When hemp gets harvested and processed, it’s usually broken down into two groups. The flower goes on to become cannabinoid-based oils, among other things, through the process of extraction. The rest of the plant — stalks, leaves, and sometimes seeds — usually go into storage.
This “other” part of the hemp plant, what’s not the flower, is biomass. It has a million different uses and is continuing to rise in value. So, why are you just letting excess biomass sit around? Let’s do something with it.
First and foremost, when you store hemp biomass, even in the perfect conditions, you’re putting it at risk. Post-harvest spoilage can greatly impact the quality and quantity of your biomass, so it’s best to process excess biomass quickly.
If you do have to store it, even for a little while, ensure you have optimal conditions, including:
- Moisture — while biomass is okay stored both wet and dry, if you’ve cured your hemp first, it should feel completely dry when touched.
- Temperature — biomass stores best in temperatures between 77-86 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Light — the more light hemp biomass sees the more its composition can change. Certain cannabinoids can oxidize into another, less-wanted, compound. Other parts of the plant may break down, reducing the quality of your biomass. Giving it little-to-no light is best.
- Humidity — an airtight seal is essential to preserving biomass. Once air penetrates the storage container your biomass has an increased risk of spoiling faster. Humidity is not biomass’ friend.
If it seems too complicated to create optimal storage conditions, or you worry that letting biomass sit too long will affect your bottom line, transform it into a product already in-demand.
While hemp biomass can become so many different things today, from building materials to animal feed, if you want to move it fast, you need to convert it to an isolate.
Making an isolate
An isolate is the purest form of any single cannabinoid existing in the hemp plant. Isolate comes in crystal or powder form, is both odorless and tasteless, and mixes well into just about any other product. It’s the most versatile hemp derivative, up there with actual hemp oil.
Taking excess biomass and extracting crude oil gets you started on the road to isolate creation. As crude, all the elements of the hemp plant are still present. This includes cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, lipids, waxes, and other nutrients. To remove the unwanted waxes and fatty lipids, the crude oil undergoes a second process known as winterization.
Further refinement removes the chlorophyll, terpenes, and other compounds that aren’t cannabinoids. Even more refinement draws out the star cannabinoid, in most cases CBD. Each cannabinoid does get isolated though for possible use.
Heating the CBD up, then cooling it down sets up the crystalline form that eventually becomes isolate.
Using the whole plant
As an industry, hemp farmers, processors, and manufacturers have only scratched the surface of what this plant can do. By looking into way to efficiently and effectively use the whole plant, the community is taking one step forward to increased profits and sustainable cultivation. Incorporating excess biomass into the equation, and producing such a useful product as a result, is a smart choice.
If you’re in need of strategies to best store and/or use your excess biomass, Arbor Vita8 can help. We’ve seen it all in the industry and bring our best practices to you for superior storage and processing. Our seed-to-sale array of services means you get the best every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more.