Friday, August 24, 2012


Hempcrete for a Healthy home.

Many people are looking for a better way to build a home. Everybody wants a home that costs less to operate and no one wants to live in a home that makes them sick. What if you could have all these plus a home that helps protect the future for our kids and ourselves.
Hempcrete is a fantastic option to do exactly those things. Hemp crete is indeed made from the plant that bears that villainous name – Hemp. The cannabis family has two main groups, marijuana and hemp, with the primary distinction being the plant’s content of THC. THC is the chemical component that makes marijuana the drug that it is. Having a very low concentration of THC, hemp has no drug value. In fact, the THC content is so low in hemp that people will get sick from the smoke before getting high if they try to smoke it.
So what makes hempcrete a building material instead of just another plant? Judging by the name, you can probably guess it has more than one component. The first component is hemp hurd or shiv. This is the woody part of the plant stalk that has been broken down to slivers wider than a toothpick but about 1/3 the length of the same toothpick. The crete component is natural lime, a basic building material that has been used for thousands of years in plaster and mortar. These items are combined with water and mixed to a slurry. This slurry is poured into forms and tamped into place and allowed to dry and cure. The drying happens in a few days while the full cure takes about 90 days as the lime absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turns back into limestone from which the lime was made.

Hempcrete sample

This hempcrete model shows some of the details of this construction method.
What makes hempcrete a better way to build?
First: It is a natural material that can improve the health of your home. Hemp can help moderate moisture levels in a home allowing the home to better deal with fluctuations in humidity. The lime incorporated into the wall can kill mold, so if water were to ever get into the wall, the lime protects the wood and hemp in the wall as well as the health of the home’s occupants. Another benefit of lime is to prevent bug and rodent infestations. Hardened lime in the hempcrete will scratch and dry out bugs so they cannot live in your walls and the lime will also scratch rodents making them very unhappy in your walls.
The use of completely natural products in your home can also be a life saver for people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, allergies, asthma or Asperger’s Syndrome. Each of these conditions can cause serious health responses to perfume, adhesive vapors, and cleaning chemicals. Because all natural lime plaster can be made white, light tan or all the way to red or dark brown with many other colors options with natural pigments there is no need for paints or smelly stains. For people with these or similar conditions this can be not only comforting but downright lifesaving. Another option for finishing the inside of your hemp home is clay plaster. This plaster is literally made with clay and can be done in various textures to fit your style. Clay plaster has similar health characteristics to lime plaster and can often be made from soil on your home site, connecting you to your home in a deeper way.
Second: Hemp is a highly renewable resource with multiple benefits. The plant is harvested every year, sometimes twice. This is nearly 10 times higher per acre than trees. The seed from hemp is a highly nutritious food. The fibers from the stalk are used in everything from long wearing clothes to upholstery and insulation products. Every part of the plant is used and benefits a wide variety of industries. Hemp used to grow in almost every part of North America and as a native plant needs very little chemical help to survive unlike most farm crops in use today.
Third: Hempcrete and its associated building materials are very durable. There are hempcrete homes in Europe that are 300 or more years old. The lime protects the hemp and wood in the walls from water related damage including mold. Lime stucco is the preferred cover for hempcrete. Lime stucco is far more resistant to cracking and water penetration than modern stuccos. Stucco is also very fire resistant. If there were a fire in your hempcrete home, there would be a lot of cleaning but your home would be substantially intact, protecting you and your memories as well as your investment.
Fourth: Hempcrete walls provide excellent insulation capabilities. Most hempcrete homes are built with a 12” deep wall. This thickness combined with the R-2.8 /inch insulation value provides an R-33 insulation. A highly insulated home such as this will be exceptionally comfortable and need very little heating or cooling. This reduced heating and cooling requirement means your home energy costs can be kept at very low, manageable levels.
Fifth: Design flexibility. Hempcrete can be built in many different ways from fairly standard wall thickness to 12” or more inches deep. These thicker walls can offer a very romantic old world feel with deep, solid window and door frames. This feel can be accentuated by color and design to deliver a unique one of a kind feel like an Italian villa or a more modern, squared look can be utilized. Your new hemp home can also look like almost any other home on the block if you would rather blend in with the neighbors.
Hempcrete is product that is rather new to Joplin and the US but has a well-established track record in Europe as a durable, healthy, efficient home material. Despite the commonly vilified reputation of hemp in this country, hemp can provide an incredibly healthy, comfortable home for you and your family.

To learn more about this or other efficient, healthy construction techniques contact Willy at Crane Home Energy

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hemp A Healthy Solution

Hemp- It's what will help Restore America.

What The Hemp America? Hemp Hurds!!! That's What!

Pubdate: October 14, 1916
Authors: Lyster H. Dewey, Botanist in Charge of Fiber-Plant Investigations, and Jason L. Merrill, Paper-Plant Chemist, Paper-Plant Investigations.
Pages: This is an excerpt of the entire report. ". . ." indicates that text is omitted.

NOTE - This bulletin should be useful to all persons who are interested in the economic phases of paper making, especially to print and book paper manufacturers. It also should be of interest to scientific investigators and chemists.

In preparing the report on the manufacture of paper from hemp hurds it became evident that a short discussion of the agricultural aspects of this material should be included in the publication. Such an article was prepared, therefore, and the two reports are here presented together.

By Lyster H. Dewey, Botanist in Charge of Fiber-Plant Investigations.


The woody inner portion of the hemp stalk, broken into pieces and separated from the fiber in the processes of breaking and scutching, is called hemp hurds. These hurds correspond to shives in flax, but are much coarser and are usually softer in texture.

The hemp stalk grown in a broadcast crop for fiber production is from one-eighth to three-eighths of an inch in diameter and from 4 to 10 feet tall. The stalk is hollow, with a cylindrical woody shell, thick near the base, where the stalk is nearly solid, and thinner above, where the hollow is relatively wider.

In the process of breaking, the woody cylinder inside of the fiber-bearing bark is broken into pieces one-half of an inch to 3 inches long and usually split into numerous segments. The thicker lower sections are split less than the thin-shelled upper ones, and they are often left quite solid.


The inner surface of the hurds usually bears a layer of pith, consisting of thin-walled cells nearly spherical or angular, but not elongated. They are more or less crushed and torn. They are probably of little value for paper, but they constitute less than 1 per cent of the weight of the hurds. The principal weight and bulk consist of slender elongated woody cells. The outer surface is covered with fine secondary fibers composed of slender elongated cells, tougher than those of the wood but finer and shorter than those of the hemp fiber of commerce. No method has been devised thus far which completely separates from the hurds all the long fiber. From 5 to 15 per cent of the weight of the hurds consists of hemp fiber, in strands from 3 inches to 8 feet in length. Some fragments of the bark, made up of short cubical cells, usually dark in color, cling to the strands of fiber.


Nearly all of the hemp in the United States is dew retted. The stalks are spread on the ground in swaths, as grain is laid by the cradle. The action of the weather, dew, and rain, aided by bacteria, dissolves the gums, leaving only the fibrous bark and the wood. The plants in this process lose about 60 per cent of their green weight, or about 40 per cent of their air-dry weight.

The stalks are sometimes set up in shocks to cure before retting, and after retting they are set up in shocks to dry. Each time the stalks are handled they are chucked down on the ground to keep the butts even. In these operations sand and clay are often driven up into the hollow at the base of the stalks, and this dirt, which often clings tenaciously, may constitute an objectionable feature in the use of hemp hurds for paper stock.

In Italy and in most localities in Russia and Austria-Hungary where hemp is extensively cultivated, it is retted in water, but water retting has never been practiced in the United States except to a limited extent before the middle of the last century. Hurds from water-retted hemp are cleaner and softer than those from dew-retted hemp.

The fiber is sometimes broken from dry hemp stalks without retting. The hurds thus produced contain a small percentage of soluble gums, chiefly of the pectose series. Comparatively little hemp is prepared in this manner in America.

Process retting by means of weak solutions of chemicals or oils in hot water is practiced to a limited extent. The hurds from these processes may contain traces of the chemicals or oils and also soluble gums in greater degree than those of the dew-retted or water-retted hemp.


The yield of hemp fiber varies from 400 to 2,500 pounds per acre, averaging 1,000 pounds under favorable conditions. The weight of hurds is about five times that of the fiber, or somewhat greater from hemp grown on peaty soils. A yield of 2 1/2 tons of hurds per acre may be taken as a fair average.


Hemp hurds are available only from hemp which is broken by machines, when the hurds may be collected in quantity in one place. Most of the hemp in Kentucky is still broken by hand brakes. These small brakes are moved from shock to shock, so that the hurds are scattered all over the field in small piles of less than 50 pounds each, and it is the common practice to set fire to them as soon as the brake is moved. It would be difficult to collect them at a cost which would permit their use for paper stock.

Where machine brakes are used, the hemp stalks are brought to the machine as grain is brought to a thrashing machine, and the hurds accumulate in large piles, being blown from the machine by wind stackers.

Machine brakes are used in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and California, but to only a limited extent in Kentucky. Five different kinds of machine brakes are now in actual use in this country, and still others are used in Europe. All of the best hemp in Italy, commanding the highest market price paid for any hemp, is broken by machines. The better machine brakes now in use in this country prepare the fiber better and much more rapidly than the hand braes, and they will undoubtedly be used in all localities where hemp raising is introduced as a new industry. They may also be used in Kentucky when their cost is reduced to more reasonable rates, so that they may compete with the hand brake. Hemp-breaking machines are being improved and their use is increasing. The hemp-growing industry can increase in this country only as machine brakes are developed to prepare the fiber. A profitable use for the hurds will add an incentive to the use of the machine brake.


Hemp hurds are used to a limited extent for barnyard litter and stable bedding, as a substitute for sawdust in packing ice, and, in rare instances, for fuel. They are not regarded as having a commercial value for any of these uses, though they are doubtless worth at least $1 per ton on the farm when used for stable bedding. They are a waste product, without value for other purposes which might compete with their use for paper stock.


