On December 20, 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, better known as the Farm Bill, was signed by President Donald Trump. This marked a milestone for the hemp industry in the United States: since then this plant was removed from the controlled substances list. This means that growing hemp is now a possibility for farmers across the country. So, how can they grow high-quality hemp to produce premium CBD products?
Beneficial bacteria is one reasonable way: in large-scale operations, microbial diversity is lower than in nature, which means a little boost could make a difference. Find out why a consortium of microbes could unlock the full potential of a hemp farm:
The Importance of Soil
Soil is the key to everything: it may look like dirt, but it’s a universe in disguise. It’s the home of hemp roots, where plant life takes its course thanks to nutrients. Healthy soil is the secret recipe to achieve high-quality hemp, but it will also be beneficial in the long term. Feeding the soil with beneficial bacteria will translate into better growing conditions every year, whether in a small or big scale.
If we dive deeper into the subject of soil, we have to talk about the Rhizosphere, which is the ecosystem surrounding the plants’ roots. All the species that live within this deceptively small space have to work together to benefit the hemp plant. Like an army or a construction team, each team member or species has its task.
Boosting macronutrient intake, increasing the root surface area, breaking down dead plant material, or improving leaf development are some of the thousands of responsibilities that beneficial microbes have in the Rhizosphere. In short: to grow healthy and happy, hemp needs healthy, nutritious soil. The key to this? Feed the soil, not the plant.
Nutrient Intake as the Main Goal
You could argue that microbes’ biggest contribution to hemp farming is how it helps plants digest the nutrients found in soil. The hemp plant eats from what its roots can find in the ground. The thing is, sometimes these nutrients are not available in a form that hemp can digest. This is where beneficial bacteria can help: these skillful microbes can help break down the nutrients through the release of enzymes and leave them in a perfect state for roots to feed on. Microbes can produce different types of enzymes for the diverse array of nutrients available in the soil.
Phosphorus (P), Nitrogen (I), and Iron are some of the nutrients microbes can unlock for hemp plants. Ion exchange is another method beneficial bacteria uses to do this: they release acid compounds into soil and this leaves P, for example, ready for hemp to digest.
Don’t Forget about Roots
The Rhizosphere is not made out of only soil: roots live there as well. Beneficial bacteria repels toxins and competes with pathogenic microbes: they fight them off by releasing compounds such as salicylic acid, lipopolysaccharides, and siderophores, or take up all the space pests and viruses need. Like doctors, they take care of the roots’ health.
Some microbes colonize certain areas of the roots: some help with nutrient intake, like we explained before, but others help boost the growth of the roots. At the end of the process, you are left with super resistant roots that will grow into bigger hemp plants.
Meeting the Microbes
So, who are these microbes, anyway? In healthy soil, you can find two main “families”: fungi and bacteria. Mycorrhizal fungi act like extensions of the root structure: doing so, they help the plant reach and assimilate more nutrients. Aztobacter vinelandii is key to maintaining your soil aerated, which is the secret recipe for growing healthy hemp. Poorly damped soils tend to damp off hemp seedlings.
Some bacteria, like Pseudomonas flourescens and Bacillus subtilis, help battle disease, toxins, pests, and more. Nitrosomonas europaea and Glomus intraradices are key when trying to boost macronutrient intake. Microbes are dutiful until the very end: when they die, they release biofertilizers that help hemp plants grow. It may be small, but beneficial bacteria sure is necessary to a plant’s development.
Hemp does something for beneficial bacteria as well: its roots release exudates into the soil. These substances include sugars, amino and organic acids that microbes need to exist.
So, if you are interested in boosting your hemp operation, using beneficial bacteria is an easy way to do it. Our signature product is called Amplify: it is an alliance of microbes that results in improved full nutrient uptake, supporting a healthy rhizosphere and plant development. It offers a unique and unmatched biological profile paired with the production consistency required of a product designed for large scale commercial farming.