Cultivating CBD hemp is a great idea that can be quite profitable under the right conditions. The hemp market will soon be a multi-billion-dollar industry.
Hemp has many uses. It is used to make textiles and durable clothing. Additionally, because its material is quite strong, it is also used in the production of the building material, “hempcrete.” It is also often infused into a variety of foods and cosmetics.
Industrial hemp is tall, lanky, with a woody feel, and produces minimal flowers. It can reach 10 to 15 feet tall and spaced three to six inches apart. Hemp grown for fiber produces large stocks for biomass. It needs less water than other plants for a high yield harvest. In contrast, cultivating CBD hemp requires larger spacing and is usually harvested by individuals without machines.
Hemp grows best in a hot, sunny climate that is not especially wet. When cultivating CBD, pesticides, and herbicides common in agriculture cannot be used. Moreover, it must be de-weeded regularly, which makes it more labor-intensive to grow than fiber hemp. In contrast to producing CBD, de-weeding is not a significant issue when growing for fiber.
Consideration When Cultivating CBD Hemp
Before planting the first seed, one must first decide whether that crop will go towards making CBD or industrial uses. To cultivate hemp for CBD, an experienced farmer in Kentucky planted in 40-inch rows on an even field over ten days in late May to early June. Between 1,500 and 4,000 were planted per acre, depending on the deal made with the processor.
Soil quality significantly affects CBD hemp crops. Additionally, some strains grow better in certain climates versus others. When planting seeds, only use female seeds. That’s because male plants drop the potency of female plants if they fertilize them, which in turn lowers the amount of CBD they can produce.
Harvest time must be precise for optimal potency. Cultivating CBD hemp is different than growing it for fiber because the latter only needs to grow for only about two months before harvesting. Hemp fiber is also easier to cultivate than CBD hemp. CBD harvesting requires manual labor to maintain flower and trichome integrity. Thus, much like in the growing, its harvest is labor-intensive as well for around five weeks.
Processing CBD Hemp
CBD hemp must be cured before extraction and sale, which can be an elaborate process. Hemp processing happens in one of two ways. First, one could dry it mechanically using dehumidifiers, fans, greenhouse heat, or a mechanical dryer. In warm weather, plants dried on racks finish in about two weeks.
In the current market, CBD extraction has proven more lucrative than raw biomass because of its many uses. Conversely, raw fiber biomass is less in demand because of foreign competition in the Chinese fiber market.
There are, of course, risks to consider when cultivating CBD hemp. To start, only quality hemp seeds should be used as they are most likely to produce quality flower and low THC levels. CBD hemp crops also require special attention throughout the growth, harvesting, and processing phases of its production. In addition, the market is in great flux now, with prices changing from week to week at times.
The 2018 Farm Bill permitted hemp crop insurance, which is essential for farmers to ensure that even a bad crop loss won’t ruin them. However, the regulations were not yet set in place when 2019 insurance was enacted. Last August, coverage was not available for hemp, though it should be less of a problem next year, provided, of course, that all crops test below the maximum THC threshold of .3 percent. If crops test above .3 percent THC, insurance won’t cover the cost of mandatory destruction.
Cultivating CBD hemp is very different than growing it for industrial purposes. It must be nurtured carefully and harvested manually. However, because it is more lucrative, the payoff is well worth it.
Contact us to learn more about CBD hemp cultivation.