Growing Hemp At Oakley Farm – May 2022
By: Sarah Mitchell, Industrial Hemp Specialist
Plans are made to be changed, or so the expression goes. With April temperature averaging near 50F for the month, the herbicide
applied in March did not act quickly. The second tillage was done on April 28, later than expected. May started off equally cool with
frequent rain. After nearly three inches of rain over 48 hours on Mother’s Day weekend, the ground was saturated. Other farm tasks were also delayed. It looked like hemp planting would be pushed to the third week when other farm jobs were completed. Not so bad.
The 20th was a personal deadline.
Sometimes, Providence steps in. On May 9, the sun came out, wind blew steady and the soil dried out. On May 11, seed, fertilizer, workers and the borrowed planter were all available. We were prepared to plant!
On Thursday, May 12, soil moisture was perfect! The field was rototilled with two passes. Soil moisture was perfect. The seedbed was simply beautiful, with distinct visual differences between the forecrop treatments. Nine hemp varieties from three breeders were planted at ½ inch depth, and with the help of customer volunteers, properly labeled. Fertilizer was applied after planting. It rained a half inch over two days to settle the seed in nicely.
In four days, two varieties had emerged quickly. The nurse crops cereal rye and winter wheat were also growing. Volunteer weed growth was evaluated on May 23rd with some surprises, including herbicide phytotoxicity on the plot following corn.
Early vigor and establishment will be evaluated when the plants are ankle high. The second hemp field will be planted the first week of June with a single variety. It will be interesting to compare growth between varieties, as well as sowings nearly three weeks apart. Plan on an informative field day in August!