By George Mouratidis, Guest Contributor
There has never been a better time to be a hemp farmer, provided you know what you’re doing. Since hemp cultivation has recently been legalized in the United States, farmers understandably have a lot of questions about breaking into this exciting (and lucrative) field. Let’s go over the top four hemp-related FAQs to help you get involved in this budding industry.
Oftentimes people mistakenly conflate the words “marijuana” and “hemp.” Yes, both of these plants are a part of the cannabis family, but they have very different chemical compositions.
Interestingly, hemp tends to grow best in climates closer to the north or south poles compared with the equator. The best growing season for hemp varies by area, but farmers usually plant their seeds in mid-spring and harvest around November.
Growers say hemp enjoys long, hot summer days and cool nights. The more sunshine you can give your hemp plants, the better. Growers should try their best to give hemp at least 12 hours of sunlight exposure per day for the best growth potential.
As for water, hemp requires an average of 64 cm of rainfall during its growth phase. The most important time for water saturation is between the plant’s vegetative and flowering stages. Some growers say the soil during this phase should be around 80 percent saturated.
Speaking of soil, hemp tends to do best in highly aerated soil with a pH of between 6 and 7. Hemp growers also tend to prefer soil surfaces without too many hills.
Since manufacturers traditionally only cared about hemp’s industrial uses, farmers have tended to focus on producing a high quantity of hemp biomass. In recent years, however, there’s been an ever-increasing demand for farmers to produce smaller yields of high-quality hemp for cannabidiol (CBD) extraction.
For those who’ve been living under a rock for the past year, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid present in high quantities in the hemp plant. Many potential benefits of CBD continue to be discovered as regulations are widening internationally.
Farmers who want to maximize CBD content will have to grow their hemp in a similar fashion to marijuana. This means only using female seeds and closely monitoring the growth of each plant. Industrial hemp farmers, however, can use both male and female seeds and plant hundreds of thousands of plants per acre.
George Mouratidis is a full-time cannabis writer and journalist. He works with Industrial Hemp Farms and he is the founder of WeedCopywriter.com, a bespoke content marketing agency.