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Last updated: 2022, June 12



Modern technology of growing technical hemp for seeds and fibber. Cannabis agronomy indoor and outdoor



 Dr. Oleksii Orlov

PhD in Agriculture




Industrial hemp seeds are used to produce valuable hemp oil









The main uses of hemp (cannabis)

Crop rotation for technical hemp

Technical hemp fertilizing

Varieties of technical hemp

Soils for hemp

Soil preparation and soil tillage for hemp

Technical hemp seeds

How to sow hemp? Seeding of technical hemp

Growing of technical hemp No-Till / Strip-Till

Technical hemp harvesting


Contact Agricultural Consulting to create a profitable business, business planning, project management and consulting!






The main uses of tecnical hemp (cannabis)


It should be noted that there are several main areas of hemp use, and, accordingly, several ways to grow it:

  • Growing hemp for fibber

  • Dual use of hemp (for oil seeds and fibber)

  • Dual use of hemp (fibber and feed)

  • Growing cannabis for oil seeds

  • Cultivation for medical purposes - medical cannabis (not allowed in some countries)

  • Growing for smoking purposes (not allowed in some countries)

Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

The production of CBD hemp for medicinal purposes is legal in some countries. This hemp is processed and used for the production of medicines. The cultivation of CBD hemp is highly regulated by the government. In the photo - industrial cultivation of medical cannabis. Contact us already now for cannabis consulting service!


When growing special varieties of industrial hemp for seeds, reduced seeding rates are used, and seed harvesting is carried out by high-performance harvesters.


Sowing of industrial hemp will give a high yield and high profits only in case of proper planning of costs and compliance with all aspects of the technology of growing this crop. Contact Agricultural Consulting to create a profitable business and consulting!



Crop rotation for technical hemp


Hemp tolerates monoculture fairly well. But unfortunately, like any broad-leaved crop, it requires rotation with cereal crops in the crop rotation.

One example of a crop rotation system would be industrial hemp - potatoes - industrial hemp - silage corn.

The best precursor for hemp is winter wheat and corn for grain or silage.


Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

The technology of industrial hemp cultivation should be developed taking into account local characteristics. At the photo - nitrogen (N) deficiency of cannabis. Contact us already now for hemp agronomy service!



Technical hemp fertilizing

Cultivation of hemp requires the application of a sufficient annual amount of organic and mineral fertilizers. A feature of the nutrition of the hemp plant is its more active absorption of nitrogen and less potassium, which must be taken into account when planning a crop rotation system or fertigation in hemp greenhouse.



Varieties of technical hemp

There are many varieties of hemp, depending on the direction of use. In this section, we will provide a description of the Ukrainian varieties of drug-free technical hemp.

The latest developments of breeders are varieties of drug-free hemp Victoria, Glyana and Nika.

Varieties of drug-free technical hemp


Vegetation period, days

Stem height, cm

Straw yield, t/ha

Seed yield, t/ha























Institute of Bast Cultures NAAS.

Authors of the variety - I.M Lajko, V.G. Vyrovets, I.I. Sherban, G.I. Kirichenko, V.P. Sitnik

Monoecious plants - plants in which unisexual flowers male (stamen) and female (pistil) are on the same plant.

Vegetation period - 115 - 120 days.

The fiber content is 30.0 to 32.0%.

The content of the plane is 0%.

The THC content is 0%.

Crop yields: straw - 7.5 - 8.0 t / ha; seeds - 1.0 - 1.2 t / ha.

Fiber quality indicators: - breaking load - 30 - 38 daN; - linear density - 30 - 35 tex; - number - 7.0 - 7.5.



Institute of Bast Cultures NAAS.

Authors of the variety - I.M. Lajko, V.G. Virovets, G.I. Kirichenko, I.I. Sherban, С.В. Mishchenko, M.D. Blinking

Monoecious plants - plants in which unisexual flowers male (stamen) and female (pistil) are on the same plant.

Vegetation period - 115 - 120 days.

The fiber content is 28.0 to 30.0%.

Plane content - 0% The THC content is 0%.

Crop yields: straw - 7.5 - 8.0 t / ha; seeds - 1.7 - 2.0 t / ha

Fiber quality indicators: breaking load - 32 - 40 daN; linear density - 32 - 42 tex; number - 6.0 - 6.5.

