Time to Harvest…

After about 70 to 100 days in the ground, depending on genetics, the head of the hemp plant is considered to have fully matured. As this time arrives, you will start to observe seed heads maturing from the bottom and moving upward to reach completion. Once seed bracts have fully matured, they expose the seeds they contain, allowing you to air dry them naturally. At this point, approximately 80 to 120 days after the seeds were planted (usually around September or October in the northern hemisphere), the plant is ready for harvest.

As with seeding machinery, standard combines are adequate harvesting equipment and no other special machinery is required. If desired, you could use a rotary combine with a draper header instead. To minimize fiber wrapping, harvest only when grain moisture is between 12 and 18 percent. Set your combine to settings similar to those for harvesting canola or wheat. To minimize how much fiber enters the combine, cut plants immediately below the head of the grain. Growing conventional (inorganic) hemp, you can expect to yield approximately 1,000 pounds per acre. Yields for organically grown hemp are closer to 500 pounds per acre.

To harvest hemp fiber, wait one or two days minimum after harvesting the grain and ideally until the following spring. Bale hemp fiber at no greater than 15% moisture in big square bales. Expect to yield approximately one to three tons of hemp fiber per acre depending on the genetic.

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