By Aimee Pianosi, Canoe.ca
In a white cloud of pollen, 43 acres of hemp was harvested from Hartacre Farms last Tuesday. Herb Hart grew the crop in partnership with Performance Plants Inc. of Kingston, as part of a biofuels project for Lafarge Bath Cement plant, which is working on methods of reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.
According to Kevin Gellatly, director of biofuels business development and media relations for Performance Plants, this particular test plot faced some challenges.
“There were some tough conditions on the lower ground, it got rained out.” There were delays in planting, and then rain and more rain which soaked out some of the seeds.
Gellatly said they were hoping for four to five tonnes per acre, but final yield won’t be determined for a while.
Because it’s a test plot, the seed was provided to Hart, but he said the input costs for the entire season were much lower compared to corn, but similar to other crops. Based on soil tests at the beginning of the season, he added 100 pounds of potash, 25 pounds of 11-52-0 and 20 gallons of UAN. The test plot Hart used is a randomly-tiled field and he said “you can see the patterns of the tiles in the height of the plants.”
“I added no chemicals after planting and that’s one of the biggest savings right there,” he added.
One other positive impact of hemp is that it breaks the disease cycle of other crops, as it is added into a crop rotation, according to Gellatly.