Environment: Hemp back to the fields? research on benefits

According to an initiative in the northeast, hemp could contribute to more environmentally friendly agriculture.

Environment: Hemp back to the fields? research on benefits

According to an initiative in the northeast, hemp could contribute to more environmentally friendly agriculture. A project by the Research Institute for Livestock Biology Dummerstorf (FBN) and the Neubrandenburg University of Applied Sciences, among others, is investigating how hemp could protect the groundwater and replace more climate-damaging feed, the FBN announced on Saturday.

For example, it should be determined to what extent hemp absorbs nitrate in different soil layers. This nitrogen compound is used for fertilization and can pollute drinking water and disturb ecosystems in excessive concentrations. "The plants can root up to three meters deep," explained farmer Rafael Dulon from the hemp farm in Melz (Mecklenburg Lake District), which is also involved. "Due to its rapid growth, it absorbs a lot of nitrogen from the soil." The analyzes are carried out by the company FPS Anklam.

At the FBN in Dummerstorf near Rostock, researchers also investigated the extent to which cows tolerate hemp leaves as animal feed. The hemp could potentially replace soy imports and thereby reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The focus is on hemp, which, unlike other varieties, only contains traces of the intoxicating substance THC. For feeding, he should not exceed a low THC content. The project, funded by the EU, bears the title "Zwihanf" as an abbreviation for hemp as a cover crop. It is sown in late summer after the main crop or between two main crops.

Industrial hemp has been cultivated in Germany for many centuries and the plants have been used to extract oil and fibers for textiles, for example. However, rapeseed and cheap foreign cotton and soybean production have displaced hemp. The argument in favor of hemp is that the plants are frugal when it comes to water and can do without pesticides.

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