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An Array of Hemp Questions

An Array of Hemp Questions

With lots of interest in hemp I thought I would bring together a number of conversations on hemp.

  • As with most programs the considerations regarding field preparation and soil correctives are driven by a soil test.
    • You will see Midwestern BioAg (MBA) granular fertility inputs (Hemp Topper) for both organic and conventional operations in the links below.

      • It seems to me crop buyer(s) will be making a lot of decisions on what they purchase this fall, certified organic vs. organically principled; farmers growing on already certified land will be very particular on input selection so as not to lose their organic certification.

    • With highly mineralized soils, biology can drive both yield and oil % (nutrient density.) Much of the data on CX-1 comes from the work we do in Michigan for the legal medicinal market. Years of testing has shown that an every 7 day regiment of CX-1 on highly mineralized soil has an ROI that's hard to imagine. CX-1 will help growers achieve a weight and oil % that will give them top dollar in the marketplace. The economics for flower production looked like this last year:

    • It is worth noting some CBD growers are growing for flowers/buds only, making harvesting and drying easier. Some are growing whole plant CBD, extraction and processing options for their models are on the rise. I included a PowerPoint slide below to help distinguish between growing models. Still others are growing grain hemp for seed and hemp hearts, there are not a lot of processing options for fiber hemp in our area yet.

    • When to foliar apply? Every 7 days from 5-set to bud/flower stage covers the vegetative stages of the plant growth. The hemp plant will switch into reproduction when the length of day is less than 12 hours in the day. The number of foliar applications will be dictated by the planting date, in our area mid-May planting (soil temperature requirements are similar to corn without seed treatment of 45-50 degrees) with foliar applications beginning approximately 3-4 weeks later, would look like this: Growers could expect to perform eight to ten foliar applications.
        • June 12th
        • June 19th
        • June 26th
        • July 3rd
        • July 10th
        • July 17th
        • July 24th
        • July 31st
        • August 7th
        • August 14th
      This represents approximately eight weeks after summer solstice, still a number of weeks before day length is less than 12 hours. 

      • Genetics, is the most critical factor in preventing the hemp crop from spiking "hot." It is my understanding that a wide range of seeds were planted in Wisconsin last year, and every crop that tested above the THC-A level came from the same provider. Cannabinoids are the secondary metabolites growers are getting paid for; of the nearly 100 cannabinoids in the hemp plant only 1, THC-A, creates a problem for the grower. The desirable cannabinoids test higher earlier in the growing season, THC-A can spike later in the process. As an additional safeguard we are recommending ending the foliar applications at the beginning of the bud/flower stage. High THC-A can also be associated with an excess of Phosphorus late in the growing season. A good reason for growers to get their fertility in the form of high-quality MBA fertilizers and/or plant-based Purple Cow Organics Classic Compost.

      • More on the topic of timing, stages THC concerns:
        • Pre-flower, is the massive growth rate as the plant shifts from the vegetative growth phase into the flowering phase and actually starts to show budding.
        • Flowering is past budding and when the plant is in full flower production pushing calyxes. (Indoors, flowering is when you change the photo period).

      While it is our deep conviction that with good genetics, foliar applications can be applied from seeding until just before harvest, in these early years while the industry collects and logs data, we are conservatively recommending foliar applications only through the Pre-Flowering stage.

      MBA Organic Hemp Program

      MBA Conventional Hemp Program

      MBA Hemp Program

      Hemp Slide

      We are happy to help answer any specific questions for any grower you are working with, please do not hesitate to call or email. 

      Steve Stumbras
      Purple Cow Organics
      Healthy Soil. Healthy Plants. Healthy People.