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Hemp produces four times more paper per acre per year than trees. « Hemp Hoax
Myth

Hemp produces four times more paper per acre per year than trees.

When grown on similar soils under similar management, trees consistently outproduce hemp on a per acre, per year basis. The myth is derived by misrepresenting a 1916 USDA study comparing hemp on ideal agricultural soil under fertilization with unmanaged natural stands of trees on soil too poor to farm. The 4X more statistic also was calculated by assuming the use of the hemp hurds for paper, which is only a hypothetical industry; the real hemp paper industry employs the bast fiber, which is a smaller portion of the hemp plant than the hurd. Thus, the “four times more per acre” argument is complete nonsense.



32 Responses to “Hemp produces four times more paper per acre per year...”

  1. cannabianfreedomwalk says:

    I would like to add that an acre of trees takes 50 years to grow, while an acre of hemp takes about 140 days. It takes one season to produce enough shiv to make a 1250 sq ft home using 1 hectare of hemp. The same can not be said of trees. Hemp has been shown in studies to have excellent phytoremediation qualities, as have trees like te oak tree. The benefit of this crop is economic as well as health for people and planet.

    I find it confusing that a site called hemphoax is not producing more detailed evidence, and i personally have also had enough with bullshit as you so clearly stated you have. People dont want to be treated like sheep anymore. How concerned are you really? What is the problem with hemp being used where it suits best.

    Please also see http://www.phytotec.com
    They have done some serious study into the benefits of hemp for phytoremediation.
    Also look up hempcrete. It has the potential to benefit us through the use of healthier building products, and decrease in mold growth in our homes.
    The plant can be juiced, we can use te essential oil for healing chronic illness, its seeds are a food for us, and fiber is excellent for over 50,000 textiles. . .
    This plant has evolved alongside humanity, as our endocannabinoid system is showing. Why would we NOT look at the benefits of hemp. I appears to be the opposite of hoax.

    • Samuel says:

      I’m not sure what your point is about hemp taking only one year to grow. Any person giving comparison figures for production of hemp versus trees gives them in yield PER YEAR. Meaning, for example, that if a poplar plantation harvested at 24 years produced the same yield as hemp, it would produce 24 times hemp’s single-season production in the year of its harvest. Any figure I have given as yield for the purpose of comparison is PER YEAR, for trees or hemp or any other crop.

      What is your source regarding the production of enough hemp on one hectare to produce a 1250 square foot home in one season? What makes you believe this is not true of trees? What exactly are you comparing?

      You are very confused. I never said that hemp should not be used for those applications where it suits best. I believe it should be. What I have said, and now maintain, is that people should stop fabricating imaginary facts about the crop, and they should stop misrepresenting research that has been done. Like, for example, your completely contrived number of “50,000 textiles.” Somebody just made that up, thinking it sounded like a big number. It has absolutely no basis in fact.

      The idea that hemp’s cannabinoids co-evolved with humans has absolutely no logical nor scientific support. Furthermore, your inclusion of the comment verifies exactly what I am contending: that for you this isn’t about the environment or industrial hemp–it’s about drugs.

      Some people don’t want to be led like sheep. But you apparently do.

      • WaitsForFreedom says:

        Here is a source…
        http://www.gutenberg.org/files/17855/17855-h/17855-h.htm

        The myth states,
        “The 4X more statistic also was calculated by assuming the use of the hemp hurds for paper, which is only a hypothetical industry; the real hemp paper industry employs the bast fiber, which is a smaller portion of the hemp plant than the hurd.”

        This is incorrect according the results in the link to the experiment. The experiment itself was real and not “hypothetical”. The test shows not only hemp, but hemp hurds as a more favorable material for making paper.

        From the link,
        “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.”

        Yea, you read it right…
        “paper was produced which received very favorable comment both from investigators and from the trade”

        There have been many tests and experiments like this that show hemp as a favorable material for making paper and other products. The information is all out there, one must only look.

        • Samuel says:

          Billy, you are incredibly and sadly mistaken, and it is quite silly of you to dispute one of the basic facts of human ecology and environmental history. It is not as if hundreds of people haven’t preceded me in pointing this out. Before European settlement, according to the Ohio DNR, Ohio was as much as 95% forested. In 1940 it was only 15% forested, but that rose to about 30% by 1994. According to the USDA, 56% of Ohio is farm land (as of 2004). This means that about 70-80% of Ohio’s historic deforestation has been clearly and undeniably due to agriculture. Much of the non-forested land was also cleared due to agriculture, and is now in abandoned farmland (as you can see from the statistic, Ohio, like all eastern states, had its ag land peak a long time ago and this acreage has been declining since, and the forest percentage has been increasing.) The remainder of deforested land is a combination of roads, housing, lawns, urban areas, and other development.