During the last season, 1915, about 1,500 acres of hemp have been harvested outside of Kentucky and in regions where machine brakes are used. Estimating the yield of hurds at 2 1/2 tons per acre, this should give a total quantity of about 3,750 tons. Large quantities of hemp from the crop of 1914, which are still unbroken in these areas, and large piles of hurds undisturbed where the machines where the machines have been used during the last two or three years, increase the total to more than 7,700 tons. Hemp is now grown outside of Kentucky in the vicinity of McGuffey, east of Lima, Ohio; around Nappanee, Elkhart County, and near Pierceton, in Kosciusko County, Ind.; about Waupun and Brandon, Wis.; and at Rio Vista and Stockton, Cal.

In Kentucky, hemp is grown in most of the counties within a radius of 50 miles of Lexington. No accurate statistics of the acreage are collected, but the crop harvested in 1915 is estimated at 7,000 acres. A machine brake will probably be used in Bourbon County and also in Clark County, but most of the hemp in Kentucky will be broken on hand brakes.


The hurds will have to be baled to facilitate handling in transportation and to economize storage space at the paper mills. The bales will need to be covered with burlap or some material to keep them from shaking out. They may be baled in the same presses that are used for baling hemp fiber, but care must be exercised to avoid breaking the press, for the hurds are more resistant than hemp fiber. A bale of hemp 2 by 3 by 4 feet weighs about 500 pounds. A bale of hurds of the same size will weigh about one-third less, or approximately six bales per ton.

Rough hemp fiber as it is shipped from the farm is not covered; therefore, the covering material must be purchased especially for the hurds. A piece of burlap about 36 by 48 inches placed on either side of the bale will be sufficient, but these pieces, weighing about 3 pounds each, cost bout 40 cents a pair. Baling rope, in addition to jute covering, will cost at least 5 cents per bale, making the total cost of covering and ties $2.70 or more per ton. Possibly chip board, costing about $33 per ton, or not more than 5 cents for the two pieces for each bale, may be used in place of burlap. Chip boards, burlap, and also rope ties may all be used for paper stock. Burlap covers might be returned, to be used repeatedly until worn out, but chip board could not be used more than once.


If burlap covers are used the cost of baling, including covering, ties, use of baling press, power, and labor will amount to at least 60 cents per bale, or about $3.75 per ton. If chip board can be used the cost may be reduced to about $2 per ton. The cost of hauling and loading on the cars will vary from $1 to $3 per ton, depending upon the distance and the roads. The farmer must therefore receive from $4 to $6 per ton for the hurds, baled, on board cars at his home station.


Hemp hurds are the woody inner portion of the hemp stalk, broken into pieces in removing the fiber.

They are not used at present for any purpose that would compete with their use for paper.

Hurds are available only from machine-broken hemp, for the cost of collecting them from the hand brakes would be too great.

About 7,000 tons are now available in restricted localities in Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and California.

The quantity is likely to increase as the use of machine brakes increases.

The hurds may be baled in hemp-fiber presses, with partial burlap covers like those on cotton bales, or possibly chip-board covers.

It is estimated that the farmers may deliver the bales on board cars profitably at $4 to $6 per ton.

By Jason L. Merrill, Paper-Plant Chemist, Paper-Plant Investigations.


The purpose of this paper is to report upon preliminary tests which were conducted to determine the paper-making value of hemp hurds, a crop waste of the hemp-fiber industry.

The search for plant materials capable of being utilized in paper manufacture is a comparatively recent but world-wide activity which has for its object the husbanding of present sources of paper-stock supply by the substitution of new materials for some of those which are rapidly becoming less plentiful and more costly.

The abstract idea of utilizing that which is at present a waste can play no important role in such activities, the successful commercial outcome of which must be based on the three fundamental factors - market or demand for product, satisfactory raw material, and cost.

Since hemp hurds are to be treated in this report as a raw material for the manufacture of book and printing papers, the qualities, supply, probable future, and cost of the material will be considered in comparison with wood, with which it must compete. There seems to be little doubt that the present wood supply can not withstand indefinitely the demands placed upon it, and with increased scarcity economy in the use of wood will become imperative. This effect is already apparent in many wood-using industries, and although the paper industry consumes only about 3 per cent of the total forest cut, it is probable that it will be affected through this economy. Our forest are being cut three times as fast as they grow, and as wood becomes more expensive proper growing and reforesting will receive more attention. Thus, naturally, a balance will be established between production and consumption, but as this condition approaches its limiting values the price of wood may rise to such levels that there will be a demand for other raw materials.

The use of waste paper in conjunction with chemical wood pulp has increased to enormous proportions, and it is probable that the increase will continue. Although it is a cheaper raw material than wood, it is reasonable to suppose that as the wood supply decreases and the price of wood pulp advances, the price of waste paper will advance somewhat proportionately.

In view of these conditions it is advisable to investigate the paper making value of the more promising plant materials before a critical situation arises. To be of substantial value the investigations should include not only a determination of the quality and quantity of pulp and paper which the material is capable of producing, but should embrace a consideration of such relevant factors as agricultural conditions, farm practice, assembling conditions, transportation, and probable future supply.

Certain cultivated plants seem particularly promising, because in the harvesting of the regular crop that portion which might be utilized for paper manufacture necessarily is either wholly or partially assembled. To this class of plants belong corn, broom corn, sorghum, sugar cane, bagasse, flax, hemp, and the cereal straws.

. . .


Hemp hurds form a crop waste, in that they necessarily are produced in the raising and preparation of hemp fiber, and their present use and value are comparatively insignificant.

. . .

Without doubt, hemp will continue to be one of the staple agricultural crops of the United States. The wholesale destruction of the supply by fire, as frequently happens in the case of wood, is precluded by the very nature of the hemp-raising industry. Since only one year's growth can be harvested annually the supply is not endangered by the pernicious practice of overcropping, which has contributed so much to the present high and increasing cost of pulp wood. The permanency of the supply of hemp hurds thus seems assured.

. . .


As received from Pierceton, Ind., the hurds consisted of a mixture of tangled hemp bast fibers and pieces of broken wood of the hemp stalk. No reliable data were secured as to the proportion of bast fiber in the total shipment of 4 tons, although two hand separations of small representative samples gave results averaging 8 per cent. The chemical character of the material was such and the quantity was so small that any appreciable variation of the proportion should not affect materially the treating processes finally adopted, yet its presence in varying proportions undoubtedly would modify to some extent the quality of the resulting paper product. Since the length of the ultimate bast fiber averages about 22 mm. and the length of the ultimate hemp wood fiber averages 0.7 mm., it is natural to assume that the bast fiber would tend to increase the strength of paper produced from the hurds.

The broken pieces of wood contained in the hurds varied in length from mere particles which were somewhat finer than sawdust to pieces about 3 1/2 inches long, exceptional pieces being found which measured 6 inches in length. The majority of the long pieces were between 2 and 3 inches in length. In thickness the pieces ranged from one-eighth of an inch, in case they were derived from the base of the hemp stalks, to about one sixty-fourth of an inch in those pieces which were derived from the top and branches of the stalks. In cross section the pieces were found to be a quarter or half of the rounded rectangular woody shell of the stalk, although there appeared to be no regularity in this respect.

From the pulp-maker's standpoint the great irregularity in thickness, length, and mass of the woody pieces militates decidedly against economy in pulp production. The smaller pieces reduce by chemical treatment sooner than the larger fragments and are thereby overtreated, which results in a lower yield of cellulose fiber and a product composed of undertreated and overtreated fibers, the production and use of which are not satisfactory or economical. It probably would be found more satisfactory, therefore, to screen or sort the hurds and treat the various sizes separately and differently.

Associated with the hurds was a small quantity of chaff and dirt, composed chiefly of sand, soil, particles of hemp leaves and flowers, and other extraneous matter. The sand and soil were present because of the practice of placing the stalks in shocks in the field, the butts of the stalks being in contact with the soil. It is a simple matter, however, to remove the chaff and dirt by sieving, and this practice was followed in most of the paper tests conducted with this material.


Because of the similarity of hemp hurds to other materials which have been tested by the Office of Paper-Plant Investigations, semicommercial tests were conducted in cooperation with a paper manufacturer without preliminary laboratory tests. Laboratory pulp and paper tests are regarded only as a preliminary to semicommercial tests and therefore are not employed unless the material in question presents new features which should receive investigation before larger sized tests are undertaken.

. . .

In the tests described in this bulletin, the Department of Agriculture employed a rotary digester of its own design, comprising a shell 5 feet 5 inches in length by 4 feet in diameter, capable of holding about 300 pounds of air-dry hurds. It is believed that a test of this size is large enough to give satisfactory results and that the results are susceptible of commercial interpretation, while at the same time they are sufficiently small for complete control and to afford fiber-yield figures which are both accurate and reliable. Two such rotary charges gave enough fiber for one complete paper-making test.


A complete test on hurds comprises seven distinct operations,

Determination of yield,
Furnishing, and

. . .

The term "paper making" as used in this publication, means the operation of forming the finished sheet of paper from stock which has been furnished and prepared in the beater. In these tests a 30-inch Fourdrinier machine of regular construction was used, a machine which often is used for the production of paper for filling regular commercial orders. The machine is designed to cause the water suspension of fibers to flow on to a traveling wire cloth, whereby the water drains away. More water is removed by passing the wet sheet through a series of press rolls, after which the sheet is dried on steam-heated drums and passed through polished iron rolls, which impart a finish to the sheet. A Jordan refining machine was employed in conjunction with the machine to improve further the quality of the fiber, and a pulp screen was used in order to remove coarse and extraneous materials from the fiber.


. . .


In work of this nature and on this scale it is practically impossible to arrive at a cost figure which would be susceptible of commercial interpretation, and in this preliminary publication nothing will be attempted beyond a comparison of the process used with the hurds with that process commercially applied to poplar wood. The process last used with the hurds should not be regarded as final, satisfactory, or most suitable, as it has been shown that progress was being made up to the conclusion of the work.

. . .

In the preparation of the raw material for the digesters there is likewise considerable difference between hurds and poplar wood. The former apparently requires only a moderate sieving to remove sand and chaff, which operation doubtless would require only a small amount of labor and the installation of some simple machinery of low power consumption. In preparing poplar for digestion, the 4-foot logs are chipped by a heavy comparatively expensive chipper of high power consumption, after which the chips are sorted by sieving, the large pieces being rechipped. There would be a noteworthy difference in the installation, operating, and depreciation costs of the two equipments, and this difference would counterbalance to a considerable extent the difference in cost of raw material storage.

