Resources - Blue Forest Farms
Resources

Seed Guide

If you need to store hemp seeds, choose a dry and dark space with a stable temperature around 40-45 degrees Fahrenheit. Seeds can be stored for more than 10 years before planting, though you get the best germination rates within the first 2 or 3 years.

Germination

Germination typically takes 3-5 days and is complete within 7 days. You will know your seed is ready to be transplanted when a taproot forms, and then you’ll be on your way to those emerald fields. You have several methods to germinate hemp:

  1. Paper Towel Method. This is one of the most popular germination methods. You will need paper towel, distilled water, and two plates. Place your seeds between layers of damp paper towel. Put the paper towel on one plate and cover it with the second, making sure to store the plates in a warm, dark, humid place. We recommend checking the paper towel every day and moistening when needed.
  2. Soaking Method. For this method, you will need a jar or cup and some distilled water. First place your seeds in the jar, cover them with warm (not hot) water, and secure the lid. If you are using a cup, you can put a plate over the top instead. Once your jar or cup is prepared, store it in a warm, dark place. Change the water every 2 days.
  3. Rooting Plugs and Cubes. This method requires the use of peat moss pellets, rockwool, or any other sort of rooting cube. To use these products, you must soak them in water before inserting the seeds. It is also recommended that you use a planting tray with a humidity dome. Like the above two methods, place the tray in a warm, dark location after inserting the seeds.
  4. Just try planting it! The final method is probably the simplest but comes with a bit more risk if your seeds do not germinate. You can place your seeds directly into your chosen substrate and care for them accordingly. Because your seed is sitting in a large amount of substrate, it will likely be sitting in a large amount of unabsorbed moisture, which increases the risk of rot. If you choose to use this method, make sure not to soak the soil when watering.

Seeding

Once hemp germinates, seeding is simple! Seeds can be direct seeded and should be planted only about 1 inch deep. This should be done when the soil reaches temperatures of around 50 degrees Fahranheit, with no chance of frost, for ideal growth rates. The easiest way to plant is with a grain drill, but is not necessary if that tool is not available. Keep the soil damp, but not quite wet, as over-watering can cause the seeds to rot.

With good watering and temperature, your seeds should begin to sprout within 5-10 days. If the soil temperature isn’t ideal, some seeds may take a bit longer, in which case give your seeds an extra 5- 10 days before removing any that fail to sprout.

0.3% THC

The United States Department of Agriculture is the governing body of hemp. This means that they define, administer, and control the rules and regulations regarding hemp cultivation, sampling, testing, and harvest. During the early days of hemp cultivation in the US, legislation wasn’t 100% clear, which caused multiple issues for the industry in farmers’ efforts to stay in compliance. The USDA has now issued clearer rules and regulations regarding the cultivation of hemp. However, as a new industry, we can expect compliance regulations to continue to evolve.

For example, the USDA recently announced that all products must be tested for total THC within 15 days of the planned harvest. Additionally, because of the hemp's relation to marijuana, they had originally required that biomass be tested in a DEA-approved lab. This requirement raised many valid concerns for farmers. There is a limited number of these labs, so that requirement would have likely led to lengthy wait times for test results. This high wait time would, of course, have impacted THC and CBD content. Aware they were made aware of this issue, the USDA retracted this requirement, and plans to work with the DEA during the 2021 season to issue new guidelines.

Although the USDA is the main federal governing body, most states have their own hemp programs with their own sets of rules. States with their own hemp programs must submit plans to the USDA for approval, however, only 12 states have submitted plans and received approval. An additional 20 states have said that they plan on continuing to follow the 2014 Farm Bill pilot rules. As the USDA continues to finalize legislation regarding hemp, we can expect production guidelines to be fragmented by state.

Blue Forest Farms is committed to selling only hemp varieties that will remain THC compliant based on the federal limits. Through our own breeding, testing, and genetic analysis programs, we have developed a catalogue that will pass pre-harvest compliance testing when grown and tested appropriately.

Why is 0.3% THC the limit for compliance? The answer goes back to a paper published in 1976 by horticulturalists Ernest Small and Arthur Cronquist titled “A Practical and Natural Taxonomy in Cannabis.” In this article, Small and Cronquist make a distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana which has been used by governments all around the world. The distinction comes from the passage “It will be noted that we arbitrarily adopt a concentration of 0.3% Delta9-THC (dry weight basis) in young, vigorous leaves of relatively mature plants as a guide to discriminating two classes of plants. This is based on standard-grown material in Ottawa in gardens, greenhouses and growth chambers, and of course on our analytical techniques. Dr. C. E. Turner, who has conducted extensive chemical analysis of Cannabis at the University of Mississippi, has agreed (pers. com.) that this is a reasonable figure to discriminate two classes of plants." Two things are noteworthy here. First, the authors acknowledge choosing a standard by common agreement with scientists of the era, even using the word, “arbitrarily” to describe their process. Also, in the decades since this paper was published, we have established that the true difference between industrial hemp and marijuana is found in two separate genes in the respective plants. Until regulations change, though, this is the standard that must be met.

Planting Guide

Autoflower Guide

You may have heard the term autoflower, or autoflowering, before in the cannabis industry, but may not know exactly how it is different from other types. What are the pros and cons of autoflowers, and how is growing them different from regular types of hemp? Let’s break down autoflowers to help you decide if this type of hemp is right for you and your individual farming situation.

What is an Autoflower?

As the name suggests, autoflowers are strains that flower automatically. How they do this is by bypassing part of the natural growing cycle. In traditional hemp strains, known as photoperiod cannabis, plants go through two primary phases: the vegetative and flowering phase. The change from the vegetative phase to the flowering phase is triggered by the change in the light cycle. You can think of it in the same way as how certain crops only produce at certain times of year. Autoflower strains don’t need this cue from a changing light cycle, and instead automatically go into the flowering phase after a certain amount of time, regardless of light or season. These autoflowering strains originated in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Russia where the colder climates forced the plants to adapt to shorter growing seasons. Eventually, this strain developed a specific gene that allowed it to flower regardless of the season to make sure it was able to reproduce before it was killed off by the cold weather.

How are Autoflowers Different

Aside from the obvious point we just went over, that they flower based on time instead of light, there are some other key differences between autoflowering strains and photoperiod strains. Fist off, and this will be a bit of a bummer for those who may be thinking autoflowers are superior right off the bat, but they do produce a smaller yield than photoperiod strains. They also cannot be cloned. On the upside, they can be grown all year, and grow much quicker than their counterparts. In general, and autoflower can go from seed to harvest in just 7 to 10 weeks. Autoflowers are also known to do very well in soils not as nutrient dense as regular hemp, thanks to their fast growth and smaller size. Because of their quick growth, and as a result shorter life cycle, they are great for smaller farmers who are just starting off, or who just want a quick and easy grow. On the other side, that smaller size obviously means a smaller total yield per plant. The downside of growing so fast also means less time for it to grow as many buds. While photoperiod plants take their time growing big and tall, with as many flowers as it can support, autoflowers are basically just trying to grow just enough to ensure it is able to be pollinated and pass on its genes before dying out. If you want to offset this, you’ll need to up the amount of plants you grow at once.

Growing Autoflowers

Autoflowers are a little tricky in their early days, needing a bit of extra attention until they get going. Like traditional hemp, planting seeds about a quarter inch deep in soil and lightly watering them is best, and holding them at a temperatures around 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is advised for the best germination rates. Arguably the most important part of growing autoflowers is to make sure to transplant them as soon as the seedling’s roots reach the bottom of their germination pots or plugs. This traditionally occurs a week or so after you see them emerge from the soil. The reason this step is so important is because autoflowers will start to flower, despite how young they are, if they sense their roots are bound. Once transplanted, rows with 2 feet of spacing between plants and 4 feet between rows is recommended. Beyond that, some all-purpose fertilizer is good to apply directly to the rows, but autoflowers will essentially take care of themselves for the rest of their short lifespans if given adequate care.

In the end, autoflowers can be a quick and somewhat easy option for small scale or new growers, but are not very ideal for those with acres of land looking to maximize their yields. However, with new strains and technologies for maximizing hemp advancing all the time, the idea of autoflowers is very promising.

COMPLIANCE

Almost every state requires farmers to submit pre-harvest test results of your crop to confirm that your harvest conforms to THC requirements. In addition, copies of your seed or hemp supplier’s Dealers License must be provided. Some states also ask for statements that affirm seeds are organic and non-GMO. To make these requirements as simple as possible for you, we are providing those statements here for all of our farmers who purchase from us.

Click Here for Plant Certification

Our seeds have been lab tested and proven to reliably meet pre-harvest THC compliance levels. Because results can vary depending on conditions and time of testing, for states where pre-harvest testing is required, Blue Forest Farms recommends conducting testing our CBD varieties at the end of the 4th week of their flowering stages. Testing later will require weekly testing to make sure the THC content does not break compliance. You can view the BFF lab reports here.

View all COA's Here

  1. CBG Berry Potency
  2. Cloud Berry Potency
  3. Hot Blonde Potency
  4. Queen Dream Potency
  5. Cherry Blonde Potency
  6. Cherry Blossom Potency

Focusing for a moment on one of our popular varieties, Cherry Blossom, which has a CBD to THC ratio of 28:1, you can see the total THC results are 0.25% compared to the total CBD at 6.95%. While we cannot guarantee you will see these exact same results, these are the types of ratios you can expect from our products. We stand by all of our varieties meeting THC compliance, when properly farmed and harvested, at the time of testing. We are invested in your success, and provide a variety of resources to support you.

