Protect Your Hemp When Dealing With Inclement Weather
Hemp is considered a strong and resistant plant that can handle an array of climates and weather conditions. But this doesn't mean that hemp is invincible. Certain inclement weather conditions can in fact have a negative effect on hemp, resulting in crop/revenue loss. The USDA recently allowed for hemp crop insurance to protect against weather, but it is still important to understand the risk that the elements can bring.
Excess Moisture and Precipitation
Moisture in the soil is common during the growing season and hemp tends to do well in these conditions. However, it's dependent upon how the precipitation is distributed during the season too.
Hemp tends to do well when there is additional water during the spring and fall months but this varies based on how much humidity is in the air along with soil type, light, and wind. Growth can be impacted by crop evapotranspiration.
The right amount of moisture in the soil bodes well for hemp yields, too. There has to be at least 50% moisture in the soil for the root to stay strong.
When there is too much rain during the seeding phase, this can have an impact on how the crop grows. Hemp doesn't do well when there is too much moisture during the development stage. This is why drainage solutions are necessary to ensure the soil remains balanced and doesn't end up waterlogged or fully saturated. If the water is oversaturated, this is when the crop starts to slow down its growth phase and weeds start to grow quickly. As a result, hemp starts to yellow out and not grow as it needs to.
When there is a wet period like this, some plants will continue to grow, however, they are not going to be as strong as they were in the right conditions due to nutrient loss and reduced plant development. When there is weed growth around, this can start to cut into your hemp yield. The best solution is to make sure the drainage is good and the plants can recover well when excess moisture is present.
With hemp, hail can pose a problem later on in the summer as storms roll around the area. When this happens, certain plants can handle it, especially those known for being shorter in size. Taller plants that are known for growing rapidly can start to lose out. This has a lot to do with gusty winds and hailstones.
For heavy hailstorms, such as in Oregon in 2019, hail can severely damage and destroy entire fields. These hailstorms lasted 4 weeks, damaging over 500 acres at an estimated $25 Million loss for farmers.
When there is an intense storm in the area, hemp can be impacted during the growth phase due to broken stems and punctured leaves. This can hamper the overall yield and quality of the plant. When hailstones come around during the earlier half of the season, the plants still have enough time to recuperate and continue growing at a reasonable pace. However, crop failure is common because the average hail storm is going to come later in the summer when the plant has already grown.
Even if the damage has been done to the plant top, it's still possible for the plant to continue growing as long as it sends out multiple shoots from the node.
When the main stem dies out, this can seal off the top. As a result, these shoots need to create a new leader that will help with the growth phase. When there's enough time for the grain to mature, it is easier to increase the yield.
Regrowth can vary after a late summer storm. When the apex has been damaged, this will lead to the development of secondary branches and multiple upper nodes that create a smaller plant. However, it's important to note many plants will never recover, thus decreasing yield.
With milder storms, hemp tends to do well. In this case, the head will continue to grow after the storm is gone. While it may take a bit of time to reach maturity, it can still recover well. However, there can still be concerns with the new heads and how they do when it is time to harvest. This leads to several recovered heads being left behind.