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Jersey farmers use hemp to improve their crops

Jersey farmers use hemp as a solution to soil problems, and much more

Hemp producers in Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands between England and France, add hemp to the local agricultural mix. Farmers view hemp as a solution to existing problems caused by the long-term cultivation of potatoes, and taking advantage of biomass and seeds.

Hemp treats Jersey farmland

After years of interest in hemp, partners Dave Ryan, Kevin Mars and Blair Jones have come together to create Jersey Hemp, hoping to revive this plant as a crop. The company was born in 2017, surrounded by a certain mystery. Because only a few details have been provided to the media at the beginning…

After obtaining a cultivation permit, the three partners planted hemp at Warwick Farm, which was once the nursery of Jersey. Last year, they cultivated a quarter of a hectare for experimental crops. But that figure has risen to 30 hectares this year. In addition, hemp was once widely grown on the island; but its culture has declined in recent decades ... According to CEO David Ryan:

"During the second half of the nineteenth century, hemp was widely grown in Jersey to make fibers for sails and ropes in the shipbuilding industry" - "Some say that Quennevais (a region of Jersey) originated from the Jerriais chanvrière, which means "land where hemp was grown"

Tackle the problem of pests

We recognize hemp as a super floor cleaner contaminated. But, the team is investigating whether hemp can tackle the problems of a certain pest that result from intensive potato farming. This pest, also known as potato cyst nematode (or NKPT).

NKPT represents a significant threat to potato crops as it damages roots and tubers.

"We are aware that the intensive cultivation of the potato has taken over the soil. Hemp can be part of the solution to these problems, "Ryan said.

In addition to potato growers, Jersey Hemp also works with some of the island's dairy farmers.

"We are building relationships with them for a planned approach to soil remediation projects and we are acting as a break or raking of the crop." Ryan said.

It is expected that by using hemp in crop rotation, Jersey farmers will realize significant savings on their land management costs.

Increase farm income

Jersey Hemp also hopes to provide income to farmers by renting their land and other activities. Farmers may also receive subsidies if they do not use an excess of herbicide for the management of their fields.

It was the first year that the crop was growing on a large scale. Last year's test plot tested four varieties for seed and fiber:

  • Futura 75,
  • Uso31,
  • Fedora 17
  • and Secuieni Jubileu

However, this year they only cultivated 30 hectares of Finola "to facilitate harvest this year and for seed yield".

Performance above expectations

Both seasons have been successful. But they also offered unique challenges. Ryan states:

"We had higher than expected yields for seeds and biomass each year."

Despite the difficulties encountered during the summer 2017, which was very rainy and stormy; and despite the fact that 2018 was the second hottest and driest year ever recorded. So far, the Jersey government has supported their project. "The beauty of our little island is that we have a close relationship with our government."

He believes this is a good thing for communications and also for getting to grips with the complex issues surrounding the hemp industry. The relationship "helps us move forward positively and effectively." The re-emergence of hemp is part of a broader initiative to diversify Jersey's agriculture industry, with tea and honey crops also planted. in other parts of the island.

Jersey farmers use hemp to improve their crops
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