Throughout the US, many hemp farmers are trying to understand the best practices for maximizing their profits per acre. As result, we’ve compiled a hemp farming guide for anyone looking to grow organic, hemp-derived cannabinoids for cbd flower or cbd biomass.
Choosing the Right Time
The best time to start planting high cbd hemp is the 3rd week of May and into the 1st week of June. You should be purchasing your cbd hemp seeds or hemp clones from a reputable company or from an in-state processor. If you’re looking for high cbd content, choose the best cbd genetics and check the COA to ensure it’s high CBD percentage and below 0.3% THC. Check out our full guide for purchasing cbd hemp seeds here.
You can transplant into 40” rows on flat ground while using multiple 4-row tobacco setter spread over a 10-day period. Typically, planting yield can vary between 1500-4000 plants per acre with variations contingent on request by your processor.
Use of Fertilizer
We typically spread nitrogen prior to planting with over-the-top application in Spring/Summer. For example, on 200 acres we would apply 125-200 lbs of nitrogen. Overall, fertilizer needs can parallel corn, but the right amount can vary. Currently, there is ongoing research into hot and heavy fertilizer use in hemp varieties. Hopefully, once we get more concrete data, we can update our hemp farming guide to give you more details.
Moisture in The Soil
After planting, ensure that cbd hemp plants have adequate moisture so they can set roots. In other words, hemp requires just enough water to continue through its life cycle. For example, unlike growing beans or corn where moisture in the soil is great, it’s different with high cbd hemp, since we only add water if the dirt is super depleted. Remember, hemp loves sunshine and humidity.
Point often overlooked, organic high cbd hemp that is solvent-free and pesticide-free can create unique farming challenges for growers. For instance, options are limited when it comes to herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides. As result, you’ll want to be extra vigilant about weeds in your row cultivation or hoes. Since you’re growing organic, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting things done right from the start – since you’ll be helpless if things do turn sour.
Fast Growth Cycle
Plants usually flower in the first 60 days, and in early August start showing distinct phenotypes from tall and fat to short and squat. Generally, hemp growth cycles can vary anywhere from 92-120 days. If you’re using high cbd autoflower strains, your results could be quicker.
Pull Your Male Plants
Being vigilant of male plants is essential in growing high cbd hemp. Consequently, you’ll definitely want to pull all male plants immediately from your fields. Male plants can pollinate your female plants resulting in higher seed production, lower quality buds, and reduced CBD yield per acre. One way to eliminate this problem is to use cbd feminized seeds. Ultimately, your goal is to have a field full of female plants with high cbd content for either smokeable flower or biomass extraction.
You’ll need a couple of weeks for your harvest crew to work on large acre farms. In many cases, you’ll require around 1 crew member for every 5 acres. Notably, there are several ways to harvest high cbd hemp, but the most effective way is to just do it. As result, you’ll find out what works for you in terms of labor and logistics.
Drying CBD Hemp Plants
After harvesting, the hemp plants require drying. There are countless ways to dry high cbd hemp including warehouse floors, dehumidifiers, fans, mechanical dryers, etc. The best method we’ve found in our hemp farming guide is mechanical drying. If you have good weather and heat, hemp plants can take roughly two weeks to dry on racks. After drying, the hemp plants are run through a hammer mill. The goal is 10%-plus raw CBD oil.
Our Final Word
Our best advice is to start with tiny acres, learn the growing process, build relationships with processors, then scale your operations once you feel like you understand the process. That way, you can minimize your exposure and maximize your returns. If you enjoyed our hemp farming guide, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Linkedin or Facebook. Thank you!
– Bevan Verma, Founder