Having a successful hemp crop is about the bottom line. Since the plant already grows quickly, with limited help, it’s automatically a cost-efficient crop, but we’re talking about profits. The hemp industry is huge, and continuing to grow, and as a farmer, the question is how to turn your hemp crop into even higher returns. One method to consider is tri-crop.
This growing and harvesting strategy lets you take advantage of all the parts of the hemp plant, turning it into a “waste-free” crop. It also means multiple areas of profit rather than just one.
The low-down on tri-cropping
The “tri” in tri-crop refers to three distinct parts of a hemp plant — fiber, seed, and flower. Each of these pieces of the plant flow into a separate, profitable sector of the industry, but most growers only grow their crop with one part in mind.
When you have a tri-crop, you’re successfully harvesting each of these three areas of the plant at the same time, for a profit.
The question of genetics
Barriers to successful tri-crop plants is, of course, genetics. A hemp strain must show strength in three areas, rather than just one, for this farming strategy to work. That’s not how things normally work.
It’s more common for farmers to grow hemp for one specific purpose, so the strain they grow caters to that area. If you’re growing to generate high levels of CBD for extraction, your focus is on the flower, and genetics that have higher-than-normal CBD yields. This could mean your plant of choice has a weaker stalk or some other non-essential flaw.
The same is true if you’re growing hemp only for fiber. To do this, you have to harvest the plant before it’s able to go to seed. That means you can’t fulfill the parameters of a tri-crop; there aren’t any seeds to sell.
A successful tri-crop strain of hemp won’t have these deficits in features though. One area of the threesome won’t overshadow the others. Fiber, seed, and flower all must come out on equal footing, and agricultural scientists have made enough inroads into hemp genetics to be able to achieve this.
The key to a perfect tri-crop hemp plant is yield. You’re looking for lucrative numbers in biomass, grain, and fiber. It’s not enough if the strain excels in only one area.
Tri-crop benefits beyond the bottom line
In addition to enhancing the profitability of your hemp plant, tri-cropping has other benefits for the farmer. The biggest is no more stressing about a female-only crop. When you plant a hemp crop, for the flower, the last thing you want is a male plant to infiltrate. They change the whole direction of the crop, causing your plants to go to seed rather than focus on their flower. With a tri-crop, you want this to happen because seeds are part of your hemp trifecta.
When you grow hemp for cannabinoid extraction, pollination is a no-no, but with tri-crop, it’s encouraged. No more worrying about a rogue male sneaking into the field.
Cultivating tri-crop hemp is also easier for other reasons. Since you plant the crop more like industrialized hemp, you can put the plants close together. This not only gets more plants per acre, but also creates straighter stalks for a lucrative fiber yield. You’re also creating so much shade that it reduces the appearance of weeds between rows.
Farming a tri-crop is also possible without any specialty farming equipment. It’s managed much like a crop of corn, so the same equipment and strategies often work, with only the potential need for slight modifications.
Perfect your profits with the right processor
Building a successful hemp crop, no matter what your end goal is, begins with the right sees. You need to know enough about your plant to be sure it’s going to deliver the goods. Arbor Vita8 can help in your seed selection to ensure it aligns with your reason for growing hemp in the first place. Our ability to support farmers from seed to sale means superior resources, advice, and services every step of the way. Contact us today to learn more.