Researchers from Virginia Tech have been tasked to predict the trajectory of wind-dispersed hemp pollen. This happens to be a major concern for outdoor cannabis growers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has devoted $500,000 to look at the path of hemp and switchgrass pollens. The goal is to determine how and where pollen grains travel. It is important to have a proven and reliable long-distance transport prediction model for wind-dispersed pollen.
This will help to establish safe isolation distances for crops like hemp. The researchers at Virginia Tech say the work could help inform laws about distance requirements between hemp varieties that involve male and female plants. Typically, in varieties of hemp and marijuana grown for flower production, female plants are kept away from males to avoid pollination.
Drones mounted with pollen sensors will help to conduct the research. They will collect air samples to find out how and where hemp pollen grains travel. The Virginia Tech researchers will also look at how far certain herbicides and fungicides travel in the air. This has been a concern for organic farmers worried about chemical drift that they wish to address.