Hemp Fertilizer: Does It Really Matter?
In our Hemp Cultivation Landscape report, we explore what matters most to cultivators and manufacturers across the industry including clones, seeds, and fertilizer. Cloned material is largely preferred over seeds to ensure that only female plants are produced to avoid “hot” crops. Seeds have a 50% chance of being male; harvest from male plants will have to be destroyed as it will be too high in THC (>0.3%). Of those growers that do use seeds over clones, they are sourcing them from a few select states across the country. The use of fertilizer and added nutrients varies widely across cultivators.
Hemp Fertilizer Preferences
There seems to be three schools of thought regarding hemp cultivation and fertilizer use:
- Fertilizer is unnecessary.
These farmers believe that one of the benefits of growing hemp is that it requires no additional fertilizers or feeds.
- Little additional nutrients are needed, so budget should be small.
These farmers used less expensive options for nutrients such as rabbit pellets, bat droppings, digestate from local power plants, etc.
- Hemp requires additional nutrients.
Of those that do use fertilizer, they say hemp requires nutrients similar to those of corn. These growers are using fertilizer throughout the grow cycle, adding nutrients and beneficial bacteria.
There are several steps in the growing process when farmers may apply fertilizer. Most farmers that use fertilizer apply nutrients to the soil prior to or immediately following planting.
2019 Hemp Industry Outlook
About 87% of the hemp grown in the US is expected to be used for CBD processing in 2019. Though there are potential risks associated with hemp farming, many farmers have decided to cultivate hemp for CBD processing because the potential benefits outweighs many of these risks. Hemp farming offers a chance for family farms facing low commodity prices for corn and dairy to increase their incomes and pass down their farm to the third or fourth generation. On a per acre level, hemp for CBD could potentially lead to revenue of over $40,000, compared to less than $1,000 per acre for corn.
As hemp cultivation in the United States rapidly increases, cultivators and manufacturers are wondering: does fertilizer really matter when growing hemp?