How Long Does It Take to Grow Hemp? An Expert's Guide

On average, hemp is ready for harvest four to six months after planting. This allows the crop to be cultivated several times in a single year, which is quite remarkable considering its versatility. For instance, hemp plants produce four times more paper than trees, which take 10 to 20 years to reach maturity. It takes between 100 and 120 days for a non-autoflowering strain to reach the maturity necessary for the harvest.

Water, sunlight and nutrients, in that order, are the most important elements for hemp as it grows. Industrial hemp plants grow vigorously, with long, lanky stems and deep roots. Different varieties of hemp can produce a varying amount of seeds or fiber, and they can also differ in the composition of the oil. Hemp is generally ready to harvest in four months and, per acre, produces four times more paper than trees, which take many years to reach maturity for harvest.

Thousands of conventional farmers, marijuana growers and novice businessmen also rushed to plant hemp that year, eager to take advantage of a new legal crop. But instead of making a fortune, many lost one because their harvests failed and the growing supply of hemp depressed prices. Cyrus now has hundreds of thousands of pounds of hemp in bags in her barn that she can't sell for an equilibrium price. You're not going to plant hemp this year and you're not alone.

The industry is rebalancing and farmers are restoring their expectations. Agriculture experts warn that the United States could take years for the hemp market to mature and stabilize. They say hemp is likely to remain a specialized crop, such as cherries or tulips, rather than competing with major commodities, such as corn and soy. Hemp can be made into a wide variety of products, from ropes to floorboards, granola and dog treats.

In recent years, most growers in the United States have set out to grow and sell plants for their CBD, although some grow hemp for its grain or fiber. Many hemp producers won't make a lot of money and some could go bankrupt. The licensed interior space for hemp production has grown, reaching more than 168 million square feet this year, according to Hemp Benchmarks. But that equates to about 3,800 acres, which is not a big dent in the decline.

Some hemp advocates say the U. S. UU. The Food and Drug Administration has stifled the industry.

The agency will not allow the sale of CBD as a food product or dietary supplement, because the compound is an approved ingredient in a prescription drug used to treat childhood epilepsy. That policy has prevented many domestic brands from selling CBD products, said Jonathan Miller, general counsel of US Hemp Roundtable, an industry group. Lawmakers in some states have tried to help farmers find new markets for hemp. Colorado allows hemp CBD to be added to foods, for example.

Montana allows hemp to be added to animal feed. Illinois allows licensed marijuana companies to purchase or process certain hemp products, including CBD oils. State Officials Warn New USDA Rules Could Hurt Nascent Industry. The mountains of hemp grown in the past two years are now in bags and in storage, waiting for better prices.

Cyrus said that, anecdotally, she knows that there are at least a million pounds of hemp plants and thousands of kilos of hemp oil stored in her area. Kentucky issues special licenses to growers who store old hemp crops instead of planting new ones. In May, about a third of the state's 445 producers had exclusive storage licenses, said Sean Southard, spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Last year he planted 50 acres.

He couldn't sell that crop either, so he sold his farm instead. Going big with hemp was a mistake, he said. Nowadays, many hemp CBD producers are taking a more artisanal approach. The growth in indoor spaces or greenhouses authorized for hemp production shows the shift from the CBD market to flowers, as farmers looking for that product tend to grow their plants indoors, said Ian Laird, chief financial officer and general counsel of Hemp Benchmarks.

Businessmen have also found a new and controversial use of CBD oil. The extract can be processed into delta-8 THC, an intoxicant. Delta-8 products are appearing at gas stations, convenience stores, health food stores and CBD stores, where both children and adults can buy them. California lawmakers are considering a bill that would tighten the definition of “industrial hemp” by requiring hemp extracts from store shelves to have a THC concentration of no greater than 0.3%.

Thorne said it would effectively ban delta-8 THC extracts. CBD foods and beverages are big business. But is it legal? A bill recently passed by the Oregon legislature would prohibit retailers from selling THC delta-8 to minors, give state marijuana officials more authority to regulate artificial cannabinoids, and would require state regulators to limit the concentration of THC in hemp products. It's important for regulators to keep in mind that delta-8 THC isn't the only novel cannabinoid in existence said Steven Crowley ,hemp and processing technician at the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Hemp is still so new that producers face a number of basic challenges. Researchers are starting to develop seeds that offer a consistent harvest. The lack of reliable seeds ,planting schedules and proven cultivation techniques may also be holding back markets for all types of hemp products. Some farmers grow hemp for fiber or grain.

However ,that market share has a long way to go ,say industry experts. Processing facilities are scarce ,supply chains have not yet been developed ,and the U. S. Hemp growers compete with more established producers in places like Canada and China.

State lawmakers are trying to help bring more industrial hemp products into fashion. Last year ,for example ,the Colorado governor's office ,the department of agriculture ,Colorado State University ,local producers and the outdoor clothing company Patagonia launched a hemp fiber pilot project that will continue this year. The Colorado Department of Agriculture...

Lloyd Pintello
Lloyd Pintello

Incurable pizza nerd. Coffee lover. Wannabe web enthusiast. General music lover. Infuriatingly humble sushi evangelist.