          You obviously do not understand what deforestation is. Deforestation is not the cutting of trees–it is when an area of forest becomes permanently non-forested. Logging is part of the management of nearly all forests in this country. That’s why the management of forests (ie, logging) is called FORESTRY. There is no logging without forests. Even the worst forms of logging, such as total clearcuts, regenerate into forests–and especially in regions of high fertility like Ohio. And yet the vast majority of forest lands in hardwood mixed timber regions (like Ohio) are managed according to other models in which all the timber is never cut at once.

          Unless you are very young, incredibly unobservant, or have a short attention span, you will have noticed that these forests cut by your scorned relatives are sprouting vigorous small trees the very next growing season, and covered with saplings in less than a decade. The forests that they cut were undoubtedly the trees that grew back after a previous cutting. Thus obviously, this is not deforestation, just as the yearly cutting of a hayfield does not make it into a golf course.

          It seems like we might be able to have a more meaningful discussion here if people who post know just a little bit about what they are talking about–such as the definition of common words integral to the discussion, such as “deforestation.”

        • Samuel says:

          Waitsforfreedom,

          You are exactly the kind of ignoramus who makes your whole movement look ridiculous. Let’s just begin with the statement “hypothetical industry” since you’re obviously not very good at comprehending English. A “hypothetical industry” is an industry supposed to be possible but not in existence. An experiment is not an industry. The fact that the experiment was real does not change the industry’s nature as hypothetical. The hemp paper mills in existence (ie, the real hemp paper industry) use the bast fiber or a fiber mix that is primarily bast. So yes, the hurd paper industry is entirely hypothetical. It does not exist.

          Nothing else you have shared contradicts anything I have said or adds anything of value to the discussion.

          Why do you think, in countries where hemp is legal and paper is made from it, the mills do not use the hurds? I pose this rhetorical question, despite the cognitive obstinance that you have demonstrated, as an invitation to think for once.

    • Dr Sumach says:

      An acre of hemp must be seeded and cut every year.
      a large planting of hemp has to be harvested within a very narrow window of time
      hemp is grown on flat arable soil

      Trees can grow unattended on rolling land for 20 years and cut in winter at leisure
      trees yield lumber- hemp does not
      tree paper uses marginal species for paper pulp
      these species are easily replanted

      Hemp is good for specialty paper
      ‘in China 15% virgin hemp pulp is mixed with otherwise unsuitable straw rice waste to make low grade paper.. they would love to have northern forests to make paper,, hemp fibre alone is far too expensive for paper, always has been.

      Hempcrete- the role hemp plays in its composition one could use popsicle sticks.. any cheap available fibre works just fine, chopped up running shoes- etc’ Hemp is OK,and completely acceptable but its not essential. Hemp is too expensive to grow for concrete inclusion on any scale unless one was just trying to prove a point. Pine cones, coarse sawdust works just as well as an extender.

      That is the Canadian experience- hemp works but its not cheap .. It takes up primo agricultural land and theres a race to cut it when its ripe, If there were unlimited hemp harvesting machines, and unlimited skilled operators available for the narrow harvest window – maybe..
      hemp has many valuable features but it will not replace anything already out there on the farm menu.
      All of the bUSAs present and future hemp needs can easily be sup[plied by Canada– we have a more suitable climate, in a more desirable latitude, more moisture at critical times, hemp is suited to Canadian conditions more so than American conditions. Grow cotton, you are able to- Canada cannot grow any cotton at all anywhere- we have to grow hemp, If it gets down to it, Canada will out perform the USA with better cheaper hemp.. We are twenty vears ahead of you in hemp research and practical farming and exports.. thats a fact.

      Hemp never paid its own way in all of American history. it probably won’t pay its own way now. Sorry, but geography is destiny.

  2. werlanes says:

    There is seemingly a good argument going on here. I’m ignorant but I’m going to add my “two cents” anyway. Trees are natural water pumps. They gather water that is underground using their root system and then transport it via xylem and phloem(sp?) to leaves. After it makes it to the leaves it is released into that atmosphere (magically?). Yes, I like trees they provide shade. I think animals like trees too, some animals even live in them. I also think that trees are pleasing to the eye. Yes, furniture and paper as well as toothpicks are very useful items. I don’t know how much paper is produced by an acre of hemp, but I have heard that hemp grows within one calendar year. I think it takes a tree 40-50 years to be considered a profit to be cut down and used for anything besides firewood. How much biomass would be generated by hemp in those 40-50 years? Oh yeah FYI, I’ve seen on television that in some locales around the world have bridges that utilized hemp for it’s elasticity and durability. They are very old. Hemp is/was used to make towlines in US Navy. I asked a Boatswain’s Mate why they used hemp. He mentioned something about elasticity and durability. Hemp oil is a very useful product, I have used it on my skin. It seemed to produce positive results. Hemp seeds are used in foreign countries as a viable food product. People use it to sustain life. Conspiracy? I don’t know, I try to not look for them, conspiracy theories seem to narrow views and restrict objectivity and rationale. Rope, paper, and clothing; these are things that need to be durable. Why can we not grow it to maybe help out the economy? I think it would be worth a try.

