Harvesting Hemp

Hemp Harvesting in North America: When is hemp ready for harvest?  How does it happen?  In many parts of North America, the right time to harvest hemp is from mid-August to early October. How can you tell? Well, small-time farmers can just look at their hemp flowers. There are these tiny, mushroom-like parts called “trichomes.” If these trichomes change from a see-through appearance to a milky white, that means it’s time! Big hemp farms usually get their plants checked in a lab to make sure they have the right amount of cannabinoids (the active compounds in hemp). Some places even have rules saying you need to get them tested before harvest.
And let’s not forget the weather! Up north or in high places, farmers need to watch out for sudden cold weather, because hemp, though tough, can’t take severe frost. For those farming near the East or Gulf coasts, they need to be cautious about hurricanes since they happen around the same time as the harvest season.
Harvesting Basics:
Doing it By Hand
Why? Keeping it gentle keeps the flower in its best condition. This is especially important if the hemp is used for smoking.

How? It’s quite a workout! People usually use tools like machetes or special knives to cut the plants. The way you cut them depends on how you want to dry them. For drying on screens, cut them into smaller pieces. For hanging and drying, you can cut bigger parts.      

Using Big Machines for Hemp Biomass
What’s Hemp Biomass? This is hemp that’s grown on a big scale, mainly for making things like CBD and CBG extracts. It doesn’t need as gentle a touch as hemp flowers.
How? Farmers use big farming machines to quickly harvest large areas of hemp.

Drying Hemp
Why? Drying preserves the quality of the hemp. If not done right, the hemp could get moldy or lose its quality.
How? Farmers dry hemp under a covered area with fresh air flowing through. The goal is to reduce the water content to below 15%, but aiming for less than 12% is the gold standard. There’s also this method called ‘curing’ that takes longer, but it makes the hemp smell and taste even better.
After Drying? What happens next depends on what the hemp is used for. Some farmers send it as it is, some remove the hard inner parts, and some trim the leaves, keeping only the flowery bits. For those with a lot of hemp, they might use machines to help trim.

      So there you have it, from watching the tiny trichomes to drying under the right conditions, that’s how hemp gets from the field to being ready for use!

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