepare and position our selves as the leading export nation for hemp products. North America will accept environmentally friendly processes especially if they are cost effective.
Growers waiting anxiously for an alternative crop to grow must be patient. Expansion of physical hemp products is not what is required in 2000 or 2001. What is required is the continued building of relationships with potential industrial users of hemp products.
We know we can grow it. We know we can process it. We know the benefits.
I can possibly be persuaded to expound on the next obvious step.
Doug Albin, (Dalbin@sprint.ca) is the manager of the Brant Agribusiness Opportunities Association, Brant County, Ontario. His recent fact-finding trip was paid for by Brant Agri-Business, the Brant County Federation of Agriculture and the provincial Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). Another article on the Albin that ran in the Brantford Expositor is posted at: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v00.n1384.a06.html
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Hemp Essential Oil: Sweet Smell of Success
By Dr. Sumach
Early test offerings of industrial hemp essence from GEN-X Research (Regina, Saskatchewan) are rather wonderful. Here is the captured soul dew of a living hemp meadow under big clear sunny skies, fifty pounds of fresh hemp buds reduced to a single ounce of hemp essential oil. The initial sensation of freshness is astounding
Introducing a new aromatic to the world is like discovering a new planet or finding gold on vacation. It is a lot of work to make hemp essence; an acre of hemp yields just 3 to 5 litres of essence at an extraction rate of 0.15 % -- a mere fraction of one percent. Pure certified organic aromatic motherboard hemp essence is expensive -- $2,000 US per litre -- but this anoints a lot of product.
Swiss Hemp farmers began distilling hemp essence almost a decade ago which they calculated as the best return for their high altitude hemp crops. Their people developed an instant niche providing essence for hardcore European manufacturers of Euro hanf /chanvre perfumes, toiletries, and confections. But there is never enough hemp essence to go around.
GEN-X Research contracted a local distiller to produce hemp essential oils under (Health Canada) license -- the first in Canada. GEN-X uses their own licensed hemp. Have investigated terpene test patterns of many different hemp varieties for essential potential, they are preparing to tap the vacant hemp essence niche in North America.
As noted in our previous stories on hemp-content alcohols, there are many similarities in the organic chemistry of cannabis and hops. Both plants contain notable levels of the terpene Micron -- source of their respective characteristic odours. Myrcene appears in much lower concentrations in Juniper berries (an ingredient in Gin) and Frankincense resin (gift to baby Jesus). Recent studies suggest Myrcene has powerful antioxidant properties, and may have important health benefits.
Hemp yields a fraction of 1-% essential oil from the flowers, about the same as hops. It is more efficient to grow and distil a ton of hemp than a ton of hops. Hemp essence has other charms than just smelling nice, it is a mountain of 58 monoterpines and some 38 known sesquiterpines. Destroyed by the process of steam distillation, THC does not pass into the essence. (For composition analysis, click here)
Folk tales that tell us that the smell of hemp discourages flies and mosquitoes is rooted in fact -- Limonene, a pleasant smelling citrus-like component in hemp essence is known to be an effective insect repellent, it is not a poison. Limonene is also a potent natural fungicide with a mild antiseptic action. It has a very pleasant smell and is very safe.
The last word on CGP:
The season premiere of CBC TV's Country Canada, broadcast nationally at 730 PM on October 4th hopefully buried CGP once and for all. Opening with footage of a sad, sad farmer, torching his worthless-at-the-market bales of hemp, the narrative traced CGP's fast arc through the world of hemp -- from the American company's entry in Manitoba agriculture, its ill-fated venture to finance a major hemp operation in Dauphin, Manitoba, to its ugly and shocking dissolution.
Overall, quite a down note piece about the industry.
Some of the gold rescued from burning hemp straw:
Low THC breeding project underway:
Parkland Hemp Growers, Industrial Hemp Seed Development Company, and Institute of Bast Crops
Manitoba Agriculture has announced that is has given a $25000 grant to Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers.
