By Noah Chen
Planting a field full of hemp crop is an investment, and one many farmers are hoping will pay off. Nothing feels more devastating to a hemp farmer than having acres of hemp ruined by severe weather.
It’s lucky that hemp is a resilient plant. Even when threatened by large storms, rapid changes in temperature, and adverse growing conditions, it can survive. However, weather worries are a real issue for any farmer. It’s important to know when hemp is at its highest risk and what you can do to protect this lucrative crop.
Wind and rain and cold, oh my!
When it comes to the weather, there are certain big things to watch for. These include excessive wind and rain and extreme or sudden drops in temperature.
Stand up to the wind
Hemp plants need wind to help strengthen their central stalks. But, excessive winds can snap well-developed plants, rendering them close to unsalvageable. The easy solution, if you’re farming in an area known for its windy days, is to tie your plants to grounded stakes. This provides added strength. While time consuming, it could save you any number of plants following an extremely windy day.
Keep things dry
Rain and cold often work together to produce a worst case scenario for the hemp farmer: grey mold. Grey mold flourishes in damp, cool conditions which, no surprise, occur right after rain storms. A cool evening following a rainy day is all it takes for mold to develop and ruin an entire crop. The solution is to shake off your plants after any rainfall to keep them as dry as possible. If you can, it’s also a good idea to plant them in such a way that wind can travel down the rows, aerating any damp spots automatically.
Weather that turns hemp hot
Not only can severe weather damage or even destroy plants, it can turn hemp hot. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension cites severe temperatures, drought, and flooding as potential stressors that can turn legal hemp hot. This impact is as devastating, financially speaking, as weather that physically destroys a crop.
Even legally viable hemp seeds can go hot in the right conditions. This leads to THC levels that require plants to get destroyed. While farmers are still trying to determine the exact factors that make a hemp plant go hot, it seems the weather plays a role. Keeping hemp plants in ideal growing conditions is key to avoiding this potential catastrophe.
Greenhouses as the golden solution
Every individual problem caused by severe weather has its own preventative measures. The catch-all solution, though, posed by many farmers and experts, is greenhouse-grown hemp.
To be up front, the downsides of a greenhouse are clear. They are often expensive to set up, and provide less room to grow than an average hemp field. Of course, what you pay for up front may end up saving you thousands of dollars on the back end.
Field-grown hemp may feel easier to set up, but it poses risk. Nothing can set you back farther than losing an entire crop because of conditions you could have avoided. Though you may save time setting up a crop of field-grown hemp, living in an area with the potential for harsh weather could quickly cost you more than having taken preventative measures at the start.
Inside a greenhouse, you can reach and maintain the ideal hemp growing all year round. This may mean a smaller indoor grow space is more productive than a larger, outdoor one.
Count weather in before you begin planting
However you decide to set up your hemp crop, you’ll be in good company. Greenhouse or field-grown, there are thousands of other farmers out there going through a similar process as yourself. What’s important is taking note of the weather patterns in your area. Pay attention to what’s likely to happen during the growing season. From tornadoes to hurricanes, floods to droughts, excessive rain to hail, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to the weather.
Arbor Vita8 can help you prepare
As experts in the hemp industry, Arbor Vita8 understands there are many factors that go into creating a successful crop. From seed selection to proper harvesting techniques to superior processing, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to learn more.