    • Samuel says:

      I agree that we should be able to grow hemp. Although it is not economically competitive for paper or rope except for very limited specialty markets, the outlook for clothing is better, especially if improvements in fiber processing can be made. While hemp is ecologically a far worse choice than trees for paper pulp, it is at least as good, and probably better, than cotton for textiles. However, hemp’s real economic future is as a human food, where its unique qualities make it highly valuable and its production per acre and costs are not prohibitively high.

      40-50 years is a typical age to cut wild pulp stands in the northern states; 20-30 years is more typical in the South. 12-24 years is typical for improved hybrid trees in cultivated stands, which make more sense to compare with hemp, since hemp is both selected and cultivated. Under most circumstances, select hybrid trees cut at 20 years will produce much more paper than 20 years of growing hemp–with far less cost, far less labor, far less fossil fuel input, and far better soil conservation. And as you point out above, trees are far more ecologically valuable and aesthetically pleasing.

      • werlanes says:

        Thank you for replying to my comment and furthering my education. I have seen a lot of posts on FB about hemp saving the world from starvation and economic collapse. The views are very polarized. I think that these extreme views will ultimately promote good conversation that will hopefully lead to some type of compromise. Be well.

  3. oneofmany says:

    Friends/Enemies/Undecided. Are there really only 21 people looking at this site? Or is that just the number that have registered to ask questions?

    • Samuel says:

      Well, I’m sure there’s more than that looking, but not as many as I’d like. Since I set this up I’ve been bogged down with other obligations and haven’t had a lot of time to invest in getting the word out, writing a few articles, etc. But anyway, I’m glad you’re here.

      Another thing, this site has ZERO incoming links currently. None of the hemp websites want to even touch it, because they know they have no valid arguments whatsoever against the things I’m saying.

  4. trinied says:

    I had to register for this site, just so I could comment. Do you have sources for all of your material. Do you do the same on facebook? I would love to hear more because I think it is much healthier to hear both sides of the argument. If you don’t mind dissenters(it doesnt seem that you do), I would love to follow your updates and pick your mind as to what you feel the true future of hemp really is. Great page though. I had no idea the yield numbers for biomass were so inflated.

    • Samuel says:

      I’m not sure exactly what you mean by having “sources for all my material.” A person should have sources for those pieces of information that are not derived from his own conclusions or research, or which are not common knowledge to a particular field. I have been asked at times to provide “sources” for claims such as “hemp is not a practical biofuel crop.” I wrote 23 pages arguing that point, so no, I don’t cite a source for that particular fact; I made the case myself. But I do cite the source for many particular facts that I use to make that case. I am glad to provide sources for particular facts, if I have failed to list them. But it is not appropriate or sensible to ask for a citation in support of an original argument, as some do (not that you have).

      But I do love dissenting opinions. Each challenge to an idea makes the idea stronger.

      As far as hemp’s economic future, I think this can be easily summed up. It will remain a minor fiber crop, with the majority of its market share accounted for by the “cool factor” of its association with marijuana–unless and until there are major economic breakthoughs in fiber processing, or massive increases in transportation costs (not like gas doubling, but like gas prices going up a hundredfold). Hemp’s major foreseeable economic potential is as a human food.

  5. paulmessmann says:

    Here in canada, hemp is legal.
    Here are some reliable sources for actual hemp production.
    I will let the numbers speak for themselves.
    I too, am tired of a world of internet exaggeration about this plant and the majority of claims made about it.
    http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/econ9631
    http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/hemp/bko02s00.html
    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-067.htm#introduction

    Just a whole buttload of raw data. No hyperbole, no claims of suppressed data due to illegality. We have numbers. From legitimate sources.
    Let’s comb through it and put the wild internet claims of ‘miracle’ plant to rest. This is one of my online pet peeves. Question this to a believer, and you tend to get a very hostile response with citations of goverment and big pharma coverups.

