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Hemp Disease and Nematode Assays

UMass Extension Diagnostic Lab Accepting Hemp Samples from Licensed Growers

The UMass Extension Diagnostic Lab is now accepting hemp samples for analysis and evaluation of insect and disease problems. In addition, a special program in 2021 only offers licensed hemp growers the opportunity to have nematode analysis conducted for free, including a site visit! Please see the Free Nematode Assay and Evaluation for Hemp Growers section below or details.

For both disease diagnostic services and nematode analysis, samples will be accepted only from licensed hemp growers in Massachusetts. Submission of a copy of the grower’s license is required. For information on collecting, packaging, and shipping hemp samples to the lab, please see the Guidelines for Submittting Hemp Specimens below, or call Dr. Angela Madeiras at 413-545-3209.

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Hemp diagnostic form

Free Nematode Assay and Evaluation for Hemp Growers

Plant parasitic nematodes can be very damaging to agricultural crops, but very little research has been carried out on the nematodes that feed on hemp roots. We are looking for growers that are willing to participate in a survey of plant parasitic nematodes in hemp. If you are willing to participate, researchers will come to your facility to take soil samples, bring them back to the lab, and extract and identify the plant parasitic nematodes. Farms closest to UMass will be given priority. Depending on the level of interest, we may not be able to visit all growers. You will receive a written report of the results. We may return for a second round of sampling in the fall when nematode populations are potentially higher. Results from the second sample will inform us if certain plant parasitic nematodes are stimulated by the presence of the crop.

Hemp nematode assays are free of charge for the summer of 2021 only. In 2022, a fee of $50 per sample will be charged. Final results will be reported by county, not by farm, GPS, or any other way that would identify the farm.

If you are willing to participate, please send an email to Rob Wick at rlwick@umass.edu. Please put Nematode Assay in the subject line and include your name and address or a description where the field is located. Please provide a phone number where you can be reached. 

Guidelines for Sending Hemp Specimens

  • Samples must be accompanied by a complete submission form (link above) and a clear photocopy of a valid Massachusetts hemp grower’s license. Samples arriving without both of these items will not be accepted under any circumstances.
  • Please do not send dead plants: dead or dried out material is insufficient for diagnosis.
  • If plants are less than 2 feet in height, submit 2-3 whole plants demonstrating the range of typical symptoms. The root ball of each plant should be wrapped securely to prevent soil from contaminating the aerial parts of the plant.
  • If plants are over 2 feet in height, please do not submit whole plants. Submit roots and crowns from 1-2 affected plants. In addition, send 3-4 branches displaying a range of typical symptoms. Include branches that show the area of transition between healthy and unhealthy tissue. If the main stem of the plant is affected, please include several short (a few inches) pieces.
  • Plant material should be packaged securely in order to contain any odor. Packing suggestions include vacuum packaging, airtight sealed plastic containers such as Tupperware, glass jars, or 4-5 layers of ziplock freezer bags. Do not include materials such as coffee grounds or dryer sheets in order to suppress odors. Please do not add water or damp paper towels.
  • If you wish to submit a sample for pH and EC analysis, please include approximately one cup of potting medium or soil in a separate Ziplock bag.
  • Diagnoses cannot be made from photographs alone; however, photos are often helpful to the diagnostic process and may be submitted along with the sample or e-mailed to madeiras@umass.edu.
  • If you have had the crop tested for THC and the level was 0.3% or less, please include a copy of this information.
  • Samples may be hand-delivered to the lab or sent via US Mail. The US Postal Service is the only carrier authorized to transport hemp. If hand delivering, please call the lab at 413-545-3209 to be sure someone will be present to receive the sample. Our business hours are 8:30am to 4pm Monday through Friday, but these are subject to change.
  • The USPS requires that you keep copies of these documents for at least two years, so be sure to photocopy all of them before sealing the package for shipping. The documents are not required at time of shipping, but they can be requested at any time, so you may want to have them with you when you go to the post office. For more information on packing and shipping hemp, please see: https://newcropsorganics.ces.ncsu.edu/2019/12/how-and-how-not-to-ship-hemp/

Diagnostic Fees (payment payable to University of Massachusetts):

  • Hemp crop disease analysis - $50
  • Hemp crop disease analysis plus pH and soluble salts test - $60 (please include approximately 1 cup of potting medium)

Payment Options

By check: Enclose your payment with the sample. Make checks payable to the University of Massachusetts

By credit card: Enclose a copy of your credit card sales confirmation with the sample.

Click here to pay by credit card Choose the approriate catalog items that include "hemp" in the product name. Enclose a copy of your credit card sales confirmation with the sample.

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