. . .

The weight of hurds which are capable of being charged into a rotary is a decidedly unfavorable factor. The weight of a cubic foot of hurds varies somewhat with the proportion of bast fiber, but averages about 5.4 pounds; which, compared with a cubic foot of poplar chips at 8.93 pounds, represents a digester charge of 60.5 per cent of the weight of a poplar-wood charge, or, in terms of fiber capacity, the hurds charge would yield 38.6 per cent as much fiber as the wood charge. The hurds upon being baled for transportation may be broken and crushed to such a degree that the weight of the charge may be increased, and it might be found possible to increase the charge weight by steaming or by the employment of tamping devices. This small weight of charge constitutes one of the most serious objections to the use of hurds in paper manufacture.

In those tests in which the most satisfactory results were obtained, the cooking conditions were 29.5 per cent of caustic soda at a concentration of 107 grams per liter and a causticity of 84.0 per cent acting at a temperature of 170 degrees C. for five hours, or a total time of seven hours.

. . .

The yield of total fiber obtained from the hurds may be placed at 35 per cent of bone-dry fiber calculated on the bone-dry weight of hurds used, or 33.1 per cent of air-dry fiber calculated on air-dry hurds. The yield of bleached fiber was not determined in this preliminary work, but may be safely estimated as 30 per cent, which is low when compared with a yield of about 47 per cent of bone-dry bleached fiber from bone-dry poplar wood. It is believed quite possible that satisfactory cooking conditions may be found which will give a higher yield than was obtained during these tests. The stock should be classed as easy leaching, and 11.4 per cent of bleach is a satisfactory figure, although a little high.

As to beating costs, in the last two and most satisfactory tests the total washing and beating time was three hours, which may be about an hour more than ordinarily is used in making papers of this grade, although the practice varies to a considerable extent.

In regard to furnish, there is such a diversity of practice that it is difficult to make a comparison, but if the hurd stock can be produced as cheaply as soda-poplar stock, the furnish used in these last two tests should be regarded as satisfactory to the book and printing paper manufacturer.

The finish of the paper was not all that might be desired, but that was due almost entirely to the calender stack available for the work, which was composed of nine light rolls, many of which were about 6 inches in diameter and which had not been reground for some time. From a small test on a large calender stack it was readily shown that the paper produced is capable of taking a satisfactory finish.

This comparison, satisfactory in many respects, develops two factors which are decidedly unfavorable to hemp hurds, namely, raw-material storage and digester capacity, and they must be taken into full account in considering the paper-making value of this material, although it should be recognized that investigation may result in the material improvement of these conditions. Moreover, it is not at all improbable that further investigation would develop more satisfactory treating conditions and more suitable furnish compositions, and the belief in this possibility is strengthened by the fact that material progress was being made at the conclusion of this preliminary work.

Calculations on the raw material and acreage for a permanent supply for a pulp mill producing 25 tons of fiber a day for 300 days per annum, or 7,500 tons per annum, give the comparison between hurds and wood shown in Table II.

TABLE II. - Comparison between wood and hemp hurds.

15,000 CORDS
0.37 CORD (ABOUT 0.55 TON).
25,000 TONS
2.5 TONS

The most important point derived from this calculation is in regard to areas required for a sustained supply, which are in the ration of 4 to 1. Every tract of 10,000 acres which is devoted to hemp raising year by year is equivalent to a sustained pulp-producing capacity of 40,500 acres of average pulp-wood lands. In other words, in order to secure additional raw material for the production of 25 tons of fiber per day there exists the possibility of utilizing the agricultural waste already produced on 10,000 acres of hemp lands instead of securing, holding, reforesting, and protecting 40,500 acres of pulp-wood land.

The annual growth per acre, although decidedly in favor of hurds, has little bearing on the project, because the utilization of the hurds is subordinate to the raising of hemp, and the paper manufacturer probably could afford to use only hurds resulting from the hemp industry.


Samples of paper produced in the seven tests were submitted to the Leather and Paper Laboratory of the Bureau of Chemistry. The report of that bureau on its tests is given in Table III.

. . .


There appears to be little doubt that under the present system of forest use and consumption the present supply can not withstand the demands placed upon it. By the time improved methods of forestry have established an equilibrium between production and consumption, the price of pulp wood may be such that a knowledge of other available raw materials may be imperative.

Semicommercial paper-making tests were conducted, therefore, on hemp hurds, in cooperation with a paper manufacturer. After several trials, under conditions of treatment and manufacture which are regarded as favorable in comparison with those used with pulp wood, paper was produced which received very favorable comment both from investigators and from the trade and which according to official tests would be classed as a No. 1 machine-finish printing paper.



. . .

Utilization of American Flax Straw in the Paper and Fiber-Board Industry. Department Bulletin 322.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hemp Construction

Written by Salomon
Tuesday, 12 April 2011 00:00
Hemp Concrete & Insulation
As I don't want to use iron rods for the buildings in the village I went on search for another material. The best material that I found is hemp fiber. Besides that, hemp fiber can be used for so much purposes and it is environmentally friendly. Also the oil from hemp can be used for healing.
The hemp plant is a very interesting product for building the village and for other purposes.
Hemp Fibers
Hemp production is easy to achieve organically. Therefore many of the ecological problems in chemical farming of other fibers are obviated.
Hemp quickly grows up to 5 metres in height with dense foliage which blocks weed growth. This means herbicides are not needed and the field is weed free for the next crop. Unlike cotton hemp does not have a high water requirement. The hemp plant has a deep tap root system which enables the plant ot take advantage of deep subsoil moisture, thus requiring little or no irrigation.
Hemp has been produced for thousands of years as a source of fiber for paper, cloth, sails/canvas and building materials. Natural fiber from the hemp stalk is extremely durable and can be used in the production of textiles, clothing, canvas, rope, cordage, archival grade paper, paper, and construction materials.
There are two principal types of fibers in hemp – bast or long fibers and hurds or inner short fiber. Traditionally hemp has been grown for its valuable and versatile high quality bastfibers.
Bastfibers account for 20-30 percent of the stalk (depending on the seed variety, and planting density). There are two types of bastfibers:
• primary bastfibers. Primary bastfibers make up approximately 70 percent of the fibers and are long, high in cellulose and low in lignin. Primary bastfibers are the most valuable part of the stalk, and are generally considered to be among the strongest plant fibers known.
• secondary bastfibers. Secondary bastfibers make up the remaining 30 percent of the bastfibers and are medium in length and higher in lignin. They are less valuable and become more prevalent when the hemp plants are grown less densely, making shorter fatter stalks since they do not have to compete for light.
The production or extraction of the primary bastfibers has traditionally been a very labour intensive process, but recently an alternative fiber separation process has been developed using technologies such as ultrasound and steam explosion, which are much less labour intensive.
Once separated the bastfibers are ready for spinning and weaving into textiles, or for pulping into high quality pulp. Bastfibers are ideal for specialised paper products such as industrial filters, currency paper, tea bags or cigarette paper.
Hurds are the short fibred inner woody core of the hemp plant. They comprise 70-80 percent of the stalk and are composed of libriformfibers which are high in lignin. Traditionally hurds have been considered waste as they are the by-product from bast extraction. The hurds are 50-77 pecent cellulose making them ideal for paper making. One acre of hemp can replace 4.1 acres of trees for pulp production. Although the fibers are shorter than bastfibers they are suitable for a range of products such as rayon, biomass fuel, cellophane, food additives, industrial fabrication materials and newsprint pulp.
Hemp as Clothing and Textiles
China is currently the prime producer of hemp textile. China has had an uninterrupted hemp trade for approximately 6000 years. Other countries are now producing hemp textiles to a lesser extent. The once major hemp textile industry has now almost completely disappeared from the Western world. Currently the bulk of our demand for textiles is met by cotton and synthetics, both of which have serious environmental problems associated with them.
Not only are there environmental benefits to be gained through hemp cultivation, hemp fabrics themselves have advantages to us. Organic clothing and fabrics have no residual chemicals to impact our health.
Fabrics with at least 50 percent hemp content block the sun's UV rays more effectively than do other fabrics. In comparison to cotton, hemp fibers are longer, stronger, morelustrous and absorbent, and more mildew resistant.
Hemp textiles are extremely versatile – they are used in the production of clothing, shoes, apparel, canvas, rugs and upholstery.
Is hemp more ecologically friendly than cotton?
Anything that can be made from cotton can be made from hemp. Hemp's long fibers give it the strength to create a finished product that is much stronger and more durable than one produced from cotton. Just as hemp can be cultivated instead of trees, it can also be grown in place of cotton, with environmental benefits.
Cotton is one of the most environmentally destructive agricultural crops. In pesticide use in the US alone, is staggering – 125 million kilograms annually. Worldwide, cotton production used 50 percent of the world's pesticides/herbicides. Pesticides are possibly the greatest toxic threat to contaminating our soil, air, water and natural communities because they are often permanent and they bio-accumulate, i.e. their toxicity increases as they are consumed up the food chain. Many pesticides are known carcinogens, and can also cause immune-deficiency disorders. Added to this, pesticides have a petroleum base and their excessive use perpetuates our dependency on oil.
Cotton also requires large quantities of fertilizers, growth regulators, general biocides such as methyl bromide, and water. Hemp on the other hand, is one of the most environmentally positive crops that actually leaves the soil enriched. Hemp requires little or no pesticides or herbicides and the extensive and deep root system draws nutrients from deeper soil layers, and when the roots breakdown after harvest they aerate the soil and provide humus. Hemp grows very tall and thick, shading and mulching the ground contributing to a healthy microbial life in the soil.
Cotton grows only in moderate climates and requires more water than hemp. Hemp grows in a wide range of climates and is frost tolerant. Hemp requires only moderate amounts of water whereas cotton requires large amounts of water.
Hemp fiber bundles are up to fifteen feet long while cotton fibers are less than an inch. Hemp has eight times the tensile strength and four times the durability of cotton. Hemp is more absorbent than cotton and therefore takes dyes better.
On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much fiber as 2-3 acres of cotton. Two and a half acres (one hectare) of hemp produces approximately 8000-11000 kilograms of dry biomass. Hemp fiber comes right off the plant ready to comb and use. Hemp fiber lasts longer, is softer than cotton, and will not mildew (hemp has been used for sails for thousands of years for this reason).
Building Materials
Processing Hemp Stalks.
Hemp bast or long fiber and hurds or inner short fiber can be processed and used with existing technology in construction. The hemp stalk can be incorporated into building materials straight from the field. Hemp fiber added to concrete increases tensile and compressive strengths, reduces shrinkage and cracking.
The demand for renewable raw materials is increasing. Currently many companies produce non-woven products like mats for insulation and car/vehicle composites based mainly on flax but increasingly now on hemp fibers. Hemp fibers have excellent potential – they can reinforce plastics, substitute mineral fibers, be recycled, can be grown ecologically, and have no waste disposal problems. A range of products can be derived from non-woven mats for a range of uses: insulation, filters, geotextile, growth media, reinforced plastics and composites.
Natural fiber composites (NFCs)are formulated from a blend of natural fibers such as kenaf, hemp, flax, jute and sisal, and thermoplastic polymers. NFCs are approximately 25 percent stronger than wood fiber reinforced thermoplastics and have none of the negative handling or environmental issues associated with glass fiber.
Hemp Concrete & Insulation
Hemp hurds are not only very absorbent, but are also uncommonly rich in silica. When mixed with lime, hemp hurds change from a vegetable product to a mineral. In this mineral state it is often referred to as hemp stone, and it weighs between 1/5 and 1/7 that of cement based concrete.
Several hundred houses have been built in Europe using this material. Research is ongoing in the UK and Germany, where hemp hurds have been used for the construction of floors since the mid 1900s. Sometimes the hemp hurds are mixed with lime, water and either gypsum or river sand.
When it is poured it hardens, and becomes mould and insect resistant. It can be used in drywall construction between formwork, as an interior and exterior insulation or be poured as a floor. The formwork can be removed within a couple of hours.
One advantage of hemp concrete is that it makes it unnecessary to have several layers of conventional building materials – it is outer and inner wall, and insulation all in one – it can replace bricks or cement-concrete, a vapor barrier, insulation, and plaster board or paneling. All that is needed as a finish is an exterior coat of whitewash to which pigments can be added if desired. The interior surface is an attractive cork-like texture that can be waxed or varnished (using a hemp based varnish).
One of the most popular hemp concrete products is Isochanvre, a French product. The manufacturers claim:
• excellent acoustic insulation
• breathes, prevents condensation
• self-draining and waterproof
• non-flammable (no toxic combustion products)
• resistant to rodents, termites, insects, fungi and bacteria (because of the silica content)
• easy to use, flexible and crack-resistant
• ideal for cyclone and earthquake prone areas due to its strength/weight ratio
• lightness
• able to use fewer finishing such as no plaster, painting or wallpaper.
With all this in mind, hemp can be viewed as an exceptional building material, whether we use ecological, architectural, and practical or end-user criteria. Ecologically, using hemp hurds as concrete and insulation makes sense. From’life-cycle analysis' perspective hemp construction materials win hands down. From its origins as an annual crop, hemp supports agriculture, it provides an alternative to timber/tree use and therefore tree clearing, does away with the need for mining, and requires no chemical processing in the defibration or stabilization stages. Because of the simple, natural materials used, there is no air or water pollution, no waste is produced since all parts of the plant are used, and only minimal energy is required for processing. From the human perspective, it is easy and safe to work with since it is lime based, and it does not require maintenance. The prettification process continues resulting in a stronger, better material with age. Like all hemp products, it is biodegradable.
Advanced Products with Hemp
Incorporating processed cellulose with minerals or binding agents to make value added products:
• Partition wall panels Movable walls to change interior configurations, with surface coatings
• Roof Panels Prefabricated roof segments featuring long fibers for strength.
• Building Blocks Compressed blocks made with portable equipment
• Architectural Moldings Extruded and molded into shape, as baseboards, trim, doors and jambs.
• Molded panels Beautiful features incorporated into interior or exterior surfaces.
• Insulating panels Retrofit for complete exterior renovation and insulation.
• Armored panels Fibers can prevent penetration, absorb shock and momentum.
• Wood substitutes Plywood, dimensional lumber and log substitutes.
• Plates, dishes, art objects HempStoneô as in 8. above.
• Hemp plastic Steam exploded cellulose as a filler, with alcohol fuel as a by-product.
• How about making a granary, in nested cylinders for distribution with nested hats for roof.
• Which products do you manufacture which could be made with this type of material.

Hemp Seed Nutrition!!!

Hemp Seed Nutrition
Hemp Seed ProteinHemp seeds are second only to soybean in protein content. Proteins serve a variety of functions in the human body such as acting as enzymes, antibodies, and the structural components of tissues, hormones and blood protein. The main function of dietary protein is to supply amino acids for the growth and maintenance of body tissue. Digestion disassembles proteins into their basic building blocks - the amino acids.Hemp protein contains all 20 known amino acids including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce. Proteins are considered complete when they contain all 9 essential amino acids in a sufficient quantity and ratio to meet the body's needs. Hemp seeds contain an adequate supply of these high quality proteins (EAAs) for a well balanced diet.Hemp protein is free of the tryspin inhibitors which block protein absorption and free of oligosaccharides found in soy, which cause stomach upset and gas. Approximately 65% of the protein in hemp seeds is made up of the globulin protein Edestin and is found only in hemp seed. Edestin aids digestion, is relatively phosphorus-free and considered the backbone of the cell's DNA. The other one third of hemp seed protein is Albumin, another high quality globulin protein similar to that found in egg whites. (see our nutritional composition tables for further info)Hemp Seed OilThe oil contained in the hemp seed is 75-80% polyunsaturated fatty acids (the good fats) and only 9-11% of the lesser desired saturated fatty acids. Hemp seed oil is reputed to be the most unsaturated oil derived from the plant kingdom. The essential fatty acids (EFAs) contained in hemp seed oil are required in our diet more than any other vitamin, yet our bodies do not naturally produce them. They must be obtained from external sources in the food we eat. EFAs are involved with producing life's energy throughout the human body and without them, life is not possible. In general, North Americans have a high dietary deficiency in EFAs due to out high intake of animal fats versus plant fats, caused by our high consumption of processed foods and meats versus natural organic foods. Hemp seed oil has been dubbed "Nature's most perfectly balanced oil", due to the fact that it contains the perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 (linoleic/ LA) to Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic/ LNA) essential fatty acids, determined to be the optimum requirement for long-term healthy human nutrition. In addition, it also contains smaller amounts of 3 other polyunsaturated fatty acids in Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), oleic acid and stearidonic acid. This EFA combination is unique among edible oil seeds. (see nutritional composition )Extensive studies have demonstrated that many common illnesses are related to deficiencies or imbalances of specific fatty acids in the body. Symptoms are often related to a lack of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and their derivatives, the postaglandins. Most people eating a healthful diet, one that includes a balanced ratio of essential fatty acids, also have healthy skin and a strong immune system. Yet some individuals may experience shortages in specific fatty acids or their metabolites due to dysfunctional enzyme systems or other inhibitions in their metabolic pathways caused by genetic, immune-system-related, or even environmental factors. It has been proven in several clinical studies that dietary supplementation with EFAs or their metabolites (such as GLA) will often prevent or even cure these illnesses. Since hemp seed oil contains both EFAs in a desirable balance while also providing two of the EFA metabolites, it is a good resource for the prevention and treatment of certain illnesses. Hemp seed oil also provides an adequate supply of antioxidants (Vitamin E), carotene (precursor to Vitamin A), phytosterols, phospholipids and a number of minerals including calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, along with modest amounts of iron and zinc. Hemp seed oil also provides a good source of chlorophyll. The daily recommended allowance of hemp seed oil is 14-28 ml (1 to 2 tablespoons). This allowance provides between 8 and 16 grams of Omega 6 (LA) and between 3 and 6 grams of Omega 3 (LNA). And lastly, unlike other Omega-rich alternatives (flax, evening primrose, borage or fish oils) that are sold mainly as a vitamin supplement, hemp seed, hemp oil and hulled hemp seed all have a flavorful "nutty" taste that will create consumer demand and can easily be added into most any recipe to obtain a balanced diet!Caution: Highly unsaturated vegetable oils such as Hemp Seed Oil are denatured by heating above 150ºC (300ºF), which can result in the production of unhealthy trans-fatty acids and increased peroxide values. Use Hemp Seed Oil as a flavor-enhancer in many recipes. Do not use as a substitute for frying oils. Keep bottles tightly sealed after opening and store in the refrigerator or freezer.Hemp CarbohydratesIn addition to the high quality protein and oil found in hemp seeds, 34% of this nutritional package deal is rounded out with carbohydrates made up of dietary fiber and a small amount of sugar. This dietary fiber is made up of 3% soluble fiber and 27% insoluble fiber. (see nutritional composition.Benefits of consuming Hemp Seed & Oil- Excellent source of essential fatty acids including Omega 3, 6 and GLA- Lower blood LDL cholesterol levels- Lower blood pressure- Improve cardiovascular circulation & function- Improve organ function- Improve immunity levels- Increased energy levels & metabolic rate- Reduce symptoms of PMS & menstrual cramps- Reduce inflammation and the symptoms of arthritis- Improve recovery of muscles after exercise- Reduce & treat dry skin and hair conditions- Reduction of many degenerative diseases through preventative measuresHemp products are GMO-Free, Gluten-free, Herbicide & Pesticide free, peanut free, Vegetarian approved, Kosher certified, No THC and Tryspin inhibitor free.Hemp products have a wonderful nutty flavor that can easily be incorporated into your diet while providing a powerful daily supplement.Hemp Food Nutritional ComparisonHemp seed oil has been dubbed, "Nature's most perfectly balanced oil" due to the fact that it contains the perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of both the required essential fatty acids (EFAs) for long term human consumption. Omega 6 -Linoleic Acid (LA) : Omega 3 - Linolenic Acid (LNA). Hemp oil is also an excellent source of the LA derivative super-polyunsaturated Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) at 2.5-3% of volume* * Based on EFA composition noted in research crop reports conducted in Manitoba and Canada during the last three years. Only Hemp seed oil contains Omega 6, Omega 3 and GLA Only Hemp seed oil contains 75-80% polyunsaturated fatty acids- highest in the plant kingdom and unique among seed oils.The following tables and charts offer typical specifications and compositional breakdowns of various hemp seed & oil products.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Cannabinoids and human breast milk


Cannabinoids, like those found in marijuana, occur naturally in human breast milk

Friday, July 20, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer

Learn more:

(NaturalNews) Woven into the fabric of the human body is an intricate system of proteins known as cannabinoid receptors that are specifically designed to process cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the primary active components of marijuana. And it turns out, based on the findings of several major scientific studies, that human breast milk naturally contains many of the same cannabinoids found in marijuana, which are actually extremely vital for proper human development.

Cell membranes in the body are naturally equipped with these cannabinoid receptors which, when activated by cannabinoids and various other nutritive substances, protect cells against viruses, harmful bacteria, cancer, and other malignancies. And human breast milk is an abundant source of endocannabinoids, a specific type of neuromodulatory lipid that basically teaches a newborn child how to eat by stimulating the suckling process.

If it were not for these cannabinoids in breast milk, newborn children would not know how to eat, nor would they necessarily have the desire to eat, which could result in severe malnourishment and even death. Believe it or not, the process is similar to how adult individuals who smoke pot get the "munchies," as newborn children who are breastfed naturally receive doses of cannabinoids that trigger hunger and promote growth and development.

"[E]ndocannabinoids have been detected in maternal milk and activation of CB1 (cannabinoid receptor type 1) receptors appears to be critical for milk sucking ... apparently activating oral-motor musculature," says the abstract of a 2004 study on the endocannabinoid receptor system that was published in the European Journal of Pharmacology.

"The medical implications of these novel developments are far reaching and suggest a promising future for cannabinoids in pediatric medicine for conditions including 'non-organic failure-to-thrive' and cystic fibrosis."

Studies on cannabinoids in breast milk help further demystify the truth about marijuana

There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in the body -- the CB1 variety which exists in the brain, and the CB2 variety which exists in the immune system and throughout the rest of the body. Each one of these receptors responds to cannabinoids, whether it be from human breast milk in children, or from juiced marijuana, for instance, in adults.

This essentially means that the human body was built for cannabinoids, as these nutritive substances play a critical role in protecting cells against disease, boosting immune function, protecting the brain and nervous system, and relieving pain and disease-causing inflammation, among other things. And because science is finally catching up in discovering how this amazing cannabinoid system works, the stigma associated with marijuana use is, thankfully, in the process of being eliminated.

In another study on the endocannabinoids published in the journal Pharmacological Reviews back in 2006, researchers from the Laboratory of Physiologic Studies at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism uncovered even more about the benefits of cannabinoids. These include their ability to promote proper energy metabolism and appetite regulation, treat metabolic disorders, treat multiple sclerosis, and prevent neurodegeneration, among many other conditions.

With literally thousands of published studies now showing their safety and usefulness, cannabinoids, and particularly marijuana from which it is largely derived, truly are a health-promoting "super" nutrient with virtually unlimited potential in health promotion and disease prevention.

Be sure to check out how juicing raw marijuana leaves, which contain a diverse array of health-promoting cannabinoids, is an excellent non-psychoactive way to prevent and treat a host of diseases, including cancer:

Learn more:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hemp Seed Nutrition

General Information about Hemp Seed Nutrition and Medicine

· contains 6 immune-boosting essential fatty acids found in perfect ratio for human consumption.
· protein content consists of 65% of the most digestible form of protein, allowing the protein to be easily assimilated by the human body, making it a great source for vegans and vegetarians.
· contains 9 essential amino acids, 19 in total.
· contains carotene, vitamin C, E, B1, B2, B3 and B6.
· mineral content includes phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, silica, and iron.
· outer shell is a form of insoluble fibre, which, when broken down, becomes a cleansing agent for the digestive tract and is an effective intestinal lubricant.
· stimulates growth of hair and nails.
· improves health of skin.
· reduces inflammation.
· carries toxins to the surface of the skin, the intestinal tract, kidneys and lungs where they can be expelled.
· used in the treatment of glandular atrophy, gallstones, kidney degeneration, acne, and menstrual irregularity.
· reduces blood serum cholesterol levels.
· lowers blood pressure.
· helps to reduce fever.

Specific Analysis of Hemp Seeds

Protein (N x6.25)
Carotene (Vit. A)
Thiamine (B1)
Pyridoxine (B6)
Niacin (B3)
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin E
Insoluble Dietary Fiber
Soluble Dietary Fiber
Total Dietary Fiber
16,800 IU/lb.
0.9 mg/100g
1.1 mg/100g
0.3 mig/100g
1.4 mg/.100g
10 IU/100g
Hemp Seed Nutrition
A complete mineral assay was performed on the sterilized hemp seeds by the Ohio Hempery. The following is that information. Thanks to them!
It can be seen that hemp is especially high in the most needed minerals: Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Sulfur. It is also low in heavy metals like Strontium, Thorium, Arsenic, and Chromium.
The vitamin results were disappointing until you see that hemp's vitamins compares favorably with other grains. Vitamins are mostly provided by fresh vegetables. You would have to eat over a pound of hemp seeds to meet your RDA in many vitamins. The heat from the sterilization process does affect the vitamin content, vitamins are damages by heat. The fresh green leaves of the hemp plant could not be tested for nutrition due to the fact they are illegal to posses.
Mineral Assay of Sterilized Hemp Seeds
1680. 800-1200 mg/day
0.84 .080-.150 mg/day
179. 18 mg/day
6059. 300-400 mg/day
8302 800-1200 mg/day. 9.23
82. 15 mg/day
Hemp seeds contain up to 24% protein. A handful of seed provides the minimum daily requirement for adults. Ohio Hempery's testing confirms that hemp has a high quality protein content that contains all eight essential amino acids in the correct proportions that humans need. I have found in my own research that hemp has actually nine essential amino acids but there seems to be a debate in the scientific community how many essential amino acids there actually are. Some say eight, others say nine. The basic proteins in hemp are easy to digest. They are comprised of 80% edestine, the most digestible of all protein types. When scientists developed the base vegetable protein model the called it "edestine". The used hemp to find it. Relatively unknown, hemp protein is the model Soybeans contain a higher total percentage of protein, but these are complex proteins that many people find difficult to digest. Hemp was once the basis of the edstine model of vegetable protein. The very basis of proteins and the vegetable default model.
All this is not to mention that these seeds taste great. Hemp seeds can be used as a protein and to enhance flavor in any recipe.
Amino Acid
aspartic acid + asparagine
glutamic acid + glutamine
cystine + cysteine
mg/g seeds


Moisture............................................ 0.19
% Vitamin A.................................... 8,700 IU/lb.
Vitamin E........................................... <1 mg/100g
Phosphatides..................................... 0.03
% Chlorophyll................................. 6
PPM Fat Stability AOM................. 5 hours
Free Fatty Acid................................. 0.94%
Insoluble Matter............................... 0.01%
Iodine Value...................................... 166.5
Peroxide Value................................. 7.0 meg/kg
Saponification Value...................... 192.8
Specific Gravity................................ 0.9295 at 20 C
Unsaponifiable Matter..................... 0.28%
Smoke Point..................................... 165 C
Flash Point....................................... 141 C
Melting Point................................... (-8 C)

Hemp & Bipolar Patients

Bipolar Patients with History of Pot Use Show Better Cognitive Skills

By Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 14, 2012
Bipolar Patients with History of Pot Use Show Better Cognitive SkillsIndividuals with bipolar disorder who also have a history of marijuana use demonstrate advanced neurocogitive skills compared to bipolar patients with no history of use, according to research published online in the journal Psychiatry Research.
Researchers from Zucker Hillside Hospital in Long Island, NY, along with colleagues at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City compared the performance of 50 bipolar subjects with a history of marijuana use to 150 bipolar patients with no history of use with a series of standardized cognitive tests.
Patient groups were similar in regards to age, racial background, and highest education levels achieved. Bipolar patients with a history of marijuana use had similar age at onset as did study participants who had not smoked marijuana.
During the study, researchers discovered that participants with a history of smoking marijuana exhibited better neurocognitive performance than that of non-users, but there was no major difference on estimates of premorbid IQ.
“Results from our analysis suggest that subjects with bipolar disorder and history of (marijuana use) demonstrate significantly better neurocognitive performance, particularly on measures of attention, processing speed, and working memory.”
“These findings are consistent with a previous study that demonstrated that bipolar subjects with history of cannabis use had superior verbal fluency performance as compared to bipolar patients without a history of cannabis use. Similar results have also been found in schizophrenia in several studies,” said the authors.
“These data could be interpreted to suggest that cannabis use may have a beneficial effect on cognitive functioning in patients with severe psychiatric disorders. However, it is also possible that these findings may be due to the requirement for a certain level of cognitive function and related social skills in the acquisition of illicit drugs,” they said.
Source: Psychiatry Research

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Pubdate: May, 1918
Source: Bulletin 293 - Wisconsin's Hemp Industry. Agricultural Experiment Station of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Author: A. H. Wright
Pages: This is an excerpt of the entire report. ". . ." indicates that text has been omitted.


Hemp has been grown in Wisconsin for ten years. It has been found that hemp can be grown very successfully in the state, that the climate and certain soils of Wisconsin are particularly suited to the crop, and that the development of labor saving machinery has made the hemp industry one of far reaching importance. Pages 3 to 6.
Several hundred acres must be grown in a vicinity to make hemp production profitable. Cooperative growing is necessary. The state hemp association is stabilizing the industry in the state. Pages 6 to 9.
Wisconsin is the second largest hemp producing state in the Union. The principal centers of production are Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Dodge, and Racine Counties. Pages 9 to 13.
Hemp fiber is a national necessity. In addition to its important use for wrapping cords of all kinds, it is now being used for such vital purposes as thread for sewing army shoes and harness, as caulking in battle ships, and for binder twine. Page 13 to 15.
Hemp should be grown on fertile soil. Poor soils are not suitable. Hemp is not hard on land, for it removes less plant food than many other farm crops. It improves the physical condition of the soil and is a successful crop for smothering quack grass and Canada thistles. Pages 15 to 20.
Fiber hemp does not mature seed in Wisconsin; consequently, seed for planting is principally obtained from Kentucky. The seed weighs 44 pounds to the bushel and 40 pounds are required to plant an acre. Pages 20 to 24.
Hemp is drilled in a well-prepared seed bed, in the spring, and requires no further attention until it is ready to harvest in September.
Hemp is harvested with a special harvesting machine which spreads the stalks in a thin windrow. After remaining in the windrow several weeks, the stalks are tied into bundles, shocked, and stacked. Pages 24 to 32.
The dry, cured hemp stalks are hauled to a breaking mill. Here the fiber is removed from the woody portion of the stalks. To perform this separation of the fiber, especially constructed and equipped hemp mills are necessary. Wisconsin now has nine of these mills. Pages 32 to 38.
Large yields of hemp fiber are obtained in Wisconsin, averaging 1,200 pounds an acre. The cost of producing the crop is from $8 to $11 more an acre than for small grain crops. The gross returns average $75 an acre. With the advent of modern machinery, hemp can be produced just as easily as corn. Hand labor is no longer necessary and as a result, the hemp industry in Wisconsin is firmly established. Pages 38 to 46.

Wisconsin's Hemp Industry

Of the 42,000 acres of hemp grown in the United States in 1917, Wisconsin grew 7,000. Among the several states growing hemp, Wisconsin ranks second in acreage and production in fiber.
Large areas in Wisconsin are admirably suited to hemp culture, and a firmly established dairy industry helps to insure the continued productiveness of the soil.
The climate of Wisconsin is particularly suited to the production of dewretted fiber of good strength and high quality. The fall months are cool and moist, which makes it possible to ret the crop without scorching or over-retting, an item of vital importance in the production of good fiber.
The yields of fiber obtained in this state have been entirely satisfactory, ranging from 1,000 to over 1,500 pounds to the acre; the quality of Wisconsin's hemp fiber is equal to that produced in any other state; and our farmers have received profitable returns from the culture of the crop.
In the improvement of machinery for handling the crop one of the most serious problems of the industry is being solved. Hand labor is now unnecessary in handling Wisconsin's hemp crop. It is harvested by special machinery, and especially constructed and equipped mills are established in the state for separating the fiber from the stalks. In fact, Wisconsin now has over 70 per cent of the total number of hemp mills in the United States.
Hemp has been demonstrated to be the best smother crop for assisting in the eradication of quack grass and Canada thistles.

. . .

In 1908 six acres were grown on the asylum farm at Mendota and three acres on the prison farm at Waupun by the Agronomy department of the Wisconsin Experiment Station in cooperation with the Office of Fiber Investigations of the United States Department of Agriculture. The results were so promising that the investigational work was rapidly increased during 1909, 1910, and 1911. During these years fields were grown at Mendota, Waupun, and Viroqua. At each of these points good results were obtained. At Waupun in 1911 the hemp was grown on land badly infested with quack grass, and in spite of an unfavorable season a yield of 2,100 pounds of fiber to the acre was obtained, and the quack grass was practically destroyed. The results were so encouraging that several neighboring farmers became interested, and in 1912 grew a total of 125 acres. Since that time hemp has been grown in that vicinity every year as a commercial crop. During the last few years, the industry extended chiefly from Waupun to Brandon and westward through the region between Fairwater and Markesan.
To prove that hemp could be grown in Wisconsin was an important undertaking, but the great problem was to obtain power machinery in order that hand methods could be eliminated. When the work with hemp was begun in Wisconsin, there were no satisfactory machines for harvesting, spreading, binding, or breaking. All of these processes were performed by hand. Due to such methods, the hemp industry in the United States had all but disappeared. As it was realized from the very beginning of the work in Wisconsin that no permanent progress could be made so long as it was necessary to depend upon hand labor, immediate attention was given to solving the problem of power machinery. Nearly every kind of hemp machine was studied and tested. The obstacles were great, but through the cooperation of experienced hemp men and one large harvesting machinery company, this problem has been nearly solved. The hemp crop can now be handled entirely by machinery.
Hemp is now of firm footing in Wisconsin; the big obstacles have been overcome, but the final success of the new industry depends upon the kind of judgment used in its further development.


The production of hemp fiber is an item of vital importance in carrying on the work towards winning the war. Wisconsin is at the present time the most promising state for the further development of this industry.
Wisconsin hemp is now used in sewing the shoes worn by American soldiers and hemp fiber is at the present time the only suitable fiber available in sufficient quantities for this purpose. It is also used as cordage in ship building, and hemp tow is the best available material for calking vessels. During the coming year hemp will be used in the manufacture of binder twine and to eke out the scant supply of jute for covering cotton bales.
L. H. Dewey,
Fiber Investigations,
United States Department of Agriculture.


Community interest is essential to the successful production of hemp. One farmer in a community, without the cooperation of his neighbors, will fail if he attempts to grow hemp. Machinery for handling the crop is expensive, and without machinery little or nothing can be accomplished. In this state central breaking mills are necessary. These mills cost from $10,000 to more than $50,000, depending upon the capacity and equipment. Of course a sufficient acreage must be grown in a community to justify the erection of such a mill. The first year there should be at least 300 acres with reasonable assurance of from 500 to 750 acres in successive years. This means that the production of hemp must be concentrated in definite centers, to give assurance of sufficient raw material to make the operation of mills profitable.

. . .

The stable growth which the hemp industry has made in Wisconsin is due considerably to organized effort. At the very beginning of the industry at Waupun, an organization known as the Rock River Hemp Growers' association was formed. This association was considerably responsible for guiding the new industry through the experimental stage. After the crop expanded and became of state-wide importance, a state association was formed. This association is known as the Wisconsin Hemp Order. It was organized at Ripon on October 18, 1917, and is affiliated with the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Association. The object of the Hemp Order is to promote the general welfare of the hemp industry in the state. Its membership is composed of hemp growers and hemp mill operators. Anyone in the state interested in the growing and handling of hemp is eligible to membership.


In Wisconsin hemp is grown chiefly on the dark prairie loams and, to some extent, on the gray silt loams of the timbered sections. The leading hemp producing counties are now Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Dodge, and Racine. The principal towns around which hemp is now grown are Waupun, Brandon, Fairwater, Markesan, Iron Ridge, Union Grove, Picketts, and Milton. Small acreages were grown in 1917 at Waterloo, Brownsville, Randolph, Fond du Lac, Oak Center, Oak Grove, and Baldwin.
In the United States, previous to the Civil War, the chief centers of hemp production were Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois. From the close of the Civil War until 1912, nearly all the hemp in the United States was grown in Kentucky. At the present time (1918), hemp is grown for fiber in Kentucky, Wisconsin, California, North Dakota, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, South Dakota, Michigan, Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois. Of these states the most important are Kentucky, Wisconsin, and California.

. . .

Accurate data on the world's acreage and production of hemp cannot be obtained, but fairly accurate figures on the acreage, production, and consumption of raw hemp fiber in the United States are available.

Averages by years
Total Used

. . .
The acreage of hemp in the United States has varied from year to year in about the same degree as has the production of fiber. Acreage in different states is shown in Table II.
The 41,000 acres of hemp in the United States in 1917 was an increase of more than 100 per cent over that of 1916, the greatest increase of any year in the history of the American hemp industry.
Previous to 1915 the great bulk of the American hemp acreage was in Kentucky, but during 1915, 1916, and 1917 the acreage in other states has been rapidly increasing.


North Dakota
South Dakota

It is evident that there has been a tremendous increase in acreage during the last three years, especially during 1917. Just how permanent this large increase will be, it is impossible to forecast, but in those states where natural conditions of soil and climate are favorable and where thorough preparations have been made for growing and handling the crop, there is every reason to believe that hemp production is a permanent industry.


Hemp is grown for its seed, for medicine, and for its fiber. In the United States it is important as a fiber crop only.

. . .

Wisconsin is in great need of a variety of good fiber hemp that will mature seed in this climate. With that object in view, the Agronomy Department of the Wisconsin Experiment Station in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture began breeding experiments with hemp in 1912. An attempt was made to develop by selection an early maturing strain from Minnesota No. 8. A more uniform fiber type was obtained so far as general characters were concerned, but little or no progress was made in increasing early maturity, although the selection was continued without interruption for five years.
Since 1916 work with selecting and improving hemp has been materially increased. The results thus far obtained indicate that the various strains or varieties from Italy are the most promising for Wisconsin. The Italian variety known as the Ferrara has been grown for two years and many selections made. Enough seed was obtained from the 1917 plots to plats five acres of fiber hemp. This seed was sent out this spring (1918) for a commercial trial. If it produces a satisfactory yield and quality of fiber, the station will rapidly increase the supply of seed of that variety and will intensify the work of selection.
Another strain of hemp obtained from the United States of Office of Fiber Investigations has shown much promise. It is the result of a cross between the Ferrara (Italian) and the Minnesota No. 8. By another year enough seed of that variety will be available for distribution over the state for a commercial test.
For the present, Wisconsin must depend upon other states for hempseed, but it is believed possible, from the results thus far obtained, to discover or develop by breeding a desirable strain that will mature seed in this state.


Hemp is adapted to the humid sections of the temperate zones, but certain varieties, such as the birdseed forms, grow extensively rather far north in Russia and mature in 60 to 90 days. Hemp for seed requires approximately five months of favorable weather to mature, which necessitates a growing season of 175 days or more. Hemp for fiber will mature in four months, which means that so far as length of season is concerned, hemp for fiber can be grown practically anywhere in the United States.
Hemp is grown to some extent in semitropical regions for oil or drugs, but its natural habitat is in regions of temperate climate, and it is not grown for fiber outside of the temperate zone.
Humid conditions are necessary for the production of hemp fiber. Seed can be matured to some extent in regions of sparse rainfall, but the regions in the United States where hemp has been successfully grown for fiber have a rainfall of 30 inches or more annually.
The climate in Wisconsin is ideal for the production of dewretted hemp. The falls are cool and fairly moist so that the green hemp can be spread out for retting as soon as it is harvested without any danger of its being scorched or otherwise injured by the sun. As a result, when reasonably well handled, Wisconsin fiber is generally soft and pliable, and possesses considerable "nature," and it has been in great demand among manufactures.

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Hemp that is suitable for fiber does not mature seed in Wisconsin; consequently no Wisconsin varieties have been established. A great deal of attention is being given by the Experiment Station to the development of a variety that will mature seed in this state and some progress has been made. The hemp that has been grown so far comes from Kentucky seed.
There are three fairly distinct types of hemp: that grown for fiber, that for birdseed and oil, and that for drugs. The fiber type is comparatively tall and slender, sparsely branched, with long internodes and distinctly hollow stems. The birdseed type is short, greatly branched, with short internodes, and nearly solid stems. The drug type is similar to the birdseed type, but the leaves of the female plants are more waxy or resinous, the foliage more dense, and the stems more nearly solid. Both the birdseed type and the drug type are unsuited for fiber production and should not be grown in Wisconsin.
The varieties of fiber hemp grown in the United States are known largely by the name of the country or place from which the seed was originally obtained. As a result we have such names as Chinese hemp, Japanese hemp, Russian hemp and American or Kentucky hemp. More specific names have been given to varieties tested and developed in the United States. The more important of these are Minnesota No. 8, Keijo, Malanyu, Hankow - all of Chinese origin; Ferrara or Bologna, Carmagnola, Itamington, Carymington, Ferramington - all of Italian origin; Tochigi and Hiroschima - both of Japanese origin.
From tests made of hemp from practically every country (Tests made by the U.S. Office of Fiber Investigations.) it is evident that the best fiber producing kinds are from China, Japan, Hungary, and Italy. It should be remembered, however, that not all hemp in those countries produces good fiber, for there are undesirable varieties grown in each of those countries. Since the desirable fiber varieties, from China, Japan, and Hungary, require from 150 to 160 days of favorable weather to mature seed they will not produce seed in commercial quantities in Wisconsin. Of the early-maturing varieties, those from Italy are the only promising ones. They will mature seed in Wisconsin in from 130 to 140 days, being fully 20 days earlier than the late-maturing varieties. Generally, hemp from Russia, India, France, Chile, Turkey, Arabia, and Africa is not desirable for fiber production.
Until a more satisfactory type or variety of hemp is obtained, the Wisconsin growers should use the Chinese type, commonly known as Kentucky or Minnesota No. 8. As a rule, foreign importations should be strictly avoided. Occasional lots from foreign countries might be very satisfactory, but the chances of getting the wrong type are very great. No one can tell by examining hempseed to what type or variety it belongs.


Since the Civil War the production of hempseed has been almost entirely limited to the bottoms of the Kentucky River and its tributaries. In Kentucky some upland hempseed is produced each year, but its production is generally unprofitable and the amount grown of little consequence. In 1917 several thousand bushels of seed were produced outside of Kentucky, principally in California, Ohio, and Kansas. While hemp for fiber is a successful crop in the extreme northern states and in southern Canada, hempseed seemingly must be produced in sections farther south.
That Wisconsin farmers must depend upon Kentucky River bottom growers to produce seed is most unfortunate, and before a dependable supply of seed can be obtained it will be necessary to have it produced elsewhere, unless there is a radical change in the manner of handling and selling seed in Kentucky.
During the last few years the price of hempseed has been unstable. This condition of the market has not been due to a lack of seed to supply the demand, for each year several thousand bushels of seed have been held over, but it has been largely due to a complete lack of organization and to the activity of seed speculators. The price that the grower of fiber has been compelled to pay for seed has often been unreasonable, and such prices, together with the very unstable condition of the market, are seriously injuring the hemp industry, not only in Wisconsin but throughout the whole United States. The future safety and permanency of the industry in Wisconsin demands that a new and dependable source of seed be obtained. The Experiment Station in cooperation with the United States Office of Fiber Investigations has investigated prospective sections for establishing new centers of hempseed production and such work will be vigorously promoted.

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On fertile soils, hemp is the best smother crop for all kinds of weeds. Wherever hemp has been grown in America it has left the soil freer from weeds than has any other crop. In Wisconsin hemp has proved to be the most satisfactory smother crop for quack grass and Canada thistles. Early experiments that showed the value of hemp as a smother crop led Wisconsin farmers to grow it on a commercial scale. A large acreage is still seeded to hemp each year on soils infested with quack grass and Canada thistles.
Too many people have the idea that land infested with quack or thistles can be plowed in the spring, harrowed, and seeded to hemp, and that the hemp will entirely destroy these weeds. In very favorable seasons, and under the best conditions, quack and thistles might be overcome by such a method, but experience has shown repeatedly that hemp planted on quack grass or Canada thistle land where no attention has previously been paid to subduing these weeds, will fail both to smother out the weeds and to produce a satisfactory growth of hemp. It is highly important, therefore, that soils that are so infested be prepared properly.
Weed infested lands should be plowed in July or August of the year preceding the planting of hemp. The plowed land should be cultivated with the spring-tooth harrow every week until further growth of the weeds is prevented by the freezing of the soil. If there are many loosened roots, remove them with the hayrake, leave them in windrows, and burn them.
Use heavy applications of well-rotted manure, plowed under in the fall or as a top-dressing in the spring. Early in the spring the soil should be worked into a good seed bed, and if quack and thistles appear, they should be thoroughly subdued with a good sharp disk. If necessary, follow the disk with a spring-tooth harrow. Keep the weeds down to the very time the hemp is seeded. If the spring is cold and wet it is advisable to delay planting until the soil is sufficiently warm to insure immediate germination of the seed. On such weed infested land, seeding can be delayed until the first of June, though ordinarily earlier planting is preferable.


Though hemp escapes from cultivation and occasionally appears from year to year as a volunteer plant, it does not become a weed. It may continue to grow in fence corners, roadsides, and other waste places, but it seldom, if ever, persists in cultivated fields.
Wisconsin hemp is, as yet, entirely free from attacks by insects and diseases. Not one report of injuries to the crop from insects or plant diseases has been received. The chief enemy to hemp in Kentucky is a parasitic plant known as the "branched broom rape," but this parasite has not appeared in Wisconsin.

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Outside of the United States hemp is still harvested by hand, and until the last few years hand harvesting has been generally practiced in America. Even now much of the Kentucky crop is harvested by negroes with a hand hemp-hook. Several machines have been devised for harvesting the crop, but the first successful machine and the only one considerably used previous to 1917 was the self-rake reaper. This machine does very satisfactory work, but it leaves the stalks in bundles or gavels which must be spread out by hand in thin layers or swaths. In 1917 a machine especially devised for harvesting hemp was placed on the market. This machine not only cuts hemp, but spreads it at the same time, leaving the stalks in an even swath. The work is done much better than by hand as the butts are more even and there is less crossing and tangling of the stalks. As an experimental machine it has done exceptionally well, and there is no question but that it will be widely used and will be a great factor in placing the hemp industry on a permanent basis.

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POWER BRAKES. The great problem of breaking hemp in Wisconsin is now practically solved. Power brakes are established and doing very satisfactory work.
The first successful brake tested in this state has been used for several years by the Rock River Hemp Mills at Waupun. It was originally intended as a portable machine, but the idea of moving it from one farm to another has been given up and for the last two years it has been housed in a breaking mill, to which the hemp stalks are hauled.
The majority of the breaking machines now in use in Wisconsin are of the fluted roller type.
Another type of brake is now being tried out near Brandon. The breaking is done by means of fluted rolls, but instead of the stalks being fed end-wise, as in the case of the other fluted roller machines, they are fed to the rolls at an angle and by means of a specially devised feeding table. This machine has much promise but is still in the experimental stage. Many other types of brakes have been tested in this and other states, but thus far they have not proved to be as satisfactory as the fluted roll brakes.


Previous to the last few years, all dewretted hemp has been broken out in the field with portable hand or power brakes. Such a method necessitated little or no hauling. Under the modern plan of central plants which house the breaking machinery, it is necessary to haul the retted and cured stalks over distances varying from less than a mile to several miles. Just how far hemp can be hauled profitably will depend upon the condition of the roads and the price obtained. Generally speaking, two horses will draw from 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of cured stalks, which represents the yield of one-half acre of average hemp. If the roads are reasonably good, hemp can be hauled profitably as far as five to seven miles. In Wisconsin it has sometimes been hauled ten miles.
Hauling is by no means as expensive as it is generally thought to be, and it is certainly better to draw the stalks several miles and deliver them to a central breaking plant than to break them in the field with portable machines and undergo the long delays which invariably result from unfavorable weather.


The great advance made in the production of rough hemp fiber has come largely as a result of the development of the central breaking mill. The several mills now operating in this and other states have been very successful and there is every reason to believe that the principle of breaking hemp in fully equipped plants is correct, and that it marks permanent progress in the development of the hemp industry.
The modern hemp mills, several of which are now established in Wisconsin, consist of a receiving room, dry kilns, breaking room with brakes, scutchers and balers, boiler room, and engine and fan room. The receiving room is not only used for receiving the stalks but is generally used for storing sufficient hemp stalks to insure continuous operation of the mill during periods of unfavorable weather which prevent the delivery of stalks from fields and stack yards.
From the receiving room the stalks are conducted through the dry kilns, where the excess moisture is removed by means of a hot air blast. The thoroughly dried stalks are then fed to the breaking rolls where they are reduced to a crushed mass. This mass of broken stalks passes over a series of shakers by which most of the loose hurds are separated from the fiber, and is then conducted between the scutching wheels for more complete removal of hurds.
The fiber, which is then fairly clean, is twisted into coarse hands and baled. The baled fiber is the final product of the hemp mill and is known commercially as rough fiber. As such it is sold to cordage and spinning mills.
Hemp breaking mills are now in operation in Wisconsin at Waupun, Alto, Brandon, Fairwater (2 mills), Markesan (2 mills), Union Grove, and Iron Ridge. Arrangements have been made for erecting others at Milton, and Picketts.
Outside of Wisconsin there are but seven fully equipped and successfully operating mills. Wisconsin has, therefore, more hemp mills than all the other states combined.


After hemp stalks are dried and broken the woody part, called hurds, must be separated from the fiber; this process is called scutching. Before modern power brakes were used, all scutching was done by hand; the stalks were broken and uncleaned fiber whipped over the brake and shaken until it was free from hurds.
In Wisconsin, where machine brakes are used, the cleaning is done with power scutchers. These scutchers consist of from two to four large cylinders, on the outside surface of which there are wooden slats. The cylinders are stationary and revolve toward each other. The uncleaned fiber is conducted between these wheels and held firmly in the center by means of a clamp-conveyor. As the fiber passes between the scutching cylinders the hurds are combed out. A device for off-setting the hemp in the clamp-conveyor is necessary to clean the middle portion of the fiber, and scutchers with such a device are now successfully used.


The yields of hemp in Wisconsin have been good. The average of the state for the last several years has been higher than the average yields of Kentucky and equal to those obtained in any other state except California.
The yields of rough fiber in Wisconsin have usually ranged from 800 to 1,400 pounds to the acre. The average for the state in 1916 was estimated at 1,200 pounds and yields of as high as 2,100 pounds are on record. In 1917 a considerable acreage was planted on unsuitable soil, which reduced the average for the state to 1,100 pounds. Good yields have always been obtained in Wisconsin wherever the crop was planted on fertile and well-prepared soil.
For the sake of comparison the following estimate of acre yields in the leading hemp producing states is given: -


Pounds to the acre

Proportion of line and tow. The statements in Table III on yields are made in terms of total rough fiber, but it should be remembered that the total fiber includes both the long fibers, called line or long line, and the short, tangled fibers, called tow. The line is worth from two to three times as much as the tow, and the larger the percentage of line fiber obtained, the more valuable the product. Regardless of how carefully hemp is handled, there will be some tow produced. In Wisconsin the mills usually produce 10 to 25 per cent tow and 75 to 90 per cent line. The amount of tow produced depends upon how thoroughly it is cleaned by the scutchers, how carefully the stalks are handled and how well they have been retted. Stalks under four feet in length will produce fiber that is practically all tow, and if the stalks have been under-retted, a very high percentage of tow will result. Tangled and unevenly butted stalks will also produce a high percentage of tow. If hemp is properly handled both by the grower and throughout the breaking process, there should result not over 10 to 15 per cent of tow.
One thousand pounds of Wisconsin's rough fiber will yield from 800 to 900 pounds of line, and from 100 to 200 pounds of tow. An average hemp crop in Wisconsin will yield three tons of well-retted and dried stalks to the acre. To produce such a yield the stand of hemp must be even, the growth regular, and the average height six and one-half feet. The three tons of dry, retted stalks will produce, on the average, 20 per cent by weight of rough fiber. A crop of hemp, therefore, that produces three tons of dry, retted stalks to the acre will give a yield of 1,200 pounds of rough fiber.
Green hemp stalks, at the time they are harvested, contain approximately 60 per cent more water than when they are retted and dry. Consequently a yield of three tons of dry, retted stalks represents a yield of seven and one-half tons of green material.

Yield to the acre in pounds
Green stalks
Dry, retted stalks
Total fiber
Rough, long fiber


It is impossible to arrive at accurate estimates of the cost of producing hemp, for in hemp as in the production of any other crop, the factors determining cost differ on each farm. In order to provide a general idea of the cost of producing hemp, the following statements, based on dependable data, are given.
Hemp is seeded in the spring. The land must be thoroughly prepared, and consequently, the cost of preparing the seed bed will be somewhat greater than for other spring seeded crops.
Hemp is seeded broadcast, as are most small grain crops. The cost of seeding, therefore, will be practically the same as for oats, barley, or wheat.
Hempseed is now (1917-18) expensive, ranging from $7 to $10 a bushel. Since a bushel is required to the acre, the seed will cost from $7 to $10 an acre, or an average of $8.50. It is evident that seed for the hemp crop is an expensive item compared with seed for planting most other farm crops.
After hemp is seeded, no cultivation or other attention is necessary until it is ready to harvest. In this respect the cost of production is figured on the same basis as for small grains.
The cost of harvesting will depend upon what arrangements are made for obtaining the hemp harvester. If one farmer grew from five to ten acres, and bought a harvester for his own crop only, the cost of harvesting his crop would be extremely high. If several farmers clubbed together and bought a harvester cooperatively, the expense of harvesting would be comparatively reasonable. One harvester should handle 100 acres of hemp so that cooperation among growers is very important. Where growers do not see fit to cooperate in the buying of a harvester, the company which operates the mill should purchase the necessary machines, furnish a man with each, and harvest the hemp at an agreed price.
A hemp harvester costs more than a grain binder; more power is required to pull it; and since it is a new device, more delays due to breakage are likely to occur. This means that the cost of harvesting hemp is, at present, somewhat greater than for harvesting a grain crop.
After the hemp is retted, it must be taken up from the swath and bound. This operation, called lifting, can now be done with the gather-binder, a machine devised for this particular purpose. By using such a machine, the cost of binding the retted stalks will be approximately the same as for threshing small grain.
After the stalks are bound, they must be shocked, a task that requires about the same amount of labor as does shocking bound corn.
The cost of hauling the dry, retted stalks to the hemp mill will vary according to the length of haul and the conditions of the roads. In estimating the cost of hauling, it may be considered that a good team will haul an average of 3,000 pounds to the load, which means that an acre of average hemp will make two loads of stalks.
When delivered to the mill, the hemp must be stacked. This requires about the same amount of labor as stacking bundled grain.
From these facts, it can be estimated that hemp compared with small grains costs from $5 to $7 more an acre for seed, from $2 to $3 more an acre for harvesting, and somewhat more for delivering, the total cost of production ranging from $8 to $11 more to the acre.
The total returns received are such that the net profits are much greater from hemp than from small grains - in fact, greater than from most other Wisconsin crops - a statement substantiated by the reports of a large majority of hemp growers in the state.


Wisconsin hemp growers are receiving most encouraging returns for the crop. Prices received during 1917 ranged from $50 to over $100 gross an acre.
These large returns are due, of course, to the present high price of hemp fiber and should not be expected to continue indefinitely.
However, the market outlook, considered from all points and from the supplies of competing fibers, indicates that for several years prices will remain higher than they were before the war.
So long as present prices for fiber continue the grower of hemp can expect to receive $75 an acre for a first-class crop of hemp. This does not imply that any field of hemp is worth $75 an acre for not all hemp is good hemp. Crops that are short, irregular, full of weeds, and poorly handled are of less value and may be nearly worthless.


Before hemp fiber can be spun into yarn it must be either carded or hackled. Carding and hackling are combing processes, both of which are now done by power machines at the spinning mills. These processes remove all foreign materials and reduce the fiber to finer uniform strands. Formerly a large proportion of the best hemp in Kentucky was hackled by hand, and there are still two or three mills in that state where hand hackling is continued on a reduced scale. The fiber hackled by hand results in the Kentucky single-dressed and Kentucky double-dressed hemp still quoted in the market. One or two of the local dealers also have cards for preparing carded hemp, which is usually prepared from the medium grades or tangled hemp that would not command a first-class price as line fiber.
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While more progress in the development of the hemp industry has been made during the last few years than in all previous years combined, yet there remain many important problems to be worked out.
The seed situation is very unsatisfactory. The price has been so unreasonably high and erratic that the very life of the Wisconsin hemp industry is threatened. Unless the seed market becomes stabilized and the price reasonable, it will be necessary to develop new areas of seed production, and for the Wisconsin hemp growers to contract for seed acreages. The Experiment Station, in cooperation with the Federal Office of Fiber Investigations, has already made preliminary arrangements for the development of such new centers of production and such work must be continued as vigorously as possible. In the meantime everything possible must be done to develop or discover a variety of fiber hemp that will mature in the state. The Station has already made considerable progress along that line, encouraging results have been ordained, and by a continuation of such work, it may be possible to solve, finally, the whole troublesome seed problem.
There should be a standard market classification for Wisconsin fiber. Quantities sufficient to warrant such a classification are now being produced. To accomplish this, both growers and dealers in the state must realize that there is good fiber and poor fiber. The grower must learn how to handle the crop in order that the best quality of fiber may be produced, and the operators of breaking mills must learn to know hemp fiber, to differentiate between the general grades, and to handle the breaking and cleaning processes in such a way that the fiber will be in the best possible condition for further processes.
Farmers have learned rapidly to grow and handle the crop, but they are giving too little attention to keeping the stalks straight and the butts of the bundles even, and they have often neglected the retting. The more the stalks are crossed and tangled, the more tow will be produced. Uneven butts reduce the length of the line, and consequently decrease its quality. Improper retting is causing a great deal of trouble and if continued is sure to affect the market price. Under-retting is entirely too common. Farmers are usually very anxious to gather up the hemp stalks to avoid the danger of their being "snowed under" for the winter, and often take them up, bind and shock them two weeks or a month too early. It should be remembered that the stalks should be left spread out until the green color has entirely disappeared and until the fiber will readily peel away from the woody part of the stems. By giving attention to these important details the grower can do much towards insuring a stable and profitable market, a matter which is as important to him as it is to the mill operator.
More attention should also be given to handling properly the hemp stalks at the breaking mill. There is too much careless handling of the stalks in preparing them for the dry kiln and in delivering them to the brake after they are dried, all of which increases the percentage of tow and reduces the quality and quantity of long line fiber. The stalks should be butted carefully before they are fed to the brake, and the uncleaned fiber should be delivered to the scutcher in such a way that the butt ends of the broken material will be as even as possible throughout.
Great progress has been made in devising breaking and scutching machinery, but there is still room for improvement. The greatest need right now is for an improved scutcher, one that will remove practically all the hurds from the fiber and will not produce such a large percentage of tow. Much attention is now being given to producing such an improved scutcher and there is every reason to believe that one will soon be available.