Check the advantages of hemp cultivation:
Significantly less labor intensive then other crops
NO herbicides or pesticides
- NO artificial fertiliser needed
Natural weed suppression
Good crop rotation
Deep roots are natural soil aerator
Best thing about industrial hemp is that it can grow nearly anywhere in the world, in almost all types of soil, in short growing seasons or in dry regions. Thanks to it’s very resilient constitution, minimum to non requirement for pesticides no herbicides-controls erosion of the topsoil, and the fact that it can grow in a variety of environmental conditions, industrial hemp is extremely easy to cultivate and it has been favourable crop in traditional crop rotation.
The plant life cycle
Each iHemp has its own set of characteristics. It can have small or large seed, low or high oil content, different oil composition etc. The one that is used for industrial purposes is hemp that contains less than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) under normal conditions.
Hemp needs warm and damp soil, so the best time for sowing hemp seed is beginning of May when the soil temperature and humidity are optimal. Harvesting hemp seed usually occurs in early October when the plant is roughly sixteen weeks old and when the flowers are ripe and full of seeds.
By this time, most of the plant leaf matter has fallen to the ground where it will compost and give nutrients back to the soil for future years. Harvesting hemp seed is difficult and tricky. Not only do the seeds mature at different rates on different plants, they can mature at different times on the same plant. When the lower seeds near the stalk are mature and have split open, the seeds near the top are not yet mature.
The trick is to determine at what point harvesting should take place that will amount to a minimal loss of seed. Hemp seed is harvested with a combine tractor and, almost immediately, cleaned to remove any stocks, leaves, and immature seeds. The cleaned hemp seed is then stored in grain bins, where it is kept cool and fresh until it is shipped.
We want to emphasize that wind and hail damage can be significant to the iHemp crop. Tall plants with lots of upper leaf mass can be bent quite easily by mid-to-late summer storms. Broken plants will recover partially if not broken too low. This results in significant variability in plant height and maturity at seed harvest time.
Hemp fits perfectly in a normal crop rotation scheme.
Hemp cultivation creates an improved soil structure, of which the next crop has multiple benefits.
Soil Conditions & Climate
If hemp is planted into well-drained, fertile soil under nearly optimum temperature and moisture conditions, it will germinate quickly and reach 30 cm (12”) in 3-4 weeks from planting.
Ideal soil for hemp cultivation is the one that is well drained, loam with pH above 6.0, neutral to slightly alkaline (pH7.0 – 7.5). We have to highlight that the higher the clay content of the soil the lower the yield of grain or fibre. Namely because clay soils are easily compacted and iHemp is very sensitive to soil compaction.
Because iHemp requires approx. 3-400 mm of rainfall equivalent, and thats a lot of moisture, you have to be prepared for early ground covering to reduce surface evaporation. About ½ of this moisture is required during flowering and seed set in order to produce maximum grain yields. During the vegetative growth period iHemp responds to
daytime high temperatures with increased growth and water needs. Be careful no to grow iHemp on the same fields following canola, edible beans, soybeans or sunflowers. Namely because the bacteria Scierotinia affects edible beans, canola and sunflowers and can affect iHemp too.
Off course, Scierotinia is not the only enemy to iHemp, there are more than 50 different viruses, bacteria, fungi and insect pests are known to affect the iHemp crop. However, iHemp’s rapid growth rate and vigorous nature allow it to overcome the attack of most diseases and pests. To avoid diseases buildup a 4-year crop rotation is recommended.