Sow What? The Hemp Farmer’s Guide to Seed
Adapted from the paper, "Fibre hemp cultivars: A survey of origin, ancestry, availability and brief agronomic characteristics" by Etiennede Meijer.
Originally published in the Journal of the International Hemp Association,Vol 2/No 2, December 1995. Additional editing by David P. West, Ph.D.
As another growing season approaches in the northern hemisphere and progresses "down under", hemp farmers everywhere are wondering what to grow in 1997. The inevitable question is raised: where to source the seed.
When choosing the right seed the farmer must consider two things: 1. the climate and altitude under which to grow; 2. the market to which he or she will be selling the raw material. For the fiber market a tall-growing strain should be used, one that is especially bred for fiber. For the seed oil market a monoecious or oil-seed type should be selected.
The three varietal types are: 1. monoecious: having both female and male reproductive organs in the same plant; 2. dioecious: plants with separate sexes; 3. unisexual: the product of a cross where the pollen comes from a monoecious variety and the female is of a dioecious variety. The product is almost completely female.
Here are a sampling of the most popular European hemp seed strains:
Fibrimon 21, Fibrimon 24, and Fibrimon 56, Ferimon 12, Fédora19, Felina 34, Federina 74, Futura 77.
Kompolti, Kompolti Sárgszárú, Uniko-B, Kompolti Hybrid TC, Fibriko.
From the GATE- "Rudolph Fleischmann" Agricultural Institute comes the hardy strain raised for production of rope and heavy canvas purchased by the former Soviet Union. After the Soviet Bloc crumbled, the Hungarian government was at a loss for funding of new seed development. New interest from the West has put the GATE Institute on the cutting edge of seed technology. Under contract with the Dutch firm, HempFlax b.v., GATE is now developing a dioceous early-maturing cultivar that will do well in Western Europe.
Hungarian strains are usually dioceous and are highly regarded for fiber production. These cultivars have done very well in test plots in Canada the past two years.
Kompolti is selected from Fleishmann or F-hemp of Italian origin, and is renowned as a high fiber strain.
Kompolti Sárgszárú is a cross between a yellow-stemmed mutant from Germany and Kompolti, and produces less chlorophyll in the stem. But don’t bother asking for it from GATE, they are not currently reproducing it.
As a result of heterosis breeding (for vigorous growth), the Uniko-B strain was born of Kompolti and Fibrimon parentage. And like Kompolti, Uniko isa high-fiber content strain.
The Kompolti Hybrid TC, (registered in 1983) is a cross between three strains. Two are Chinese Kinai Kétlaki (dioceous) and Kinai Egylki (monoceous)and the other is good old Kompolti. This three-way-cross hybrid typically produced 50% male/50% female plants.
The most recent addition to the Hungarian line is Fibriko. It also comes from a three way cross: Kinai dioceous and Kinai monoceous first produce Kinai Unisex which is then crossed with Kompolti Sárgszárú. Instead of turning yellow, Fibriko stems stays green because the Kinai Unisex is dominant.
The Hungarian cultivars are marketed by a company called Fibroseed who can be reached through the GATE Institute, H-3356 Kompolti (Heves), Hungary.Fax +36-36-489-000.
Polish hemp strains are the work of the Institute of Natural Fibers in Poznan. The two current cultivars are monoecious, high fiber varieties raised for use in cordage, military textiles blended yarns, as well as composite board material and industrial oil products.
Bialobrzeskie has been registered since 1968 and has LKCSD, Kompolti, Bredemann 18, and Fibrimon 24 in its lineage.
Beniko comes from Fibrimon 24 and Fibrimon 21 and was registered in 1985. In 1995, Hempflax submitted Beniko for registration in Netherlands. It has already been registered in Austria by Saatbau Linz in an effort to make it eligible for the EU subsidy.
New strains are being worked on at INF, some with strong potential as fine fiber hemp. Bialobrzeskie and Beniko are available from the Institute of Natural Fibers, Wojska Polskiego 71B, 60-630 Poznan, Poland. Fax: +4861-417-830.