    • Kasilofdan says:

      All of your links are very informative. However the link on cancer and cannabis oil is not a very good link as it does not provide any facts. The facts are that many recent studies done by respected universities, and many older studies have come to light. Hemp oil is not strong enough to kill cancer cells. However medical quality cannabis produces a potent oil that may just cure or kill cancer.

      • Samuel says:

        Dan,

        The link you spoke of regarding cannabis and cancer was within a reader’s post containing 4 links, and I apparently missed it. Thank you for bringing it to my attention; I found it and the link is now deleted. This site is about industrial hemp, not marijuana, and drug cannabis is not a topic covered here.

    • bertuswonkel says:

      Interesting links. I do like to note that:
      1/ These are not peer reviewed sources.
      2/ Focused on Canada so cannot be used to draw a general conclusion on yields.
      3/ Incomplete data e.g.
      The economic calculus of the first sources is not complete. He states:
      ‘the cash sales price of hemp seed in 2011 was approximately 90 cents to $1.00′ (per kg? not clear)
      Which he uses as a basis for his calculation.
      However, the retail price of hemp seed oil is around 20 dollars a Liter. 15,513 tonnes of seeds with around 30% oil makes sold at 10 Dollar/L would make a 46 M Dollar industry.
      In conclusion these sources are helpful but do not provide a complete overview on hemp.

  6. Jeanette McDougal says:

    The following is a Q/A with Dr. Atchison, “an internationally recognized and widely published authority on utilization of non-wood plant fibers for paper making.” Jeanette McDougal

    INDUSTRIAL CANNABIS (Marijuana) HEMP
    Pulp & Paper
    answers by
    Joseph E. Atchison, PhD, President
    ATCHISON CONSULTANTS, INC.
    941-377-3922
    1999

    1) What is the ratio of pulp production per acre for hemp versus wood? Over what period of time?

    JEA: The highest yield of dry retted hemp stalks, when grown on a commercial scale, which I have noted in the literature, amounts to between 3.0 and 3.5 tons/acre. Since only the separated bast fiber is useful for paper manufacture and this represent only 25% of the dry weight of the retted (rotted) stalk, this amounts to only 0.75 to 0.875 tons of bast fiber/acre. Based on a pulp yield of 60% to 65% of the weight of the bast fiber, this means that the yield of acceptable (hemp) pulp/acre of land would be only about 0.5 to 0.6 tons. By contrast, on well managed pine plantations, the dry weight of wood growth annually is up to two tons/acre and with yields of 45% to 60%, depending upon the type paper or paperboard to be produced, the yield of (wood) pulp/acre is from 0.9 to 1.2 tons. In the case of some fast growing hardwoods, the growth rates are as high as 4 to 6 tons/acre annually in plantations under intensive management.

    2) What role does the “decorticator” play in pulp production?

    JEA: The only role of the “decorticator” is to separate the bast fiber from the core of plants such as hemp or flax. In the case of hemp stalks the core material is called hurds and in the case of flax, it is called shives, with only the bast fiber, in either case, being useful for paper maufacture. Both flax bast fiber and hemp bast fiber are so expensive to produce that their only practical use for paper making is for very high priced specialty papers such as currency paper, cigarette paper, etc., for which the market is extremely small in contrast to the mass production grades of paper and paperboard for which the use of hemp bast fiber cannot even be considered from an economic standpoint.

    3) Due to the enormous American cotton industry, waste cotton from the ginning process is currently used for paper. If hemp fabric were manufactured in the United States, could hemp fiber be similarly utilized in paper production?

    JEA: If hemp fabric were manufactured in the US, waste hemp fiber could be used for production of a few specialty papers, as is flax and cotton waste fiber from the textile industry. However, it would have no advantage over these well entrenched raw materials, from a technical or quality standpoint. In fact, the only hemp fiber which has been used in the modern US paper industry, in the past, has been the waste hemp fiber from old rope or twine. The use of virgin hemp bast fiber has never had any place in the US paper industry when it was fully available.

    4) You state that hemp hurds, or core material, produce poor quality chemical pulp that is not suitable for writing and printing paper, computer printout paper or many other grades. What products are suitable for hemp paper production with current technology? Paper cups, paper plates, cardboard, construction paper…?

