Comparison of Resource Use Efficiency among Fifteen Floral Hemp Varieties in Piedmont North Carolina

Student Classification

Kenene Lee, 4th year, Agricultural and Environmental Systems, Biology

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Harmandeep Sharma, NRED, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023


Hemp is a multipurpose crop with three core U.S. markets: fiber, oilseed, and pharmaceuticals. Among these, the global pharmaceutical market based on phytocannabinoids (cannabidiol; CBD), is growing fast and expected to reach ~1.5 billion in a few years. In North Carolina, hemp industry is still in an emerging state, there are several unknowns about floral hemp, such as the selection of the best varieties to grow in the Piedmont region. Therefore, the goal of this study is to identify the best performing floral CBD hemp varieties based on their resource use efficiency. Seven hemp cultivars (i.e., Baox5.12, Bozo, Green machine, Heavy diesel, Terple berry, Therapy, Supreme density 5.12) were tested in the field during 2021. In 2022, nine hemp cultivars (i.e. Baox improved, Blackberry Punch, Green Machine, Gooseberry, Lemon Ripper, Southern Gas, Sour Lifter, Sour RNA, and Union Special) were tested under field conditions. Plant physiological processes such as assimilation rate (A), transpiration (E), stomatal conductance (gs), quantum photosynthetic yield (Y), and electron transport rate (ETR) were measured twice during both growing seasons to estimate resource use efficiency. Significant differences were observed in all physiological parameters among hemp cultivars. Both the average transpiration rate and stomatal conductance were consistently highest in BaOx 5.12 compared to other cultivars during early and late vegetative growth stages. ETR was consistently greater in Gooseberry compared to other cultivars at both early and late vegetative stages. However, quantum photosynthetic yield was greater in Green Machine (0.53) and Bao x improved (0.52) in early and late vegetative stages, respectively. Our preliminary data suggests that Gooseberry and Bozo are the most efficient among these cultivars based on higher ETR and lower E and gs values, respectively.

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