Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hemp Farming

Industrial Hemp Plants Strains-

have been cultivated to meet certain end uses, example: whether they are grown for fiber or seed oil, growing conditions, weather, water, etc.  Since our companies end product covers both of these applications.  I will be proposing a middle of the road Hemp Plant that produces both fibers and seeds.  This is not set in stone it will be what is suggested to the Farmers.  If its determined that a Farmer does not have an end use or is not interested in the Feedstock part of the Seed press process.  I will suggest a strain of hemp plant that produces mostly seeds.

Industrial Hemp Information provided by my Contact at Hemp Technologies- Greg Flavall and Andrea Herman-

Basics:

Industrial Hemp (iHemp) is made up of varieties of “Cannabis Sativa” that contain less than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is an annual broadleaf plant with a taproot and is capable of very rapid growth under ideal growing conditions. The female flowers and seeds are indeterminate, meaning that there are both ripe and immature seeds on the same plants at the time of grain harvest.

Fibre hemp plants will grow to 2-4 meters tall without branching. In dense plantings (i.e.: seed drilled) the bottom leaves fall off due to lack of sunlight and the male plants die back after shedding pollen, generally 4-5 weeks into the growing cycle, lasting approx. 1 week.

The stem has an outer bark that contains the long, tough bast fibers. They are similar in length to soft wood fibers and are very low in lignin content. Hemp rope, textiles and clothing is made from these fibers. The core contains the “hurds” or “Shives” (short fibers), similar to hard wood fibers and these are used for building, particleboard (MDF) and pet bedding, as well as plastics.

For grain production the plant may branch and reach heights of 2-3 meters. Tall plants do not mean more grain and shorter plants are preferred for combing. In well structured and well drained soils the taproot may penetrate 15-30 cm deep (12”). In compacted soils the taproot remains short and the plant produces more lateral, fibrous roots.

Growing:

Each iHemp variety has its own set of characteristics; small or large seed, low or high oil content, different oil composition, etc….

Varieties grown for fibre may contain from 15-25% bast fibres. As markets develop contracts to grow iHemp may specify the exact varieties that will meet specific market needs.

iHemp varieties tested in Ontario, Canada so far have all been of European origin with the exception of new Ontario-bred varieties such as “Anka” and “Carmen” and they come in 2 types; “dioecious”, which have male & female flower parts on separate plants (i.e.: “Kompolti” and “Unico B”) and “monoecious”, which have male & female flower parts on the same plant (i.e.: “Ferimon” and “Futura”). A 3rd type of cultivar, known as female predominant, is a dioecious type that has 85-90% female plants. It is believed that this type of plant can yield more grain. Most French varieties are a hybrid of predominantly female types.

Only varieties of iHemp that are named in the list of approved cultivars, published by Health Canada, are approved for planting in Canada. These varieties are known to produce plants containing less than 0.3% Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) under normal conditions. The THC level may vary with stage of growth and increase under environmental stress conditions. They mature to fibre in 60-90 days and to grain in 110-150 days. Using home-grown or “common” seed is illegal.

Dual Purpose Crops:

Most of the French and Romanian cultivars are suitable for grain and fibre production however these tall cultivars present some challenges for harvesting because growers need also to consider that weather conditions after grain harvest (late August or September) may not be suitable for retting & drying the stalks. The FIN 314 variety, which will grow to a maximum height of 0.9 meters (36 inches) and other short-stalked grain types (1-1.5 meters) are not suitable for dual production. Industry trends seem to be moving specifically towards grain or fibre varieties.

Soil Conditions:

iHemp responds to a well drained, loam soil with pH (acidity) above 6.0. Neutral to slightly alkaline (pH7.0 - 7.5) is preferred. The higher the clay content of the soil the lower the yield of grain or fibre. Clay soils are easily compacted and iHemp is very sensitive to soil compaction. Young plants are very sensitive to wet soils or flooding during the first 3 weeks or until growth reaches the fourth internode (approx. 30 cm or 12” tall). Water damaged plants will remain stunted, resulting in a weedy, uneven and poor crop.

