Since the early 90s, hemp has become a favorable crop in traditional crop rotation. Hemp needs less input of both energy and water, and gives high yields. Growing hemp doesn’t need insecticides, pesticides and/or fungicides. Fertilization is mainly given by manure from pigs, cows and poultry. Artificial fertilizer is not usually necessary.
Hemp fits perfectly in a normal crop rotation scheme. Since hemp creates an improved soil structure, the next crop benefits.
The plant life cycle
The best moment for sowing hemp seed is the beginning of May, when soil temperature and humidity are optimal. Hemp needs warm, damp soil.
Harvesting starts in early August with mowing the crop. Special hemp mowers cut down the crop and slice the stems into lengths of 60 cm. After cutting the hemp, the stalks are left behind in the field, where the bast fibres will be loosened by the effect of rain and dew. This process is called ‘retting’. During this time the stalks are frequently turned over by a machine: the hemp turner.
When the stalks have been sufficiently retted they are picked up by the hemp bale press and transformed into neat square bales. In anticipation of further processing the bales are put in dry stores in the HempFlax warehouses in Oude Pekela (Groningen, NL).
Because Hempflax takes care of the harvest, the grower only needs to invest 4 hours of labor per hectare compared to 8 hours per hectare for growing wheat.
Advantages to hemp cultivation:
- Not as labor intensive as other crops
- Soil improvement
- No chemicals used
- No artificial fertilizer needed
- Excellent weed control
- Good crop rotation or year after year production
- Opportunities in organic situations
Hemp growing is renewable and profitable, also for your farm! If you are interested in growing hemp, please get in touch with us here.