Following state testing and approval of our plants’ THC levels, our first field of Autoflower hemp plants were ready for harvest this week.
Once plants have been tested and approved by the state, the crop must be harvested within 15 days.
As this was our first harvest, we’ve spent the past several months waiting with anticipation. We watched as our seeds germinated in our greenhouse, we gently pressed them into the earth and wished them prosperity as we planted our field, and we diligently watered and weeded as Iowa suffered through drought. Slowly but surely, our plants grew and sprouted buds, and we were finally able to let out a sigh of relief.
On Wednesday, September 16, within the 15-day harvest time frame, we assembled a crew of family and friends on our farm in North Central Iowa and gathered our plants, placing them in large cardboard boxes for transfer to our drying shed south of Webster City.
The plants, now strung upside-down like long strands of fragrant garland, will dry out and eventually find their way back into boxes for transport, eventually making their way to a processing plant, where they will be turned into high-quality, organic CBD oil.
Timing is an important element in growing hemp. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD concentrations have a linear correlation–as the amount of one increases, the other does, too. Because of that correlation, it is critical that the plants are harvested as soon as testing shows nearly the maximum concentration of THC. THC is the chemical responsible for marijuana’s intoxicating effect. This is why it is important to closely monitor hemp’s THC concentration and harvest the plants before the chemicals spike. The law allows hemp plants to contain 0.3% THC; crops that surpass that limit must be destroyed.
Because our crop this year is fairly small and we’re testing several varieties of hemp, we will have multiple mini-harvests in the coming weeks, following state testing and approval of each variety.
Now that we’ve got one harvest under our belt, we’ve got ideas for how to improve in the next round. If you are an Iowa hemp farmer and have questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A special thank you to Michael, Kyle, Trent, Mikael, Megan, Maureen, Don, Kathy, Arlin, and Bryan for their support and hard work in the field and drying shed!