Poorly structured, drought-prone sandy soils provide very little natural fertility or support for the iHemp plant. Extra nutrients and water will be required to achieve maximum yields on these soils, hence the extra costs make production uneconomical.

Climate for Growing:

iHemp requires lots of moisture; approx. 3-400mm (10-13”) of rainfall equivalent. If that amount of rainfall does not occur during the growing season it is important to make use of early soil moisture and to get early ground cover to reduce surface evaporation, as well as maintain good weed control. About ½ of this moisture is required during flowering and seed set in order to produce maximum grain yields. Drought during this stage produces poorly developed grain heads and continued drought results in low yields of light grain. During the vegetative growth period iHemp responds to daytime high temperatures with increased growth and water needs. After the 3rd pair of leaves develop iHemp can survive daily low temperatures as low as -0.5 degrees Celsius for 4-5 days.

Fertility:

iHemp requires approximately the same fertility as a high-yielding crop of wheat. Apply up to 110kg/hectare of nitrogen, depending on soil fertility and past cropping history. Research also supports the application of 40-90kg/hectare of potash for fibre hemp. Base your phosphorus (P205) and potash (K20) applications on a recent soil test. To interpret soil test information, follow the nitrogen, phosphate and potash recommendations for winter wheat in OMAFRA publication 811, “Agronomy Guide for Field Crops”.

Hemp growers in some places may benefit from adding sulphur. It is important to balance the nutrients applied with then crop requirements and with each other. For example; excessive nitrogen, combined with inadequate potash, can result in stalk breakage and loss of crop !

Approximately 42% of the plant’s biomass returns to the soil in the form of leaves, roots and tops. These contain over half of the nutrients applied to the crop in the first place and many of these nutrients will be available to help feed the following crop.

Weed Control:

If hemp is planted into well-drained, fertile soil under nearly optimum temperature and moisture conditions, it will germinate quickly and reach 30 cm (12”) in 3-4 weeks from planting. At this stage it will give 90% ground shade. Weed growth is suppressed by the exclusion of light from the soil. A rapidly growing iHemp population of 200-250 plants per square meter will suppress nearly all weed growth, including twitch grass. For pre-plant site preparation guidelines, refer to OMAFRA Publication 75, “Guide to Weed Control”.

Weed suppression is not a permanent condition. Weeds may appear on the same field next year if the field is rotated out of iHemp production. Perennial grasses may be weakened or killed if iHemp is grown a 2nd year on the same ground however this practice increases the chance of crop diseases to develop.

Under grain production conditions weed suppression may be less complete; the lower plant population or uneven stands allow more light to penetrate the canopy, thus aiding the germination of weed seeds. Cross seeding may improve canopy distribution and subsequent weed control where early, shorter verities are grown. In conclusion; early planting, as soon as the soil is warm enough, is the recommended weed strategy.

Diseases and Pests:

More than 50 different viruses, bacteria, fungi and insect pests are known to affect the iHemp crop. However, iHemp’s rapid growth rate and vigorous nature allow it to overcome the attack of most diseases and pests.

Botrytis Cinerea (grey mould) and Scierotinia Scierotiorum (white mould) are common moulds affecting iHemp. Scierotinia also affects edible beans, canola and sunflowers. Mould spores may be spread by combines, other harvesting equipment and straw.

A 4-year crop rotation is recommended as a good practice to avoid disease build-up. Do not grow iHemp on the same fields following canola, edible beans, soybeans or sunflowers.

Wind and hail damage can be significant to the iHemp crop. Tall plants with lots of upper leaf mass can be bent quite easily by mid-to-late summer storms. Broken plants will recover partially if not broken too low. This results in significant variability in plant height and maturity at seed harvest time.