View Cherry Blossom COA Here

Germination

  1. Prepare the germination area
    1. a. Clean and sanitize the area that will hold the trays
    2. b. Make sure the seeding machine is calibrated to the correct tray size
  2. Soil/Pot Preparation
    1. a. Make sure the trays are filled with a high-quality starting soil, like a peat moss, wood fiber, perlite blend
    2. b. Add beneficial fungi (Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma Harzianum) to the soil
    3. c. If using ellepots, ensure they were filled with the correct growing medium
  3. Seeding
    1. a. The machine will sow the seeds about ¼ inch deep
    2. b. If you don’t have access to a machine, seeding by hand is acceptable. We recommend marking ¼ inch on a pen or pencil and using that to make your holes.
    3. c. Make sure seed are not too deep or too shallow before completing a tray
  4. Water
    1. a. Water each tray heavily using a light nutrient solution
      1. i. Make sure to check which nutrients were used in the soil blend to avoid burning the roots
    2. b. Trays should feel heavy and water should drip out the bottom when lifted
      1. i. Be careful not to over water
      2. ii. Make sure each cell gets an equal amount of water
  5. After Care
    1. a. The seeds should be kept at around 70 º F and 70% humidity
    2. b. Make sure they have access to sunlight
    3. c. If watered correctly, they should not need more water until they sprout
    4. d. Once seeds have sprouted, begin incorporating a light nutrient solution.

Here are Field Seed and Seed Horror Stories

Preparing to Plant

Any successful farmer will tell you that doing your homework is essential for starting off on the right foot, especially for the tons of new farmers interested in breaking into the hemp industry. After studying as much as you can, and there’s always more to learn, at some point it becomes time to put seed to Earth and put all that knowledge into practice. Assuming you’ve already purchased high quality seeds, or perhaps clones, from a reputable source, and maybe are looking into germinating them, it’s important not to neglect preparing your field before that first seed hits earth.

Know Why You’re Growing

Hemp is a very versatile plant that has been used for industrial means for many years, but that’s not all it can be grown for. Today, you have the option of growing hemp for three primary purposes: fibers, seeds, and CBD. Odds are that most people looking to start a hemp production are looking to cultivate their plants for CBD, which is understandable considering the boom in popularity, and profitability, it has been experiencing the last few years. Still, knowing what your goal is with your farm is vital, because growing for one is not the same as the others. For CBD growers, you’ll first want to make sure you’re growing female hemp plants since those are the plants CBD can be extracted from. CBD hemp farms can range from around 1,000 to 1,600 plants per acre of land. Hemp produced for fiber and seeds can be male and female, and can go up to 400,000 plants per acre, so make sure you appropriately plan you farming space depending on which you’re growing for.

Ground Up

Hemp, just like any other crop, has unique likes and dislikes in terms of the soil it grows in. A common myth is that hemp can, and will, grow anywhere, and while hemp is able to grow in a wide range of conditions, there are certain types of soil where it can really thrive. The first best step you can take is getting your own soil tested, either by purchasing one you can do yourself, or sending in a sample to a lab. While the results may be a little intimidating to look at for the uninitiated, the most important parts are the PH and nutrient levels. Hemp typically grows best in soil with a PH between 6 and up to around 7.5. Beyond that, the soil should have plenty of organic matter and be as fertile as possible, around 3-4% typically. Hemp also tends to grow well in aerated, loamy soil due to its fibrous roots, as well as allowing good drainage. Soil that cannot drain properly is an easy way for your crop to fail early on due to a plant disease called damping-off. If the soil is lacking, compost or nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, can be added to help feed your budding crops.

Seeding Time

Once the soil is tested, the seedbeds are tilled and smoothed out to remove and clods, and the weather as appropriate, it is finally time to seed. That tillage is also vital in helping prevent weeds since herbicides have yet to be labeled for use on hemp. If you’re rotating hemp in with other crops, which is a highly recommended way to preserve your soil’s long-term health, make sure there is absolutely no residual herbicides if they were used on the previous crop. Because of how quickly hemp grows, and how resilient the plant is, weeds and pests are not usually a major issue for careful farmers. Seeding is simple with hemp, as they can be direct seeded, and should only be planted around 1 inch deep. This should be done when the soil reaches temperatures of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with no chance of frost, for ideal growth rates. The easiest way to plant is with a grain drill, but is not necessary if that tool is not available. Finally, hemp tends to need 20 to 30 inches of rainfall throughout its growth cycle, so be aware if your climate will call for additional water.

Quick Field and Seed Tips:

  • We suggest purchasing around 2,000 seeds per acre of land, using 4’x6’ spacing between plants and rows.
  • For germination, we recommend using 72 cell count flats held at a constant 80 degrees Fahrenheit in dark conditions.
  • During peak summer weather, plants should get between 4,000 and 8,000 gallons of water per acre each week, with an ideal PH between 6 and 7.

Preparing to plant is a process done more on paper than it is in the dirt. You need to know your goals, how to best achieve them, what conditions you have, and how you can manipulate them to give your seeds the best opportunity to grow. Once all that work has been done, the actual work in the field can be minimal and relatively simple. Without that forward thinking, though, poor planting can end your harvest before it even begins. That said, even the best laid plans can still result in some unfortunate events. Here are some horror stories that we think are worth learning from to hopefully help you avoid them yourselves.

Horror Story: Wild Hemp

If you’re familiar with cannabis, it’s possible you’ve heard the term “ditch weed” but do you know what it really means? No, it’s not just bad quality cannabis like some may argue. Rather, the name references cannabis grown in the wild. You heard that right. Your dreams of stumbling across a cannabis field while on a walk might come true. Don’t get too excited though. Wild hemp, ditch weed, feral cannabis–whatever you want to call it–doesn’t possess the distinct qualities that make its siblings so sought after and can even cause issues growers.

Wild hemp can be found in countries all across the world including the United States. Because cannabis isn’t native to the United States, experts have deduced that the plant either escaped from early industrial hemp crops or was planted at some point but not maintained by those who planted it. In fact, it wasn’t unusual to find towering cannabis plants growing in places like New York City, and it wasn’t until the 1950s that the government made a concerted effort to remove it.

The name “ditch weed” is a bit of a misnomer. Considering the term weed typically describes marijuana and this variety is descended from hemp, “ditch hemp” would be far more fitting. For the sake of avoiding confusion, we’ll just refer to this variety as wild hemp from here on out.

Wild hemp fields might sound like the cannabis version of el dorado, but they prove to be more trouble than they’re worth for farmers. The majority of the wild hemp found in the United States escaped from fields when hemp fiber was a thriving commodity. These varieties weren’t genetically optimized for fiber production, nor were they optimized for high CBD or grain production.

As you probably guessed, wild hemp is not feminized, which explains why it could leave farmers shaking in their boots. Cross pollination proves to be one of the most widespread concerns across the cannabis industry. One of the biggest worries regarding wild hemp is that a farmer might not even know there’s any growing in their vicinity and only learn once their crop has been pollinated. Cross pollination can have extremely detrimental effects on industrial hemp crops, especially considering most high performing varieties have been genetically optimized for a specific product. When these varieties are pollinated with wild hemp genetics, one of the parents is highly consistent and uniform, while the other is basically the opposite. The resulting offspring will possess traits from both parents, exhibiting variability and possibly even traits that had been previously breed out.

Another laudable quality of cannabis is its resilience. It really can grow almost anywhere which, when considering wild hemp, proves to be a double-edged sword. A study, performed in 2000, before cannabis was legal, found that cannabis pollen made up 36% of total airborne pollen counts in the Midwest during August, suggesting the presence of wild hemp. As a result of legalization, cannabis cultivation has skyrocketed since then and similarly so have pollen counts. However, with the support of the USDA and a few other research institutions, farmers have already begun to address this issue, calling for “bumper zones” and further studies of airborne pollen. While this pursuit of knowledge might not necessarily address the issue of wild hemp, it will likely give farmers the tools to help mitigate any issues cross pollination might cause.

Wild Hemp isn’t all bad though. Like its widely cultivated siblings, wild hemp possesses phyto-remediation properties, meaning can remove toxins and heavy metals from the soil, as well as extraordinary carbon capture abilities. These facts don’t negate the issues that wild hemp causes for famers but rather offer some peace of mind in that at least these plants are in one way or another bettering our planet.

Horror Story: Cross Pollination

To the general population, the word cross-pollination doesn’t elicit much response, but when it comes to cannabis, the mere mention might be met with torches and pitchforks (not really…but some people won’t be too happy). Though it’s a part of hemp’s natural life cycle, cross-pollination also has the potential to completely ruin a farmer’s crop, especially if they’re growing for high CBD flower.

As farmers and processors have found continuing success in the commercial hemp industry, more and more individuals have decided to hop on the band wagon. While this is great for the hemp industry, there are a few members of the cannabis industry that are less than thrilled, namely outdoor marijuana growers.

In states where hemp’s psychotropic sister is legal, marijuana growers have made their concerns about neighboring high CBD varieties cross-pollinating their high THC varieties loud and clear. As a response, counties have implemented “buffer zones” that require the two types of cannabis to be grown miles away from each other, while others, like Humboldt County, have banned the cultivation outright.

As the cultivation territory of hemp spreads throughout the country and starts to encroach on outdoor marijuana grows, it’s likely that we can see increased number of conflicts in relation to cross-pollination arise. However, hemp and marijuana growers really shouldn’t be at odds.

Pollen is kind of like the cooties of cannabis. No one wants to catch it but it’s hard to avoid if there’s a boy in the mix. As you may have gathered, cannabis seeds produce both male and female plants which cross-pollinate to reproduce. Unlike female plants, male plants do not produce flowers filled with desirable compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes, which is why those growing for flower aren’t too keen on them.

