It is one of the most versatile crops on the planet! Industrial hemp is an annual crop that is used in other parts of the world to produce natural fibre (“biofibres”), woody biomass, and oil-based products from the seed. There are a variety of different types (cultivars) of hemp:
- Some produce large seed heads (1000-1200 lbs per acre) for the hemp grain industry. These varieties are grown extensively in Western Canada and to a much lesser extent in Ontario. This industry is focused on extracting the oil from the seed for sale into the food and nutrition (and to a lesser degree pharmaceutical and cosmetics) markets.
- Others produce smaller seed heads but much more biomass (1.5 tons per acre on moderate quality farmland, and up to 3 tons/acre or more on better quality land). These varieties are not commonly grown in Canada but are very common in Europe and the Far East.
- Still others (the “dual purpose” varieties) produce moderate amounts of seed and biomass.