How a feminized hemp seed varietal responds to stress can make all the difference in the world when it comes to preventing hermaphrodites.
If there is one thing that is guaranteed in farming, it’s unexpected. Invariably your hemp crop will experience unplanned for field stress at some point or another. Hail, extreme temperature swings, too much rain, drought, wind.
If it can happen, it likely will. And that can have a significant effect on your cannabinoid yield.
Hemp is a naturally dioecious plant — a species that produces separate male and female plants — similar to spinach. Cannabinoids are produced in the highest concentration in the unpollinated, or ‘virgin,’ female hemp flowers. If pollinated by male plants, those flowers switch to concentrating on producing grain. Ultimately cannabinoid production can be reduced by as much as 50 percent if a crop is pollinated.
This is why if a high-cannabinoid crop is your final goal, purchasing feminized hemp seed — or seed has grown using a specific process to produce a large percentage of female-only plants — is so important to start with.
But nature is resilient, and all plants want first and foremost to reproduce. For hemp, that means that even feminized hemp seeds can produce ‘hermaphrodites.’ Especially when the plant is stressed.
This creates a problem because, just like male plants, a single ‘hermie’ can easily pollinate an entire hemp crop, significantly reducing the final cannabinoid yield.
The best solution is to avoid not only male plants but also those sneaky ‘hermies.’
Trustworthy Feminized Hemp Seeds Come from a Stable Genetic Pool
The best way to avoid hermaphrodites is not to think you’ll be able to prevent stress but assume your crop will be stressed. Then select hemp varietals that have a stable genetic base to soldier through field stress with ease.
The path to stability is working with varieties that have been bred back for multiple generations.
A one or two generation hemp varietal has simply too much genetic diversity still within its immediate history to predict how it will respond to field stress conditions.
Careful selection and breeding back over multiple generations for the hardiest, best-performing plants are what creates a stable genetic base. This is the case for any crop, and it certainly pertains to hemp seeds as well.
At Colorado Breeders Depot, our experienced hemp breeders have learned that hemp varietals have the best chance of success when they are at least five generations out. Plus, proven in the field for your conditions. That’s why we don’t offer for sale seed that is less than five generations bred.
Questions to Ask when Purchasing Feminized Hemp Seeds to Avoid Hermaphrodites
Most hemp seed buyers ask – what cannabinoid level does varietal produce? And will it be a THC compliant variety? But there are more questions than those to consider when it comes to avoiding hermies.
- What generation is this varietal
- How has this varietal performed in field tests?
- Is this a strain already adapted for my specific conditions?
- How has this varietal performed under field stress conditions?
A hemp seed breeder should be able to provide field data results showing exactly how their varietals performed. If not, how can they be confident a particular varietal will perform well for you?
For more information on hemp seeds available for 2020 — including our extensive field trial data — check out the Colorado Breeder’s Depot website at https://coloradobreedersdepot.com. Or feel free to email us at [email protected] or call us at (719) 275-7770.