Hemp varieties cross pollinating other hemp varieties can also be disastrous to a farmer’s crop, especially if the varieties are optimized for entirely different products. For example, hemp fiber plants pollinating a high CBD crop would likely result in an altered cannabinoid, and changed terpene content, specifically decreased CBD, not to mention the greatly reduced yields due to the presence of seeds. On the other hand, cross-pollination is necessary for the production of seeds, which proves precarious for those growing for other purposes.

In terms of hemp cross-pollinating marijuana, the conflict stems from the demand for high cannabinoid content in both varieties. If any sort of hemp variety pollinates a marijuana variety, and vice versa, the concentration of the desired cannabinoid (THC, CBD, or even CBG) in the final product will be greatly reduced. By industry standards, seeded hemp and seeded marijuana are both thought to be of lessor quality and sold for a lower price. Additionally, some growers and breeders have spent years honing their genetics. Cross-pollination would essentially flush this work down the drain.

Both hemp and marijuana growers alike would benefit from regulations regarding spacing between cultivation operations. Cross-pollination proves quite the conundrum for cannabis. While it’s clear that geographical isolation is the most straightforward method, it proves inconsistent when taking factors like wind speed, direction, humidity, topography among many others, into account. As a response to these concerns, the United States Department of Agriculture has promised to address the cross-pollination issue. In fact, the USDA awarded funding to a team of researchers at Virginia Tech to study the transport of pollen from genetically engineered hemp.

You might be asking yourself, “Well, what can I do to protect myself in the meantime?” First and foremost, one of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of the presence of males is by purchasing feminized clones. Clones are an exact genetic copy of their mother and if purchased from a reputable retailor should be 100% female. While feminized seeds are also a great option, there is some room for variation. If you want to remove to possibility of males entirely, clones are your best option. Additionally, regularly monitoring your plants for pollen sacs may grant you more time to solve the issue before it’s too late.

For now, cross-pollination will likely continue to be a major issue among the cannabis industry and until there is adequate information and legislation, and farmers will need to do their due diligence to avoid it. That being said, the USDA’s willingness to assist with this issue suggests that cannabis is becoming a widely accepted agricultural product. As more of the country starts to recognize the benefits of this crop, it’s likely that we will start seeing more support for farmers.

Blue Forest Farms Cultivation Guide

Introduction

At Blue Forest Farms, we believe in spreading hemp as far as possible. To facilitate this change, we have created this introductory guide to hemp cultivation that is designed to help farmers succeed in growing this great plant. Now, we are well aware that there is no magical formula or step-by-step set of instructions out there that anyone can follow to guarantee an amazing hemp crop each and every season, for every type of hemp plant, or for any climate and conditions being grown in. Instead, this guide is meant to be a resource for what we believe to be a great way to get started with hemp on the right foot. We also hope this guide will inspire those who use it to continue researching and collaborating to continue growing this community of hemp farmers. We’re all in this together, after all, so let’s help grow together.

Before You Plant: Seeds and Field Prep

If you need to store hemp seeds, a dry and dark space of around 40-45 degrees where the conditions won’t have any major changes. Seeds can be stored for over 10 years before planting, though you get the best germination rates within the first 2 or 3 years.

Field Prep

The old saying of a failure to plan is a plan to fail applies more to growing crops than almost anything else. Without laying the proper groundwork, literally, any hemp production is going to be handicapped at best. Getting the most out of each and every harvest starts before the first seed or clone is ever put in the ground, but what are the most important steps to giving crops the best possible environment to grow? That’s what we’re here to answer today, so let’s get right into it.

Soil

The first place to focus is on the soil. Hemp is not totally different from other crops, but does have some nutrient needs that must be met. The three most notable are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, which should be somewhere around 100 pounds per acre for nitrogen, 80 pounds per acre for potassium, and 50 pounds per acre of phosphorus. Hemp does need a little sulfur as well, but only around 20 pounds per acre. A common mistake new growers make is adding phosphorus and calcium at the same time. When the two are mixed they can bind into calcium phosphate, which is a very tightly bound compound that is not as readily available as they would be apart. Another easy mistake is to add too much compost, which hold high levels of both potassium and salt that will throw off your soil’s balance if overdone. Speaking of balance, PH balance is also important for the health of the hemp plant. The ideal PH levels would be between 6 and 7, though some farmers have success with levels slightly higher than 7, but it’s always safer to do a quick test to make sure your soil is within range. Finally, and this should seem obvious but is still important to note, is to make sure the fields are clean. Because there are no federally approved herbicides to use on hemp, and no need for any with minor preparation, it is important to remove all weeds before planting. Tillage has proven to be a successful method for clearing fields for hemp.

Spacing

Once the soil’s been sorted, it’s time to get ready to plant. Hemp seeds should be kept pretty close to the surface, preferably about half an inch deep. This is because hemp seeds and plants are especially susceptible to drainage and crusting, meaning that if there is too much rain the seeds or seedlings will have a hard time breaking through the surface of the soil. Spacing is important horizontally as well as vertically, especially for hemp that is being grown for CBD. Plants are recommended to be set 4 to 5 feet apart. In terms of the amount one can expect per acre, while it varies by operation, a general standard of about 2,000 plants per acre is accepted. If the hemp is going to be harvested for grain of fiber, rows can be shortened to anywhere between 7 ½ to 15 inches apart. Soil is also advised to be properly drained so that rainfall will be less likely to damage the plants should there be a heavy rainfall. So, keep your hemp seeds in a nice firm, cozy seedbed to prevent this, as well as aid in a uniform germination.

Climate and Weather

One final consideration to bear in mind when preparing to plant is the climate and weather conditions of where you’ll be growing your hemp. In general, hemp is a very resilient crop, and is happy to grow in a wide range of environments, but it does have some limits. Now, there’s obviously no scientifically proven date and time to plant hemp that is better than any other, but one general rule of thumb is to wait until the soil temperature is at least 46 degrees Fahrenheit and the temperature will be mild and somewhat humid, both of which could be controlled for if using a greenhouse with proper systems installed. Assuming your crop is outdoors, hemp tends to thrive in an environment that gets around 25-30 inches of annual rainfall. If your area is in a drier climate, then account for providing additional water.

Planting

Picture this: your Blue Forest Farms seeds have just arrived in the mail. You eagerly rip open the package. It’s beautiful seeds galore! Immediately, images of hemp fields start to dance in your head. The scent of various terpenes waft into your nose. But wait…you’re getting ahead of yourself. There are a few steps you need to take before you can go from an envelope of seeds to emerald fields.

Germination

There are several germination methods out there, each with their own pros and cons. Here are a selection of the most common, and most reliable, ones you can consider:

  1. Paper Towel Method. This is probably one of the most popular germination methods. To do this method, you will need paper towel, distilled water, and two plates. Place your seeds between layers of most paper towel. Put the paper towel on one plate and then cover it with the second, making sure to store the plates in a warm, dark, humid place. We recommend checking the paper towel every day and moistening when needed.
  2. Soaking Method. For this method, all you will need is a jar or cup and some distilled water. First you will need to place your seeds in the jar, cover them with warm (not boiling) water and then secure the lid. If you are using a cup, you can put a plate over the top to help retain some of the heat. Once you jar or cup is prepared, store it in a warm, dark place. Be sure to change the water every 2 days.
  3. Rooting Plugs and Cubes. This method requires the use of peat moss pellets, rockwool, or any other sort of rooting cube. To use these products, you must soak them in water before inserting the seeds. It is also recommended that you use a planting tray with a humidity dome. Like the above two methods, place the tray in a warm, dark location.
  4. Just try planting it! The final method is probably the simplest but comes with a bit more risk if your seeds do not germinate. You can place your seeds directly into your chosen substrate and care for them accordingly. Because your seed is sitting in a large amount of substrate, it will likely be sitting in a large amount of unabsorbed moisture, which increases the risk of rot. If you chose to use this method, make sure not to soak the soil when watering.

So then how long does it take?

Typically, germination takes 3-5 days and is complete within 7 days. You will know your seed is ready to be transplanted when a taproot forms.

Seeding

Seeding is simple with hemp, as they can be direct seeded, and should only be planted around 1 inch deep. This should be done when the soil reaches temperatures of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, with no chance of frost, for ideal growth rates. The easiest way to plant is with a grain drill, but is not necessary if that tool is not available. Finally, hemp tends to need 20 to 30 inches of rainfall throughout its growth cycle, so be aware if your climate will call for additional water.

Upkeep

Hemp is a pretty tough plant, so caring for them isn’t going to be too taxing, which is good news for all your new farmers out there. That said, there are some important things to remember to maximize your chances of a successful farm. The first is that, at least for the first six weeks or so after planting, regularly irrigating the seeds can be essential. Second, and much more obvious even to a newcomer to the world of growing, is providing adequate water. Most types of hemp require somewhere around 25-30 inches of rain per year, but monitor your plants to determine what is right for your specific conditions. Lastly, we suggest growing your hemp organically. Hemp doesn’t require extra nutrition besides what is found in the earth, and pesticides are unnecessary since the plant itself is so resistant to most pests and diseases anyway.

Water and Irrigation

Drip System
Perhaps the most advantageous irrigation system specifically for CBD hemp farms is the drip system. Drip systems, unlike traditional overhead irrigation systems, water the roots of hemp plants directly through strips that run under the soil. This is far more efficient in allowing more water to be directly absorbed by the plant, and cuts down on wasted water that evaporates or fails to reach the roots. This system can even reduce your total water consumption by up to 60% in some cases. It also allows for extra nutrients to be added into the drip line, directly feeding the plants far faster and easier than by hand. This system also helps prevent fugus and weed growth as there is little to no excess water and nutrients in the surrounding soil. Finally, the automated nature of a drip system makes the entire watering process simple and easy. Additional sensors can even be installed to fully automate the system and provide water only when needed, no matter how much or little natural rain there is.

