Heat could impact Madison County hemp plants

Researchers will collect data to see the potential harmful effects of the heat on the hemp.

Posted: Sep 10, 2019 6:42 PM

WAAY 31 wanted to know if the prolonged heat is impacting Alabama's "hemp experiment." Growers in Madison County are testing if our climate is ripe for a new kind of crop.

"This heat definitely can be having an effect on the plants," Dr. Ernest Cebert said.

Dr. Cebert is the lead researcher for Alabama A&M's industrial hemp study, one of several universities chosen to produce hemp in Alabama. He said since this is only the first year they've been able to grow hemp in the state, they can't say for certain what impact the heat can have on the plant just yet

"We have to observe and collect data and to be able to make sense out of it," he said "We don't really know what to expect as of yet."

Cebert said because hemp is a stronger plant and can withstand dryer conditions. They are hopeful the dry, hot summer won't hurt their plants

He said they did get a late start to growing the hemp this year, but so far, they haven't seen anything out of the ordinary. Cebert said at this point in the growing season, rain could actually harm some of their crops.

"The rain comes. It wets the plant and then the next day, the sun comes, dries it up and the seed would automatically fall from the plant, and that's called shattering and it can cause a great deal of economic loss," he said

Cebert says they have already started to harvest the hemp and will continue to do so in coming weeks.

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