University of Florida researchers found that industrial hemp can effectively grow on clay settlement areas. The top performing varieties were Yuma, Sorghum-Sudangrass, South Florida cover crop (SS), and Sunn Hemp, South Florida cover crop and legume (SH), which showed better height and yield than other hemp varieties.
These three varieties also had the highest estimated amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) taken in by the plants, at 13 tons/acre for Yuma, 13.29 tons/acre for SS, and 12.89 tons/acre for SH.
The ideal performing subsections of these varieties had total dry weights of 7.89 tons/acre for Yuma, 8.08 tons/acre for SS, and 7.84 tons/acre for SH.
The cost in tons/acre of CO2 assimilated and stored in the total plant for these varieties was $91 for Yuma, $91 for SH, and $89 for SS, based on DPE. When R&D was included, the cost was $208 for Yuma, $206 for SH, and $202 for SS. The ideal performing Yuma treatment yielded 28% more mass than the next best hemp variety, Puma, with less fertilizer.
The project is currently collecting post-harvest soil samples.
Initial estimates for carbon sequestration in the soil are not yet available, but will be in one year. The project has experienced some setbacks, such as damage from Hurricane Ian, but is continuing to collect data and will plant additional cover crops to compare their growth.
Future plans include processing and analyzing plant and soil samples to report on current findings and collecting soil samples during the fallow season.