Other Options
Drip irrigation is something of the unofficial top choice when it comes to irrigation systems for hemp, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options, or that an existing irrigation system cannot be used on your hemp farm. Micro-sprinklers are somewhere between the drip system and standard overhead irrigation systems. They hang above the hemp, just like an overhead system, but only spray in small, contained areas rather than a wide range or through pipes. This keeps water consumption down by still targeting smaller areas. The center pivot system is one of the most popular systems used for general irrigation, and while it certainly can work for hemp, is also the least efficient. This system utilizes a sprayer fixed in the center of the field that can rotate as it sprays to cover the entire field. These work best on either circular or square shaped fields, and can be modified to extend its range if necessary. Linear move systems are very similar to central pivot, only instead of being fixed in the center or above the crops like the micro-sprinklers, the sprinkler system itself moves across the field as it sprays. These really only work well for rectangular shaped fields on very flat ground.

Weeds and Pests

What is one of the most widely agreed upon best defense against weeds in hemp production is making sure your crop is seeded in a moist, fertile soil at the proper temperatures. The reasoning behind a proper planting plan is to allow the hemp to germinate and grow as quickly as possible. The sooner hemp grows, reaching 12 inches or so height, the sooner it can act as its own defense against weeds. Along with that, larger populations, grown in orderly rows with proper spacing, will produce more weed suppressing shade. While exact numbers will vary depending on specific farm conditions, a suggested seeding rate of 100 seeds per square meter has shown a population that is very effective at preventing weed growth. Rotating crops, which has been a commonly used practice among all types of farmers, is another very effective method of weed control. Rotating with a grass crop is a great choice for reducing the risk of dicot weeds, which is the most common type hemp producers have to deal with. Lastly, but perhaps most important, is cleanliness. Maintaining properly sanitized tools or equipment that has any contact with the plant or soil cannot be overlooked. One recommended disinfectant is quaternary ammonium chloride, or just a regular bleach, which should be used often on all farming tools and equipment.

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that cause the biggest problems. Whether you have a backyard garden or a 100 acre farm, insects, bugs, and pests can be a constant source of mental, and even financial, stress. It is only natural to want to keep these critters off your precious plants, but combatting them doesn’t mean resorting to unnatural methods. Sure, there are tons of chemicals and sprays that can certainly kill off those invaders, but why risk contaminating your plants at the same time with potentially dangerous poisons when there are natural and organic methods you can use that are much healthier for you and the planet.

Soap

That’s right, soap. If bugs have already moved in and are causing havoc and eliminating them is your only option, you don’t need to look any further than soap. By mixing just a teaspoon of any natural dish or castile soap with a quart of water in a spray bottle, you’ve got a powerful weapon against most pests. This works because soap has fatty acids that wear away at insect’s shells, and eventually cause them to perish. If you’re looking for a quick and cheap solution that you can implement today, it would be hard to find a better solution than this.

Pepper and Garlic

They may not technically be vampires, but pests do have a few things in common with these fictional monsters. For one, they both prey on healthy hosts, but more importantly both can’t stand the stench of garlic. By dicing up a hot pepper and bulb of garlic, blending them together with a cup of water, and straining out the liquid into a spray bottle, you’ve got yourself a repellant strong enough to keep even Dracula out of your garden. Any hot pepper will work, such as black pepper, chili pepper, dill, and even ginger or paprika. The important part is that whatever you use contains capsaicin, which is responsible for their hot flavor. Combine this mixture with the soap spray for double the effectiveness!

Coffee and Beer

Hold on, let me explain before you raise your pitchforks at the mere mention of wasting either of these precious beverages. Coffee grounds are another amazing repellant, but work on more than just bugs. If you have to deal with other invaders like slugs, but also some larger plant predators like cats and deer, coffee grounds are your solution. As for beer, it turns out that snails and slugs may like it just as much as humans do. But wait, why would we use something the pests like? To entice them away from eating your plants, of course. By playing bartender for these hungry little fellows you can draw them away from damaging your garden.

Flowering Stage

Early Flowering
The hemp plant first begins to enter the flowering stage around the time the light cycle shifts to give longer periods of darkness, typically around the end of summer. This is when the plant will stop growing for the most part, and instead shift their energy into producing buds or flowers. This period can last around 7 to 9 weeks, but could be more depending on the strain. Just before the flowers start to come in, though, plants go through something called a “stretch phase.” Sensing the coming winter, plants will go through a kind of growth spurt to better support the buds they’re about to grow. Because of this rapid growth, it is very important that you are providing enough nutrients to support them. Not long after this, you will likely begin to see the first signs of fine white threads growing that will eventually become your hemp’s buds. If you don’t see these “threads” and instead spot small pollen sacs, then you know that plant is a male and not female, likely due to the seeds not being properly feminized.

First Sign of Buds

Around the fourth week of flowering, you will begin to notice buds beginning to really take form on your hemp plant, though they still likely have those white threads on them. These will get bigger in the following week, but you may also notice additional buds growing on the plant cola, and the unique scents of that hemp will start to become more pronounced. Near the end of this stage some of those white threads may start changing color, which is normal and a sign that you are approaching harvest very soon. The buds will get thicker and bigger on a nearly daily basis, which is another great sign that they are nearly ready for harvesting.

Late Stages

From around the sixth week onward, until harvest, your hemp plants will likely be a bouquet of aromas. This is a vital time in the plant’s life, so extra special attention should be made to monitor and care for your plant’s nutrient needs. In many cases, hemp plants are harvested right around 4 months, or 16 weeks after planting. Just like the previous stage, you still want to be extra diligent on observing your plants and their health, especially for mildews and molds in this stage. Either of these could negatively impact your hemp’s floral biomass. This is also when testing should be done very regularly for cannabinoid levels. Not only will this let you know the ideal time to harvest for maximum CBD, but also make sure your plants are staying below the legal THC limits.

Preharvest

When it comes to industrial hemp, preharvest is certainly no joke, as it is one of the key steps in proving your product is complaint. As expected, Farmers might be eager to reap the rewards of their hard work but going straight to harvest is definitely ill-advised and could result in legal issues. There are a few steps a farmer must take before they can enjoy this season’s bounty.

While specifics may vary, each state has similar regulations regarding the preharvest process. Because of the THC content requirements surrounding hemp, preharvest testing proves to be fundamental in proving compliance.

Our below checklist takes the confusion out of the preharvest process. If you follow the below and make sure to look up your state’s specific legislation, it’s unlikely you will have issues.

The below is a general guide for Industrial Hemp growers in the United States.

1. Determine Your Harvest Lots and Dates

Know which fields you are going to harvest and when. This information will be required on your Preharvest Report Form. The actual name of this form can vary by state but typically includes the words “preharvest” and “testing” in the name, if not both. Typically, your state’s department of agriculture requires that the form be submitted no more than 30 days before your projected harvest date, and typically sampling must be completed within 15 days of harvest. However, this time may vary by state so we recommend visiting your Department of Agriculture’s website.

2. Fill Out Your Preharvest Report Form

This form must be completed before your product can be tested. As you might expect, it asks for your name, business name (if applicable), and contact information. Additionally, it also asks for your registration number. This form will also ask information about your lots, like location and size in addition to which strains you wish to sample.

3. Send in Your Form

Send your form into your state’s department of agriculture. If you need to figure out where to send these forms, the department’s contact information¬–both email and mailing address¬– should be on their website.

4. Samples!!

This is the part where things start to vary a bit more by state so we suggest cross-referencing this information with your local regulations. Typically, once you send in your report, the department of agriculture will assign a sample date. Some will send a sampler or some will give you a date to send your sample into a lab by. One important thing to note is the recent legislation changes regarding testing labs. Now, all laboratories testing hemp must be DEA approved and test for total THC not just delta-9 THC.

5. Results

Once your samples have been processed by the lab, they will reach out with your results, commonly via email. Anything that tests over .3% THC will have to be destroyed and anything of .5% could lead to legal penalties.

Harvest

The details of when exactly you will harvest is going to vary from person to person based on your specific circumstances. The primary factors being when you planted, the nutrient levels of your soil, and weather conditions. If you plant in June, then you can expect your plants to begin reaching maturity around the begging to middle of September, but can be as late as the end of the month for some plants. If your goal is to harvest for CBD then we recommend choosing the latest possible harvest date. This will of course vary based on how much land you need to harvest, the manpower or machinery you have to do it, and when the weather will begin to cause losses in your area.

How Much Can I Make?

Figuring out how profitable your hemp farm will be when harvested for CBD is a bit more complicated than fiber or seed. First, there are two main methods you can use to farm hemp for CBD, either agronomic or horticultural. Agronomic is essentially the same as farming it as though it were any other crop. This comes with low risk, but also a smaller crop. Horticultural utilizes methods that grow the hemp in specific conditions meant for the cannabis plant. The former is much cheaper, while the latter is more expensive and difficult to scale for most people. Depending on the method used and amount of CBD produced, one acre of hemp grown for CBD can be worth anywhere between $2,500 and $75,000. The huge range is due to just how variable the difference in the two methods are, as well as how much experience you as a farmer has in properly growing hemp specifically for CBD purposes.

Pests and Pathogens

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that cause the biggest problems. Whether you have a backyard garden or a 100 acre farm, insects, bugs, and pests can be a constant source of mental, and even financial, stress. It is only natural to want to keep these critters off your precious plants, but combatting them doesn’t mean resorting to unnatural methods. Sure, there are tons of chemicals and sprays that can certainly kill off those invaders, but why risk contaminating your plants at the same time with potentially dangerous poisons when there are natural and organic methods you can use that are much healthier for you and the planet.

