Several decades ago, calling the production of hemp “risky” would have been a bit of an understatement. Regardless of what you wanted to use it for at the time, the laws imposed by the United States government were not exactly friendly. Fortunately, things are different today.
Since the 2018 farm bill was passed into law, things have gotten much easier. Now, all you need is to adhere to the regulations. With that requirement fulfilled, the main obstacle blocking entry into this rapidly growing industry is removed.
Today, the hemp industry is worth billions of dollars. There are speculations that it could climb as high as $2.2bn in the next few years. Considering those numbers, no one would blame you for wanting to be a part of it.
However, as with other businesses/decisions, you must be well informed before taking action. In this guide, we will be giving you crucial information on hemp seeds for growing.
What should you know before starting your hemp farm for seeds?
If you are already a farmer, you might want to jump right into the process.
Confidence in your preexisting knowledge of farming as well as rumors that hemp can grow anywhere might be major fuels to that temptation. However, things aren’t quite as simple.
Before you decide to start hemp seeds for growing, you need to know a few things. Two of the most important are:
- The laws and legality of the cultivation of hemp
One of the main motives behind completely outlawing hemp in the past was to control drug use and abuse. Since that period, it has been discovered that hemp has many uses. They are among the things that prompted its legalization. However, it is still important to ensure people do not abuse the opportunity.
As such, according to the United States law, your hemp products must not have more than 0.3% of THC. Despite how small it is, this number separates recreational marijuana from medicinal hemp. If your product exceeds the limit, it will be destroyed upon harvest.
To avoid the pain that comes with watching several months of work getting annihilated, you must always consider your THC levels.
Alongside the THC levels, you should know that hemp is not legal in every state. Growing it in one of the states that still have reservations about the crop could get you in a lot of trouble. As such, you must confirm which states still consider it illegal.
- Total capital and running cost
In every business, the importance of knowing these two is crucial to survival. Capital is the amount of money you need to start. Here, it includes the cost of acquiring seeds, farming equipment, land, etc. Running cost, on the other hand, refers to the money you’ll spend to keep the business alive.
Before you start hemp seeds for growing, you must do a financial feasibility study of sorts. Find out how much it will cost you to get all you need. If you already have a huge piece of land lying around, that’s perfect.
However, if you don’t, you must factor that in as well. This, in tandem with the amount of money you can access, will inform your decision.
- Soil type
Now, in growing hemp for seeds, you must first understand the soil you’re using. The myth of hemp being able to grow under any condition has spread far and wide.
However, the real truth is that it grows in some places better than others. The best area to grow your hemp is on properly aerated loamy soil with pH content ranging between 6.0 and 7.5.
A close alternative is on sandy soil. The downside to this, though, you’ll need more fertilization and irrigation than usual. Without these, your harvest will likely suffer.
The third option for growing hemp is clay soil that’s been properly drained. Sadly, its lack of a good structure could result in poor drainage, which will then go ahead to affect your crops. The good part is, to get all this information, you can simply have your soil tested.
How do you grow hemp for seeds?
An important thing to note if you want to learn hemp seeds for growing is that there is no single correct way to do it. Different farmers make adjustments to whatever methods work for them, and it still yields results most of the time.
This fluidity leaves you with a lot of space to flex creative muscles. As such, we will mostly be sharing tips, tidbits, and guidelines.
- Start small. You must note that the industry is still in its early stages, and the market can be rather capricious. As such, you might want to pick that 60 acre land over the massive 240 acres for now.
- Depending on the weather on your side of America, the best time to plant hemp seeds is between May and June.
- To avoid seed cracking and irregularities in your seed depth while planting, you should use a no-till box drill.
- Use tight rows of about 6” and plant 6-12 seeds per square foot. They’ll help you to avoid dealing with weed, and it makes for faster canopying.
- Assuming you started hemp seeds for growing around May, a great time to harvest will be in September.
- For harvesting, use a standard combine and a draper's head. When you want to remove biomass, you can use a hay bine. This helps to make baling and storing much easier.
- You should always cut when moisture levels are between 18%-20%. If your moisture level is lower than this, you risk dropping seeds.
- For storage, your moisture level should be between 6%-9%.
Keep in mind that all of these don’t exactly encompass the entire process because there really isn’t a rigid process. However, we’re certain that they will prove useful if, or when, you start your own farm.
Why should you grow hemp?
Apart from the specific niche that is hemp seeds for growing, hemp farming can be generally rewarding. Here are a few benefits of growing the crop:
- It is very profitable
In less than three years since it was legalized, this industry has gone several miles away from where it was. Today, people are finding uses for it medically, cosmetically, nutritionally, etc.
This high demand automatically translates to an increase in cash flow in the industry. By tapping into this rapidly-increasing network of demand and supply, you can make huge profits.
- It does not require too much attention
Hemp is a survivor. As long as you provide the right conditions for it to thrive, you wouldn’t have to worry too much about it.
In fact, the plant can naturally resist certain parts. This is not to say it is invisible. It would not do well in desert conditions. However, when compared to other crops, like cotton, for example, it is fairly easier to grow.
- It is good for the environment
Among others, hemp doesn’t require as much water as some other crops. Additionally, it absorbs an incredible amount of carbon. To top it all off, it helps to repair damaged soil by returning lost nutrients.
Hemp seeds for growing can be very rewarding. All you need are some right decisions fueled by proper information. In no time, you too will be able to reap the good stuff.