Farmers often ask us how much CBD they can expect per acre of hemp. This is no surprise, of course; growing hemp for CBD has become one of the greatest draws of the hemp farming industry. Indeed, CBD is the sweetheart of the hemp industry.
But there is still a lot of guesswork for farmers surrounding the proper way to grow hemp for CBD. There aren’t any industry standards or procedures yet because the industry is still evolving. Moreover, it’s challenging to weigh the cost/benefit of CBD hemp cultivation without understanding how much CBD per acre of hemp one can expect from an average harvest. Today, we hope to settle some confusion regarding the matter.
When Growing Hemp for CBD, Plant Spacing Matters
Planting a successful CBD hemp crop largely depends on plant spacing. CBD hemp plants need plenty of room to grow for multiple reasons (this is in stark contrast to industrial hemp that often grows only a few inches apart).
In the first 60 days of growth, hemp plants nearly double in size. A small 3′ tall x 3′ wide plant can grow up into a 6′ tall x 5′ wide plant in just a couple of months. If there isn’t enough space between the plants when planted, the plants will be too crowded to produce bountiful CBD flowers.
Crowded CBD plants can cause more detrimental problems, as well. For example, hemp is a very labor-intensive crop that requires a lot of hands-on care. Weeding can be a particular problem with hemp because it has to be taken care of by row cultivation or by hoe, which requires ample room to move.
So how much space should you have in between your hemp plants? This answer will vary depending on the strain, but usually, 4-6 feet between plants is sufficient.
Having a good understanding of your plant’s genetics will help you decide how much space you should provide to each of your CBD hemp seeds. And if you are still unsure, you can always contact us regarding our hemp consulting service. After all, we want you to succeed in hemp farming as much as you do!
Calculating CBD Per Acre of Hemp
The hemp flower contains the highest concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids. Unfertilized female plants produce the highest cannabinoid concentrations. The average CBD concentration in the flowers of high-quality hemp strains is usually around 10% of the hemp flower’s total dry weight and typically sells for about $300-$450/pound. The remainder of the plant (the stems, leaves, seeds, etc.) is biomass and sells for around $30-$75/pound.
There is a good equation you can use to determine how much CBD per acre of hemp you can expect from your next harvest. First, determine how much CBD is in the flower mass of one plant by taking the weight of the flower mass and dividing it by 10%, the percentage of CBD found in the flowers.
For example, if someone cultivated 3 lbs of flower mass from each plant:
3 lbs of flower mass x .1 = .3 lbs of CBD per flower
Once you have this number, you take the amount of CBD per flower and multiply it by the number of plants per acre. So if someone cultivated 2,500 plants per acre, the equation would look like this:
.3 lbs of CBD per flower x 2,500 plants per acre = 750 pounds of CBD per acre of hemp
This equation should provide accurate results given that the crop is raised ideally to ensure maximum CBD production.
Tips for Maintaining a Compliant Hemp Crop
While the federal regulations surrounding compliant hemp crops can be daunting, there are some ways that you can work to control THC spikes in your hemp crop while keeping CBD levels high.
First, make sure to test your hemp plants early and frequently. A great way to catch variations in your cannabinoid levels is by checking them early and often so you can correct and adjust as needed. This process can also show you the things that you are doing right if the CBD levels are thriving and high.
Providing a low-stress environment for hemp is a crucial step in keeping CBD levels high and THC levels low. When hemp plants grow in stressful environments — extreme temperatures and excessive exposure to UV rays, for example — they might produce THC as a way to protect themselves from the stressful situation. But when hemp grows in mild, favorable environments, THC levels should remain low, and the amount of CBD per acre of hemp should stay high.
Ensuring that you have quality, feminized hemp seeds from the beginning also helps ensure that your end crop is high in CBD. Find a reputable dealer who provides high-quality, feminized hemp seeds, and you can have much more assurance going into your growing season that your crop will succeed.
Hemp farmers rejoice! You can still maintain high levels of CBD per acre of hemp without high THC levels. Just practice best hemp cultivation practices like well-spaced plants and a stress-free growing environment. We promise, your hemp plants will gift you with their gratitude if you do.
What tips do you have for growing a high CBD crop? We would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!