Hemp Seeds 101
- Three main varieties: fiber, grain, and CBD (see Hemp CBD Planting Guide for more info)
- Approximately 25,000–27,000 seeds per pound on average, depending on seed size may contain upwards of 50,000 seeds
Regular Seeds vs. Feminized Seeds
- Only female hemp plants will produce flowers with high concentration of CBD
- CBD varieties may be “feminized”, meaning less likelihood of having male plants
- Feminized seeds are generally more expensive
- Fiber and grain varieties will be regular seeds — both male and female plants
How Many Seeds Per Acre?
- Grain: Approx. 400,000 hemp plants per acre or 25–35 pounds of seed per acre, accounting for 70–80 percent germination rate
- Fiber: Approx. 800,000 hemp plants per acre or about 45–55 pounds of seed per acre
- CBD: 1,500–3,000 hemp plants per acre, depending on variety and spacing. May be as low as 400–750 plants if growing for “smokable” flowers
- Grain/Fiber : Less than $10 per pound depending on variety and order quantity
- CBD : Approximately $0.30-$5 per seed or $3,500-$20,000 per pound depending on variety, order quantity, and regular or feminized seed
Hemp Seeds 101 Three main varieties: fiber, grain, and CBD (see Hemp CBD Planting Guide for more info) Approximately 25,000–27,000 seeds per pound on average, depending on seed size may contain upwards of 50,000 seeds Regular Seeds vs. Feminized Seeds Only female hemp plants will produce flowers with high concentration
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At $21 a Pound, Roasted Hemp Seeds Look Like a Cash Cow
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Hemp seeds have started infiltrating grocery-store shelves across America. They’re often sold shelled and in bulk quantities, but some producers have also been packaging them as snack items. Roasted and seasoned, they’re fine snacks — they taste nothing like pot and don’t get you high, but they’re high in protein (nine grams in three tablespoons) and full of omega essential fatty acids.
But when we saw a bag of Ziggy Marley Hemp Rules — seeds that are USDA certified organic — selling for $7.99 for six ounces (before tax), we started considering the potential of hemp seeds as a cash crop.
According to a feasibility report released by Oregon State University in 1998, hemp fields dedicated to seed production are typically not seeded as heavily as fields dedicated to hemp used for fiber. (Although a single hemp plant can be used for both, the fiber from fully seeded plants is not as strong and therefore not as useful as fiber from plants that are not allowed to fully seed.) The report states that a typical seed yield using the methods outlined in the study would be about 893 pounds per acre.
Colorado Introduces First Hemp Seed Approval System in Country
That document is obviously outdated, but the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance reports that typical seed yields range from 600 to 800 pounds — and that the largest yield on record “topped 2,000 pounds.”
Ignoring the cost of packaging and marketing those seeds, In a best-case scenario of 2,000 pounds per acre, a producer could harvest $42,613 worth of hemp seeds.
But there’s clearly potential for variation. An acre that only produces 600 pounds of seeds, for example, would yield about $12,784 worth of hemp seeds.
By way of contrast, in 2013 an acre of corn was expected to gross about $916 (based on the average price of a bushel of corn and the average yield of bushels per acre), and an acre of soybeans was expected to gross about $648 (based on the same metrics).
You can’t ignore the cost of packing and marketing, of course, and there’s more overhead to be considered. But even so, it’s clear there’s money to be made in the hemp industry through more than just fiber production.
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Hemp seeds have started infiltrating grocery-store shelves across America. They're often sold shelled and in bulk quantities, but some producers have also been packaging them as snack items. Roasted and seasoned, they're fine snacks — they taste nothing like pot and don't get you high, but they're high in protein…