As cannabis-based products gain popularity, more farmers are starting to venture into hemp farming for a profit in the booming market. However, not all commercial hemp farmers are conversant with the ethical and appropriate way to harvest, dry, and cure hemp floral buds fit for human consumption and the production of premium hemp products. Just like field prepping is important; harvesting is also a critical stage. This is because the presence of molds and mildews lowers the value of the CBD hemp flower biomass. It is therefore crucial for harvest to be done on a timely basis, and drying and curing to done under the right conditions.
How to tell that is time for harvest
- Hemp farmers can use visual cues to determine whether the time is right for harvest. The hemp bud has trichomes which are usually white in color. If the color starts changing to milky white, it might be time to harvest.
- Although it might be expensive, weekly tests for CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes, pesticide residue, heavy metals, and mold are required so that farmers can make a decision about the best time to harvest. This is because you might harvest early, when the plants have a CBD level of 6%. If you harvest when the plants have 7% CBD, the 1% difference can have a huge effect on the profit brought in. at the moment, a gram of CBD oil goes for $5 and every pound has 454 grams of CBD oil. This means that with the 1% difference, an acre can lose $20,000.
- Harvest time is dependent on weather. Hemp farmers need to harvest when they have enough time for drying and curing their hemp floral biomass before the weather changes and damages the crops. Because harvest takes a lot of time and physical exertion, it is important for hemp farmers to maintain sharp harvest equipment during harvest, consider the amount of labor that will be needed, and ensure that they save time and effort as they bring in the harvest.
Drying and curing hemp
After harvest, the hemp flowers should be moved to a drying facility immediately. This drying facility should be away from direct sunlight, well ventilated, and under a roof. The ideal temperatures for drying and curing are between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit with 60% humidity and there should be fans blowing continuously in the drying facility. A high airflow and slow drying are ideal for the production of hemp flowers that have a better cannabinoid and terpene spectrum; which fetches a higher price.
In order to minimize mold and mildew, it is advisable to hang individual branches after breaking them off from the stalk because hanging the entire hemp plant causes the branches to droop down and form an umbrella shape that results in less airflow to the center. This causes molds and mildews to form at center of the plant and therefore reduces the value of your entire harvest.