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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Lexington, Kentucky » Forage-animal Production Research » Research » Research Project #440911

Research Project: The Agronomy of Hemp and its Uses in Forage-Animal Agriculture

Location: Forage-animal Production Research

Project Number: 5042-21000-004-003-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2021
End Date: Jul 31, 2023

Objective:
- Assemble and integrate current hemp related data and collect new data in collaboration with cooperator partners to support hemp production modeling efforts at ARS. - Perform research to support the use of hemp and hemp residual biomass as a livestock feed, including exploration of possible benefits of compounds produced by hemp for animal production.

Approach:
The Cooperator investigators are appropriately licensed to grow and possess hemp and its constituents. Agronomic experiments will be conducted on the Cooperator research farms. Plant pathological surveys will be carried out on both the research farm and producer farms. All animal-related research will be conducted in vitro or ex vivo due to the current status of hemp as a prohibited feed component. The subobjectives are as follows: • Investigate the role of seed quality/vigor and their interaction with soil, environmental and management factors in crop emergence and establishment. • Identify economically significant insect pests and develop best management practices for control, including the use of targeted crop protection agents. • Evaluate cultivars best suited for use in a transition zone and identify key cultivar characteristics for further improvement. • Investigate fertility and irrigation requirements for hemp. • Develop protocol for surveying and sampling hemp fields for presence of fungal, bacterial, water mold, nematode, and viral pathogens. • Develop protocol for identification and quantification of pathogens in symptomatic and asymptomatic hemp, including confirmation of taxonomic identification by molecular methods. • Conduct a combined metagenomic and chemical analysis of retting hemp. • Determine feed value and nutritional components in hemp forage, grain, and by- products such as extracted floral material and seed cake. • Investigate the potential metabolic impacts of cannabinoids, terpenes, and isoflavones found in hemp on livestock. • Evaluate plant cell wall structure of hemp seed and its transformation during ex vivo rumen fermentation.