When to Plant Hemp Seeds & Clones
Typically, planting season falls between the 3rd week of May and the first 2 weeks of June, when the starters or clones generally start coming out of the greenhouse. However, this time varies as the weather or other circumstances make the farmers plants a bit earlier or later without their crops faltering – though some others will see much less results in other different parts of the country due to a myriad of reasons. Weather is one of the key issues at hand, though they tend grow fast for the first 60’ish days and the hemp cultivars generally sound strong – they get better quickly from the sheer amount of market demand.
The best time for seeding hemp should be based on the soil and weather conditions, instead of a certain date on a calendar. You can seed hemp as soon as two weeks before corn as long as there are optimum soil conditions. However, seeding should not start until soil temperatures reach 42 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (6 to 8 degrees Celsius) at a minimum. Hemp seed germinates in 24 to 48 hours, and within 5 to 7 days emerges with a warm temperature and good moisture. Hemp that is grown for fiber needs to be seeded as soon as possible, but hemp that is grown for grain needs to be seeded at a later time to minimize stalk height.
How Choice of Seeding Date Affects the Hemp Production Cycle
The seeding date can have numerous impacts on the production of hemp. The pros and cons will depend on the producer's individual situation. A limited amount of research has been conducted and in Western Canada, the following observations have been recorded:
An early seeding time of May 1 to 15, in general, results in a higher mortality rate that is the result of cold soil that causes seedling pathogens. Producers might want to consider using a higher rating rate in order to help compensate for the increased mortality rate. However, that also adds to the production cost. Taller plants with thicker stalks are also produced by an earlier seeding date. That is due to the lower plant populations and extended vegetative growing period. One important thing to note is that less bast fiber and more hurd fiber is produced by a thicker stalk, while a thinner stalk will produce more bast and less hurd.
As a consequence, the seeding date is a very important thing to consider depending on what the processor's individual requirements are.
It is not conclusive if an earlier seeding provides a yield advantage. There are numerous factors (i.e. moisture, soil temperature) that can impact yield. Earlier seeded crops may be more vulnerable to those factors. It is an area where additional research is needed.
For hemp production, a more ideal seeding date is a mid-range date of May 16 through June 10. Plant mortality is lower due to the fact that warmer soils give rise to quicker emergence. A uniform stand will result in better ease of harvest, seed maturation that is more uniform, and improved weed competition. Compared to an early seeding, the height of the plant is somewhat shorter.
Impact of Seeding Date on Harvest Date
The harvest date will not be impacted greatly by the seeding date as a result of the photoperiod effect.
It is not recommended to have a later seeding date of June 15 through July 7. This option should only be considered by producers as a last resort when no other cropping options are available to them. If weather conditions provide prolonged seeding intentions then a viable option might be over summer fallow. It is advised that producers review the economics given that there is no crop insurance available. It has been shown that plant height is shorter and yields are reduced.
When considering the seeding date it is import to know what the crop insurance deadlines are.