Hemp Farming

GlacierSean

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I am farming 6 acres of CBD hemp this year. (CBD hemp is different from industrial hemp, it's what all of the CBD infused products are derived from.) The fields are in northern Illinois, right on the Mississippi River. We are Very close to chestnut ski area. We bought 7000 feminized seeds. Hoping to have 1000 plants per acre. About 4 feet of spacing per plant. The fields have been organic hay fields for a long time and we are going to keep everything organic. We have put up a little hoop house to start the seeds. The seeds are going into 98 site trays. We used some local seedling soil. We will be marking rows and putting in holes tomorrow. We also have some more (2500) seeds to put into trays. Comments, suggestions and questions are welcome.

The seeds (7000 feminized)
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The trays.
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The starter soil
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Putting things together, sure there is a faster way but the seeds are too expensive to use a mechanical method.
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GlacierSean

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Yeah, we will have to get seeds every season and plant. Some people do clones. The big thing with this (probably all farming) is to keep your cost per plant low to make some profit. I have heard about people spending $10k per acre and barely making a profit.
 

300 H and H

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To much Rain, hail, bugs, over production...

I mean what could go wrong?

Real farmers are trying this as well.

Feminized seeds? You have to keep the male plants out, and from what I have read a plant can turn male, or even part of it can become male. Lots of work from what I understand. Full time work.

Regards, Kirk
 

GlacierSean

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To much Rain, hail, bugs, over production...

I mean what could go wrong?

Real farmers are trying this as well.

Feminized seeds? You have to keep the male plants out, and from what I have read a plant can turn male, or even part of it can become male. Lots of work from what I understand. Full time work.

Regards, Kirk

Not a real farmer, ouch. It's true so I guess it's funny.

Yeah, people have been spending like drunken sailors. Probably the real money is in selling stuff (clones seeds tools) to newbie farmers.

Feminized seeds shouldn't produce mails except the jurassic park life will find a way thing. The plants won't switch gender again except jurassic park thing. We only grow females because they will produce resin in the flower until they are pollinated. Once pollinated they switch focus to making seeds. We are after the resin. And you can't process the seeds out and sell them without ruining the flower for resin extraction.

Farming will always be really hard work but the lack of equipment (harvesting, planting and so on) make it a lot of manual labor. That's why I am just experimental and not doing 100 acres.
 

300 H and H

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I was not putting you down with my real farmer comment. Mearly pointing out there are people who make their entire living from production agriculture. I was assuming your not in that category. Plenty of farmers are jumping on this band wagon. But in the distance I can see clouds, big ones.

My feeling is this might be good for a year or two. Until big money and large scale production, contract production, that will lock out the little guy. This is the way of Agriculture today, especially if there is real money to be made. The easier the production is to produce the faster it will be able to be commercialized to the point there is not the profit, and production will become a contract, and limit the growers to a handful doing it all... Hope I an wrong, but I don't think so. Enjoy it while it lasts, and this could be a while.

I have a friend in D.C. who wants me to grow. He IS the market as he is a processor. Maybe I should be hot to do this myself, but after some looking around, I didn't think I had the time to devote to this along with my regular crop production. Hemp looked to me to be rather labor intensive, requiring daily observation to keep male plants culled. I did not discover how ever that there are Feminized seed out there... Could be a game changer.

But by making this an easy process, over production, and the low prices that fallow will be the challenge

Regards, Kirk
 

300 H and H

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In Iowa there are plenty of hurdles to over come with regards to reporting to the authorities were the production is, and permission to grow are required, along with the corresponding paper work. THC levels have to be checked, to be sure that bad stuff is within the limits...

Why Illinois? Is there a reason because of state law? What reporting must you do there?

You know western Iowa is a lot closer to you than Illinois... I have lots of places I could grow, maybe next season we should talk. I am interested, because I know a man who would love to buy...

