Questions to ask before you buy hemp seeds
- How many generations of selective breeding do you have for each of your strains?
Why ask this: Many companies are selling unstable populations, usually crosses from un-stabilized parental lines that do not have tried-and-true performance. These are often marketed as “new” strains, with descriptive information like “sweet terpene-rich aroma” etc. Are these strains stable and will they provide you the performance you desire?
- How many years has the company grown the specific strain you are interested in purchasing?
Why ask this: A reputable genetics company should have an experienced breeder on staff who will be able to answer this question honestly and without hesitation. Industrial Hemp became legal for research under the Agricultural Act of 2014 with commodity hemp becoming federally legal in 2018 under the Hemp Farming Act (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp_Farming_Act_of_2018). There are a lot of good companies out there that have been breeding strains in this time frame, and even before, but do your homework. Any company who is developing their own genetics should be able to tell you their history.
- What are the genetic characteristics in the strain that you are interested in purchasing?
Why ask this: Many seed companies are reselling and rebranding seed as their own without trialing or even understanding what they are selling. The plant breeder may not want to give specifics but should give you a basic idea about the genetics of their strain and how long they have been working with it. In a new industry such as ours, all strains should be relatively new to the company, your chosen supplier should be honest and clear about the sourcing of their strains.
- Where are you conducting yield trials and how many?
Why ask this: Different strains will perform differently in different regions. A company focused on improving their genetics will be trialing their genetics, outdoors, in replicated field trials. Without this data they cannot accurately speak to the relative performance of their strains. Be sure to ask for data supporting any claims. AMHV will be performing field trials in 10 different states in 2020.
- Who are your breeders/geneticists? Can I speak to them?
Why ask this: Plant breeding is an in-depth discipline and requires years of training and experience. Most plant breeders typically have a PhD in Plant Breeding/Genetics/Physiology on top of years of experience. They should be able to tell you where they trained and who they trained with, what crops they have experience with, etc.
- How stable are your genetics?
Why ask this: Like the first question, you should expect an honest answer as to how they are evaluating their strains, and what steps they are taking to improve. They should be able to tell you if there are off-types, frequencies of off-types, etc.
- Are your seeds produced indoors, in a greenhouse, or in a field?
Why ask this: Several seed companies are attempting to produce feminized high CBD/CBG seed outdoors. Outdoor seed production has a high risk of unintentional pollination. Unintentional pollination can result in high THC-producing plants (marijuana) and lower yields. For this reason, seed production should always be indoors.
- AWhat documentation and quality control should I expect with seed that I am purchasing?
Why ask this: Reputable seed companies will supply you with a least three different tests for each of the strains that they are selling. These tests are: A Certificate of Analysis (often referred to as a “COA”), a gender test, and a germination test. All tests should be performed by a reputable, third-party, entity. The Certificate of Analysis gives information about the flower’s chemical profile.
High concentrations of CBD, CBDa, and other cannabinoids are desirable. The delta 9 THC and THCa contents should be low. The total THC content* should not exceed 0.3%. The gender test should indicate 100% or close to 100% female seed while germination rates should show greater than 95% viability. Should there be issues, such as low germination, then the Company should be willing to replace those seeds at no additional cost. *Total THC content = % delta 9 THC + % THCa × 0.877
Please feel free to reach out to Mike Kosty (1-778-552-6514) or Doug Smith (1-919-518-4076) for any additional information or to be connected with one of our cultivation experts or geneticists.
with purchase of 250,000 seeds or more.