Hemp advocates claim industrial hemp would be a good source of biomass to help address our energy needs. Since the oil crisis in the early seventies much work has been accomplished in the area of energy production using biomass. Biomass is any plant or tree matter in large quantity. These decades of research have lead to the discovery of several ways to convert biomass into energy and other useful products. Industrial hemp can be grown in most climates and on marginal soils. It requires little or no herbicide and no pesticide, and uses less water than cotton.
Yields will vary according to local conditions and will range from 1.5 to 6 dry tons of biomass per acre. Hemp can produce adequate yields for bioenergy production under certain soil and climate conditions. Its harvesting operations and logistics require often to be optimized to minimize inputs and costs. Both fiber and energy outputs require several agronomic techniques, crop models and economic analysis. Rotations and sustainable alternative patterns have a considerable potential to increase yields and profits.
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