    JEA: In regard to the use of the hemp hurds for production of pulp, there are many disadvantages to its use as compared to the use of wood, some of which are as follows:

    a. The hurds would all become available during a short period of time when the hemp was harvested and the bast fiber separated from the hurds, so they would have to be stored for many months. Since they are very light in weight and bulky, the cost of storage would be excessive. By contrast, pulpwood chips can be brought in to the pulp mill, as required throughout the year.
    b. Due to the bulkiness of the hurds, as compared to pulpwood chips, combined with a much lower yield of pulp, based on the dry weight of the hurds, the digester capacity, when pulping hurds would have to be considerably greater than for pulping pulpwood chips.
    c. The fiber length of the hurds is very short, being only 0.5 to .07 millimeters, as compared to 1.0 to 1.7 mm for hardwoods and 3.0 mm for pine. In addition to this, resulting in lower strength of the resulting pulp, the pulp from hurds has very low drainage characteristics, or low “freeness,” so that the water would drain very slowly from it on the moving paper machine which would be unacceptable to any paper mill for any grade of paper being produced. Therefore, it would be unacceptable for production of any of the grades mentioned. As mentioned above, the hemp bast fiber can be used technically as part of the fibrous furnish for many grades of paper, but due to its very high cost, it can be economically used for only the very expensive grades of specialty papers.

    5) Granted that new products require large financial investments and some time before realizing profits, do you believe technology could be developed that would improve the quality of hemp pulp while eventually reducing its costs?

    JEA: I cannot foresee the development of any technology that would result in reducing the cost of producing pulp from hemp bast fiber which would render it economically feasible to use it in the mass production grades of paper and paperboard. Likewise, I do not envisage the development of any technology which would make it possible to produce an acceptable papermaking chemical pulp from the hemp hurds at an economic cost when compared to the cost of pulp produced from hardwoods.

    6) Do you see any possible ecological benefits that could be gained if industrial hemp were cultivated for paper production in the United States?

    JEA: I envisage no possible ecological benefits that could be gained if industrial hemp were cultivated for paper production in the US. Furthermore, there would be no appreciable market for it in the paper industry, if any at all.

    7) Please list your professional and educational background information.

    JEA: My PhD is in Pulp and Paper Technology from the Institute of Paper Chemistry which was then affiliated with Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, but which has since moved to Atlanta, GA where it is affiliated with Georgia Instittue of Technology and is now called the Institute of Paper Science and Technology.
    (See bio below)

    BIO – JEA: Dr. Atchison is president and owner of Atchison Consultants, Inc., and is an internationally recognized and widely published authority on utilization of non-wood plant fibers for paper making. He is author of more than 140 different magazine articles, textbooks, and United Nations Publications. Dr. Atchison is the recipient of numerous awards for work in his field, including the prestigious Tappi Gunnar Nicholson Gold Medal Award for Preeminent Scientific and Technical contributions to the pulp and paper industry (1996). He recently (1998) was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame. The hall memorializes people of significant stature within, or related to, the global paper industry – based on contributions in – Academic, Economics, Entrepreneur, Founder, Leadership, Marketing/Sales, Research and Development, Service, and Technology.

  7. Troyus23 says:

    I am very sad. I was going to start a word press sight aimed at future farmers of hemp in Texas but, if there is any truth in what your site reports, well I guess it’s pointless. I hate being lied to and I really hoped Hemp could be another career path. Fk it!

  8. Kasilofdan says:

    Well I wanted to say that having spent 3 years as a logger in the timber industry, I can promise you that an acre of trees, takes at least 7 – 20 years to mature depending on what hybrid your planting and what purpose it is used for. IE. pulp, building material, musical instruments etc etc. So while the 10 tons of hemp per acre is a bit extreme you cannot deny that hemp will grow much faster than trees and in the long run, one acre of hemp every 4 months will out do 1 acre of trees every 7-20 years. Now that is a fact and you can google the life of a tree if you don’t believe me.

    • Samuel says:

      The fact that you were a logger (which, having worked in the timber industry for real, your silly post makes me doubt) does not shelter you from ignorance; you have brazenly displayed your lack of understanding, knowledge, and insight. In the long run, hemp produces FAR LESS paper pulp per acre per year than tree plantations grown for pulp. In fact, it isn’t even close. Before making such ignorant proclamations, you ought to do a little research. Hemp yields are typically about 4,000 lbs per acre in good growing conditions, using conventional fertilizer (figures from the Federation National de Producteurs de Chanvre, France, for European fiber hemp, in Bouloc, 2006 [title: Le Chanvre Industriel; Utilizations et Applications]). Only 30-40% of that yield is usable fiber for paper pulp. You’re talking less than a ton of fiber per acre per year, with a crop that must be rotated. In poplar plantations the productivity is much greater. Yield figures are more variable, since pulp plantations occur on a much greater scale and over a broader region, and in a variety of growing conditions, as opposed to hemp which is grown only on good agricultural soils over very limited acreage–but nevertheless, there is no point even debating what is so overwhelmingly and obviously shown by actual yield in practice. Under similar conditions, trees produce more paper per year than hemp, by far. Googling the life of a tree has no bearing on that fact.