Harvesting Fibre:

Air-dry stem yields range from 2.5-14.0 metric tons of dry, retted stalks per hectare (1 to 5 tons/acre) at 12% moisture. Approx. one ton of bast fibre and 2-3 tons of core material can be decorticated from 3-4 tons of good quality, dry-retted straw.

Yield of fibre depends on both the stalk yield per hectare and the fibre content of the stalk. Varieties differ in the amount of actual fibre content and on the ratio of bast fibre to core material (hurds). Dioecious varieties originating in southern Europe give the highest stalk yields. For textile applications, cut the iHemp in the early flowering stage or while pollen is being shed, but before seed sets. Fibre that is cut after seed harvest will have lignified considerably and is usable only in some non-woven industrial fibre applications. In dioecious varieties the male plants die back after shedding pollen. This results in lower fibre yields if the straw is cut after grain has matured.

On small acreages, good quality sickle-bar mowers and hay swathers have been used to cut iHemp. Frequent plugging has been a constant problem with this equipment. It is important to keep knives sharp and in good repair at all times. As acreage increases, more sophisticated equipment may have to be imported or developed.

Retting (turning):

Retting is the process of beginning to separate the bast fibres from the hurds or other plant tissues. This is done in the field, taking advantage of the natural elements of dew, rain, wind and sun, or under controlled conditions using water (most common in China), enzymes or chemicals. The method chosen depends on the end use of the fibre or hurd. To date, suitable industrial processes of water and/or chemical retting have not been developed.

Successful field retting requires a delicate balance of nightly dews and good daytime conditions. Planting date and selection of variety are factors in predicting a suitable harvest date for your region.

The length of the retting process is critical for optimum fibre yield and quality. It normally takes 21-28 days to complete but dry weather and low dew conditions may require longer retting periods. In fact, the process can take a little as 2 weeks.

The “windrows” are turned vigorously once or twice with tines (rakes) to facilitate even retting of the windrow and to knock the leaves off the stems. It is important that the retting process be complete before baling, so that the fibres reach the desired colour and do not rot or discolour in storage. In wet conditions a 3rd turning may be necessary.

Baling and Storage:

Baling can be done with any kind of baler. Large round, soft-core balers may are more satisfactory, allowing bales to fry more quickly in storage. For some industrial processes, the buyer may require a uniform large, square bale, to fit into the processing system however this may present a challenge in preventing spoilage if the bales are stored for later delivery, as square bales are packed more tightly, allowing less air passage than round bales. Note: Sisal or Hemp twine must be used to tie bales because polyester and plastic twines become contaminants in the processing of hemp fibres.

Bales must be stored indoors under dry conditions to stop the retting process before the fibres become rotted. Stalk moisture should be less than 15% at time of baling and should continue to dry to about 10%. Hemp straw also absorbs air moisture quite readily.

Hemp Seed and Fibre Harvesting:

When iHemp is grown for both grain and fibre it is necessary to re-cut the tall stalks after combining. A combine can be modified to perform both functions at the same time by mounting a sickle-bar mower under the header to operate close to the ground.

It is expected that as markets for grain and fibre begin to differentiate dual harvesting will cease to be a common practice. Growers of small acreages will most likely continue to combine and cut stalks as 2 separate operations.

If straw is to be harvested after combining it is important that the weather conditions must also be suitable for drying the stalks for baling.

Combining Seed for iHemp:

Combining iHemp gives a special challenge to both the combine and the operator. In tall varieties large quantities of plant material are put thru the combine. iHemp straw contains very tough fibres that tend to wind around the moving parts. Fine fibres work into bearings, causing friction that can lead to bearing breakdown and combustion. These factors cause heavy machinery wear, high maintenance costs and a great deal of time loss and frustration on the part of the operator. Early grain varieties like “Fedora 19”, “FIN314” and “Fasamo” are shorter and easier to combine.

iHemp seed is harvested when the seed begins to shatter. At this optimum harvest time about 70% of the seeds are ripe at about 22-30% moisture. Later combining increases grain losses due to shattering, bird damage and lower quality grain. Mature fibres tend to wrap more tenaciously around moving parts on the combine.

