Hemp leaves and seedsHemp has become one of the most talked-about crops this year among those in the agriculture business. With it now being legal to produce in all 50 states, many farmers and companies are looking toward it as a crop that can yield many uses.

As it turns out, hemp is very versatile, being used in manufacturing, health, food and other industries. Successful Farming magazine published an excellent guide to growing hemp. The article states that while industrial hemp is a new frontier for many farmers, it’s also very durable.

“(Hemp) is able to grow in widely varied climates and conditions, while generally using less water and soil amendments than most other crops,” the article states. “Hemp is an exciting crop with thousands of applications, and the most intriguing opportunity American farmers have seen in generations.”

If you are thinking about converting some of your acreage to hemp here are some things to consider:

Variety: Fiber, grain and CBD

The article goes into detail about the three different varieties of hemp and what they are used for in the marketplace.

Fiber varieties are used for building materials, paper and pulp, composites and textiles, among other uses. The article cautions that farmers wanting to grow fiber hemp need to make sure they can support large scale harvesting, transportation and processing. This is because hemp bales are quite large and usually require processing facilities that are close to the place in which they grew.

Grain varieties are used for food applications, as the article states that hemp grain is high in protein, fatty acid and fiber. It’s worth noting that grain hemp is also more fragile than the other varieties, so strong transportation, harvesting, processing and storage plans are vital to its success. In that way, it is close to any type of grain, where the timing of growth and harvesting is crucial to yielding an excellent crop.

Lastly, there is the cannabidiol variety, better known as CBD hemp. This is the phrase you’ve probably seen everywhere in the last few years, as CBD has greatly gained in popularity as a pharmaceutical, dietary and nutritional health supplement. The article in Successful Farming points out that CBD hemp growers need to understand the effect of soil, moisture and PH levels more closely on this strain than on others. Learning your state or county’s rules concerning growing CBD and if there is testing for THC levels is also important to know.

Successful Farming points out that seeds and clones are used to produce hemp for only one category of hemp at a time, but with researchers already looking for ways to develop dual or triple-purpose varieties, there may be a time when the whole definition of a “hemp variety” changes drastically.

Seeds and clones

Another choice that a farmer must make when growing hemp is this: do you want to grow it from seed or from plant cuttings, also known as clones? Among the list of considerations that the article mentions are these:

  • Seeds may add growing time to harvest, but they also produce a tap root for outdoor growing that creates a higher yield plant.
  • An advantage to clones is that there is less variability and potential risk of hemp plants not producing well enough for a strong yield.
  • Since direct sowing techniques for CBD hemp haven’t been fully developed, it’s recommended that seeds be germinated in a greenhouse before outdoor planting.
  • Farmers shouldn’t forget crop rotation, which will help ensure soil recovery and prevent disease and insects in the soil.

There are also some other clear advantages to growing from clones, according to the article. One is that the hemp plants will be uniform and have less variance between each plant than with current seed varieties. This is a particular benefit for farmers with large acres of hemp. In addition, clones also yield all-female chromosome plants, which are the ones that are particularly strong for CBD hemp growing. With the proper techniques of producing clones in a greenhouse setting, farmers may find that there’s less risk of variation, crop management and potential regulatory concerns.

Helping you grow your hemp business

With supplies of industrial hemp seeds and clones at a premium, HempWave is doing its part to help farmers and entrepreneurs with this fast-growing industry. HempWave recently acquired two Arizona greenhouses to grow industrial hemp seeds and clones. The greenhouses have a combined total of more than 210,000 square feet. HempWave plans to grow hemp seeds and clones year-round.

“We’re pleased to bring in two impressive assets as we continue to grow our capabilities in the hemp space,” said David Soto, HempWave CEO. “These properties include an established, full-service hydroponic growing facility and retail operation in the heart of Phoenix, while the greenhouse and farmland in Wilcox increases our greenhouse capacity considerably. We now have the ability to annually supply farmers with over 500,000 seeds and 4.5 million clones per year.”

We want to empower as many people as possible by reducing barriers of entry for farmers all over the world. If you need seeds, clone starts or separation of CBD oil from your stock, we are here to help you – every step of the way.