The ARDI grant, Research, Evaluate, Introduce and Multiply Low THC Industrial Hemp Varieties from Ukraine for Development of a Canadian Industrial Hemp Seed Industry has a goal of reaching zero-rated hemp varieties within the next two-three years.
The summary notes "The Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers (PIHG) have entered into an alliance with the Bast Institute of the Ukraine to bring low THC varieties from the Ukraine to Canada for entrance into a breeding program in Chatham, Ontario. Three low THC varieties will be grown and evaluated over two years. Varieties will be evaluated for growth, habit, maturity, THC levels and seed yield. Seed will be grown in Manitoba in year two to ensure that the varieties will be successful in the environment of Western Canada. It is believed that varieties within this program will be zero-rated (<0.005% THC) for THC within two to three years. "
ARDI has also recently given $134,000 to the University of Manitoba's Department of Food and Nutrition for two flaxseed studies: Effects of Flaxseed Oil on Glycemic Control, Insulin Resistance and Adipose Metabolism and Flax and Flaxseed Components in Baked Products: Effects on Glycemic Control in Diabetes.
The Ontario Hemp Alliance is a membership driven organisation dedicated to the development of a viable, vertically integrated hemp industry in Ontario. The OHA mandate and membership reflects the broad interest in hemp from all sectors of the economy. For more information contact Louise Hollingsworth, Executive Director: firstname.lastname@example.org , Ph: 519-770-3444 or check out www.ontariohempalliance.org.
Rodale Institute releases Farm Systems Trial (FST) study
Equal yields for organic vs. conventional
By Jason Freeman
Pennsylvania's Rodale Institute has released some intriguing data from their 15 year Farm Systems Trial.
The FST is a 15 year old comparative analysis of three farming systems: one conventional system and two organic systems. One organic system uses manure for fertilization while the other relies on cover cropping.
The study, which is ongoing, compared variables such as yield, input costs, soil fertility and soil water retention capacity of the three systems. Yields between the three systems were equivalent over the 15 years. Both the organic systems producing lower yields in the 4 year transition period, yet greatly out-produced the conventional system in times of severe weather, especially drought.
This makes an interesting case for transition-to-organic grants or subsidies.
Input costs for both organic systems were lower than the conventional system, (this is one of the most attractive features of organic systems to farmers). Soil health also faired much better for the organic systems. Based on microbial content, the soil of the organic systems contained millions of these micronutrients while an equal measurement of the conventionally farmed soil contained only a few hundred such organisms.
Both organic systems' higher yields during years of drought is explained by these systems ability to retain moisture far in excess of the moisture retained by conventionally farmed soil.
One of the most interesting findings of the FST is the role organic agriculture could play to reduce global warming. When we look at the world with a holistic eye we flirt with the notion of it all making sense.
For more information about the FST or the Rodale Institute contact Sarah Eykyn, 480-659-0614, EykynPR@aol.com .
Jason Freeman is the President of BioHemp Technologies, an organic hempseed foods processor and marketer. He is also co-publisher of the journal. Reach him at: email@example.com
Abstracts for Bioresource Hemp 2000
1) Environment and Genetic Effect on Quality of Hemp Grain and Oil Extracted from Grain Grown Across Northern Ontario (46th to 50th Latitude and 80th-94th Longitude) in 1998 & 1999
By Gordon Scheifele, M.Sc. (1) and Dr. Roman Przybylski, Ph. D. (2)
The largest and most comprehensive hemp grain quality research project in Canada was conducted across northern Ontario in 1998 and 1999 from 46th to 50th latitude and 80th to 94th longitude (an east west distance of 2,000 km).
The performance of 8 hemp grain type cultivars was evaluated for yield and quality. A total of 51 and 44 harvested grain samples were analyzed for oil yield; protein, profile of 16 amino acids (AA) and fibre of the oil cake; and profile for 12 fatty acids (FA) of oil in 1998 and 1999 respectively. Data were collected from both commercial and 5 Kemptville College/University of Guelph agricultural research sites across northern Ontario with replicated research trials. The two years multiple location and variety data addresses the environment x genotype effect on hemp grain, oil cake and oil quality.
