Hemp Farming for Fiber
Who can grow for fiber?
The ideal candidate to grow commercial hemp fiber will have existing farm equipment and twenty or more acres to put into cultivation. Hemp for fiber is often classified as a specialty hay crop and can be done successfully with existing farm machinery.
What are the inputs?
Seed, soil, and sun.
Seeds will be bought or provided by either your research University or the company you contract to grow with until certified seed supplier are established in North America
Soil is ideal if it is soft and loamy but hemp grows in most clean dirt and is an exceptional rotation crop, balancing pH, aerating soil, and restoring nutrients
Sun is critical. The hemp plant also requires water and nutrients but is extremely drought resistant after establishing a root ball and returns nutrients to the soil
Farmer Equipment Needs
Planting: conventional seed drill, no till drill, turf spreader, broadcast spreader (any will work)
Harvesting: rotary rake to turn during retting process and sickle bar to cut (refrain from using any disc cutters)
Fertilizer: 100 units of nitrogen per acre (if needed)
Herbicides and Pesticides: no approved varieties
Retting is a process employing the action of micro-organisms and moisture on plants to dissolve or rot away much of the cellular tissues and pectins surrounding bast-fiber bundles, and so facilitating separation of the fiber from the stem. This is done in the field after the plant is cut and before it is baled. It is critical to the final product and the first step in processing the fibers. The hemp will turn from a green when cut to a golden gray when ready to be further processed.