Shortly, the hemp market is going to balloon. It used to thrive in the past, and as more legislative action continues to fight and win for its growth to be legalized, it is going to create a wealth of opportunities. In a few years, growing hemp will prove to be very lucrative. For the farmer, hemp farming may come in handy if you want organic certification for your crops. It is highly pest and weed resistant, therefore, reducing the need for agrochemicals. The main thing to consider is that you need to have a massive tract of land. It is more profitable if you can produce hemp in bulk. Also, if incorporated into crop rotation cycles, its deep roots and tendency to shed leaves make the soil more fertile as time goes by. The following things may be good to consider.
Before you decide to farm it, be sure that it is legal to do so in your country or state. In addition to this, it is advisable that you come up with an excellent working business plan. Find out the possible buyers of the crop and any legal processes you need to start hemp farming. Secondly, obtain any licensing necessary. Apply for any other necessary certifications. You may apply for an insurance policy, water rights and banking services. In the USA, hemp farming is legal since Dec 2018. The recently passed farm bill that has made hemp legal again has restrictions on hemp farming by criminals and contains a time restriction of how long after incarceration one can begin farming. Your plants may be checked for THC content after maturity to ensure you are within legal limits particularly by agents tasked with drug regulation. All of these steps prevent legal problems before you begin your farming.
You decide on the type of hemp you want to plant by choosing what kind of yield you desire. Hemp can be cultivated to maximize fiber yield, hemp seed yield or both. The types of seeds for each of these are fiber, oilseed, and hybrid respectively. In deciding, you consider the climate cycles in your area, the nature and content of the soil, water and sunshine availability and the types of crops growing in your area. The latter is because there are some crops such as sunflowers, soybeans, and edible beans which will negatively affect your yield. The best thing to do is to consult a specialist before you begin.
Here is a checklist before embarking on this journey;
- Consult and decide the best hemp to grow depending on weather patterns and rain and sunshine intensity.
- Perform soil tests to determine if the soil has optimum pH, nutrient content and moisture content.
- Check the type of soil, its aeration properties, and drainage qualities.
- Ask for the projected content such as cellulose and CBD content.
- Find out the genetic history of the seed.
- Consult about the ratio of male to female plants and how you can adjust this to meet your specific needs.
- Decide on fertilizers and nutrients you may need to add for example nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium and also to determine the optimum amounts to use of such fertilizers.
It is best to ask such questions before you begin farming. There are experts you can rely on to ensure you get quality yields without sacrificing quantity. A lot of research and hard work has to go into deciding what to grow and how to grow it to increase your chances of success.
In a hemp farm, there are a few necessary equipment such as cutters and seed drills; Seed drills assist in planting the seeds within the required seed depth. Cultivation is typically done a short period before corn cultivation. The ideal depth for seed planting is anywhere between O.75 and 1.25 inches and at close intervals. At this depth, the hemp seeds which begin to sprout in a very short time will quickly grow and choke out any weeds. There should be no risk of your seeds freezing because of frost. The most attention to the hemp plant is given during the first six weeks as the seeds germinate. The male hemp plants die soon after pollination which is why the farmer should consider checking the male to female ratio of plants. The female plants have the highest yield of flowers, leaves, seeds, and fiber.
Harvesting can be done by hand or by modifying machine cutters to the specific height of your crops. The plants can be cut in two places. The top section for the leaves flowers and seeds, then the other part from about 3 inches above the soil for the fiber, fuel or CBD. The stems can be left to ret on the farm from environmental moisture. This requires that they are turned every few days so that they swell evenly. Alternatively, they can be rolled up into balls and dumped in water then separated into the necessary raw materials. The hemp hurd is blended into hemp shives and the fiber removed from the stems and woven into yarn then different materials. The raw materials are then transported to the industries for processing.
Alternatively, the farmer can also use the hemp itself to intercrop his existing crops. With intercropping, the farmer aims for the following advantages from growing hemp.
- They grow very densely, therefore, choking out any weeds. This reduces the need for herbicides.
- Hemp is very pest resistant and hence can hemp the farmer save of pesticides.
- Hemp plants shed a lot of leaves and therefore increase soil fertilization with each planting season.
- Hemp grows very deep roots, therefore, aerating the soil for the other plants.
- Hemp is particularly at diversifying crop rotation for example for wheat or alfalfa.
All in all, with correct planning and execution, hemp farming can be a good source of income and success.