      I deleted the parts of your post that were about marijuana, and the marijuana-related links. I know, that’s what you are actually interested in. I know, your information comes from pro-marijuana organizations and you don’t care too much what other people say, you’re not interested in facts and all that. But in case you didn’t figure this out yet, this site is for the discussion of industrial hemp, not drug cannabis (marijuana).

    • bertuswonkel says:

      Hi. I made an account to this site to correct some stated facts which are in fact not facts. The yields reported on this site are very low, possibly because the author has some preconceptions about hemp. A yield of 10 T ha is not extreme at all. I have done research into hemp before and i am currently conduction a review on biomass for energy production. I interviewed hemp fiber farmers who reported average yields of 8-10 t ha and 12 t ha under good conditions. The literature reports yields between 10 to 17 t ha for hemp. Yields of any crop are highly variable. It depends on the experience of the farmer local condition etc. To concluded hemp yields 3 t ha based on one or two studies is not sufficient to make accurate claims. Hemp has some favorable attributes e.g. yearly crop, easy to grow which makes it a possible candidate for biomass production. However, it is a C3 crop (C4 is the most efficient) and the fertilizer requirements can be high on soils with a lack of Nitrogen.
      Yet, yields are limited due to regulation i.e. no hemp with THC content above 0.3%. Farmers stated that there are better yielding strains of hemp but they are not allowed use these. The fact is that limited research has been done on hemp for biomass production. More research is needed to investigated the possible benefits of hemp as an energy crop and other uses.

      • Samuel says:

        Beruswonkel,

        Thanks for your contribution to the discussion. However, you have things inverted. One or two studies showing yields of 10 tons or more per acre cannot be a reliable indicator of what a crop produces under real-life conditions. To get a realistic idea of this, you’d have to look at the yields actually achieved by real farmers, which is what I did. The statistics from the French National Federation of Hemp Producers for France, Germany, England, Holland, and Australia are not “one or two studies”. They are not studies at all–they are reports of real life practice in separate instances by a few hundred farmers (as opposed to studies which are hypothetical simulations of real life, and far less reliable). And according to the matter-of-fact figures in a hemp-promoting manual (Bouloc, 2006, le chanvre industriel), actual farmers get 2-6 tons per acre. You are the one being unrealistic and reporting wishful thinking based on your preconceived notions.

        It shouldn’t need to be said that under carefully controlled conditions on an ideal site, given the best of care, a crop can yield much higher than average. For example, the record corn yield per acre, according to the National Corn Growers Association, is 442 bushels. Many people have gotten yields in excess of 300 bushels. But nevertheless, the national average is 150-160 in most years, and it would be entirely disingenuous to calculate our potential corn production as if every acre of American farmland could produce 350 bushels per acre–comparable to the misinformation put out by hemp advocates. In fact, much of the farmland not currently devoted to corn (which gets prime farmland) would not even broach 100 bushels. Similarly, if hemp were expanded to poor farmland and grown for biomass, the yields would be FAR LOWER than the average yields reported by hemp farmers, since hemp is currently given optimal farmland of similar quality to corn.

        Note that I did not say that hemp cannot achieve these reported high yields in unusual circumstances. I said that yields over 10 tons per acre are exceptional and cannot be considered average or normal yields. I was specifically countering the claims and calculations of Jack Herer and Lynn Osburn in The Emperor Wears no Clothes, wherein they assume that hemp will produce 10 tons per acre in all conditions, even in marginal semi-arid farmland without irrigation. This is ludicrous, and every person with even a rudimentary understanding of agronomy knows that.

        Where in the literature are yields of 10-17 tons per hectare reported? Please do cite, since that is a very specific fact. Are they reporting total biomass, or harvestable biomass? (the latter is the useful figure that is used in these comparisons, except when people are trying to create propaganda) Also, please do tell us who and where are these hemp fiber farmers that you interviewed.

  9. LilGenie says:

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Keith, and I am hoping this site can help me out. Okay here is my story. I am a tree hugger. Trees produce quite a bit of oxygen for the earth. I have just recently become interested in environmental responsibility and have spent the last week reading dozens of articles about deforestation and logging. Also I delved quite a bit into the U.S. forest service and environment Canada websites. I have learned that trees produce a lot of oxygen. My main question is how much oxygen does one acre of hemp produce? I am looking at a overall bigger picture here, more than just tons per acre of pulp or fuel or biomass. I am interested in assisting our raped mother earth in providing more oxygen for our ever increasing population. If an alternative to some wood based products could help lessen the impact of deforestation I believe it would be wise to look into it. I been to the pro hemp websites and they can’t tell me much about hemp and oxygen. Every pro hemp site only promotes how awesome it is for the environment and how many tons of this and that it makes per year. Well we need to breath and if we cut all our forests down we are doomed to suffocate. So I figured I would go to the enemies of the pro hempers and see if they have any information and so here I am. I mean ANY information or link at all to help me determine how much oxygen an acre of hemp makes would be much appreciated. Here are some tree facts about oxygen.