Raising the cutting blade to about 1 meter (40”) or as high as the header will cut effectively, reduces the amount of material entering the combine. With shorter varieties use a “closer-to-normal” header position. The header knife must be kept sharp at all times to minimise winding of fibres on the sickle bar. Replacing the slatted feeder conveyor with a belt helps reduce the amount of fibre that winds on the feeder shaft. Exterior rotating shafts and pulleys that may come in contact with stalks should be protected when harvesting taller varieties.

Proper setting of the combine improves the yield and quality of the grain and reduces wear on the combine. Experiment with ground speed, concave openings, air and cylinder speeds. For conventional combines use the following:

250rpm Cylinder speed

1070rpm Fan speed

⅛” sieve

⅜” chaffer

Concave set tight

Run feeder housing chain loose in the corn position and close the pre-cleaner. Lower the beater gate, remove the curtains and install a speed-up kit for the beaters. Individual combine operators might find different settings work for their machines. Rotary combines seem to be less satisfactory for harvesting hemp grain because of tendency to plug more readily.

Some “volunteer” hemp (also called “Ditch Weed”) will likely appear in the fall or spring following the iHemp crop. These plants are illegal and must be destroyed before being discovered by local drug enforcement authorities. Thorough cultivation or seedbed preparation is effective.

___________________________________________

The Following Information is from my website:

GROWING INDUSTRIAL HEMP RESEARCH FOR THE NET ZERO HEMP HOME

[Find Additional Hemp Building Information Here and Green Blog Sustainable Hemp Home Information Here.  The following links have not been updated Scotty 2/2115]

In the previous articles on using Industrial Hemp for creating the net zero hemp home design  Industrial Hemp Home CAD designs by Scotty-Energy Efficient Post Frame and Hempcrete creating a Net Zero- Energy.  I supplied the basic building plans for building a 4 bed 2 bath home using a Post Frame build technique and then adding Hempcrete,, for the Wall Construction and Insulation also as floor and ceiling insulation.

HempCrete - Hemp Technologies suggests that: 1 x 15kg bag of Hemp mixed with our lime binder will make 4.5 - 5 cubic feet of ”Hempcrete”. 1 cubic meter (m3) = 35 cubic feet (f3) 1 cubic yard (y3) = 27

The first part in this series on Growing Industrial Hemp will be information that I've compiled that will aid in growing the Industrial Hemp Plant for the fibers needed to create this net zero hemp home.  Seed Selection, Soil Preparation, Growing Tips, Harvesting

Just as picking the seeds to grow a backyard garden, field of corn or soybeans.  The care in seed selection should be considered for Industrial Hemp production.  Any Farmer can relate to the desire for a bountiful harvest and just as they realize that it all starts in the seed selection to create this bountiful harvest, the same care should be given while selecting a strain of seeds that has the genes needed for Industrial Hemp Production.   The rest is left to Mother Nature and your talents as a hemp grower.   

For Industrial Hemp Building Uses- Industrial Hemp is planted very densely, as it grows it will perform its own weeding by blocking out the sun and not allowing weeds to grow.

   

This is worth repeating, since weeds are the enemies of     farmers anytime they can be controlled without herbicides is a winning scenario for both the farmers bank account and the farmers land-

-When hemp seeds are sown densely, as the hemp plants grow they will block out the sun and keep weeds from growing.    

The Hemp plant is also pest and disease resistant requiring no special treatment of harmful pesticides.  Hemp Reports suggest an average rainfall needs of 252 in per year.  Industrial Hemp can be grown in dryer locals as long as adequate irrigation is supplied.


"I will be inquiring into if Livestock, Deer, Sheep, etc would ravage a Hemp Field while foraging for food.  For peace of mind I will more than likely set up and use a Solar Fencing System as a protective border that would stop animals for eating my future home."