Soap
That’s right, soap. If bugs have already moved in and are causing havoc and eliminating them is your only option, you don’t need to look any further than soap. By mixing just a teaspoon of any natural dish or castile soap with a quart of water in a spray bottle, you’ve got a powerful weapon against most pests. This works because soap has fatty acids that wear away at insect’s shells, and eventually cause them to perish. If you’re looking for a quick and cheap solution that you can implement today, it would be hard to find a better solution than this.

Pepper and Garlic
They may not technically be vampires, but pests do have a few things in common with these fictional monsters. For one, they both prey on healthy hosts, but more importantly both can’t stand the stench of garlic. By dicing up a hot pepper and bulb of garlic, blending them together with a cup of water, and straining out the liquid into a spray bottle, you’ve got yourself a repellant strong enough to keep even Dracula out of your garden. Any hot pepper will work, such as black pepper, chili pepper, dill, and even ginger or paprika. The important part is that whatever you use contains capsaicin, which is responsible for their hot flavor. Combine this mixture with the soap spray for double the effectiveness!

Coffee and Beer
Hold on, let me explain before you raise your pitchforks at the mere mention of wasting either of these precious beverages. Coffee grounds are another amazing repellant, but work on more than just bugs. If you have to deal with other invaders like slugs, but also some larger plant predators like cats and deer, coffee grounds are your solution. As for beer, it turns out that snails and slugs may like it just as much as humans do. But wait, why would we use something the pests like? To entice them away from eating your plants, of course. By playing bartender for these hungry little fellows you can draw them away from damaging your garden.

Plants
When your plants are at risk, sometimes the best solution is more plants. Not the same plants, mind you, but specific plants that naturally ward of certain pests and insects. For example, catnip can help repel aphids, radishes can keep beetles ay bay, and sunflowers are amazing at distracting pests to them instead of your more valuable plants. Then there are the herbs that emit aromas to keep a huge arrange of pests away. Yarrow, citronella, mint, fennel, lemongrass, lavender, and basil are some of the most potent for not only deterring many of the most common pests, but have the added bonus of also attracting some of their natural predators.

Common Insects to be Aware of

Hemp Russet mites are not visible with the naked eye, and the damage they cause isn’t noticeable either when their numbers are small. Damage eventually appears as dulling the color of leaves, leaving them somewhat grey or bronze in color and more fragile.

Broad mites are also invisible, and cause drooping and twisting. Leaves may also appear to blister or have a wet look.

Caterpillars come in many different species of varying color and size. While some simply feed on leaves, others like the Eurasian Hemp Borer actually dig into the stem of the hemp plant, potentially killing the entire plant.

Spider Mites are visible, and will give leaves small white speckles, or eventually webbing between plants, flowers, and leaves.

Aphids are very small, but visible, and can be anywhere between pale white to green in color. Aphid infestations can cause plant growth to slow, wilting, and yellowing of the leaves.

Mold

Mold is an ugly and unfortunate reality for many plants, especially for indoor plants. While it may look and sound like a major cause for concern, indoor plant mold can be dealt with relatively easily, and without any harm to your plant. For the most part, the type of molds indoor plant owners see don’t actually want to harm the plant itself, but do interfere with the plant’s ability to germinate. The main reason is that mold in soil tends to be a result of improper growing conditions that can easily be fixed, most without the need for any chemicals or sprays.

Why Did I Get Mold?

It is no doubt a shock to see mold appear in your once clean and happy plant’s soil. While removing it as fast as possible may be your first instinct, understanding why the mold came about in the first place is just as important so that you don’t see it coming back again and again. Plant mold and regular mold do have many differences, but also a lot of similarities. The most relevant one in this case being that both types of molds thrive in wet and damp environments. When you see mold showing up on your plant’s soil, it’s a good sign that you’re keeping the soil too wet. Even if you’re not overwatering, poor drainage can cause moisture to build up and invite mold. Another possible cause for mold, most common in seedbeds where the plants have yet to sprout, is being kept too warm. Mold in this case can actually spread across the entire top of the soil, preventing water from reaching the seeds below. Some of the most common mold types that affect hemp is bud rot, powdery mildew, and root rot.

How To Get Rid of Mold

There are a number of ways to get rid of mold, and thankfully all of them are very effective, easy, and range from cheap to completely free. Number one, and probably the most obvious, is to simply repot your plant. If you don’t want to deal with the mold at all, then simply tossing out the moldy soil and replanting in new, clean soil is a quick and easy fix. All it requires is removing your plant, cleaning out the pot with either a fungicide or soaking it in a solution of water and bleach for 10 minutes or so, making sure to wash it out afterwards, and then filling it in with new soil for your plant. It is also a good idea to clean off your plant’s roots at this time as well to make sure no residual mold gets transplanted as well. The second method is even easier, only requiring access to natural sunlight. Because mold is so fond of damp environments, by placing your plant in direct sunlight the soil will not only be naturally dried, but the ultraviolet rays found in sunlight can also kill the mold directly. The process can be sped up further by scraping off the top layer of soil, mold along with it, and then setting the plant out in the sun. These are just two of the easiest methods, but there also exists other options like anti-fungal and fungicides to apply, with natural and chemical options available.

Preventing Mold

As easy as mold can be dealt with, it is still always better to never have to deal with it in the first place. Even for plants that have been happy and healthy for months, little changes or shifts can be enough to cause mold to appear. First is paying attention to your watering habits. Many people have multiple indoor plants of different varieties, and yet water all of them on the same schedule. While this might be ideal for certain types of plants, it may be far too much for others, causing soil to remain damp. A simple way to tell if a plant really needs to be watered is to check if the top layer of soil is dry by sticking your finger 1 to 2 inches deep. In general, if the soil is damp, no more water is needed, but might not be the case for specific plants that like certain soil conditions. Just like the technique to remove mold, making sure your plants get enough direct sunlight, which again will vary on a plant by plant basis, helps create an environment that mold cannot grow in. One final quick tip is to keep your plants clean. It is very easy for dead leaves and other materials from the plant to end up laying on the top of the soil, creating little pockets of moisture. By regularly removing these, you rob mold of any footholds it would’ve had in spreading.

Some gardeners and farmers may have resigned themselves to one of two unfortunate realities: either they have pests or must resort to toxic chemicals to keep them away. In reality, there are plenty of ways to keep molds and pests, large and small, away that are totally natural and healthy for your plants. Simple household soap is just as effective at eliminating insects as any chemical, and from there tons of options exist to keep new pests from moving in. If you don’t happen to have some of these ingredients, they are far cheaper than the chemical equivalents, plus can even enhance your garden if you choose to incorporate some new plants for their natural properties in repelling different invaders.

Spotting a Male

Blue Forest Farms is one of the most reliable producers of properly feminized seeds in the industry, and yet genetics can never be 100% reliable every time. With that in mind, no matter where you purchase your feminized seeds, there is always a small percentage chance that a male will appear. If that should happen, being able to identify it as quickly as possible will be a major advantage in preserving your yield. First, let’s go over what feminization really is, how it works, and then some tips on how to spot any males should they pop up.

What Are Feminized Seeds?

In the most simple terms, feminized hemp seeds are regular hemp seeds that have been genetically engineered to only produce female hemp plants. While these processes, which we will cover later, are very good, none can guarantee 100% of the seeds will be female. That is important to bear in mind, because even with a vendor who does all their due diligence and follows all the methodologies and science, some males can still occur and it won’t be until they start growing that they can be spotted. The difference between male and female hemp plants is fairly obvious, since only the female hemp plant has a flower. What is more important is the differences in what each gender of plant can be used for.

Why Feminized Seeds Are Important

Male hemp plants, which you would get around 50% of if you purchased non-feminized seeds, have many drawbacks to their female counterparts for farmers looking to produce as much CBD as possible from their crop. They not only lack a flower, but have considerably less cannabinoids. Having males mixed in with females also reduces the amount of cannabinoids the females produce, and can even affect the amount of THC they contain. To break all this down a little, you not only would lose about 50% of your harvest by risking males growing, but even reduce the amount of CBD produced by the females you do happen to get. By utilizing feminized seeds you remove that risk of essentially wasting half of your space, plus the labor and resources spent growing it only to find it was a male. Some strains of hemp do have early signs in their growth cycle you can spot to determine their sex, but in the majority of cases it isn’t until they’ve matured that the plants express whether they are male or female.

How Does Feminization Work?

There are a few methods that can produce feminized seeds with very high success rates. One of the most commonly used techniques that doesn’t involve genetic modification is to treat female hemp plants with either a colloidal silver or silver thiosulphate solution. These substances are a mixture of water and silver particles that, when applied to the female plant, inhibits their production of the hormone ethylene. Without this hormone, which is part of the flowering process in hemp plants, the female plant will instead produce male flowers with pollen sacs that only contain female genetics. So, once those plants are used to pollinate other female hemp plants that have not been treated with either silver solution, the seeds they produce will all be female. A second, and arguably easier method, is through the use of gibberellic acid. This mixture is sprayed on female plants over the course of around 10 days, also forcing it to produce male flowers, but making the female a hermaphrodite in the process. Without diving too deep into genetics and chromosomes, the plant will then create seeds that have two X chromosomes, where XX are female and XY are male. The last, and least reliable and most time consuming, is called the rodelization method. The concept is the same as the other two, but rather than treating the plant with a solution or acid to force it to produce male flowers, you simply wait until after a flower has bloomed for a long enough period of time that it becomes forced to turn itself into a male in an effort to pollinate itself as a survival mechanism. Should that occur, you would still have to wait several weeks to get any seeds, and the amount of seeds obtained is much less than the previous two.