Regards, Kirk
 

GlacierSean

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I didn't think you were being mean, I just thought it was funny.

Regulations- I didn't deal with Illinois, my friend the property owner did it. I believe it was around $1k and really easy to do. I know in Colorado you register with the state. They just want the GPS coordinates for the corners of where you want to grow. Pay a per acre fee. Then grow. The only issue with Colorado is that when you register your locked into that registration time every year. So if you apply when they aren't busy it's that way every year. And the opposite if you apply when they are busy. The THC level can be an issue but easy to solve. Most people (in the same state/climat) harvest about the same time and that information is available. You typically schedule a pre harvest test with the state dept of agriculture. The test on the specified date. They inform you of the results and you have a week to harvest. The THC level can go over after the test without issue. Once the state says it's ok your ok.

I can't really speak to the big business side but I can see what your saying and appreciate the input. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Location- I have a friend with a few farms out here and he approached me about this. Been looking in Colorado but land leasing is crazy expensive. I haven't looked into the laws in Iowa. Happy to talk to you but prefer to see how this goes and learn before I do.
 

GlacierSean

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All of the seeds (7000) are planted in trays, watered and in the greenhouse. We also marked the rows and punched 3700 holes on about 3 acres. I got to spend about 6 hours in the skid steer. After punching the hole we put a little compost in each hole.


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Compost in the trailer
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GlacierSean

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We have all 7000 holes poked. Almost all of them have compost. With about 4 foot plant spacing and 5 foot between rows it was pretty dead on 1000 plant sites per acre. If these plants get really big they might be too close. We already have some signs of life in the greenhouse. Some of the stuff done 3 days ago is starting to sprout. Really excited to see what happens. IMG_20190527_104655.jpg

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300 H and H

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I have to say that looks like a lot of work..

As the native population around here of hemp seem to grow just fine with out any cultivation, lol :smile:

Is there anyone direct planting into the soil with out the green house, and starting plants first? I am thinking bare prepared soil of course. Maybe I need to do some looking around at production methods. If your organic, sod surrounding the plants makes sense for weed control. Can you mow the grass after you plant? Will it compete with the hemp for water and nutrients? Will the grass die as it is shaded out by the hemp as it over grows it?

Most of what I read suggests hemp will out grow and smoother out anything in a patch that is planted. Some weed manual weed control maybe need at first, but not once it has established itself.

Regards, Kirk
 

GlacierSean

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We asked some local farmers about putting seed in the ground. They said that the big rain storms they have been getting that the seeds could rot or be pushed too far down to germinate. That's why we went with the hoop house. The seeds are way more expensive than most so we wanted to try and maximize our results.

The idea of poking holes has a few purposes. The land owner explained that when he puts in rows (way faster and easier) that the weeds take hold in the unused part of the row. The grass seems to keep the weeds at bay. So like you mentioned it is for weed control and also soil retention. The grass only gets to 18 inches tall. It had seeded while we were there. We will mow before planting the seedlings. That should allow the seedlings to over take the grass and hopefully keep us from having to walk the field and mess with weeds. I don't think it will get a dense enough canopy to kill the grass. Probably just slow it's growth rate. The CBD hemp plants don't grow as vigorously as a industrial hemp (fiber, hemp seed oil) or the smoking kind.
 

GlacierSean

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I was a bit worried about spending so much on seeds "are these just magic beans". But we have so much life and it's only been 5 days.

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300 H and H

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The last time I knew anything seeds were in the $1,800 per lb. range. Makes seed corn seem very cheap.

And that seed was not "feminized" at all..

Keep posting up what you observe please!

Regards, Kirk
 

GlacierSean

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At this point we have a germination rate of over 90%. Some are still popping up so it might go even higher. Looking forward to putting them in the ground.IMG_1921_0.jpg
 

GlacierSean

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The seedlings are looking amazing. In Colorado they might only get a few feet tall but thinking they might get over 6ft in Illinois.

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