#Hemp. pic.twitter.com/6z85g46o4r

— Hemp Farmers (@HempFarmers) June 24, 2014


While good growing conditions are important for a crop to reach its full potential, that potential is determined by the genetic makeup of the plants being grown.

*

Remember the difference between the Medical Marijuana Cannabis Plants and Industrial Hemp Cannabis Plant

generally accepted THC level of  less than .3%

This post is about Industrial Hemp for fibers and seeds.  #HempBuilding #BioDiesel


The following information provided by Hemp Reports

If hemp is grown for fibre, it is sown very densely (a seed rate of 55-70 kg/ha is standard, though for very high quality textile fibre a much higher seed rate can be used

hemp grows so quickly, at this density hemp can effectively out compete weeds, and so weed control measures (herbicides) are not needed.

Hemp seed may be drilled or broadcast, though drilling is recommended for uniformity. A standard grain drill or modified alfalfa seeder can be used for sowing.

the most significant costs of growing hemp for fibre relative to other crops is the cost of seed

THC level of <0 .3 certified seed can be brought into Canada for approximately $2700/tonne. At a rate of 55-70 kg/ha, this translates to $61.80 to $78.75 per acre.

For comparison in the cost of Industrial Hemp to Corn and Soybeans look at the information provided by Agri-View

Link

The cost to grow corn, as producers know, depends heavily on location and soil quality. Last year, the total economic costs per acre for growing corn in Illinois averaged $739 in the northern section of the state, $717 in the mid-section with high-rated soil productivity of 86 to 100 ($687 in central Illinois with low soil ratings of 56 to 85) and $635 in southern Illinois.

Soybean costs per acre were $524, $539, $493 and $467, respectively. Costs were lower in southern Illinois primarily because of lower land costs, notes Zwilling.All economic costs on a per-bushel basis in the different sections of Wisconsin’s neighbor state ranged from $4.25 to $4.38 for corn and from $8.98 to $9.53 for soybeans. Variations in this cost were related to weather, yields and land quality.

Looking just at the northern Illinois producer records (377 farms, averaging 826 acres)—because of the closer proximity to southern Wisconsin—variable costs were $344 an acre for corn. Specifically, they were: Fertility, $118; pesticides, $44; seed, $95; drying, $19; and repairs, fuel and hire, $68. Variable costs were 14 percent less than the prior year.Other non-land costs for growing corn in northern Illinois were: Labor, $42; buildings, $17; storage, $6; machinery depreciation, $41; nonland interest, $50; and overhead, $57—for a total of $213 an acre. Total non-land costs came to $557 an acre (off 5 percent from ’09).

Land costs amounted to $30 for taxes and $152 for annually adjusted net rent for a total land cost of $182. Total costs per acre amounted to $739 an acre (down 4 percent from the previous year). The 2010 yields among these northern Illinois farmers averaged 174 bushels. Their nonland costs per bushel came to $3.20, and total costs to $4.25.

Additional Corn Growing Costs-Higher Production Costs

Link

Production inputs include seed, fertilizers, herbicides diesel fuel, and others.  For 2013 per acre costs he is using $109 for seed corn, $145 for fertilizer and lime, $25 for herbicide, $25 for crop insurance, $55 for fuel and repairs, $34 for grain drying, $32 for labor, $29 for interest and other costs.

The second is the cost of machinery ownership.  These costs are depreciation (an estimate of actual deprecation, not tax depreciation) and interest payments on machinery debt.  Hofstrand uses $54 per acre for machinery costs.

The third is the cost of cropland.  The annual cost of cropland is estimated using the cash rental rate.  By charging a land cost equal to the cash rental rate, the return for producing corn is the return to the farm operator (does not includes the landlord’s return).  Hofstrand uses a figure of $270 per acre for cash rent.

Hemp requires significant nutrient demands.

