An exploration in industrial hemp harvest and storage solutions.
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Industrial hemp is an increasingly popular crop due to its sustainability and versatility in various industries. However, successful hemp production requires careful consideration of the harvesting and storage processes. Proper timing and method of harvesting can affect the yield and cannabinoid content of the plant, while improper storage can result in the degradation of the harvested material.
INDUSTRIAL HEMP HARVEST AND STORAGE METHODS & SOLUTIONS
In this article, we explore the latest technological and scientific advancements in industrial hemp harvest and storage. We will discuss the different harvesting methods, including hand harvesting, mechanical harvesting, and combine harvesting, and their advantages and disadvantages. We will also cover optimal storage conditions, such as temperature, humidity, and light control, along with different storage options available, such as baling, bulk storage, and container storage.
Whether you are a seasoned hemp farmer or new to the industry with the knowledge of dispensary deals only, this article will provide you with valuable insights and practical tips to optimize your industrial hemp harvest and storage practices. By understanding the best practices for harvesting and storing industrial hemp, you can ensure the quality and value of your final product.
HEMP HARVESTING METHODS
There are three primary methods of harvesting hemp: hand harvesting, mechanical harvesting, and combine harvesting. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice depends on several factors, such as the size of the farm, the variety of hemp, and the intended use of the harvested material.
Hand harvesting is a traditional method that involves manually cutting the hemp stalks with a sickle or a machete. This method is best suited for small farms and high-value crops, such as those intended for CBD extraction. The advantages of hand harvesting include precision cutting, minimal damage to the plant, and the ability to select and harvest only mature plants. However, hand harvesting is labor-intensive and time-consuming, making it impractical for large-scale farms.
Mechanical harvesting involves using specialized equipment, such as mowers, swathers, or headers, to cut and collect the hemp stalks. This method is more efficient than hand harvesting and is best suited for medium to large farms. The advantages of mechanical harvesting include speed, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to harvest a larger area in a shorter time. Nonetheless, mechanical harvesting can cause more damage to the plant, resulting in a higher loss of biomass and reduced cannabinoid content.
Combine harvesting is a method that combines cutting and threshing of the hemp stalks into one operation. This method is the most efficient and is best suited for large farms that cultivate hemp for fiber or grain. The benefits of combine harvesting include high speed, low labor costs, and the ability to harvest a large area in a short time. Still, combine harvesting can result in significant damage to the plant, leading to a lower-quality harvest.
Regardless of the method chosen, the harvest timing is critical to ensure the best quality and value of the harvested material.
The optimal time for harvesting hemp depends on several factors, such as:
- the variety of hemp,
- the intended use of the harvested material,
- the environmental conditions.
Harvesting too early or too late can result in reduced yield and lower-quality material.
For hemp cultivated for CBD extraction, the optimal time for harvest is when the plants have reached their maximum cannabinoid content. This typically occurs between 6 and 8 weeks into the flowering stage but can vary depending on the variety and environmental conditions. To determine the optimal time for harvest, farmers can test the cannabinoid content of the plants using a chromatography technique.
In the case of hemp cultivated for fiber, the plant should be harvested when the stalks have reached their maximum height and the fibers have matured. It’s usually between 70 and 90 days after planting, but a variety and environmental conditions can alter it. Farmers can check the height of the plants and the maturity of the fibers and adjust the timing.
Hemp cultivated for grain needs to be harvested when the seeds have matured and have a moisture content of 12% or less, usually between 110 and 120 days after planting; again, it can vary depending on a variety and environmental conditions. To determine the timing, check the color of the seeds and their moisture content.
Proper storage is critical to ensure the quality and value of the harvested material. The optimal storage conditions depend on the intended use of the harvested material and the length of the storage period.
If hemp is intended for CBD extraction — the harvested material should be dried and stored in a cool, dark place to prevent degradation of the cannabinoids. The optimal temperature for storage is between 0°C and 10°C, with a relative humidity of 60% to 70%. The harvested material can be stored in bulk containers or bales but should be checked regularly for moisture content and quality.
For hemp intended for fiber, the plants have to be stored in a dry and well-ventilated area to avoid mold and mildew growth. The best temperature for storage is between 20°C and 25°C, with a relative humidity of less than 65%. It can be stored in bulk containers or bales but should be protected from moisture and pests.
In the case of hemp intended for grain, it should be dried and stored in a clean, dry, and cool environment to prevent mold and insect infestations. The temperature needs to be between 0°C and 15°C, with a relative humidity of less than 60%. It can be kept in bulk containers or bags but should be checked regularly for moisture content and quality.
Baling is a common storage method for harvested hemp, particularly for fiber and CBD crops. Bales are compacted bundles of harvested material that are wrapped in plastic or other protective material to prevent moisture and pests.
Bales are typically stored in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area to avoid mold and mildew growth.
Bulk storage is another standard storage method for harvested hemp, particularly for grain and fiber crops.
These methods for storage involve storing the harvested material in large containers, such as silos, bins, or warehouses. The containers should be clean, dry, and well-ventilated to prevent mold, pests, and heat buildup.
Container storage is a newer storage method for harvested hemp, particularly for CBD crops. This method involves storing the harvested material in sealed containers, such as shipping containers, that are equipped with temperature and humidity control systems.
Container storage is a more expensive option but offers better control over the storage conditions, resulting in higher-quality material.
Industrial Hemp Harvest and Storage Solutions
Industrial Hemp Harvest and storage are critical aspects of hemp production that require careful consideration to ensure the quality and value of the final product. The choice of harvesting method depends on several factors, such as the size of the farm, the variety of hemp, and the intended use of the harvested material. The optimal time for harvest also depends on several variables, such as the variety of hemp, the intended use of the harvested material, and the environmental conditions.
Proper storage is critical to prevent the degradation of the harvested material and maintain its quality and value. The optimal storage conditions depend on the intended use of the harvested material and the length of storage. Baling, bulk storage, and container storage are common storage methods for harvested hemp, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
By understanding the best practices for industrial hemp harvest and storage, farmers can optimize their operations and produce high-quality and valuable material. With the growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products, industrial hemp production is expected to continue to grow, providing opportunities for professionals, investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers in the industry.