The variety has high seed yield. Year of registration: 2016


Soils for hemp

For hemp, the most suitable for growing are highly fertile lowland soils and pubescent peatlands with a groundwater level of not less than 0.75 m from the soil surface.


When growing technical hemp, it is very important to properly protect crop from pests, diseases and weeds. Contact Agricultural Consulting to create a profitable business and consulting!



Soil preparation and soil tillage for hemp


When growing technical hemp, use different tillage systems:

  • plowing

  • deep loosening or chiselling

  • disking

  • combined tillage

  • No-Till and Strip-Till

  • Vertical tillage

  • Combinations of different tillage methods


Photo by Kym MacKinnon on Unsplash

During the cultivation of technical hemp is very important not only the correct tillage, but also compliance with all other agronomic measures


Tillage is one of the main measures to ensure the accumulation of moisture, preventing the reproduction of pests and diseases.


Photo source: Orthman

The hemp tillage system consists of basic autumn, early spring and pre-sowing tillage. As in the case of tillage for wheat, the entire tillage system for growing technical hemp can be done in 1-3 passes. In the photo - strip tillage Strip-Till using the machine Orthman 1tRIPr®


After the previous stubble crops, an improved tillage method is recommended, including stubble peeling in two tracks: the first to a depth of 5-6 cm with disc light or medium disc harrows and the second after 10-12 days to a depth of 14-16 cm with cultivators (preferably stubble cultivators) in the unit with ring-spur rollers.

Plowing is carried out after the application of organic and mineral fertilizers. Or apply fertilizers at the same time as chisel plowing or Strip-Till.

The classic system of growing technical hemp assumes that the depth of plowing directly depends on the system of fertilizer application. If only mineral fertilizers are used, it is necessary to plow to a depth of 20 - 22 cm. If organic fertilizers are used, it is necessary to plow to a depth of 27 cm.

It is desirable to do plowing with simultaneous back leveling of the soil (by means of special rollers which are aggregated with a plow). On soils with a small layer of humus, plowing should not be done by inverting or mixing the soil layers.

There is a positive experience in the cultivation of technical hemp, No-Till and Strip-Till.

Growing of technical hemp for seed in Canada



Technical hemp seeds

When growing technical hemp, the level of yield largely depends on the quality of the seeds.

Conditioned seeds must be well-ripened, rounded, and have a high field germination.

Sowing technical hemp seeds with germination below 85% becomes economically impractical, as it further leads to the loss of seed material. It is strongly recommended not to increase the seeding rate, as this will result in a correspondingly low seed yield.

High germination of technical hemp seeds can be obtained only by complying with a number of requirements: compliance with seed maturity, harvesting dates, threshing techniques, post-harvest ripening period, humidity, drying conditions, storage conditions and duration, injury, size, etc.

Technical hemp seeds are brought to sowing conditions by primary cleaning, drying, sorting, calibration and pickling.

For cleaning of a heap of hemp it is recommended to apply cleaners OVP - 20A, OVS - 25, for secondary cleaning - SVU-5 or MS - 4,5, OS - 4,5A, "Petkus giant", "Pektus super" K 541 and others. The given maschines allow to receive necessary quality of seeds for one pass. Increasing the number of passes leads to injury to the seeds, which negatively affects the quality of the seed.

Hemp responds very well to the treatment of seeds with fungicides: Vitavax (UPL), Kinto-Duo (BASF), Vincit (FMC), Rancona (UPL) and the treatment of seeds with humates and fertilizers for seeds. In some cases, insecticides and mixed fungicide + insecticide preparations are used to treat the hemp seeds.


How to sow hemp? Seeding of technical hemp

How to sow hemp? Most often, hemp is sown by seeds, in a wide row (45-70 cm)  or propagated by clones (seedlings).

The term of sowing of technical hemp is of great importance for obtaining stable and high yields.

The sowing period of hemp depends on weather conditions, moisture reserves, soil type, etc.

Sowing of technical hemp by classical technology with the help of a precision seed drill


Sowing of scientific plots of technical hemp


Studies show that it is effective to carry out early sowing in a period when the average daily soil temperature at a depth of 5 cm is 8 - 10 °C.

In temperate climates, the optimal sowing period is March-early April, and in the northeastern regions - late April - early May.

At the beginning of the last century, it was believed that the optimal sowing rate of technical hemp for all soil types is 6 to 6.5 million germinating seeds per 1 ha. Based on many years of research, it was determined that with the introduction of new high-fiber varieties, including monoecious hemp without narcotic properties, the direction of different uses of crops, the approach to the application of norms and methods of sowing technical hemp has changed.