The figures of 120 kg/ha Nitrogen,

100 kg/ha phosphate, and

160 kg/ha potash

Irrigation is required if precipitation is less than 200mm over the course of the growing period.

Harvest period is critical, since after flowering, the quality of the bast fibres starts to decline.

Projected Yields:

dry matter yields range from 5-15 tons/ha, of which 12-40% can be bast fibre.

The yields generated by hemp depend greatly on the strain of seed being grown, and farming practices and conditions. Seeds bred for area with a shorter growing season, for example, will tend to flower too early, and so will have a reduced dry mass yield.

Hemcore has, for example, reported that the Hungarian varieties they have tested have had a 70% greater biomass yield than the French varieties.

The natural, or "unimproved" content of bast fibres in hemp stalks is only 12-15%. Through selective breeding programs, primarily in France, Ukraine, and Hungary, the current average is over 20% and many strains have been reported to yield over 30% bast fibre. Only in Hungary has any work been done on developing high yielding hybrids, and so as Dave West points out, "the genetic load of the crop is probably quite high, which would indicate opportunity to significantly improve the crop's productivity."

This information can be seen in full at the Google Document Link

Hemp Reports

Agronomics

There are two potentially viable approaches to growing hemp commercially: growing hemp for fibre or for seed. If hemp is grown for fibre, it is sown very densely (a seed rate of 55-70 kg/ha is standard, though for very high quality textile fibre a much higher seed rate can be used[5]). Since hemp grows so quickly, at this density hemp can effectively out compete weeds, and so weed control measures (herbicides) are not needed. If hemp is grown for seed, it is grown much less densely (typically 10 -15kg/ha[6]) and is not as effective at suppressing weeds, so herbicides will probably be required. Hemp seed may be drilled or broadcast, though drilling is recommended for uniformity. A standard grain drill or modified alfalfa seeder can be used for sowing.

Pesticides are generally considered unnecessary in the cultivation of hemp,[7] although researchers in Manitoba in 1995 reported that several pests had to be contended with.[8] For the purpose of this paper, pesticide use will be considered to be nil to reflect the majority of findings and hemp's organic farming potential. Another positive aspect of the crop is that once planted, no further husbandry is required until harvest, thereby minimizing labour costs and energy consumption.

Exhibit 3: Selected Crop Production Costs in Ontario 1995

Hemp for Fibre

OOperating Expenses:

Presently, one of the most significant costs of growing hemp for fibre relative to other crops is the cost of seed. To ensure that seed strains being used will meet the generally accepted THC level of <0 .3

Although hemp generally requires no pesticides or herbicides, it does have significant nutrient demands. The figures of 120 kg/ha Nitrogen, 100 kg/ha phosphate, and 160 kg/ha potash are used for the purpose of cost calculation. These figures derived from Hemcore's U.K. hemp growing experience are consistent with other research.[10] Irrigation is required if precipitation is less than 200mm over the course of the growing period. Harvest period is critical, since after flowering, the quality of the bast fibres starts to decline.

The operations required for growing hemp for fibre are: seeding, cutting, baling, and bale handling. According to a number of researchers, hemp can be cultivated using existing farm equipment, however, for harvesting some alterations maybe required. The machinery operating, investment and depreciation costs used in these calculations are based on Ontario and Manitoba corn production costs, but reflect the need for more robust equipment and /or higher repair costs due to the toughness of the crop.[11] Storage may also be necessary, depending on the specific end use of the crop.

Although hemp generally requires no pesticides or herbicides, it does have significant nutrient demands. The figures of 120 kg/ha Nitrogen, 100 kg/ha phosphate, and 160 kg/ha potash are used for the purpose of cost calculation. These figures derived from Hemcore's U.K. hemp growing experience are consistent with other research.[10] Irrigation is required if precipitation is less than 200mm over the course of the growing period. Harvest period is critical, since after flowering, the quality of the bast fibres starts to decline.

