As with any crop, farming hemp requires a long list of equipment. Check out what you should have as a hemp farmer to grow a successful hemp crop. It’s more than what gets your seeds into the ground. There’s also the necessary equipment used after cultivation.
Preparing the field
To ensure a strong yield, a few key pieces of equipment help prepare the soil. They set up your hemp plants to get the nutrients they need throughout their growth cycle. Especially if growing hemp for CBD or CBG, consider adding these tools to your inventory:
- Raised bed shaper. This equipment attaches to a trailer and creates beds between four and six inches high, and 30 inches wide. Beds are then more efficient when it comes to irrigation.
- Plastic mulch layers and lifters. This added layer of protection helps conserve water, control weeds, and keep the soil temperate.
- Drip irrigation systems. Using this method to deliver water to hemp plants ensures the water goes right to the plant’s roots. Water gets to the plant with minimal evaporation. Drip systems can help control weeds and mildew growth. They also create a more efficient process to deliver nutrients to the hemp plants.
At the very start of your hemp growing journey, you’ll have to make an important decision. Do I start with seeds or seedlings? Making this choice will impact what speciality equipment you may need.
If you’re sowing seeds into your field, a seed drill can speed up the process. Instead of hand-sowing each seed, the drill lets you plant many acres of hemp more efficiently. This is especially helpful when you consider the density of hemp plants you can fit into a single acre. If you’re using your hemp for textiles, you can plant up to 400,000 plants per square acre. Using the hemp for CBD or CBG means they’ll need a little more space, but you can still fit around 1,600 plants per acre.
Using seedlings to start your hemp crop requires the use of a transplanter. This speciality equipment helps you move your seedlings into the field faster. Not only that, but the machine helps place the seedlings at the right distance from each other.
The speciality equipment you’ll need at harvest time is dependent on how you plan on using your hemp. Hemp transformed into textiles gets harvested differently than plants used for CBD or CBG oil.
A machine most farmers are already familiar with, a combine cuts plant stalks and collects grain material. It’s a rather rough process. It works best when harvesting hemp for textiles. It’s not as important that textile hemp plants stay intact.
Designed for harvesting hemp plants for CBD and CBG, a hemp harvester takes a significantly more careful approach to cutting each plant. The goal is to maintain the plant’s structure, and this delicate machine cuts each plant for maximum protection. Most harvesters can process up to five acres a day, so it’s a slower process, but well-worth it to ensure a quality product results.
Traditionally, hemp plants dried hanging by their stems in a barn or warehouse. Anywhere without direct sunlight sufficed. Sometimes there would be fans or other climate controlled equipment to maintain the proper airflow, temperature, and humidity. Plants were carefully watched for mold or mildew as this slow process continued. Alternative equipment options now speed up what used to be a very slow process.
- Continuous dryers. Using a conveyer belt or drum, these modern dryers constantly dry hemp material. Because of its output capability and input size requirements, this method is often used for hemp biomass.
- Batch dryers. Creating a highly controllable environment, these dryers hold one batch of plant material at a time. Once dry, new material goes into the machine, making it perfect to use for flower or higher yielding products.
Once dry and ready, the next step in the process is to extract the usable materials for manufacturers. Based on which extraction process you prefer, different equipment is necessary. Common extraction methods include using CO2 or certain solvents like ethanol or butane. Each method has its own pros and cons as far as safety, cost, and ease-of-use. Solvent extraction equipment is typically less expensive, but CO2 may produce higher yields of CBD or CBG.
The cost of common hemp farming equipment
While certain hemp farming equipment is necessary to grow a successful hemp crop, many of the subsequent machines are too costly for an individual farmer to own. Hemp extraction machines alone range in cost from $600 to $445,000, which is a very hefty sum. To avoid paying out-of-pocket for every piece of hemp farming equipment, it’s best to partner with a company offering multiple services at a fraction of the cost.
Arbor Vita8 is able to assist you in processing and extraction, using their own, heavily-vetted equipment. Preferring only the best, the experienced staff at Arbor Vita8 can ensure you get a high-quality product when you use their services and equipment. With support that begins even before you put your seeds in the ground, Arbor Vita8 is ready to share its expertise and equipment with you. Contact us today to learn more.