Cannabis Product News Hemp Production News Brought to you by the publisher of Greenhouse Product News

Apr 14, 2021
The challenge: ensuring uniformity and consistency

The answer: achieving AOSCA approval

By Dr. Stephen Baluch

{Sponsored} Hemp and cannabis in general, isn’t a crop that’s traditionally known to be bred with consistency, so it’s important to growers that they can trust the varieties they choose. Crossing a Heterozygous individual to another heterozygous individual or a population is not going to lead to predictable results. The progeny will be different in structure, size and, most importantly, timing of harvest. Unfortunately, hemp growers bought a lot of this seed in the early days of legalization and the results were disappointing. That is why variety approval from the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) is so important.

Courtesy of Arcadia Biosciences

But what does AOSCA approval mean?

What it stands for is that a breeder delivers what they say they’re delivering. It’s peace of mind for farmers, that the seed is looked at and vetted by third parties. The seed meets purity standards as outlined by a known and respected entity.

How does seed get AOSCA approval?

In order to get that AOSCA approval, your seed has to have the uniformity that you’d expect from other crops like corn and soybeans. Among the requirements for producing AOSCA approved seed: special land requirements, planting eligible stock, field inspections, proper seed labeling and meeting standards based on complete lab analysis.

How do you produce consistent varieties?

In our breeding program, we identify new candidate varieties, test them on farm for a host of traits, including THC compliance, then they advance to national trials where we get information how our varieties perform in a multitude of environments. We focus on uniformity, the expectation of compliance, customer service – we have an agronomist who can come to the farm. From there, we can make informed decisions before we release to market. It’s a very involved process. From the start of making a cross to when it’s in a farmer’s hands, it’s probably about six to seven years.

Courtesy of Arcadia Biosciences

What are you looking for in the breeding process?

One of the most important traits is the compliance factor. One of the attributes that is different about Arcadia is that we thoroughly test our own products by getting them into major hemp growing regions – North Carolina, Kentucky, Oregon – not just on our own farms. Flower initiation and other parameters change depending on growing regions. Understanding differenc­­es in how these varieties perform is key. For example, the size of our Umpqua variety will be different in Minnesota versus North Carolina. If you take a temperate variety bred for 35 degrees north and above and grow it south of those latitudes, the outcome changes dramatically. We do have different varieties that perform well in different regions, but it’s still important to understand growing and production in every area. We have a full pipeline of different products that are designed to address these considerations that we release once our strict criteria are met.

Dr. Stephen Baluch is director of breeding for Arcadia Biosciences, provider of GoodHemp AOSCA approved varieties.

For more information, visit:[email protected]

© 2021 Arcadia Biosciences

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