Hemp is typically dioecious (separate male and female plants). In dioecious varieties the male plants will die off after shedding their pollen and the females will continue to grow and set seed.
Hemp varieties have shown considerable differences in height, seed size, maturity and ease of harvest. Hemp plants will vary in height from 5 to 7 feet for grain only varieties, and 6 to 9 feet+ for dual-purpose (grain & fibre) varieties. Hemp’s growth period is ~ 100 to 110+ days for grain varieties and ~ 120+ days for dual purpose varieties. A hemp bushel weights 44 lbs., or about 260gm/.5L.
The FINOLA hemp variety has the shortest stature and is the earliest maturing hemp variety in Canada, maturing in about 100 days. Finola® is also the highest yielding variety on record (2000+lbs / acre). FINOLA hemp can be straight cut or swathed and is renowned as the easiest hemp variety to harvest.
Sow hemp into clean medium textured fertile soil, high in organic matter and with high nutrient availability. Well drained field is desirable. Conventionally grown hemp is typically best preceded by cereals or pulses, while organically grown hemp is best preceded by perennial alfalfa / grass breaking, green manure plow downs, or traditional summer fallow. Residual chemical contamination, both natural i.e. fall rye, or synthetic, i.e. Pursuit can affect germination and/or yield of industrial hemp.
Seed hemp as shallow as possible (0.5 to 1.0 inches), but into moisture and after soil temperature has reached 8 to 10C+, with May 25 as an optimum date. Expect germination within 2 to 4 days and emergence within 4 to 7 days. Seeding target rates are 100 plants per mÇ for grain production (25 to 30 lbs / acre). Producers are required to use pedigreed seed and seed cost remains a major input cost, (i.e. ~$50 / acre). Hemp seedlings are frost tolerant to about -4C.
Under optimum moisture conditions, hemp will grow vigorously however it requires high nutrient availability. Conventional producers are recommended to fertilize hemp fields to the same levels as required to grow top, high-yielding canola, with additional N up to 110 lbs+ / acre actual N. Phosphate should be present at about ~50 lbs / acre actual, or alternately the seed can be inoculated with various products that assist in phosphate uptake. Hemp will tolerate some seed placed N and P (~15lbs / acre).
Apply additional K and S where soils are deficient. Avoid placing high rates of fertility next to or close to the seed.
Under typical field conditions, dryland organic hemp yields from 10 ~ 25+ bu / acre, dryland conventional hemp 14 ~ 35 bu / acre, and irrigated (organic and conventional) 25 to 45+ bu / acre.
Weed Disease & Pest Management
Weeds are best controlled through proper field selection, high rates of fertility and pre-seeding glyphosate (only) burn off or tillage, plus proper variety selection. Given a good start hemp can be an effective weed suppressant. Problem weeds include buckwheat, wild oats, volunteer canola, pigweed, volunteer wheat, coriander, and other spice crops.
Hemp has very few disease and pest problems. The most important disease issue is sclerotinia stem rot (in wetter conditions). Another disease to note is botrytis (gray mold / head blight). Grasshoppers, gophers, bertha armyworm, hemp borer and lygus plant bugs have been known to attack hemp but with very little impact. Note there are no pesticides, herbicides nor fungicides registered for use on hemp in western Canada for grain production.
Most producers will combine hemp while it is still “green/ immature” to minimize fibre wrapping and fibre strength. FINOLA, a semi-dwarf variety can be swathed at 85% maturity (just prior to shelling), cut at 8~12 inches and harvested within 2 or 3 days or at ~10 to 12% seed moisture. Swathing is particularly advantageous where there is high wind risk prior to harvest as hemp can shell (in high winds) when reaching maturity. Alternately, FINOLA can also be straight combined at about 12 to 15% seed moisture. Be aware that swathed hemp is particularly susceptible to sprouting after a rain. Watch the forecast prior to swathing, ideally with 5 days of clear weather. Reduce cylinder, rotor and unloading auger speeds to prevent seed damage while harvesting. Draper headers work best for straight cutting hemp, use a sharp or new sickle / knife. Watch for fibre wrapping around shafts. Typically FINOLA hemp can be harvested with any type of fairly modern combine, rotary or conventional with no or little modification, and is known as the easiest hemp variety to harvest.
Drying & Storage
Aerate grain immediately off the combine down to under 10% moisture, 8 to 9% ideal – this is critical to preventing heating and to preserve seed quality. If using natural or heated air drying turn hemp after 2 to 4 days to mitigate spoilage along bin walls. Rotate hemp at change of seasons (winter/spring) to minimize moisture migration and spoilage.
Fibre Management / Harvest
Cut or haybine remaining stubble immediately and bale at 12% moisture, or alternately incorporate with heavy-duty disc. Right now in Canada there is no large-scale commercial hemp fibre market.
Licensing & THC Sampling
Industrial hemp producers are required by law to be licensed with Health Canada. Licenses are valid for one calendar year and expire on Dec 31st of current year.
Producers require the following:
- Industrial Hemp License Application
- GPS co-ordinates for field & map
- Criminal record check
- Mid-season THC field sample reported to Health Canada (some varieties except) ~ $280 /field
- Minimum of 80 acres
- Health Canada TEL (613) 954-6524
- Health Canada FAX (613) 941-5360
- Email: Hemp_BdsTpd@hc-sc.gc.ca
Producers are recommended to contract their hemp grain production with a reputable company.
To purchase your FINOLA hemp planting seed, or to contract hemp grain production or for any additional questions please contact:
- Darrell McElroy
Hemp Oil Canada Inc.
- Mobile: 204 823 2898
FINOLA Hemp Facts
- Small Seeded
- Short Stature (5 to 7ft)
- High Yielding
- Early Maturing (100 days)
- Easiest Harvesting