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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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What is Hybrid Hemp?

By |2024-03-18T10:19:57-06:00March 5th, 2024|Categories: blog|

What is Hybrid Hemp? The NWG breeding program began working on hybrid hemp genetics to leverage the advantages hybrids have created in other major crop species (e.g. corn, canola, et.) such as higher and more consistent yields, stress tolerance and harvestability. NWG AMPLIFY hybrids have the added benefit of a skewed percentage of females to 90%, thus creating massive increase in grain yield potential.  But some might be asking, what is hybrid hemp? What is a Hybrid? Hybrid hemp refers to the F1 (first generation) seed harvested from a cross between two genetically distinct varieties.  This produces an effect known as heterosis, where the F1 generation outperforms either of its parents for desirable traits such as grain and/or fiber yield, early season vigor, tolerance to environmental stresses, and other agronomic traits. Heterosis has fueled the gains in yield and overall performance that we have seen in corn over the past 100 years. Hybrids will do the same for hemp by significantly improving grain and/or fiber yield potential, yield stability across geographies and overall harvested crop quality compared to traditional Open-Pollinated hemp varieties. It is important to note that not every hybrid cross results in heterosis (e.g. hybrid vigor: increased yields, tolerance to environmental stress, etc). In fact, most hybrid combinations do not result in heterosis. Well-bred parents in a hybrid breeding program are selected from genetic backgrounds that increase the likelihood of heterosis, as exemplified by crops like hybrid corn and canola. NWG has these background parent pools to drive [...]

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Hemp Seed Meal Achieves Monumental Milestone on Path to Federal Approval

By |2024-01-24T09:44:40-06:00January 24th, 2024|Categories: news, press release|

Hemp Feed Coalition (HFC) a 501(c)(3) dedicated to obtaining federal approval for the use of hemp grain products in animal feed, is pleased to announce a landmark achievement with the tentative approval of Hemp Seed Meal (HSM) for Laying Hens at the recent Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Mid-Year Meeting.  With the FDA-Center for Veterinary Medicine’s (FDA-CVM’s) recommendation for approval, the Ingredient Definition Committee approved the HSM tentative definition on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, with no opposition. This will go before AAFCO’s Board and members for final approval, and then be adopted into the Official Publication later this year. This historic milestone has been more than three years in the making and will allow processors to formulate with HSM in the diets of laying hens as a source of protein and fat at an inclusion of no more than 20%. To see the ingredient definition in its entirety, please visit hempfeedcoalition.org/applications. This hemp grain derivative is a highly nutritious ingredient with a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals, healthy oils, and a complete protein profile. Research confirms the nutrition profile and functionality of hemp feed resemble that of soy and canola while alleviating concerns about its suitability as an ingredient. Evidence also shows increased value over typical feed sources, with significant improvement in egg quality as HSM concentration increases in the hen’s diet. Notably, hemp-fed hens lay eggs enriched with essential fatty acids such as ALA, DHA, and GLA, and increased amounts of Lutein which are known promotors [...]

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By |2024-01-19T09:35:18-06:00January 9th, 2024|Categories: press release|

January 9, 2024 New West Genetics (NWG) hemp hybrids; NWG10 and NWG12,  have been approved by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies’ (AOSCA) Hemp Variety Review Board as qualified for Certified seed status. "This is the first approval of industrial hemp hybrids made using a genetic system, to be recognized by the AOSCA Variety Review Board. Previous hemp hybrids accepted by AOSCA were created through chemically feminized seed to serve the CBD flower market. In contrast, AMPLIFY hybrids can be made at commercial scale, realized through a patent-pending trait;  a genetic gender skew defined by an average ratio of 90% female plants and 10% male plants in a population,  rather than the average 50/50 mix found in industrial hemp varieties.  The high proportion of female plants along with hybrid vigor leads to drastic increases in yield that will fundamentally change the economics of industrial hemp grain production for growers and processors. NWG is using the knowledge gained over the past 100 years of hybrid crop improvement to accelerate our breeding program.“  reports NWG Chief Technology Officer Rich Fletcher. NWG AMPLIFY’s non-chemical, non-GMO technology combines genetic traits, hybrid vigor, and skewed female populations to enable hemp grain to reach and even exceed the yields of crops like soybeans and canola while offering the same protein levels, and a higher quality and quantity of oil.   This jump in vigor, yield, and reliability is revolutionizing the economics of hemp production, paving the way to greatly scale hemp's application for food, feed, and sustainable fuel markets. Because AMPLIFY [...]