At double use of technical hemp, depending on reproduction of crops make:

  • wide-row method with rows of 45 or 60 cm

  • tape two-row method with a row spacing of 45 cm, and between the tapes 15 cm

  • the usual line method with a seeding rate of 0.9 - 2.4 million germinating seeds per 1 ha

Photo by Crispin Jones on Unsplash

Технологии выращивания технической конопли и медицинской конопли очень сильно различаются, также отличается и технология выращивания конопли на семена. Также медицинскую коноплю выращивают indoor и в теплицах. Техническую коноплю выращивают обычно в полевых условиях


The thickening of the technical hemp stem helps to increase the yield and quality of straw and fiber. The stems are becoming more technologically advanced, with a smaller diameter and a high fiber content.

On a fertilized background, the optimal sowing rates of technical hemp for greens are 4.0 - 4.5 million units/ha of germinating seeds. This ensures high yield and fiber quality. A further increase in the seeding rate is inexpedient from an economic point of view and only leads to irrational use of seed.


Growing of technical hemp No-Till / Strip-Till

Technical hemp is grown both according to traditional technology, and according to No-Till and Strip-Till.


Seeding of technical hemp using No-Till technology



Technical hemp harvesting

Harvesting is a decisive and main stage in the process of growing industrial hemp, as well as one of the most labor-intensive operations in the technological scheme of growing this crop.


Photo source: Tractorspotter

Dual use of hemp (fiber and feed). Harvesting hemp fiber with a modified Claas Xerion 4000 with hemp fiber lifting mower. The harvester separates the protein-rich foliage from the stem and stores it in a hopper at the rear of the machine. This plant mass is used as animal feed. The fiber-rich stems are left on the ground, after which they are pressed into bales and then processed into composite materials such as door panels in cars or insulation materials


The harvesting technology of technical hemp differs from the harvesting technologies of other agricultural crops, as it requires a whole range of special machinery and equipment. And all this is due to the fact that Cannabis contains fibrous components. When harvesting, the fiber is wound around the working bodies, which rotate and do not allow cleaning with the help of classical harvesting equipment. In addition, hemp harvesting technology is closely related to the subsequent primary processing of the crop.


Harvesting hemp for seeds with a specially equipped harvester


All classic harvesting options for industrial hemp are intended to be preserved at harvest for subsequent production of long fibers from them.

If the parallel arrangement of the stems is not a prerequisite, that is, obtaining a long fiber is not the main task, other examples of technology can be used. In this case, it is possible to use more productive and versatile agricultural machines for harvesting, in particular grain harvesters, which allow harvesting in a short time frame, while minimizing seed losses.

Today, in the USA, France and other European countries, hemp seed crops are harvested using various combine harvesters: Case, Claas, John Deer, Massey Ferguson, etc.

The technological process of harvesting industrial hemp seeds with a combine harvester includes cutting the stems at a height of up to 150 cm with a cutting machine and threshing the mowed mass in a threshing machine. Further, the selected seeds after cleaning are transported to the bunker, and the stem part is placed on the ground in a swath. After harvesting the seed material by grain combines, a cut part of the stems remains in the field, the collection of which, according to accepted technologies, is prevented by a tangle of heaps and broken stems after the passage of the combine. Some manufacturers of industrial hemp do not pay much attention to the collection of stem residues, since this technology is aimed at obtaining seeds, and the stem part is recycled.

For harvesting seed crops, choose combines based on the condition of the crops. So on a stem plant with a plant height of 110-130 cm, the cutting height of the seed part of the stems is in the range of 50-70 cm, so ordinary combine harvesters can also be used on such hemp crops.

Photo source © AgrarBlick

Harvesting technical (drug-free) hemp seeds for subsequent production of hemp oil


Straw and stalks can be used for short fibers (textile direction), energy purposes (for heating in the form of pellets or briquettes), as building material (composites, fillers, etc.), and as a raw material for the pulp industry (papermaking).

It is advisable to harvest the technical hemp stems during their natural drying.


Harvesting technical hemp seeds. On the video - harvesting seeds of technical hemp. Modern varieties of industrial hemp, intended only for seed production, often do not have a large vegetative mass, but they give an excellent yield of oil seeds


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