Hemp as an alternative forage
Canadian Agriculture Partnership
Alternative cropping and improvement in soil health approaches continue to be on the rise. Hemp has been studied and used as cattle feed in different states of the U.S and other prairie provinces except for Alberta. In 1998, Saskatchewan researchers tested hemp in the chicken meal as ruminant and proved to be a suitable replacement for other ruminant sources. Later, another research conducted by University of Saskatchewan researchers revealed that hemp is a good source of protein as a cattle feed. In Alberta, hemp was tested as an industrial crop in different regions of the province. Hemp can be used as silage.
In previous studies mixing hemp with corn silage, cows had improved weight gains. Hemp is a common crop in the Netherlands as it is an alternative to straw and is low in dust, and is very absorbent. One report in the popular press suggested that dairy cows fed hemp give a little more milk and seem to be healthy (journal of dairy science)., Currently, hemp has not been tested as a forage crop in the province.
Battle River Research team has taken the initiative to cultivate and test hemp varieties as forage alternatives. The Canadian agriculture partnership grant sponsors the project.
The objectives of this project are to:
Identify hemp varieties that are suitable for grazing. We will use three hemp varieties. These varieties have
been chosen as they are genetically diverse and are known to be adapted to the environmental conditions of Alberta. The nutritional value of at different growth stages of the hemp plants will be compared with
standard. We established the small research plot at Galahad at two different locations.