The operations required for growing hemp for fibre are: seeding, cutting, baling, and bale handling. According to a number of researchers, hemp can be cultivated using existing farm equipment, however, for harvesting some alterations maybe required. The machinery operating, investment and depreciation costs used in these calculations are based on Ontario and Manitoba corn production costs, but reflect the need for more robust equipment and /or higher repair costs due to the toughness of the crop.[11] Storage may also be necessary, depending on the specific end use of the crop.

Projected Yields:

Claims for hemp fibre yields vary radically. Reported dry matter yields range from 5-15 tons/ha, of which 12-40% can be bast fibre. The yields generated by hemp depend greatly on the strain of seed being grown, and farming practices and conditions. Seeds bred for area with a shorter growing season, for example, will tend to flower too early, and so will have a reduced dry mass yield. Hemcore has, for example, reported that the Hungarian varieties they have tested have had a 70% greater biomass yield than the French varieties. Furthermore, three years of trials resulted in average yields of approximately 10.5 dm(dry matter)t/ha, while their first year of commercial crops yielded only 5.0 dmt/ha. Having no seeds bred specifically for its growing conditions, the U.K., like Canada, depends on seeds developed for other climes, so initial commercial results are naturally relatively low.

The natural, or "unimproved" content of bast fibres in hemp stalks is only 12-15%. Through selective breeding programs, primarily in France, Ukraine, and Hungary, the current average is over 20% and many strains have been reported to yield over 30% bast fibre.[12] Only in Hungary has any work been done on developing high yielding hybrids, and so as Dave West points out, "the genetic load of the crop is probably quite high, which would indicate opportunity to significantly improve the crop's productivity."[13]

Initial results from Canadian hemp researchers reveal dry mass yields lower than in other parts of the world. Australian farmers reported yields of 8-10t/ha, Ukrainian farmers 8-10t/ha, Dutch farmers 10-14t/ha, while in the U.K., in contrast, commercial yields of only 5-7t/ha were reported. Jack Moes, New Crops Agronomist for Manitoba Agriculture reported yields from their first year of test of 4500-7700 kg/ha for seven different varieties, while A.E.Slinkard of the University of Saskatchewan reported yields of 7100-9500 kg/ha. For the purposes of comparison, then a low and high estimate of dry matter and bast fibre yield will be calculated. A low , but realistic first crop yield of 6t/ha will be compared with realistic future yields of 10t/ha. Such yields would very likely be achievable on a commercial level after a few years of cultivation experience and seed breeding. Also, a low bast fibre yield of 22% will be contrasted with a high yield of 30%, for a range of 1.3-3.0 t/ha. This difference can be accounted for by seed variety and planting density.

Break-even Price for Whole Stalk (Farmgate $/tonne):

Exhibits 3 and 4 detail the expected costs per acre of growing hemp, and compares it to the costs of growing canola and spring wheat in Saskatchewan, and canola and grain corn in Ontario. Machinery costs are estimated using equipment intensive corn cultivation and harvesting as a comparable, and the high demands hemp places on equipment have also been factored in. The final figures are in line with the experience of Canadian hemp farmers, but lower hemp farmers in some other countries. Australian farmers, for instance, estimated their costs to grow, harvest, manage and secure their hemp crops to be US$240/t. This figure however, includes irrigation and storage costs, and the crop was also picked up by hand after being cut by machine and left to ret in the field. Note that the most significant cost of hemp relative to the other crops is the cost of seed, over half of which is the cost of transport.[14]

Below are the prices required at farmgate for break-even, depending on the yield of stalk realized. These prices are intended to cover ALL fixed and variable costs incurred by the farmer.

Yield (tonnes/acre)



2.5t/ac

3t/ac

3.5t/ac

4t/ac

Seeding @ 55kg/ha

107.24

89.37

76.60

67.00

Seeding @ 70kg/ha

114.00

95.00

81.43

71.25


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