    According to the U.S. forestry service one acre of thick trees will provide enough oxygen for 8 people. In a report by Environment Canada it is stated that one tree produces 245 lbs of oxygen per year. There is also a article in the New York Times that states “one acre of trees removes as much carbon dioxide as one car produces in 26,000 miles of travel.” Thanks for any information you might know of in this matter.

    Our planet is our home and we must strive to take care of it.

    Thank you everyone!
    Take care now,
    Keith

  10. paulmessmann says:

    My apologies if one of the links I provided was deemed irrelevant. One of my pet peeves is exaggerated internet claims of cancer cures. This one pertained to hemp/cannabis oil. I observed much discussion about the topic of drug use, and how it has become intertwined with anything to do with hemp. Sorry if you felt it to be irrelevant.

    I too am tired of posts put forth by advocates of the drug, and combining it with a hemp agenda and distorting (and in many cases making up) facts about both the drug and industrial hemp.

    I also posted a few links regarding the farmer’s data here in canada which, to me, shows that hemp will likely only remain an expensive niche market for those who choose to put the extra labour, energy and resources into it as that will reflect in the total environmental and economic cost.

    There is far more hype than substance to the claim of replacing trees in any capacity. The math simply doesn’t add up.

    Thank you for putting this site together.

    • Samuel says:

      Paul,

      That’s no big deal. But I do need to maintain that policy of speaking only about industrial uses of cannabis, or the conversation will inevitably become mostly about marijuana as a drug, since that is obviously what most of the hemp advocates are interested in. Your reasoning is sound and I totally concur.

      • paulmessmann says:

        You should really promote this site in time for april 20th.
        If I have to go through the usual facebook and twitter feeds of the usual bad science and hempology posts, I think I’m going to go crazy. Lol

        I was thinking I might personally cut a series of really short youtube videos with titles that would line up with common searches… Each of them starting off with one of those erroenous little factoid meme pictures making a false statement about hemp, then a quick 30 second debunk with sources and sound reasoning.

        I would do hemp vs paper for sure
        Hemp/cannbis as a claimed cancer ‘cure’
        Perhaps some of the myths about the strength and building ability of ‘hempcrete’

        Any suggestions?
        If I cut a video and you were to double check facts for me, I’d love to link this site with your permission.

        I’m thinking short attention span videos with quick, verifiable information might be a good outlet to at least counter some of the oversaturation of perpetuated mythology surrounding this purported ‘miracle’ plant that will save the planet if only someone would just ‘legalize it’ lol

        Hemp is already legal in canada, yet the hempologists here still won’t shut up about it. I suspect the same would occur in the US, even if industrial hemp cultivation were to be fully permitted there as well.

        There’s not much market for hemp paper here in canada, and there never will be. Its too expensive to produce, it is less sustainable than trees, and the environment is far better off if we continue to plant more trees than we cut down, rather than trying to swap it out for the sake of the “cannabis culture” religion. Legal or not is irrelevant.

        • Samuel says:

          Paul,

          Since I’m kill-myself busy making syrup now, I won’t do a darn thing to promote this site for quite a while, I’m afraid. But you could link here if you’d like, preferably for videos referencing “industrial” uses.

          It’s refreshing to hear from someone with a working head on his shoulders.

  11. Bornrebel says:

    I wanted to start a new thread but dont have the time at the moment to go thru all the steps necessary. I commend you on your effort to cut through the BS of pot advocates, however; there is BS in one of your statements that I would like to address because it is one of my pet peeves.

    “Deforestation is never caused by logging; it has always been caused by farming. The great forests that once towered over the fertile soils of Ohio, Indiana, Ireland, and eastern China—these are gone not because people cut down trees and use wood, but because people grow annual crops in fields.”

    I dont know where you get your facts sir, but I can assure you that this is far from the truth. I have lived in Ohio my entire life and bear witness to the destruction of the forests here, not in the sake of creating farm land, but solely for the purpose of logging for proffit. As a matter of fact, part of my family (the part I dislike) make their living from logging. The land is clearcut and left to recover on its own. No trees are replanted, no crops planted to take their place, just barren hill sides that were once beautiful forests. If you would like to come to Ohio I would make time to personally give you a grand tour of the destruction.
    My point in all this is simply that if you wish to debunk BS, do it without creating more, otherwise your credibility is in doubt. Thanks and have a good day

    Billy

    • msmj says:

      Billy,

      You are conflating deforestation and clear cutting. While clear cutting is considered to be a poor forest management technique, it is not the same as deforestation. If you have paid close attention to those clear cuts over the years, you will note that they grow back to forests starting the same year or following year after they were cut. Deforested areas will grow back considerably slower because they have been used in agriculture where the regrowth of the forests is not allowed until the field is left fallow for many years.

