The Power of the Plant — A Look at Hemp Genetics

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If you follow along with us on Facebook, you may know that Shi Farms’ Steven Turetsky recently returned from a trip to CannaTech in Cape Town, South Africa. During his time at CannaTech, Steven gave a presentation on hemp genetics. There was quite a bit of useful information given, and that’s why in today’s post we’d like to break down some of the highlights of Steven’s talk.

Whether you’re just getting started in the industry or you’d like to get a refreshing take from someone who is passionate about creating a sustainable hemp farm, we think you’ll find plenty of helpful info. If you’re fighting for the future of this plant, keep reading to get some insightful tips about how to keep moving forward.

“We’re All Part of a Global Team. We’re All Doing Our Part.”

With three years of experience under our belts at Shi Farms, we’re still learning about hemp genetics. We believe that it’s important to retain the mindset that we should never stop the process of learning, instead using the knowledge we’ve gained to continue innovating and continue making our industry a better place for everyone involved.

During Steven’s talk, he focused primarily on medicinal hemp and the traits that we look for when we’re growing it. Planted in orchard style, either 5×5 or 3×3, these plants will grow more like you’re planting apple trees as opposed to corn. Needless to say, there’s a lot of thought that goes into taking care of these plants for high flower yield and high cannabinoid content.

“You Don’t Need to Grow a Huge 8-Foot Plant to Get the Same Amount of Yield.”

When it comes to physical traits of high-CBD hemp, generally you’ll be looking for plant size, uniformity, harvestability, and spacing. In other words, we’re not just looking for cannabinoid content because we’re growing it to scale it for a quickly growing industry. With so much demand, finding the best plants that grow agriculturally in terms of harvestability and making sure all the plants are the same size is crucial. If you have different phenotypes within one variety, the goal is to make those plants as predictable as possible.

At Shi Farms, we’re interested in smaller plants that are more dense and easier to harvest. The end result is the same amount of material. At the end of the day, the goal is to make life easier for everyone involved.

Cannabinoid and Terpene Production

Looking at cannabinoid production through the lens of commercial agriculture presents a unique challenge. With a global demand for quality CBD on the rise, the approach needs to be considered more thoughtfully. One thing we’ve been curious about is cannabinoids over time. Rather than simply looking at the cannabinoids present at the end of harvest, we’d like to know how the cannabinoid levels are progressing throughout the growth of the plant.

Our initial hypotheses turned out to be wrong — another example of how we’re always striving to learn more about our line of work and get a little better every single day. We thought that perhaps certain cannabinoids would be produced in different ratios throughout the season because perhaps the plant needed them at different times in their growth cycle. With a general understanding of what cannabinoids and terpenes do for the plant itself, we wondered why there were so many cannabinoids and whether they prevented certain things.

One particularly interesting thing that we noticed in terms of minor cannabinoids is that CBC (the third most abundant cannabinoid in many profiles) actually spiked towards the end of cultivation compared to THC and CBD. It’s certainly something that we’re curious about and we intend to research this more fully.

Check Out the Entire Presentation

If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to check out Steven’s entire presentation over on YouTube. We just scratched the surface of what was discussed and if you’re interested, we strongly encourage you to watch the whole presentation to gain a deeper understanding of what propels us forward, what the science behind hemp genetics actually looks like, misinformation about crop production, and much more. In addition to the topics we touched on above, he also discusses defense against pests, the challenges of growing plants in different climates, minor cannabinoid production, and much more.


About Shi Farms

For us, Shi has two meanings. First, the letters stand for Sustainable Hemp Initiative. Also important to us is that “shi” is another word for albatross, which is symbolic of the fact that like the bird, hemp also has the largest wingspan of potential uses. With a commitment to revolutionizing the way we approach sustainability in our industry, our goal is to incorporate this type of cultivation and processing technique into global agriculture.

Learn more about Shi Farms or contact us today with any questions.

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