Farmers don’t have the time, space, or resources to waste half their harvest every growing season on useless crops. It’s inefficient and wasteful, which is why feminized seeds, and the methods for producing them, were created. No other industry operates with a 50% risk on investment, so why should farmers take that risk on non-feminized seeds? Not only do they provide peace of mind in a nearly 100% all female crop, but thanks to seed production and breeding (link to seed production blog) there are a ton of different strains to choose from that promise high levels of CBD and other unique traits to further maximize your profits. As a CBD focused farmer, knowing your seeds are properly feminized should be at the top of your priority list.

Spotting Males

Unfortunately, there’s really no good way to tell if a male is in your fields before the flowering stage begins. So, once you notice that stage beginning, that’s your cue to spend a little extra time examining them to get the jump on any males as soon as possible. Some telltale signs of a male are flower formations that look extra spindly, which could be a sign of a hermaphroditic pollen sac beginning to form. Aside from that, the most obvious sign is the appearance of pollen sacs. These can be produced on the lower nodules of the plants and should be taken care of before they get the chance to release their pollen. Make sure to dispose of them by placing them in a bag or spraying with water to prevent any pollen from spreading.

Recommended Equipment

Here is a simple list and breakdown of tools and equipment that Blue Forest Farms either use ourselves, or recommend to our farmers and partners to use. If there are items that you feel we may not know about that think should be shared, let us know so we can spread the word on new ways to help farmers! (Note: We have no affiliation with any brand or company we recommend.)

Soil, Water, and Plant testing
Colorado State University
(Or your look into your local university)

Compliance Testing
Gobi Labs

Started Soil
PRO-MIX PGX

Soil Additive
Bio-Live 5-4-2 Fertilizer

Pest Control
“Hemp Diseases and Pests” by McParland, Clarke, and Watson

Cost and Yield Estimations

Some of the most common questions on people’s minds when they look at the explosive growth of the hemp industry are: How profitable is hemp? Can hemp make me rich? How much can I make per acre of hemp? In some respects, this is simple to figure out. Estimate the profit per acre by considering how many acres you have to farm and the current market price and subtracting your estimated production costs. An experienced farmer probably knows this stuff off the top of their head, and a simple google search will give you lots of results if you’re just starting out. However, the major factor in how much you can make per acre of hemp is in the purpose of your crop. The three primary products are oils, seed, and fibers, each of which needs to be considered differently when trying to determine how much you can make per acre.

Fiber

Farming hemp for fiber is the most similar to farming for other crops. The main difference from other crops, as well as from other types of hemp farming, comes post-harvest. In order to process hemp into usable fiber for sale, it must be processed in specialized hemp fiber processing plants. Most farmers will not have access to this equipment and need to consider the costs of either purchasing, building, or paying to have it processed elsewhere. In the field, one acre of hemp can produce around 2.5 to 3 tons worth of fiber. The average price of fiber changes, but is somewhere around $250 to $300 per ton. The actual cost of farming this type of hemp will vary, but an average example would be around $300 to $350 per acre. Using these numbers, the estimated profit could be somewhere around $480 per acre. Remember, that does not include the cost of post-harvest processing, farming machinery, tools, or the costs to acquire land.

Seeds

Hemp seed has a similar market value as fiber, though seeds are more commonly measured in pounds rather than tons. An average price per pound is in the area of $.060 to $0.65. This may sound like a very small number, however you can expect to harvest around 1,000 pounds of hemp seed per acre of hemp. Like hemp grown for fiber, the production costs for seed is about $300 to $350 per acre. Doing some quick math, you can expect to make around $250 to $300 per acre when farming for hemp seeds. Again, this does not include any land or equipment costs.

Oil

This is the reason most people have gotten interested in hemp farming lately, and it’s no surprise. Hemp oil, specifically CBD, has been making headlines ever since it started becoming legal to grow. It’s currently one of the fastest growing, and most highly profitable, industries around. Figuring out how profitable hemp oil actually is, though, is a bit more complicated than for fiber or seed. First, there are two main methods you can use to farm hemp for CBD - agronomic or horticultural. Agronomic is essentially the same as farming hemp as though it were any other crop. This comes with low risk, but also a smaller crop. Horticultural utilizes methods that grow the hemp in specific conditions meant for the cannabis plant. The former is much cheaper, while the latter is more expensive. Horticultural growing is also difficult to scale for most people. Depending on the method used and the amount of CBD produced, one acre of hemp grown for CBD can be worth anywhere between $2,500 and $75,000. The huge range is due to just how variable the difference in the two methods are. In addition, experience as a farmer can put your crop toward the top of that range if you know how to properly grow hemp to maximize CBD percentages. Growing hemp specifically for CBD purposes is more complicated. In addition to the costs for land and equipment, hemp grown for CBD must all be feminized. That means that every year new seeds or clones must be obtained for that season’s planting since your crop won’t produce any seeds of its own.

Still want to get rich on hemp? The opportunities are there, and can come in a wide range of options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Fiber and seed production don’t have quite as high a market value, but are a low risk and reliable product to farm. CBD, on the other hand, is the real money maker in the hemp world. To capitalize on that potential profit, though, a level of risk must be taken. No matter which choice you make, the hemp industry is stronger than ever, and only looking to continue rising as popularity increases. There’s never been a better time to invest your acreage in hemp.

Beginner Marketing Guide

The image of a farmer might still bring to mind a person working in the field with a big straw hat and driving a tractor, and while that might may still be true for some, a successful farmer needs to work just as hard on their marketing strategies as they do outdoors in order to be successful. Modern times mean there are way more opportunities for farmers to market directly to their consumers, but also that failing to do so could cause new, or even well established, farmers to struggle or fail. The question becomes what a successful marketing plan consists of, what options there are, and what the most proven investments are. Each farmer is unique, but there are some universal tips that can be applied to help get your business on an upward trajectory.

General Marketing and Sales

Sales Avenues

As a farm, especially small or new one, identifying all the possible ways to sell your crop or products will give you the most opportunity to sell out your entire stock. The easiest to do is direct farm sales, where you simply set up a structure or location on your property where people can come and purchase directly from you. This has tons of convenience, but is obviously more difficult in terms of getting people to come directly to you rather than you bringing your products to a more central location. That brings us to farmers markets. If you live in an area that hosts farmers markets, and most people will, then renting a space at multiple markets throughout the weeks and months will put you right where your ideal customers are. Just make sure to have a nice stand, display, and maybe even a banner and logo to draw people in. CSA shares, or community-supported agriculture, is a fantastic way to sell directly to customers, while also knowing exactly how much money you can expect to make. CSA shares is a system where people agree to support you season by season for a certain dollar amount, for which you will give them an agreed upon amount of your crop on a regular basis. Finally, speaking to local restaurants can be a very consistent and reliable source of income. Restaurants and chefs both love to work with fresh, local ingredients and can often pay well for it.

Get Your Name Out There

No matter how big or small your farm is, a strong presence on the internet can make or break your business in today’s world. The internet is the first place people go to when searching for fresh produce, especially when they want it local, and you want your business to not only show up in those searches, but look professional. That means more than having a website, though. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are just as important in bringing more people to your business. Having all these tools isn’t enough, though, you have to maintain and be active on them too. Your site should obviously have all the information people would want and need, where you’re located, how to contact you, what your products are, etc, but having a regular blog and posting and communicating on social media regularly will help keep your name relevant when people search. Plus, if you have products that can be mailed, that is another easy way to make additional sales.

Stand Out

Once you have all your sites ready to go, you need to make sure you establish what makes you and your farm unique. Assume every potential customer that comes to your site is wondering why they should buy from you instead of anyone else? What is unique about you that can’t be found elsewhere? Also imagine your target demographic, and speak to them as directly as possible. Being able to preemptively answer questions or ease concerns will make your customers more eager to purchase from you right away. Finally, a strong logo and tagline are key to building your brand. Logos can be simple, but need to represent your business and objectives in a positive way. You want people to feel good about your brand when they see it, even without thinking about it. The tagline should be very unique to your brand, short, and memorable. Try and look at taglines around for ideas, such as “Expect the Best”, and brainstorm until you find something you think represents your business and goals best.

Marketing is an everchanging landscape. What worked 10 years ago won’t today, and what works today may not work tomorrow, but the difference between successful businesses and ones that struggle or fail is the ability to adapt and evolve with the trends. Farmers may have one of the oldest professions there is, but need to be on the cutting edge with technology if they hope to survive. These tips should help you get a start in marketing your farm, but it is an ongoing process of learning and growing that should not be neglected.

CBD Specifics

Marketing goes beyond just knowing who you’re selling to and how, but also how you should be planting, caring for, and harvesting your hemp. At the moment, there are three primary markets for hemp, those being trimmed flower, full spectrum extracts, and isolate or distillate.

Trimmed flowers are grown, as you probably guessed, to have their flowers trimmed and sold. Farming for flowers requires a lot of time and attention, doing constant inspections and careful environmental controls to produce the highest quality flowers to sell. This can mean a larger labor force is needed depending on the size of the operation. The flowers will also still need to be tested once harvested before they can be sold to consumers or retailers.

Hemp grown for full spectrum extract is best done in large numbers, with an emphasis on large, heavy flowers. These plants don’t need the same level of attention as trimmed flowers, but routine inspection is still recommended. The most important aspect of entering the extract market is finding a reputable extractor to partner with. The price for extraction and processing can either fall on you or the processor depending on the deal made and who will be selling the final product.

Isolate/ Distillate also is best for large scale farmers, but doesn’t just focus on the flower. The entire plant can be used by extractors who will isolate the CBD. Of the three, these plants need the least amount of direct attention, but the risk involved obviously increases the less you monitor them. This is also the least amount of potential profit per pound due to the sale being dependent on the actual percentage of cannabinoids rather than total weight.

