Posted on November 18 2019
Since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp farming has been the buzz in nearly all 50 states. To say there’s a growing interest in CBD, sourced from hemp, would be an understatement, especially considering experts are estimating the industry to surpass $22 billion in revenue by 2022.
We thought we’d put together a Quick Start Guide for growing hemp, as we’ve already seen demand on the irrigation side of the crop, have begun selling hemp irrigation kits, attending hemp and cannabis trade shows, and have even been designing full irrigation systems for 200+ acre hemp farms.
Quick-Start Guide for a Successful Hemp Harvest
First and foremost, it’s important to research the rules and regulations in your state. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), various state policymakers have taken action to address various policy issues and at least 41 states have enacted legislation to establish industrial hemp cultivation and product programs. They also offer an overview of individual state laws and public acts on industrial hemp research and cultivation. Know before you grow, as even the slightest slip up and you could see your entire crop being destroyed, heavy fines or even face jail time.
Overall hemp is one of the easiest crops to cultivate. We’d bet you’ve heard the phrase “grows like a weed” before, but while we’d like to tell you all you’ve got to do is order our irrigation kits, plant seeds and watch them grow, there’s a little more to it than that.
With hemp fetching $25-$35 per pound, each plant producing close to a pound of yield, and an acre hosting 1,000 to 1,500 plants, we can see where you might be eager to find a 400-acre field and spend your winters on a tropical island. If you want to be successful we’d recommend starting small and scaling.
Growing outdoors, you’d need an area that receives 8-12 hours of sunlight, and soil quality is extremely important. Texture and nutrients are critical. For optimal results you’d want loose, well-aerated loam with high fertility and plenty of organic matter. Depending on which ag resource you tap, you’d to find your target pH level to be somewhere between 5.5 and 7.5. When planting, crop spacing varies whether your goal is growing hemp flower for CBD (further apart), or hemp for fiber (closer together).
Now for the chapter in hemp cultivation where we really shine: watering. During the growth cycle, hemp requires 20-30 inches of rainfall. In a most regions, especially if you’re in a milder climate and trying to squeeze two harvests out of your plot, a successful hemp crop is going to require irrigation. Water absorption increases as the plant grows, up until the flowering begins where it decreases significantly. Absorption will pick back up in in late flowering and the seed formation period. The ideal hemp irrigation system provides even water distribution, has a long product life and little to no maintenance. That’s why the most successful hemp crops worldwide utilize drip irrigation.
Depending on the size of your crop, geographic location and quality of your soil, we can build you a turn-key drip irrigation kit for hemp. Comprised of blank PE tubing, inline drip tubing, fittings, pressure regulators, filters, fertilizer injectors, tape, tools and accessories, we’ll have your watering and irrigation needs covered from a single potted plant to hundreds of acres.
While we’ve only covered the basics, we hope you found our Hemp Farming 101 beneficial. If you’re interested in growing hemp, there’s truly no better time to get started than now. If you have any additional questions on the irrigation side of the process, we’d encourage you to get in touch with us today!