Yes. I should have made note of it myself. I was thinking the same thing. It looked like a fibre crop to me but I don't know much about it.
Chris Kott wrote:Hi Roberto. Thanks for that.
I find it curious that the plants were being grown for seed, but spaced to encourage minimal branching, as one would for fibre. Growing for seed is much like growing for the medicinal flower, in that branching results in more flower, resulting in more seed.
This sounds like it might work.
I think hemp has a number of potentially incredible positive effects when introduced into a managed system, but perhaps alfalfa would be a better root mass accumulator. In fact, I wonder if they would do well together, the hemp planted to either fibre or seed specifications in block rows, with block rows of alfalfa grown in between.
There are a lot of hemp advocates who are big into this idea. This is probably the main 'planet saving' attribute of hemp.
I think the really incredible thing about hemp as a crop is what was mentioned about the biomass generated above the soil. Imagine how much of forestry management that is geared towards the pulping of trees for paper could instead be repurposed for keystone species restoration, especially beaver populations. All that would be needed is for hemp to be added in rotation to any of a number of compatible rotational crop systems.
Perhaps it would be best as an intercrop in an agriforest strip system for that effect, where the trees take the main force of the water, and hemp absorbs it.
Also, consider the cases of farm land ringing urban developments at risk of climate change-induced flooding events, and in proximity to floodplains. Consider hundreds of thirsty acres of hemp moderating all but the flashiest flood conditions.
Yes, there are myriad systems that could be developed utilizing this easy to grow plant. I think that a similar system to one that Fukuoka established for his rice production could be utilized, but would obviously need tweaking. I think Hemp might do well if planted directly in a crop of white clover, and might be followed by a crop of field peas. The soil building potential is quite unique, particularly if seed is all that is sought by the farmer as an export/output. One could also plant the monocrop of hemp and then once it is up to height unleash the cattle to mash it into the ground so that all that biomass goes into the soil or as heavy mulch. This could set up the soil well for another crop.
Honestly, the tendency for hemp to crowd everything else out is a little bit of a concern for me in a field crop or pasture setting. I would love to formulate hemp guilds for specific land management practices, wherein specific goals unique to the project being considered can be attained, while encouraging a healthy, soil-building polyculture that could withstand the complete uprooting or animal grazing of the hemp elements.
Thats where my brain went to. I have large areas of Canada thistle that are difficult to deal with.
I was thinking about the tendency of this "weed" to self-monocrop, shading everything else out, and I got to thinking about dangerous, literally noxious plants dangerous to humans and animals, like the invasive Giant Hogweed. I think dense plantings of industrial hemp might be used to overgrow these invaders.
All it would take is a small change in political will to set in motion this change in direction of group-mind thinking.
I look forward to the day when hemp can be discussed without stigma of any kind for it's environmental benefits. I think deriving our paper from hemp instead of the boreal forest would do a lot to sequester carbon and free up the boreal forest for proper management. I think that if pulp trees had no monetary value, and that forest stewardship for profit needed to focus on timber trees, we would end up with much more diversity.
That would be interesting to know about.
Incidentally, and I may have mentioned this before, there was an inventor out of Peterborough, Ontario, who designed and built a machine capable of pulping whole hemp plants to make paper pulp without the need for bleaches of any kind. I have had no success in finding him, or word of his invention. I will try to dig up his name, but if anyone knows who I am talking about, and what might have happened to this machine, it would be amazing for homescale paper production.
Very disruptive indeed. I would also not be surprised to learn of that, but hopefully that is not the case.
It wouldn't be a surprise to me if he'd been bought out or silenced by Big Paper. This is as disruptive a technology as could be imagined for primary industry.
Any additional information that you can dig up on this would be of great benefit to this thread, as well as possibly to me as a prospective farmer. I'm interested in how this crop is being processed and what is being done with it.
My understanding is that it can offer many of the benefits of fallowing a field while still providing a crop of biomass to make paper, bioplastics, fodder, building material (hempcrete), or medicine. From friends that have worked in and around the burgeoning hemp industry in Colorado it sounds like it is already providing a much needed infusion of reliable farm income to small farmers open to embracing this new old plant. So much so that some communities are seeing hemp acreage nearly double year to year as folks see neighboring farms go from scraping by to thriving in the blink of an agricultural eye. I've heard similar excitement from Vermont.