NWG believes that this early in the hemp industry, you can not have a fiber industry without a grain industry, and vice versa. This is why we first created dual-purpose varieties. Depending on processor prices, these varieties can be grown for single purpose production, however when grown for both grain and fiber yields, the dual-crop approach allows hemp acres to compete economically with other large commodity crops. As farmers adopt hemp into their rotation, they find the highest profits are earned through dual-crop production. Utilizing good grain production varieties also lowers the cost of fiber seed production.
Dual-crop hemp production is common in European production where they have successfully developed markets using well adapted dual-purpose genetics. Dual-cropping relies on genetics that raise crops tall enough to offer significant stalk yield while producing good grain yields. A great dual-purpose genetic is the NWG ABOUND family of genetics – bred and adapted in the US. Even a year ago , valorizing both stalk and grain was minimally feasible due to the lack of functioning, regional fiber processing infrastructure, but slowly and steadily regional constellations of fiber and grain processors are coming online across the US working with both grain and fiber. Numerous fiber specific processors have come online in the last year, mitigating the logistics costs associated with trucking massive hemp bales.
A successful dual-purpose crop starts with good genetic selection and agronomic management. Existing on farm equipment for row cropping and alfalfa production can handle both of these processes. Fertility and well-timed moisture/irrigation throughout the season maximize both stalk and grain yields. A dual-crop harvest first combines the grain off the top of the plant before the remaining stalk is baled for processing.
As the industry develops with limited resources, we strive to increase opportunity for producer profit. In valorizing by-products that are otherwise left in the field, producers take advantage of multiple revenue streams and markets. Hemp is a multi-market crop that serves food, feed, pharma and fiber, and shortly, sustainable fuel. The demand for plant-based proteins & Omega-3s increases year over year, along with the demand for US based production and manufacturing. Simultaneously, innovations in sustainable building materials and bio-composites have fueled the growth of hemp fiber markets. As these markets scale, NWG will release improved market targeted genetics, like our AMPLIFY trait, which renders grain specific production more than economically feasible. In 2025, we will release ELITEbast, our long fiber specific genetic line. Genetics and markets must be informed by each other. If you are a processor of either, NWG would like to understand your pain points as well as successes, please reach out so we can continue to build a solid supply chain.