It doesn’t matter how beautiful your crop was in the field, if you can’t get it harvested, dried and cured properly – all your growing time will be worth nothing.
“You don’t have anything until it’s completely harvested and finished,” advises Cory Sharp, president and founder of HempLogic™. “Think of it like you’ve got a prize bull and it’s worth $30 million and he dies the day before the auction.”
Hemp can come out of the field with as much as 85 percent moisture content. It has to be properly dried before it can be sent to a processor. Typically, 20 percent moisture or less. Drying and curing preserves the integrity of the crop and ensures a wide spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes in your final testing. Your sales will depend on those final testing numbers.
The general rule of thumb has been you need about 20,000 square feet of drying space per acre of hemp biomass. Or for about 3000 plants, you will need about 15,000 square feet of barn drying space.
But those numbers are fluid, and there are many new innovations farmers are coming up with to properly dry their hemp biomass.
John Tucci, vice-president of sales at HempLogic, said there are many solutions farmers are still trialing. He’s seeing shelving systems, elaborate hanging processes and containers used for drying rooms.
A lot of it depends on the scale of your operation, and what final end product you are going for. Are you concentrating on smokable dried CBD flower buds? Or trimming just buds and minimal stalks for premium distillate? Or are you trying to capture all the potential in your entire plant’s biomass?
A vigorous, well-branched and well-budded crop has a high risk of getting mold, fungus and bacteria in that final drying stage. Issues that could potential degrade an otherwise amazing crop to the point of being un-sellable.
Hanging plants upside down is a common practice. However, as the plants dry, the branches act like a closing umbrella and will trap moisture in the middle. Break off individual branches and hang them individually, not the whole plant. It takes more labor but reduces the risk of mold and mildew.
Ideally, temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees and at 60 percent humidity for drying. A slower drying process with good ventilation produces a better product in the end than getting hot and dried fast.
But remember, Tucci stresses, to ‘protect the crops integrity.’ You can’t dry hemp biomass like you do tobacco. Ventilation is key but blowing too much movement on the crop will result in CBD loss.
As one of the earliest to grow hemp for CBD production, HempLogic has developed a proprietary system of drying and curing hemp biomass and will be offering that service to their customers this year.
Contact HempLogic for more information about our drying services.
HempLogic, America’s largest vertically integrated company, believes in putting farmers and customers first. We provide ethical, trust-worthy and no-nonsense partnership to committed hemp farmers and industry partners. HempLogic offers certified hemp seeds, hemp farming education, contract, business and legal consulting, testing services, biomass brokering and drying capabilities.