Cultivation and Processing

The Hemp Plant:

Industrial hemp is made up of varieties of cannabis sativa that contains a low percentage of THC. It is an annual broadleaf plant with a taproot and is capable of very rapid growth under ideal growing conditions.The female flowers and seed set are indeterminate, meaning that the seeds continue to develop and mature over an extended period of time. This means there are both ripe and immature seeds on the same plants at time of grain harvest.

Cultivation:

When grown as a fiber crop, hemp may grow to a height of 2-4 m without branching. In dense plantings, the bottom leaves atrophy due to the exclusion of sunlight. Male plants die back after shedding pollen. The stem has an outer bark that contains the long, tough bast fibers. They are similar in length to soft wood fibers and are very low in lignin content. These give the quality and strength for which hemp is renowned. The core contains the hurds, or short fibers, similar to hard wood fibers, that are useful in other applications like particleboard or horse bedding. For grain production, the plants may branch and reach heights of only 2-3 m. Tall plants do not necessarily produce more grain than short ones. Shorter plants are preferred for combining. In well-structured and well-drained soils, the taproot may penetrate 15-30 cm deep. In compacted soils, the taproot remains short and the plant produces more lateral fibrous roots

Processing:

Every part of the hemp plant has the potential to become a commercial product in the global industry, depending on cultivation approach and processing methods. The most common applications are:

Seed: Food, Cosmetics, Fuel, Paint, Lubricants, Animal Feed, Protein Powder
Fiber: Paper, Textile, Automotive Panelling, Rope, Caulk, Canvas, Carpets, Twine
Herd: Animal Bedding, Building Materials, Insulation