Fibramult 151, Lovrin 110, Secuieni 1, Irene
These three cultivars come from three different breeders.
Fibramulta 151 was developed by the Research Institute of Crops and Industry Plants. Registered in 1965, Fibramulta 151 is a dioceous strain hailing from ICAR 41-118 (a cross between Italian and Turkish strains) and Fibridia. However, Fibramulta 151 is not widely available.
Lovrin 110 comes from the Agricultural Research Station in Lovrin. Lovrin 110 is also dioceous and is a breed crossed among Bulgarian Silistra landraces. It also is not widely marketed.
The Romanian cultivars that are available include Secuieni 1 and Irene, monoecious strains developed by the Agricultural Research Station in Secuieni. Secuieni 1 and Irene are marketed by Rohemp S.A., Wall Str. 36, 8280 Furstenfeld,Austria. Fax: +43-3382-52301.
Former Soviet Union
Kuban, Zenica (Shenitsa), Dneprovskaya Odnodomnaya 6, Zolotonoshskaya Yuzhnosozrevayushchaya Odnodomnaya 11 (Zolotonoshskaya 11, Zolotonosha11 or USO-11 and YUSO 11), Zolotonoshskaya 13 or USA-13, Yuzhnosozrevayushchaya Odnodomnaya 14 or YUSO-14, YUSO- 16 or JSO-16, YUSO-31 or JSO-31, Ermakovskaya Mestnaya, Zolotonosha 15 or USO-15.
Ukraine and Russia are the countries that produce most of the hemp from the former Soviet Union. Many cultivars have been bred at the Agricultural Research Institute and the Ukraine Research Institute of Fiber Plants.These fiber strains are bred for use for cordage, steel cable cores, and canvas. They are categorized according by their maturation dates and geographical types.
Zolotonoshskaya Yuzhnosozrevayushchaya Odnodomnaya 11, or USO-11 or YUSO-11,is a monoecious, early maturing cultivar, as is Zolotonoshskaya 13. Both have been successful in trials in Canada.
Yuzhnosozrevayushchayy Odnodomnay 14, or YUSO-14 or JSO-14 has its roots in Italian and German strains. YUSO-16 or JSO-16 is selected from the French Fibromon 56. YUSO-31 or JSO-31, are offspring of selections from the central Ukrainian Novgorod-Seversk landrace.
Ermakovskaya Mestnaya is cultivated in Siberia, and has a low fiber content.In the future, look for Zolotonosha 15 or USO-15, currently under development.
These strains are available through the Ukrainian Institute of Bast Crops, Lenina Street 45, 245130 Sumy Region, Glukhov, Ukraine; Fax: 380-54-4422643.USO-11 and USO-13 are also available through the Krasnohirska Company, near Zolotonosha, Ukraine; Fax: 380-472-450808.
Carmagnola, Carmagnola Selexionata, Fibranova, Eletta Campana,Superfibra
There are a lot of legal problems concerning Italian cultivars, stemming from the fact that the genetic markers in the domestic strains are not linked to low-THC content. For this reason the Italian varieties have been very hard to come by, and distribution is limited to research only. Carmagnola, Carmagnola Selexionata, and Fibranova have been represented by the Instituto Sperimentale per le Colture Industriali; fax: 39-51-374857.
Final Note: Thanks to the work of the Vavilov Research Institute in St.Petersburg, Ukraine, which is supported by the International Hemp Association of Amsterdam, many cultivars from around the world continue to be preserved and reproduced. Unfortunately, due to its marijuana prohibition laws, the United States has lost all hemp seeds once held in its national germplasm bank, including that of the famous Kentucky hemp.
The Journal of the International Hemp Association is a biannual publication of the International Hemp Association (IHA), Postbus 75007, 1070 AA Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tel/Fax: +31-20-6188758, iha at euronet.nl.