1998 hand harvested (hh) mean grain yields (cleaned, 12% moisture) for 8 varieties averaged 1062 kg/ha over 5 research sites. 1999 mean yield for 8 varieties over 2 research sites was 1297 kg/ha (hh) and 2 varieties (Fedora 19 & Fasamo) averaged 1100 kg/ha (combine harvested, cleaned, 12% moisture) on a commercial 4 ha field. The mean oil content of 6 varieties across 5 sites for 1998 was 30.4% compared to 32.9% for 1999. Fedora 19 had consistently higher oil content in 1998 (31.7%) and in 1999 (34.1%) than other varieties. The 5 research sites ranged from low of 30.9% to high of 33.8%. The agronomic management practice of nitrogen fertility levels did not impact oil content, protein or fibre levels. Time of harvest (grain ripeness) and time of seeding (length of growing season) did impact oil content, protein and fibre levels. Nitrogen fertility levels, time of harvest, time of seeding and 1998/1999 year effect slightly impacted AA with no definite identifiable trends. The FA profiles in the oil demonstrated slight variety, location and year effect with no identifiable trends. FIN 314 averaged over 2 locations in 1998 and 3 in 1999 demonstrated a significant variation for gamma linolenic (18:3g ) and stearidonic acids (18:4) from 1998 (4.22% & 1.53% respectively) and 1999 (2.4% and 0.8 respectively). The FA ratio for omega 6:omega 3 acids for 6 varieties tested across 5 research sites in 1998 and 1999 was 3:1. The 1998/1999 FA profile for saturated FA was 10.09%, monounsaturated FA = 12.4% and polyunsaturated FA = 77.08%. Hemp grain produced in northern Ontario has the quality merits desirable for the health food market, and grain yields are comparable to those from other hemp growing regions.
(Gordon Scheifele (L) and Peter Dragla (R); doing what they do best)
2) Management of delta 9 THC Levels in Industrial Hemp Grown for Fibre and Grain in Ontario, Canada, 1995-1999
By Gordon Scheifele, M.Sc. (1) and Peter Dragla, M.Sc., P.Ag. (2)
The strict Canadian regulations and political concerns relating to industrial hemp risks and safety concerns surrounding delta 9 THC and other Cannabinoids produced by Cannabis sativa directly impact the future of industrial hemp as a crop and industry in Canada and United States. Health Canada has established the maximum levels for THC in commercial cultivated crops as 0.3% and processed food products from grain as 10 ppm. A successful hemp industry in Canada and United States requires the diligent successful management of the THC levels both in the crop and grain processed food products. This necessitates a thorough understanding of the genotype/environment interactions affecting THC levels in the growing plants, harvested grain and resulting processed food products.
The authors have summarized the delta 9 THC analyzed data for Ontario from 1995 to 1999 from commercial and research grown industrial hemp crops over a wide range of soil, climate and genotypes from the 42nd to 49th latitude and 80th to 94th longitude. Results support a significant genotype x environment interaction for THC levels as well as lower THC levels at higher latitudes. There was no significant correlation between THC levels in plant top tissue harvested 50 days post seeding compared to plant top tissues harvested 80-90 days post seeding. THC levels in the plant top tissues increased as the plants matured. Harvested hemp grain from low THC crops can still result in contaminated grain with high levels of THC contamination at harvest time. The THC contamination source is suspected to originate from the bracts. Harvested grain can be rinsed with water to significantly reduce THC contamination in resulting extracted oil. The THC levels in extracted oil can be expected to be about four times that of levels in the grain. It is recommended that selection for low THC genotypes in a breeding program be done at lower latitude sites allowing for maximum THC expression using bract tissue for sampling.
(1) College Professor, Kemptville College/University of Guelph, Professional Associate, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. (2) Industrial Hemp Plant Breeder, Industrial Hemp Seed Development Company (Kenex Ltd.), Ridgetown College/University of Guelph, Chatham, Ontario, Canada.
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