When you think about “good” hemp the conversation immediately revolves around the flower of the plant. You talk about the appearance of the buds, the aroma from the flower, the percentage of CBD and other valuable cannabinoids you can extract. It’s the right way to begin the conversation, but it’s not the only part of the plant worth discussing.
Everything else, that’s not the flower of the hemp plant, is biomass. It’s worth something too. And, if you’re a smart hemp farmer, you know it’s just as much a part of your profit margin as the top portion of your plants.
Good biomass is a mixture of plant components
There are two types of biomass. One comes from a lower grade strain of hemp. Rather than separate out the buds for extraction, harvesting this type of plant may be worth more if you mix it all together. Combining everything except stalks and stems makes for one type. The other type combines all the plant matter except for the buds. You make this from higher-quality plants where there’s more value in separating out the flower.
The only real difference you’ll see between the two types of biomass is the concentration of cannabinoids. Even with the buds removed, biomass made from higher-quality plants will naturally be more potent, by weight, for both extracted cannabinoids and terpenes.
Evaluating a biomass sample
When processing biomass, you can tell if it’s good only if you look at it closely. Hemp biomass usually comes in for extraction in a massive quantity, and you need to make sure the sample you look at is a good representation of the entire batch. So, good biomass, begins with a good sample. It will give you an average look at the quality of your biomass, but it’s good to note that processing at a large scale can lead to some inconsistencies in batches.
Looking at a biomass sample, it’s important to note a few things:
1. What’s in the biomass
Biomass done right should make it easy for you to identify the three primary parts — buds, leaves, and stems and stalks. Each one is important in evaluating the quality of hemp biomass.
- If buds are present, they’ll help you determine how potent your biomass is. The more you can see, the higher the potency.
- Leaves are the primary component of most biomass. They’re easy to identify and also contain some trichomes and small amounts of cannabinoids. Having a lot of leaves, but fewer buds, gives you a medium grade biomass.
- Stems and stalks will look like pieces of chipped stems or wood. They don’t contribute at all to the potency of your biomass. Having a sample that’s mostly stems and stalks definitely means you’re not working with “good” biomass.
2. How the biomass smells
We all know that the cannabis plant has an odor, and that each strain is unique. In fact, the smell, in many cases, can help establish how potent a particular plant is. Even if your biomass sample doesn’t have any buds, you’ll still get an odor from the terpenes on the leaves. This can help you establish quality in two ways. First, it clues you into how fresh the biomass is. Odor fades over time. Second, it hints at how potent your biomass is regardless of its composition.
3. The color of your biomass
Good biomass is a deep and vibrant green. While you may see other colors, like orange, in hemp flower, it does not indicate high quality when you’re looking at biomass. It actually means the opposite, telling you that the leaves are old or were improperly dried. When your hemp has brown or orange tones in it, you’ve got a less potent sample, one where the valuable cannabinoids have begun to degrade.
4. Whether or not any contaminants are present
While you’re looking at your hemp’s color and composition, it’s also necessary to take a look at other quality indicators. If there’s anything present that isn’t biomass, you’re working with a bad sample. It’s really easy to notice when something unwanted has made it into your hemp. Many contaminants are visible enough that you can see them upon close inspection.
- White or gray fuzzy specs likely means meal bugs or aphids.
- If you see what looks like webs, you have spider mites.
- Yellow or white specs = thrips.
- If you see small black specs, you’ve got bug droppings. The issue could be anything, but there’s an issue.
Mold, mildew, and bud rot are other contaminating conditions to watch out for when inspecting your biomass. These contaminants should get caught on the plant before harvesting, but if for some reason they don’t, you’ll see white fuzzy mold on stem pieces and/or a white powdery substance on leaf bits.
Maintaining the quality of your hemp
At Arbor Vita8, we understand that quality is everything for hemp farmers. From the strain you select all the way up to the flower you harvest, we can help you have a superior product. Our expertise, services, and resources enable you to grow the best plants, extract the best compounds, and create the right kind of good biomass. Contact us today to learn more.