At Trilogene Seeds, we’re not shy with telling it like we see it, and well, we’re big fans of hemp seeds for hemp growers.
In fact, we’re willing to go whole hog and say — hemp seeds are a smarter choice than hemp clones, despite what some in the hemp industry may believe. And hemp seeds are only going to get better.
Recently, Trilogene CEO Matt Haddad went head-to-head over the whole “Seeds versus Clones” debate on a CropTalk Media podcast. Take a listen to what Matt has to say by tuning into the podcast HERE.
But, in the meantime, here are the three bottom-line reasons Trilogene believes planting hemp seeds rather than clones is the smartest, most financially prudent choice for hemp growers.
3 Reasons to Plant Hemp Seeds Not Hemp Clones
- Hemp Seeds Have a Taproot
Hemp plants started from seeds grow a taproot. Clones do not. This can be a big deal when it comes to plant health, especially in outdoor row crop operations.
A hemp seedling will grow a long, vigorous taproot into the soil. This roots the plant solidly in the ground and creates a symbiotic relationship with the soil microbiome vital for vigorous plant health. Cloned hemp plants don’t grow a taproot, they grow secondary roots from the stem that grow laterally rather than downward.
A vigorous taproot system is essential for water-challenged areas. That long root system stretches deep into the soil, searching for moisture. That can mean the difference between a profitable and disappointing hemp harvest during droughts or in regions experiencing desertification.
2.Pest, Pathogens and Disease Plague Hemp Clones
Hemp seeds give farmers a “clean slate” and limit the risk of introducing pests, pathogens or disease clones are notorious for.
Sure, hemp seeds can carry some diseases — like fusarium — but the risk of problems is much lower with seeds. Many pests and diseases can’t transfer through seeds at all. It is also easier for knowledgeable seed growers to grow and maintain clean seed production. Clone propagators must make sure that not only is their mother stock is disease and pest-free, but that they aren’t transferring problems in their propagation rooms. The risk of disease and pest problems with clones is simply much greater than it is with seeds.
3. Hemp Seeds Cost Less than Hemp Clones
Hemp seeds are cheaper than hemp clones. In an industry with a lot of volatility in pricing, farmers must be conservative with their input costs.
As the hemp industry matures, serious growers have to consider their seed costs, just like any other crop. Clones cost a lot more than seeds to plant, with more risk of failure added into the equation.
Here at Trilogene, we have found that direct-seeding can be accomplished at less than half the cost per acre compared to clones and reliably outproduce clones at harvest time.
4. You can Ship Hemp Seeds Anywhere
You can ship hemp seeds anywhere. The same can’t be said for clones!
Clones are expensive to ship and they can’t be sent reliably to many places — including our overseas customers. Seeds are easy to ship, inexpensive to ship and you can store them until you’re ready to plant giving you more flexibility in your planting time. Easy-peasy.
The Advantages Hemp Clones Did Have are Disappearing (Or Can Easily be Mitigated)
Even a few years ago, hemp clones made a lot more sense.
Hemp seeds weren’t reliable. There was too much variability in phenotypes. Not to mention, harvest prices were better. But things have changed.
At Trilogene, some of our cultivars have been in production for five and even six years now. Our varietals reliably produce to type, and every year that goes by they only get better. The unreliable, ‘who knows what you’ll get in that baggy of seeds’ horror stories of a few years ago is no longer the case, at least with a little bit of due diligence on the part of the hemp farmer. None of this is surprising. Having hemp seeds the industry could rely on has always been a matter of time.
The other advantage often touted by clone breeders — not needing to rouge for the occasional male or hermaphrodite plant, even in feminized seed — isn’t a positive either, as far as we are concerned.
Smart, prepared hemp growers know they’ll need to rogue their fields. Therefore, they plan for it. At Trilogene, we help our customers rogue — we send out reminder alerts based on their cultivar’s photoperiod. It’s easy enough to dial in that window when the unwanted males start flowering, typically a few weeks before your female flower buds form. You know you’ll need to do it, so it easy to plan, prepare and budget for. Unlike clones, which might bring in an unplanned pest or disease, aren’t as vigorous and resilient in the field, plus were a much higher initial outlay cost. And let’s not forget, even clones can have the occasional off-type male or hermie pop-up in the field, which negates the whole advantage of ‘not needing to rogue’ from the get-go.
Hemp growers succeed when they pay close attention to their bottom line. This industry no longer rewards fly-by-night growers uncommitted to the craft and unknowledgeable about farming that got lucky. Those years are long gone, costs will make and break hemp farmers.
Which is why, here at Trilogene, we believe hemp seeds — not clones — are the most reliable path to a profitable crop for a professional hemp grower.
Check out our selection of more than 30 exclusively bred Trilogene hemp seed cultivars. We’d be happy to help you select the perfect varietal for your farm.