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 ~ 95 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 a high yielding variety with recorded yields of 2000+lbs / acre under the right growing conditions. FINOLA hemp can be straight cut or swathed and is renowned as the easiest hemp variety to harvest.
Our farmers sow hemp into clean medium textured fertile soil, high in organic matter and with high nutrient availability. Well drained field is desirable. Careful attention to crop rotations is recommended by our Agronomy team. Conventionally grown hemp is typically best preceded by cereals or pulses, while organically grown hemp is best preceded by perennial alfalfa / grass breaking or green manure plow downs.
Hemp is seeded as shallow as possible (0.5 to 1.0 inches), but into moisture and after soil temperature has reached 8 to 10C+, with late May to early June as optimum timing. Germination occurs within 2 to 4 days and emergence within 4 to 7 days. Producers are required to use pedigreed seed. 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 sustainably fertilize hemp fields with additional nitrogen, phosphate, potassium and sulfur according to soil tests to only make up for soil nutrient deficiencies. Organic growers are encouraged to plant hemp following a plow down crop where nutrient levels are the highest.
Under well managed field conditions, dryland organic hemp yields from 600 to 1,000 pounds per acre of clean hemp grain, dryland conventional hemp can yield 800 to 1,100 pounds per acre, and irrigated (organic and conventional) can yield 1,100 to 2,000 pounds per acre or more.
Weed Disease & Pest Management
Weeds are best controlled through proper field selection, pre-seeding weed management, proper seeding date and seeding rate, plus proper variety selection. Given a good start hemp can be an effective weed suppressant. Problem weeds may include wild buckwheat, wild oats, volunteer canola, and volunteer wheat, but these are removed at commercial seed cleaning plants prior to use for food processing..
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. Hemp growers are encouraged to use best agronomic practices to manage weeds and disease.
Harvest is done with a combine harvester just like any other grain crop. Most producers will combine hemp while it is still slightly “green/ immature” to minimize fibre wrapping and fibre strength. FINOLA, a semi-dwarf variety can be swathed at 85% maturity (just prior to shelling), 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.. Careful attention is made to harvest and handle the crop gently to reduce damage to the shell and maintain seed quality. Typically FINOLA hemp is known as the easiest hemp variety to harvest.
Drying & Storage
Freshly harvested hemp grain is dried or aerated immediately off the combine to reach moisture levels under 10%, which is critical to prevent spoiling and to preserve seed quality. Farmers carefully monitor moisture and temperature of hemp grain in the bins after storage.
Licensing & THC Sampling
Industrial hemp producers are required by law to be licensed with Health Canada. THC sampling is done on all levels of pedigree seed production to ensure levels remain below legal limits of 0.3%.
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.
Hemp grain producers require the following:
- Industrial Hemp License Application
- GPS co-ordinates for field & map
- Criminal record check
Fresh Hemp Foods contracts hemp grain production directly with farmers, and provides guidance on best practices to achieve a top quality crop. We maintain and distribute our own pedigree seed, including the FINOLA variety.
For growers wanting to produce hemp or to purchase certified seed, please contact us at 1-800-289-4367.
FINOLA Hemp Facts
- Small Seeded
- Short Stature (5 to 7ft)
- High Yielding
- Early Maturing (100 days)
- Easiest Harvesting