How is hybrid hemp seed produced at scale?

By |2024-05-29T12:35:11-06:00May 23rd, 2024|Categories: blog, news|

As discussed, hybrid hemp is the F1 (first generation) seed harvested from a cross between two genetically distinct varieties. The key to successfully commercializing hybrids is to develop a method to scale seed production. A critical element of high-quality hybrid seed is using inbred parent lines in these crosses. Several different breeding approaches are used to create inbred lines and will be discussed in a future blog focused on how hemp hybrids and varieties are bred and selected. Scaled hybrid seed production has been accomplished using several approaches in other crops. Corn (maize), for instance, uses a method where tassels (the source of pollen on a corn plant) are removed from the variety being used as the female parent in the cross. This leaves only the pollen from the intended male parent available to sire seed on the female plants. In contrast to the mechanical removal of pollen anatomy used in corn, crops such as canola and sunflower have developed genetic systems to remove pollen-bearing tissues (e.g. cytoplasmic male sterility). The planting design for most hybrid crop production consists of alternating bays of male and female genotypes. Typically, the male is planted at a lower ratio than the female and at a rate that ensures adequate pollen availability while still maximizing the number of female plants. The goal is always to maximize hybrid seed yield and quality. The ratio of male: female in the field is species-dependent but is typically around 1:4. Thus far, hybrid hemp and [...]

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By |2024-05-08T09:51:45-06:00May 6th, 2024|Categories: blog, news|

New West Genetics aims to contribute solutions to agriculture’s climate challenges, and the NWG AMPLIFY SBIR grant project will enable just that. Since 2014, NWG has revolutionized the industrial hemp industry by leveraging traditional genome-enabled plant breeding approaches and launching certified, US-bred commercial seed varieties and hybrids. This project is a testament to NWG’s commitment to innovation, aiming to significantly enhance grain yields and fiber quality of industrial hemp, thereby offering a sustainable alternative to traditional crops like soybeans. At the heart of NWG's approach is the utilization of existing genetics and their vast gene bank to develop improved hemp hybrids with significantly higher yields. By focusing on hybrid planting seeds, NWG aims to more than double the grain yields compared to existing genetics, bringing them on par with current soybean yields. This genetic innovation not only promises to enhance the economic viability of hemp but also offers a new cropping and rotation option for U.S. farmers, alongside providing food manufacturers with a cost-effective and nutritious ingredient. Hemp grain, renowned for its high lipid content and balanced amino acid profile, is considered a superfood. It surpasses soy in lipid content and offers a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Beyond its nutritional value, hemp stalks, composed of bast and hurd fibers, hold significant market value for producing textiles, bio-plastics, and other sustainable materials. The dual-purpose production of grain and stalk from the same crop underscores hemp's versatility and potential as a sustainable agricultural resource. The [...]

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