The hemp farming equipment necessary for a smooth and successful growing season will vary based on cultivation methods and hemp crop type. To understand what farming equipment is essential for hemp farm production, first consider the goal of the hemp crop in the first place.
Different Types of Hemp Crops
Hemp is a versatile plant used in several applications. It can help create clothing, bioplastics, food, fuel, building materials, insulation, and more. Hemp is also used in the production of many health and wellness materials, as well. This thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill and the consequent removal of hemp CBD from the Controlled Substance Act.
There are three primary types of hemp products: fiber, grain, and cannabinoids. Fiber crops grow tall and slender with minimal branching. Grain crops are shorter and bushier, encouraging seed development through pollinated flower production. Cannabinoid crops are similar stature to grain crops minus the seeds. Instead, cannabinoid hemp crops focus on the flower and thus cannabinoid production. Often, the cannabinoid of focus is cannabidiol (CBD), but some farmers grow cannabinoid hemp for CBG, as well.
Hemp Farming Equipment
Much of the hemp farming equipment necessary for hemp farming is the same for other crops, though some require modifications to accommodate the hemp crop itself. For example, fiber hemp farmers can use seed spreaders to broadcast seed throughout the farmland very quickly. Likewise, cannabinoid and grain hemp farmers can benefit from seed drillers to sew seed directly into the soil, or transplanters to distribute pre-germinated seeds and clones evenly into a field.
Combines are another standard hemp farming tool, used to harvest fiber hemp quickly and efficiently. However, because combines can damage the integrity of hemp plants, they are best used exclusively for fiber and textile production.
CBD hemp farmers should opt for CBD-specific hemp harvesters. These specially designed harvesters carefully cut each plant then place them carefully of a trailer while protecting bud structure.
Additional Equipment for CBD Hemp Farming
Though broadcast seed works well for fiber hemp farms, cannabinoid or CBD hemp farms witness higher quality and better yields when growing in raised beds with controlled drip irrigation systems. For the highest output with the least amount of effort, CBD hemp farmers should consider the following additional CBD hemp farming equipment.
- Raised Bed Shaper: Bed shapers help farmers prepare farmland for sewing and planting. They allow farmers to create raised beds to improve irrigation efficiency. Raised bed shapers attach to trailers to create beds between four and six inches high and about 30 inches wide.
- Plastic Mulch Layers and Lifters: Plastic mulch refers to a layer of plastic stretched along farm rows to conserve water, control weeds, and maintain ideal soil temperatures. Plastic mulch layers and lifters help farmers prepare soil beds by quickly laying or removing plastic mulch. These tractor attachments usually cost around $1000.
- Drip Irrigation Systems: Drip irrigation is ideal for CBD hemp farming for many reasons. First, drip irrigation improves efficiency by delivering water directly to the plant roots where it will absorb rather than evaporate. Drip systems also reduce mildew development and control weed growth. Additionally, drip systems allow for more precise nutrient applications by delivering the proper nutrient levels directly to root systems.
Hemp Processing Equipment
Most hemp processing involves decortication or the separation of external bast fibers from the internal hemp hurd. The process usually involves crushing and separating different components of hemp stalks but can include further refining methods, as well.
Processing hemp for CBD, however, is a much different process. CBD hemp flowers are delicate and require careful handling to reap their full value. Not only that but separating chemical elements from the hemp flower is much more involved than smashing and separating plant components. And why hemp farming equipment is important.
CBD hemp processors must use one of three standard cannabinoid extraction methods: solvent extraction, C02 extraction, or steam distillation. Many processors prefer CO2 extraction because it is safer and more efficient. However, the process requires — often pricey –specialized equipment. Though steam distillation is considerably cheaper to run, it is not as efficient and requires significantly more hemp biomass to produce the same results.
Solvent extraction is cheaper than CO2 extraction and more efficient than steam distillation but poses some concern regarding residual solvents. Many processors chose to refine solvent extracts further to improve purity and product quality.
CBD hemp processing equipment is advanced and explicitly targeted toward the cannabis cultivation community. It is not necessary for farmers to process their own CBD hemp, though. Many CBD hemp processors rent out their equipment or sell their processing services. Hence, CBD hemp farmers, processors, and sellers can bring to market valuable CBD products quickly and affordably.
Hemp Farming Equipment; When to Call a Consultant
Hemp farming is a lucrative endeavor, but not one for the faint of heart. If you’re considering starting a CBD hemp farm, contact us for guidance throughout the whole process. That’s right! We specialize in more than feminized hemp seeds. Our team of hemp farming experts can help you build your hemp farming fortune every step of the way.