Benefits of NWG’s US-Bred Hemp Genetics

By |2023-11-08T10:23:00-06:00November 8th, 2023|Categories: blog|

Support the US Hemp Industry; Source US produced genetics.   New West Genetics develops US-adapted high-yielding certified hemp seed for various markets. Our varieties are bred for scaled production systems and possess traits that improve ROI for farmers and processors. As the hemp industry grows, processors and producers are looking for ways to improve yields and reduce the risk of crop failure. Investing in US-bred hemp genetics is one of the most effective ways to achieve these goals.   Adapted genetics offer several benefits, including improved germination, uniform emergence, early season vigor, high harvest index, and high yield potential. In addition to being selected and bred in the US, New West Genetics produces Certified seed that meets AOSCA’s standards for purity and germination. In addition to our internal seed production, NWG works with experienced US seed producers to maintain high-quality seed lots. Seed is always thoroughly cleaned, conditioned, and third-party tested to verify seed lots meet quality standards. High germination is especially important for processors and producers looking to maximize their yields and improve ROI.   Producers that source and plant US-bred hemp genetics also benefit from early-season establishment and vigor. NWG selects for hail, pest, disease resistance, and other adverse environmental conditions. We also have selected for early canopy establishment to help out-compete the weeds. This can be especially important for processors and producers susceptible to early season environmental pressure - NWG is dedicated to seeing every crop off to a strong start to reduce customer risk.   These [...]

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Genotype x Environment x Management Symposium University of Florida

By |2023-12-05T14:19:00-06:00November 6th, 2023|Categories: speaking engagements|

The Genotype x Environment x Management Symposium at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL invites NWG CSO, Dr. John McKay to present his research on cropping systems root genetics and drought and carbon adaptation. Event Information: https://hos.ifas.ufl.edu/advertisement/gxexmsymposiumII/

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Agronomic Success

By |2023-10-27T11:29:15-06:00October 27th, 2023|Categories: blog|

Hemp agronomy isn’t completely simple, magical, or inordinately complex. It combines research, trial and error, and farmer know-how:  experience, familiarity with conditions, and regional differences. NWG promises its customers to share what we’ve learned over the past ten years and to tell you when we don’t know the answer, which happens.  In these cases, we do our best to collaborate with customers to come up with the best solutions. We are there every step of the way. Over the years, we found that newer producers utilizing our agronomic support program see improved weed control, strong stands, ease of harvest, and higher yields than those without. New West Genetics’ pre-season webinars help producers get off on the right foot, and in-season phone and video support keep things running smoothly. We provide in-person field visits and a producer web portal with production resources at your fingertips for qualified orders*. We are vested in your success! “Daniel was the 2nd person from the NWG team that reached out when we started growing hemp. He’s been there for us every step of the way. Whether it’s agronomy advice, seed depth, plant population, harvest advice, and taking phone calls throughout the season, both years we grew hemp, he came out to look at the crop and advise on improvements. His knowledge, along with his passion for growing hemp, makes life as a grower easier and stress-free!” - NWG Hemp Producer Trust NWG for US bred [...]

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Cannabinoids Function in Defense Against Chewing Herbivores in Cannabis sativa L.

By |2023-10-26T15:39:07-06:00October 13th, 2023|Categories: research|

🔬🌱Hemp Research Alert 🧪🧬 A consortium of scientists at Cornell University and Colorado State University, including NWG CSO Dr. John McKay, study the interactions of cannabinoids and chewing herbivores. The paper Cannabinoids Function in Defense Against Chewing Herbivores in Cannabis sativa L. in the Journal Horticulture Research finds, “On detached leaves, Trichoplusia ni (cabbage looper) larvae consumed less leaf area and grew less when feeding on leaves with greater concentrations of cannabinoids.” This groundbreaking research shows the agronomic value of cannabinoids produced by hemp plants. It also offers detailed genetic outlines of the pathways for cannabinoid production, exhibiting the clear role genetics play in THC production and CBD production. Access the paper here: https://doi.org/10.1093/hr/uhad207 Research like this is vital to the growth and development of the industry. We want to thank the researchers (the Smart, Moore, Wang, and Rose labs), Cornell AgriTech, Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station campus area farms, Colorado State University, and New York State Department of Agriculture - Empire State Development Grant AC477 for contributing to industry-advancing research.

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Harvest Season Insights

By |2023-10-19T15:37:54-06:00October 5th, 2023|Categories: blog|

Seed production harvest is complete, and we couldn’t have asked for better conditions. The NWG agronomy team Daniel Willis, Jack Mangels, and Rich Fletcher swathed and combined our NWG AMPLIFY™ hybrid seed production field, the CSU ARDEC variety trial plots, and our NWG 4113 seed production field. Seed harvest is a fine art of achieving optimum seed maturity and ease of threshing, while minimizing shatter. Swathing helps to dry down material before harvest -improving threshing and maximizing seed quality.  Once the seed has dried down to less than 20% moisture, we combine the windrows. Thanks to good breeding for stalk diameter and uniformity these stands cut very well.

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