The industrial hemp market is expected to grow to over $26.5 billion by 2025. It was only worth around $4.6 billion in 2019.
Being such a lucrative enterprise, it makes sense why so many people are becoming interested in this nascent industry. Hemp is an extremely versatile and durable plant. And it’s also not that difficult to grow.
If you’re interested in growing your own hemp, then continue on to read our hemp farming guide!
Because it’s so durable, hemp can grow in a variety of different terrains. The biggest exceptions here are high mountain regions and extremely arid climates. With that said, the ideal growing conditions for hemp are warm weather and soil that is rich in organic material and well-drained.
It would be best to grow your hemp in places that see heavy rainfall. You want the soil to stay saturated after it rains too. Look for earth that has low weed pressure and high fertility.
Before you start growing hemp, it’s recommended that you test your soil. You want to make sure that you test for rock phosphate, potassium sulfate, and elemental sulfur at a minimum. This is to ensure that your levels aren’t too high.
It’s best to perform these soil tests in early spring or late in autumn in order to get the most accurate results. Hemp usually takes around four months to grow. During this time, you want the growing conditions to stay consistent and stable.
Sowing Hemp Seeds
It’s extremely important that you till the soil before you plant your hemp seeds. This is because there aren’t any herbicides out there for planting hemp.
You want to set up a shallow and firm bed. This is similar to preparation for alfalfa plants.
Ideally, you’ll sow the hemp seeds straight into the soil. This is a preferred method to growing them in pots and then transplanting them to the soil.
You should plant your seeds fairly close together. Bury them about half of an inch into the dirt. If you mechanically plant your seeds, you can use traditional seeding gear to plant.
Either a corn planter or grain drill will be fine. After the seeds are sowed, you should roll and pack the soil.
There are all different kinds of hemp seeds you can use. You can learn more here about feminized hemp pollen and seeds.
Tending Hemp Crops
It’s important that you irrigate the planted seeds, especially during the first few weeks that they’re in the soil. And even though the hemp plant is tolerant of drought conditions, it can be more sensitive and fragile to dryness in its early days.
When it comes to pesticides, regulations usually come from the federal government. However, your state might also have pesticide regulations in place.
You should review all of the insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides that are allowed in your area so you don’t end up breaking the law.
Hemp is also a perfect plant for people who want to grow organically. This is because it’s so durable and fairly resistant to pests on its own.
When it comes to farming hemp, you usually won’t need any special equipment. However, you might need to get special machinery for hemp grown fiber. This is because hemp stalks need to be processed differently.
Unfortunately, that type of equipment isn’t always available in places where growing hemp isn’t particularly popular.
Harvesting Your Hemp
After about three months of being planted, the head of your hemp plant should have matured completely. As this time comes, you’ll start to see seed heads maturing from the bottom. They will move upward until they reach completion.
After the seed bracts have matured fully, they will expose the seeds that they contain. This will let you air dry them naturally.
After a few more weeks, the plant will be ready to be harvested.
A standard combine should be good enough for you to harvest the hemp. No other special equipment should be needed.
If you want, you can use a rotary combine with a draper header too. In order to reduce the amount of fiber wrapping, you should only harvest when the moisture grain is around fifteen percent.
Set the combine to settings that are similar to harvesting wheat or canola. It’s also a good idea to cut the plants just below the head of the grain.
When you grow hemp inorganically, you can expect to harvest around one thousand pounds per acre. You can expect around five hundred pounds per acre of organically grown hemp.
In order to harvest the fiber of the hemp, you should wait two days after you harvest the grain. However, you can also wait until the next spring.
You don’t want to bale the hemp fiber at more than fifteen percent moisture. You can also expect to harvest around two tons of hemp fiber per acre.
Understanding This Ultimate Hemp Farming Guide
After reading this ultimate hemp farming guide, you should be armed with the knowledge necessary to grow your own hemp. And while growing hemp isn’t always a piece of cake, it’s certainly a relatively easy industrial plant to grow. And by growing organically, you can rest easy knowing that you’re helping to create a more sustainable and natural world.
Just remember to make sure that you’re following all of your local, state, and federal laws.
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