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Taking hemp immediately from harvest to processor most likely means it was baled wet. While there are many benefits to working this way as a hemp farmer, your plants still eventually have to dry out for extraction. From wet to dry, here’s how to get the job done right.
/ WET BAILING HEMP
Leaving hemp out to dry in the field, after harvest, can create a lot of issues. Weather can impact the crop, especially if you live in an area with a lot of rain. Cannabinoid yield can also go down the longer hemp sits.
Wet baled hemp means you can harvest earlier and prep your crop faster for its transportation to a processing facility.
Leaving any organic matter wet, in the wrong environment, can lead to problems. For hemp biomass, that’s mold, and it’s bad enough to ruin a crop. If done correctly, wet, pressurized hemp bales are more resistant to mold since the oxygen gets taken out of the bale.
The only outside force you do have to worry about is too much heat. It won’t ruin the crop, but it can reduce the cannabinoid content of your plants.
Wet-bailing hemp occurs in much the same way you’d wet-bale hay. You have the options of using large, long feed silage bags or putting the hemp into smaller, round bales. Once situated, all the oxygen gets vacuumed out. This prevents the hemp from rotting, fermenting, or degrading in any way.
The wrapping is key to protecting the bales. That, and storing the hemp out of the elements. If done right, bales can sit for 4-8 months before going through the extraction process.
Even though you’re harvesting and storing your hemp wet, before it hits extraction, it must get dried. Drying options are much the same with wet baled hemp as it is with hemp dried immediately after harvesting. You have two primary options — hang drying or using an industrialized hemp dryer. Both choices for hemp drying will effectively get the job done.
To effectively dry hemp by hanging it, you need a lot of space. Not only that, but the space needs temperature control and stable humidity. The conditions are everything when it comes to hanging hemp to dry, even hemp that was wet baled. When even one element is off, you risk degrading the quality of your hemp and its extracts.
To properly hang hemp to dry:
Drying can take anywhere from five days to a little over two weeks. It all depends on your plant’s genetics and the conditions in your drying room. Once complete, the next step in the process is curing. This allows the remaining moisture back into your hemp flower so it’s no longer crunchy and dry. Store your hemp in air-tight containers in a cool, dark, and dry room. Open the lids periodically to allow excess moisture out and fresh oxygen in. Curing can take an additional few weeks to complete the drying process.
If you are looking to get your hemp dried in a hurry, you can opt for technology over time and use a hemp drying machine. Most of these machines are fully-automated and involve minimal human contact with your plants. They can get your crop dried in days rather than weeks, but make sure you’re working with an experienced processor to maintain the quality of your plants.
/ THE ARBOR VITA8 DIFFERENCE
As a hemp processor, Arbor Vita8 has a full array of seed-to-sale services for our partner famers. This includes support for the bailing process if you decide to wet bale your hemp. It also includes help transporting your crop to our facility in Phenix City, Alabama.
When it comes to drying your hemp, Arbor Vita8 also has you covered, regardless of your preferred method for getting the job done. If you want to hang dry, we have almost a million square feet available for your crop. If you want to automate the process, our dryers from Thermal4 can handle 10,000 pounds of biomass per hour. No matter how you prep your hemp, or which way you dry it, we’re ready to be your partner..