  12. cory says:

    So, genius, how does the viability of hemp for industrial purposes change when you consider the need for reduced oil and gas consumption including as inputs into large-scale farming and forestry operations? This is a crop that can be hand-harvested and community-processed rather than requiring enormous energy costs for production and processing. I see that your industrial-age mindset doesn’t allow an alternate view of human existence without the polluting influence of oil and gas, lest you would consider the full environmental cost when making your ludicrously narrow assessments. You’re an environmentalist like I’m a sperm whale diving the deep blue sea…
    What a simplistic fallacy you construct based on your narrow view of a variety of impacts, minimalizer…

    Response from moderator:
    Cory, thanks for the compliment. Unfortunately I cannot extend the same to you, since, although you can at least construct coherent sentences, you sound quite presumptuous and ignorant. You must be one of those gullible do-gooders who is getting that icky feeling inside because somebody intelligently challenged your imaginary reality, and it’s coming out in the form of anger.

    Indeed, it is true that hemp can be hand-harvested and community-processed. Like most of the pointless statements made by insightless hempologists, this is true of virtually all other crops. So what is your point? The proposal that we return to 19th century levels of mechanization in forestry and agriculture is an entirely different argument that may be worth having. But it really has nothing whatsoever to do with hemp’s utility as a crop, or it’s ability to “save the world,” or any of the cases where I have pointed out the intentionally fabricated and grossly exaggerated statements of hemp advocates.

    Your statement about my industrial-age mindset not allowing an alternative view of human existence is completely off the mark. I’d like to know what you have done to eliminate fossil-fuels from your life that gives you the moral high ground to castigate someone like that. I have literally spent my whole life trying to envision and implement less mechanized means of food production. I have spent more than 20 years researching perennial woody crops for food production precisely because they are more conducive to less mechanized harvest and management, and better for the soil and biodiversity. I have an organic orchard that I mow by hand with a scythe. Have you ever done something like that–actually returning to 19th century technology? Not imagining it, or fantasizing it, but doing it? I have one of the larger non-mechanized maple syrup operations in the country (aside from the Amish, who use horses, which I don’t have). I’m pretty certain that those are things that you would never be willing to do simply because you believe in having less dependence on fossil fuels. I have lived much of my adult life without electricity in my dwelling. Currently I have off-grid photovoltaic solar. A hand water pump. Do you know what it’s like to pump your domestic water supply by hand, day after day? I bet not. The only fuel used to heat my passive solar home is solid biomass sustainably harvested from my woods and hauled out in a sled, by hand. Do you know many people who do that?

    But in your eyes I am not an environmentalist because I refuse to believe utter nonsense and demonstrably false bullshit about one particular crop that have been made up by some drug users for political reasons. Shows where your priorities are.

  13. Samuel says:

    Hey Keith,

    I suggest being more specific than “yo dude” because it isn’t clear who you are responding to. Your comment seems, in part, to be directed at me (the moderator) but also refers to the admonition to “google the life of a tree” which came from some other poster.

    Anyway, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make in your post, by sharing a few rather obvious facts. I would point out that such things as growth rate and ideal harvest size vary widely according to tree species, climate, soil, management, and intended use. For example, hybrid poplar grown for paper pulp is harvested in my region in 12-18 years, although more quickly in the lower Midwest. Black spruce in Newfoundland might be harvested for pulp at 125 years. Red pine around here in plantations is usually thinned at 25-35 years (that’s a few sawlogs and mostly pulp), and then cut at 45-65 years (the lower logs for sawing, the top ones as pulp). Red oak is ideally cut at 60-100 years around here, some for sawlogs, some firewood, some pulp. But in any case, how do any such figures pertain to industrial hemp for paper?

    I will say this again in case anyone has not seen the numerous other places this is posted. 1) There is no economic sense comparing mixed management of natural forests that produce a mixture of fuelwood, sawtimber, and pulp, with hemp in terms of paper productivity–hemp is heavily managed, so it should be compared to a heavily managed paper plantation. Which means higher yields than hemp, and cutting on a 12-25 year rotation, depending on various factors. And yes, that means one would get more than 12 times the hemp’s yearly harvest in the single year of tree harvest.

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