Open Ground:

  1. Field Prep
    1. a. Subsoiling should be done every two years at minimum
      1. i. This should be done in a checker pattern
      2. ii. Landplane if uneven
    2. b. If soil granule is larger than .25” on average, Roto-till, Schmeiser roll/SMART-TILL, or field cultivate
    3. c. Furrow 30” beds for transplants
      1. i. Make sure there is ample loose soil so the plugs can be effectively buried
    4. d. Set up irrigation system
    5. e. Pre-irrigate to field capacity 3-5 days before transplanting
      1. i. Timing may vary based on weather, existing soil moisture and temperature, and relative humidity
  2. Transplanting
    1. a. Use a carousel or ski type transplanter
    2. b. As plugs are dropped into the carousel, they’ll be placed into the ground
      1. i. Do not plant anything that is visibly unhealthy
    3. c. Always have someone following the machine covering the plugs with 1.5-2” of soil
      1. i. These people should also be checking that the plug is well seated and making sure there is good soil to plug contact.
    4. d. Once all plugs are in the ground, water to 75% holding capacity

    Plastic Mulch:

    1. Field Prep
      1. a. Subsoiling should be done every two years at minimum
        1. i. This should be done in a checker pattern
        2. ii. Landplane if uneven
      2. b. If soil granule is larger than .25” on average, Roto-till, Schmeiser roll/SMART-TILL, or field cultivate
      3. c. Lay drip tape and plastic mulch
        1. i. Black plastic can provide some heating benefits but definitely doesn’t eliminate need for weeding
      4. d. Pre-irrigate to field capacity 3-5 days before transplanting
        1. i. Timing may vary based on weather, existing soil moisture and temperature, and relative humidity
    2. Transplanting
      1. a. Use a water wheel transplanter
      2. b. Drop plugs into tubes
        1. i. Do not plant anything that is visibly unhealthy
      3. c. Always have someone following the machine doing quality control
        1. i. checking that the plug is well seated
        2. ii. making sure there is good soil to plug contact
        3. iii. make sure it is well covered
      4. d. Once all plugs are in the ground, water to 75% holding capacity
    3. Cultivation Scheduling:
      1. Post-Transplanting
        1. i. Use the lightest aggression setting on tines.
        2. ii. use draft control to adjust aggression on the fly in uneven terrain or overly loamy-er soils.
        3. iii. Tine penetration should not exceed .5” depth.
      2. 1st Stage of Juvenility
        1. a. LELY weed 1-2X/ week
          1. i. As the crop rhizosphere increases in size & anchoring strength, speed and depth aggression may be increased.
          2. ii. Start @ 1.5 MPH. Do not exceed 8 MPH.
          3. iii. Begin to introduce the finger-weeder 1-2 weeks prior to reaching the 1st stage of Juvenility.
          4. iv. The 1st round of hand weeding should take place simultaneously with the introduction of the KRESS weeder.
      3. Juvenility – Canopy
        1. a. Use KRESS finger-weeder 1X/ week until crop canopy is attained.
          1. i. Do not be shy about cultivating in moister soil conditions. Crop/field can be cultivated effectively in up to 50% field capacity conditions.
      4. Post Canopy to Harvest
        1. a. Continue to finger-weed weekly until equipment can no longer enter into fields without causing 1.5% crop damage to lateral schutes/bunches.
          1. i. 2nd and final hand weeding should take place no more than 1 week after final pass with KRESS weeder.
    4. Considerations:
      1. Crop rotation
        1. a. Hemp should be used in a 4-8 year crop rotation program and never produced on the same acreage for more than 3 consecutive seasons.
        2. b. Cannabis sativa L. spec. should not follow Brassicaceae crops.
      2. Using a Spotter
        1. a. It is very important to use a spotter when conducting initial set up of blind cultivators such as LELY tines or KRESS finger-weeders.
          1. i. A spotter can relay information to the operator regarding time and finger depths, necessary aggression and terrain changes, and perform minor on-the-fly maintenance/modifications.
      3. Soil moisture & cultivation “threshold” capabilities.
        1. a. Both LELY and KRESS units can be used in clay soils with up to 50% of field capacity.
          1. i. To check, a “tackiness test” can be done.
          2. ii. Take a handful of soil and compress into a ball with both hands.
          3. iii. If you flick the ball and it breaks apart into granules
          4. iv. If the ball keeps its shape or breaks into granular sizes >25”, the field is still too wet to effectively cultivate.

Pre-Harvest

  1. a. Ensure crop has been tested and desired cannabinoid levels have been achieved.

Harvest

  1. Cut
    1. a. Plants can be cut with a Honeybee header on the swather, or hand cut and merged. Ensure the swather is in good condition if using.
      1. i. Honeybee header can cut biomass and form a swath, but for larger plants cutting by hand to allow for more even drying may be better.
      2. ii. It is not advised to have more than 15-20 acres cut at any time to avoid wind related losses.
      3. iii. Keep border plants intact or put up temporary fences as windbreaks.
  2. Dry
    1. a. Biomass should not be too moist or too dry, around 10-13%
      1. i. You should be able to run your hand along the stem causing the biomass to fall off without cracking or shattering the stem.
      2. ii. Minimize/handling of dried plants to avoid shattering losses.
  3. Combine
    1. a. Use a standard pickup head and adjust according to the size of your stalks.
      1. i. Make sure the blower fan is turned off.
      2. ii. The combine will come through and separate the stem from the stalk.
    2. b. We recommend having two people in front of the header to make sure the plants are consistently feeding.
    3. c. We also recommend having another person at the back of the combine making sure stems don’t build up.
    4. d. Monitor the amount of stems and plant materials coming out the back
      1. i. adjust accordingly by increasing or decreasing aggressiveness of the separation
    5. e. Clean the combine frequently and at the end of every day

Loading and Transport:

  1. Loading
    1. a. Auger into the live bottom truck continuously.
      1. i. This helps to reduce bridging and blockages in the grain tank area.
  2. Transport
    1. a. Once the truck is full, the truck will go to the bagging area.
      1. i. Make sure to hand off the transport paperwork when the biomass arrives at the bagging area.
      2. ii. Make sure the bagging crew knows the variety and field ID.

Field Harvest and Transport:

  1. Harvest
    1. a. Harvest by hand using limb loppers or a motorized brush cutter.
      1. i. A crew of 15 should be able to harvest 1 acre per day.
      2. ii. The “cutters” will cut down plants while the others load the plants into harvest wagons or bins.
      3. iii. Be careful not to drop or drag the plant onto the ground.
      4. iv. Be sure not to overfill the wagon.
      5. v. Harvest crew supervisors are responsible for ensuring only one variety is loaded into the wagon at a time.
  2. Loading and Transport
    1. a. Requires two people.
      1. i. One to drive the tractor/wagon.
      2. ii. One in the back of the wagon stacking and organizing product so loads have as much product as possible without causing damage.
    2. b. Once wagon is full, it will go on to the warehouse for staging.
      1. i. NOTE: there should always be a minimum of two wagons in field while crews are harvesting, rotating loading, and staging positions.

Offloading:

  1. At the staging point, offload all product onto tarps in a gentle manner.
    1. a. Make sure plants do not come into contact with any dirt.
      1. i. If there is contamination from dirt, the product cannot be used for smokable flower.
    2. b. The transport driver is responsible for making sure only one variety is offloaded onto each tarp one at a time.

Bucking and Shucking:

  1. Bucking
    1. a. Labor requirements will vary based on speed/efficiency of field harvest, weather conditions, and size/density of pants being processed.
      1. i. A good number to start with is 16.
      2. ii. The Bucking crew supervisor will ensure only one variety is bucked at a time.
    2. b. The team will use hand shears or rose pruners to remove lateral branches and flowers from the main stem.
      1. i. Large flowers go into one container.
      2. ii. Small flowers go into another container.
      3. iii. Organize branches into bundles with all ends facing the same way.
    3. c. The containers are then gathered by a runner and delivered to the shucking position.
  2. Shucking
    1. a. Take 1-2 lateral branches at a time and run through the Blackbear Iris II.
      1. i. The machine is a two-port adjustable bucking machine.
      2. ii. It can “shuck” cannabis stems with diameters from .1” to 1.25”. Two small diameter stems may be inserted without risk of damaging the machine.
      3. iii. If you don’t have access to machinery, hand-shucking is also acceptable
      b. Flower will fall into RPC.
      1. i. When full (4” deep max), they are to be staged by a runner at the “wet” trimmer conveyor feed station.
    2. c. It is the shucking crew supervisor’s responsibility to ensure only one variety is shucked at a time.

Trimming:

  1. Wet Trimming
    1. a. Loading staff (1 person per system) will load flower onto the feed conveyor belt.
    2. b. Flower will pass through an inline, self-cleaning, 1-unit wet trim system.
    3. c. Trimmed flower will then be fed onto the QC conveyor belt.
      1. i. QC staff will inspect the product.
      2. ii. Cull subpar buds for re-trim.
    4. d. QC accepted buds/trimmed flower will fall into RPCs.
      1. i. When full, they will be transported and staged at the screen loading station.
    5. e. It is the trimming crew supervisor’s responsibility to ensure only one variety is trimmed at a time.

Drying:

  1. Buds are loaded onto drying racks/screens.
    1. a. Organize blocks on each shelf with a minimum distance of 18” between rows.
      1. i. This makes it easier for the QC staff to move through the drying rooms during inspection.
      2. ii. Varieties must be clearly labeled and separated.
    2. b. It is the Drying supervisor’s responsibility to ensure only one variety is placed onto each drying rack.

