Compared to other crops, hemp is a high maintenance and expensive plant. Seed expense, irrigation setup, and licensing are significant upfront costs, not to mention labor. Planting, checking for males, weeding, and fixing leaks requires multiple people on the farm nearly every single day to keep operations running smoothly. The only way to cut back on labor without sacrificing quality is to purchase expensive specialized equipment. While these operating costs are generally accounted for, here are the three areas of farming hemp that may come as a surprise.
Labor Intensity of Harvesting
Harvesting is without a doubt the most backbreaking and labor-intensive part of hemp farming. For a 40-acre hemp farm, it could take 40 people 40 days to harvest the crop if everything is done by hand. Investing in a stripper header harvester attachment can save you time and money in the long run if you are willing to pay the upfront cost. If you are looking for an alternative to hand harvesting, Sunnyland Kansas offers a stripper header harvesting service. With our mechanized stripper header, we can harvest 10 acres of hemp per day at a fraction of the cost. Click here for more information.
Urgency of Drying
Drying is the most underestimated piece of hemp farming. Once harvested, hemp biomass can start to compost within a few hours if the drying process hasn't begun. Space can also be an issue. It could take 2,500 to 3,000 square feet to hang dry one acre, with an average plant size of one to two pounds. You can minimize the space required by hand shucking the plants and laying the buds out on stacked tray tables, but this method requires additional labor and material cost. If you don't have the space to dry your crop properly, another option is to dry with Sunnyland. You can check out our drying services here.
Upfront Extraction Fees
If you plan to take your product to distillate or isolate, be prepared to spend on the front-end. Extractors are moving away from a split model and going towards toll processing which requires an upfront fee. You can expect to pay between $5-7 per pound to get your biomass to distillate. If you have 2,000 pounds of biomass, the fee could be over $10,000.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to contact us for more information. We are here to help!