Next Texas A&M AgriLife “First Tuesday” Hemp Zoom Update
Our next meeting is Tuesday, July 5, 5:15-6:30 PM.
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
It has been a hot summer for hemp…
Temperatures in much of Texas couple with lack of rainfall in many areas is making hemp production tough. What we are experiencing this year in cannabinoid, fiber, and grain hemp is not unlike conditions in the Yuma, AZ area in 2021. University of Arizona Extension agent Robert Masson reported that excessive temperatures in 2021 in the Yuma area did not appear to seriously curtail hemp growth, particularly fiber varieties. He did observe that seed set was significantly reduced if not poor in September when temperatures were still near 100°F.
The most common comment I have received from hemp growers in Texas for 2022 has been difficulty with establishing a hemp crop. Weather was hot. Thus, soils are hot. In my June 8 planting at Lubbock, we covered the ground over the planted row with light-colored cotton fabric to shield direct sunlight over the row. It does not appear to have made much difference. Seed we had with 80% germination in the lab yielded stands of less than 25%. I continue to think about early planting (early/mid-February in the Lower Rio Grande Valley to late March in the Texas High Plains as a potential best fit.
A possible factor in poor hemp stands?… Wireworms
Several growers in the west Texas region have determined that apparently wireworms have been feeding on seedings and germinating seedlings and reducing plants stands. Wireworms are already in the soil. True wireworms (Elateridae) and false wireworms (Tenebrionidae) are the immature stages of click and darkling beetles, respectively. Wireworms are usually shiny, slender, cylindrical, hard bodied, and yellow to brown (Fig. 1).
These worms feed on planted seed, preventing germination. To a lesser degree, they feed on seedling plant roots, reducing plant stands and vigor. You can read more about them in our Texas grain sorghum insect guide at
Fig. 1. False wireworms (top) and wireworm larvae that feed on hemp seeds and seedlings. (“Managing Insect & Mite Pests of Texas Sorghum, Ento-085, 2018, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service).
for best reading. There is little you can do in an established field. Chemical seed treatments could suppress these insects, but they would not be labeled for use in hemp. If you feel you are getting a poor stand, about a week after planting you can dig down the row looking for the worms or damaged seed.
Plant Disease Symptoms?
If you have questions about plant diseases or other leaf symptoms in your hemp, contact Dr. Tom Isakeit, Extension plant pathologist, College Station (firstname.lastname@example.org, O 979.862.1340). Digital pics are great. If a test of plant tissue is needed our Extension plant pathology lab at the Amarillo AgriLife sample can conduct fee-based assessment. (Dr. Ken Obasa, email@example.com, O 806.677.5600.
Texas Permitted Hemp Acreage for 2021 & 2022
Hemp Benchmarks reports nationally 195,000 permitted acres but only ~40,000 planted acres for all types of hemp actually planted, and about 30,000 was harvested. HB reports all types of hemp in Texas for 2022 at 2,145 acres. That is listed as ‘planted’ but may include some acres that were not planted. New Mexico acres in 2022 are about 195. NMSU colleague Hanah Rheay reports most NM growers with hemp licenses switched to legal marijuana production.
USDA Hemp Grant Application—Status of Southern States
Dr. Russell Jessup, Texas A&M University plant breeder working in hemp, led a Texas A&M application to USDA’s Specialty & Alternative Crop program due June 29. Dr. Jessup’s program is potentially accomplishing as much if not more than any other university hemp breeding program in the U.S. Much of his approach is to use novel techniques to generate distinct genetic lines for breeding. These lines are all public and will be available to other breeders under a Material Transfer Agreement. If you have interest in this program, you may contact Dr. Jessup at firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional components of this grant application I lead focus on documenting southerly hemp adaptation among fiber and grain lines using a planting date study targeting Weslaco, Thrall (ENE from Austin), and Lubbock. We see a unique need for research on southerly adapted hemp cultivars for U.S. states from North Carolina to Arizona (roughly 37°N) and states to the south. An additional component of this project is to gather the needed information to date across these southern states to have draft guidelines in place before the 2023 cropping season to discuss the impact of photoperiod and premature reproductive growth and how to avoid it. To date I am not convinced that ANY European variety, fiber or grain, is reliable for production in the southern U.S.
I learned in talking to hemp colleagues in these southern states that many states either do not or no longer have active university field research in hemp. Among 12 states this includes South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Arizona.
Texas Department of Agriculture Hemp Reminders
TDA encourages licensees to keep their records up to date. It is easier now than trying to piece things together from memory a month or two from now. Recent TDA data notes that about 55% of early hemp producer licenses issued in Texas have expired.
Upcoming Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Hemp Programs
Friday, July 22, 2022. Stiles Farm, Thrall, TX, 9:00 AM—12:00 PM. The address is 5700 FM1063, Thrall, TX 76578. This is about 40 miles east/northeast of Austin. For further information contact the Williamson Co. office of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, 512.943.3300. We will review the hemp observation trial. Also, area growers will update their experience in the 2022 crop.
September 21 or 22, 2022. New Mexico Cannabis Conference. Details not yet available. One day is dedicated to marijuana hemp (the primary organizers of the program) and one day non-narcotic hemp.
Ongoing Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Hemp Resources
We continue adding resources at http://agrilifeextension.tamu.edu/hemp including under ‘Hot Topics & Latest Updates’ on the main page.
Hemp Plant Disease Diagnostics—Texas A&M AgriLife @ Amarillo
Download the needed hemp-specific form from https://thppdd-lab.tamu.edu The policy for hemp diagnostics and collection/packaging/submitting plants is on the back of the form. It is best to notify Dr. Ken Obasa in advance of sending samples, office 806.677.5600, email@example.com In fact, you may e-mail digital images first which might provide a diagnosis and save the transport permit and diagnostic fees.
Texas A&M AgriLife Hemp Potency Testing for THC & Cannabinoids
Sample analyses of hemp for THC and cannabinoids is available through Texas A&M AgriLife labs at Uvalde and Lubbock. College Station will be added soon. The labs are now equipped with an auto sampler which greatly speeds analysis of large sample sets. For further information consult http://soiltesting.tamu.edu/hemp.html This service is not currently for official THC analyses required by law.
Our Hemp Program Twitter Account
Video Series: Economic & Legal Considerations for Hemp Production in Texas
This series of 29 videos is available at https://agecoext.tamu.edu/resources/legal-and-economic-considerations-for-growing-hemp/ Topics cover legal, contracting, economics, and potential crop insurance. The website is divided into the sections below. Choose the YouTube video you want to see and also the slides for each presentation (3 to 15 minutes).
Do you have hemp questions?
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension resource specialists are active in hemp for agronomy, plant diseases, agricultural economics, plant breeding, and insects. E-mail Calvin Trostle for contacts.
Dr. Calvin Trostle, Professor & Extension Agronomist/AgriLife State Hemp Specialist, TAMU Dept. of Soil & Crop Sciences, Lubbock, (806) 746-6101, firstname.lastname@example.org