Packing:

  1. Once dry, buds will be placed into Rubbermaid containers for transport to the vacuum sealing station.
    1. a. Weigh buds with the scale tared to the weight of the vacuum bag.
      1. i. Label the bag with the unique field ID.
      2. ii. Record the bag weight and lot number.
    2. b. Place bag into pumpkin box so that it can be stacked/stored once it is full.

Smokable Flower:

  1. Harvest
    1. a. Recommend harvesting by hand and drying indoors
  2. Bucking and Shucking
    1. a. Bucking
      1. i. use hand shears or rose pruners to remove lateral branches and flowers from the main stem.
  3. Shucking
    1. a. Take 1-2 lateral branches at a time and run through the Blackbear Iris II.
      1. i. The machine is a two-port adjustable bucking machine.
      2. ii. It can “shuck” cannabis stems with diameters from .1” to 1.25”. Two small diameter stems may be inserted without risk of damaging the machine.
      3. iii. Hand Shucking is also acceptable if you do not have access to equipment
  4. Wet Trimming
    1. a. We recommend wet trimming when working on a large scale
      1. i. helps to minimize losses that can happen when buds are dry
      2. ii. tend to crumble very easily when dry
  5. Drying
    1. a. Once the trimmed bud is dry, load it on drying trays/screens
    2. b. We then place our trays on shelves
      1. i. Trays can be stored anywhere with ample air flow and little moisture
      2. ii. Make sure trays are well spaced and not stacked on top of each other
  6. Storage
    1. a. Place dried flower into an appropriately sized airtight container to be transported to the bagging station
      1. i. We use rubbermaid bins
    2. b. Place flower in vacuum seal bags and seal
    3. c. Weigh flower
      1. i. Make sure your scale is tared to the weight of the bag
    4. d. Label bags with variety, weight, and field ID
    5. e. The sealed bags can then be placed in another box or container for easier storage
      1. i. We use pumpkin boxes

Biomass:

  1. Cut and Swath
    1. a. We typically doing this by hand for best quality biomass
    2. b. You can also use a swather with a honeybee header attached
  2. Drying
    1. a. For large scale operations, we recommend field drying
    2. b. Smaller scale operations can get away with hanging up wire in a greenhouse, barn or CONEX box and drying indoors
      1. i. If this is your preferred method, transport plants to the drying area after they have been cut
    3. c. Biomass should not be too moist or too dry
      1. i. around 10-13% moisture
      2. ii. You should be able to run your hand along the stem causing the biomass to fall off without cracking or shattering the stem.
      3. iii. Minimize handling of dried plants to avoid shattering losses.
  3. Combining
    1. a. Once your plant material is dry, biomass can be collected
    2. b. Use a standard pickup head attached to a combine
      1. adjust according to the size of your stalks.
      2. ii. Make sure the blower fan is turned off.
      3. iii. The combine will come through and separate the stem from the stalk.
    3. c. We recommend having two people in front of the header to make sure the plants are consistently feeding.
    4. d. We also recommend having another person at the back of the combine making sure stems don’t build up.
      1. i. Monitor the amount of stems and plant materials coming out the back
        1. ● adjust accordingly by increasing or decreasing aggressiveness of the separation
      2. ii. Clean the combine frequently and at the end of every day
  4. Loading and Transport
    1. a. Auger into a live bottom trailer continuously
      1. ● This helps to reduce bridging and blockages in the grain tank area
    2. b. Once the truck is full, it will go to the bagging area
      1. i. We recommend supersacks or bulk bags
  1. Potency Sampling
    1. a. The Sampling Technician will visually inspect all production fields on a weekly basis to monitor plant health, resin production, general crop health & reproductive progression
    2. b. Ideally potency sampling should be conducted on a consistent weekly basis in order to monitor cannabinoid spikes and resin production increases
      1. i. monitor for ideal CBD:THC ratios that will dictate harvest scheduling of individual cultivars
      2. ii. We recommend graphing data points in order to better understand the reproductive behaviors and timing of each phenotype and forecast future nutrient, harvest, and labor requirements with more accuracy.
    3. c. Due to the nature of agricultural operations, this may not be feasible in certain circumstances
    4. d. If weekly sampling cannot be conducted, samples should be collected at minimum 1X per month.
  2. Data Collection & Aggregation
    1. a. Once per month, we recommend printing all sample results and adding them to a potency log.
    2. b. We recommend backing up this information digitally
    3. c. Once results/data points have been put into digital form they can be expressed graphically.

Sample Preparation Instructions:

  1. Preparing Your Workspace
    1. a. Clean your sample preparation area with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol
      1. i. Be sure not to get any rubbing alcohol in your sample as this would be considered a contaminant
    2. b. Remember to always wear gloves while preparing the sample
      1. i. If you are preparing samples for multiple cultivars remember to wear new gloves for each batch
    3. c. Ensure anything that will come into contact with the sample is clean and free of contaminants
  2. Sample Preparation
    1. a. Potency
      1. i. The Sampling tech. will determine which cultivars are to be tested & when to begin baseline analysis based on visual inspection for resin/flower production.
      2. ii. The Sampling tech. will select 3-5 random plants per cultivar to be sampled.
      3. iii. The Sampling tech. will remove an approximately .5g-1g sized cutting from the apical meristem, mid-lateral branches, & lower meristem.
        1. ● Sample weight requirements may vary by state and testing facility so be sure to familiarize yourself and comply with your state/facility’s requirements
        2. ● Larger harvests will typically require larger sample weights
        3. ● By taking cuttings of each part of the plant, which have varying amounts of cannabinoids, you are able to create a representative sample of your biomass
        4. ● When sampling a biomass field, ensure that the aggregate sample contains no less than 30% fan leaf and stem. The remaining % should consist primarily of flower and sugar leaf material.
      4. iv. Samples should be dried a min. of 2-4 hours with a temp. not exceeding 90 degrees.
        1. ● You can also air dry over the course of 2-4 days
      5. v. Once material is below 8-10% moisture it should be milled and homogenized with a coffee grinder.
        1. ● To see if your sample is dry enough, try bending the stem. If it snaps, it is ready. If it bends, it's still too moist
        2. ● Propper milling and drying is key to accurate measurements
      6. vi. Bag sample in an appropriately sized zip-lock bag, fill out corresponding submission paperwork, & deliver.
        1. ● Make sure your bag is clean and free of any contaminants that might affect your results
        2. ● If sending multiple samples place zip-lock bags into one larger bag and seal with tamper evident tape
    2. b. Terpenes
      1. i. Terpene samples should never be speed dried.
      2. ii. Terp. samples should passively desiccate in a room or container with RH ≤ 15%.
      3. iii. If desiccation needs to be expedited, product should be placed in a minimally ventilated container and dehumidified with a standard in-home dehumidifying unit. Once samples are dry, repeat steps 5-7 of the above section (a)
    3. c. Pesticide residues
      1. i. Samples intended for residue sampling should be prepared in the same “passive” fashion as a terpene sample.
        1. ● This will ensure that no solvents, surfactants, or pesticides cook off of the material prior to sample analysis.

FAQ

What is the CBD to THC ratio?

Our ratios tend to be in the 30:1 to 35:1 range.


How many seeds per acre?

Generally, we recommend 3,000 seeds per acre.


What strains do you recommend?

Our top sellers are Hot Blonde and Queen Dream. They’ve exhibited great performance in the field, with high levels of CBD and diverse terpene profiles.


How should I plant?

We recommend using transplants. These can either be started from seed indoors or you can purchase seedlings or clones. Transplants help to ensure that you’re only putting healthy plants in the ground, minimizing risks and extra costs.


When should I plant?

Typically, we recommend mid-May to mid-June but this will be dictated by your location and individual circumstances. Transplanting should always be done after the last frost.


When do I harvest?

Typically harvest occurs mid to late-September. Remember to check with your local ag extension to make sure you are complying with all pre-harvest testing requirements.


Will it go hot?

We recommend that farmers test their crops every two weeks leading up to harvest. This way you can maximize yields while keeping THC content low.


Can you guarantee it won’t go hot?

When it comes down to it, staying compliant is up to the farmer. Our genetics are bred for high CBD but cannabinoid content can change depending on cultivation practices.


Do you have a buyback program?

Yes. We are offering to buyback harvested biomass of select BFF strains. More information and applications are available here.


Is the market saturated?

The CBD industry is only just beginning. If you are producing high quality product, this won’t be a concern.


Who do I sell to?

Depending on if you are producing smokeable flower or biomass, you can sell to dispensaries or laboratories respectively.


What equipment is used for planting?

If you are using plastic mulch, we recommend a water wheel transplanter. For bare ground, we recommend a carousel transplanter. You can also transplant by hand. However, this will require a significant amount of manpower and drive up costs.


What equipment is used for harvesting?

At BFF, we use a combine with a standard pick up head after hand cutting, swathing, and drying. Although, many other types of machinery can work as well. We’ve seen success with other machinery like choppers, honeybee headers, swathers. We harvest our smokable flower by hand.


How do I dry it?

You can either hang dry or field dry. Industrial dryers are also appropriate.


How do I store it?

Store in a cool, dry place to prevent mold and mildew.


How long do seeds last?

In a dry cool location, like a refrigerator, seeds can stay good for years. Do not store your seeds in the freezer. These are prone to repeated freezing and thawing, which can ruin your seeds.


How do I test the potency?

To test potency, a sample can be sent to a certified testing lab or you can use an at home test kit.


What strain is better for smokable flower?

Hot blonde is great for smokable flower. It produces many medium to large sized colas with a stacked bud structure. Thanks to the plant’s diverse terpene profile, the bud boasts a rich berry tangerine flavor.


What is the best strain for biomass?

Both Hot Blonde and Queen Dream are great for biomass because of their high CBD ratios. Queen Dream has distinct advantages in moister climates, due to its wide node spacing.