Hemp varieties are being tested in variety performance comparison trials (variety trials) in various locations across Canada. The objective of the trials is to compare and evaluate varieties under diverse climate, soil types and growing conditions in regions where hemp is being grown. Provincial seed guides are published each year and provide a summary of the varieties tested so producers can select the best suited variety for their area of production.
Small plot data compares a large number of varieties that are tested against each other. All have the same set of variables such as; the same seed source, soil type and variability, fertility, weed control and management. The same variety can be tested in multiple locations, reducing the variability.
Small plot trials usually have large yield numbers that are not as important when interpreting the data. It is important to look at the relative differences between variety yields and compare for different locations. Be cautious using only one trial to make production decisions. A rule of thumb is that for dependable performance data there must be at least 15 or more site years of data. The reason is that variability over time is averaged out. A site year is one plot in one location.
Aerial view PCDF Hemp Plots at Roblin, MB.
Variety trial testing has taken place in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Maritimes. It is important to check provincial seed guides for specific geographic data. The Diversification Centers in Manitoba have been testing hemp varieties for a number of years and have one of the largest databases for hemp performance regarding grain and fibre yields. Parkland Crop Diversification Foundation (PCDF) headquartered in Roblin, Manitoba, has been one of the leaders in hemp variety trial research.
PCDF Hemp Plots at Roblin, MB.
There are eight companies in Canada that are involved in hemp plant breeding: