2020 Preview: CBD Remains Dominant in Hemp Production, But Other Uses Gain Traction

A recent survey from The Jacobsen reveals hemp producers are gaining interest in growing hemp for minor cannabinoids, along with grain and fiber.

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May 28, 2020

Cannabidiol (CBD) production will remain dominant for the 2020 hemp growing season, but newer cannabinoids, along with other uses for the crop, are beginning to gain traction.

That’s according to a recent 400-participant survey taken by The Jacobsen, a pricing and research firm based in Boulder, Colo.  

The company’s survey, which was taken throughout the month of April, found nearly 80% of hemp farmers will be growing hemp for CBD this year. While a majority of farmers are still planning on dedicating their acreage to the popular cannabinoid, others are venturing into more minor cannabinoids. Nearly 15% of farmers plan on planting hemp varieties that are dominant in cannabigerol (CBG), the survey found. 

“Producers are still experimenting with various hemp genetics, and some acreage will be planted to minor cannabinoids, including CBG, which will be the lion’s share in this category,” the report says. “Retail markets for CBG are developing but are sparse now, precluding any significant demand for the material.”

Meanwhile, grain is estimated to make up 3.6% of total planted acreage in 2020, while fiber is slated to make up just 2.5%, according to the survey. The report notes that hemp seed has global demand and its prices have been steady. And while demand for fiber is limited, “once companies with market-ready products seek out contracts for raw hemp fiber, acreage could increase dramatically in a very short period of time,” the report says. 

“Farmers are actively trailing grain and fiber on their farms, some on just several acres, and in areas with no active markets,” states the report. “This gives them time to develop production systems using their current equipment line, and to address any shortcomings or challenges discovered during field operations.” 

The firm estimates growers will plant 157,082 acres this year, a mild increase over the 146,780 acres planted in 2019. 

Other survey highlights include:

  • Just over 20% of acreage reported by respondents will be covered by crop insurance in 2020.

  • Average CBD yields were about 1,520 pounds per acre.

  • Average CBG yields were about 1,167 pounds per acre.

  • Average grain yields were 1,250 pounds per acre.

  • Producers plan to test their crops twice for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) averages in 2020.

  • More than 25% of respondents reported having “hot crops” with more than the federal 0.3% THC limit.

  • Producers will plant an estimated 94,259 acres of organic hemp in 2020 versus an estimated 62,823 acres of non-organic hemp.