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Before You Plant…


In Canada, Hemp is classified as a Controlled Substance, which means you must apply to Health Canada for a License to Cultivate Industrial Hemp. The process is straightforward, and UniSeeds can help with any questions you may have. Just remember, you will need to include maps with GPS coordinates marking the main corners/points of your field(s), and you must submit a current Criminal Reference Check from your local police detachment.

Crop Production Contract

Grain production contracts may be available for Industrial Hemp growers cultivating a minimum of 50 acres with their own combine, drying and storage capacity. Production contracts are normally required if you intend to apply for crop insurance.

Crop Production Insurance

Production insurance for Industrial Hemp is available in Ontario through Agricorp. Notify Agricorp of your intent to grow hemp or initiate a new customer application for production insurance by calling Agricorp Head Office at: 1.888.247.4999.

For those located outside of Ontario, production insurance for Industrial Hemp may be available in your province. Contact your appropriate crop insurance program provider to inquire.

Rotation/Field Preparation

Hemp is a heavy nutrient feeder so following a legume can work well but watch out for white mold carryover as hemp is susceptible and can lead to quality concerns.

Hemp is quite sensitive to residual herbicides so ground should be free of chemical residues (e.g. Pursuit). For conventional production, glyphosate application to control weeds pre-plant is a good option.

In most situations hemp responds better under conventional tillage conditions. No-till systems are very challenging with hemp, but success can be had in light sandy soil.



For Grain production, we recommend seeding 20 to 25 pounds of seed per acre at a depth of between 0.5” to 1.0″, between May 15-30, when ground temperatures have risen above 8 to 10°C.

Calibration of all seeding equipment is essential. If using an air seeder, use minimum fan speed as seed damage is possible.


Hemp responds well to N, P, K and S when soil nutrients are low. Soil testing is suggested to determine optimal fertilizing rates.

Total Plant (Kg.ha)

Grain (Kg/ha)


*Suggested Rates














70 to 90lb (Actual N)







35 to 40lb







As req’d per soil test






As req’d per soil test

Weed Control

Assure II herbicide is registered for hemp to control grass weeds. There are no registered products for broadleaf weed control; registration is in process for two additional herbicides.

For organic production, good tillage or intercropping may be viable weed control options.

Under good growing conditions and proper fertility, hemp should not require in-season chemical weed control.

Before Harvest…

THC Testing

In November 2016, Health Canada announced that THC testing of commercial hemp production fields was no longer required for any varieties on the List of Approved Cultivars. THC testing is still required for pedigreed seed production.


Combine preparation

We recommend using at least a Class 6 combine with draper head to harvest industrial hemp. Most newer machines can manage industrial hemp harvest with no modifications. In some older machines it may be advantageous to replace feeder house chains with belts or narrow the feeder house by placing plates on each side of feeder to minimize wrapping of fibre, in addition to replacing knives and guards. More modifications may be required on different makes of combines. Use caution. Observe all places any wrapping could occur and address the problem promptly. A soft underbelly of the machine with exposed shafts may pull stubble from the ground.


Crop should be taken off for grain when seeds begin to become exposed outside the protective bract. A field moisture level of 15% – 25% is ideal, usually between 100 to 120 days from planting. Straight cut the crop as high as is required to harvest seed from stalk. Combine settings will depend on conditions and type of combine. In general, setting the thresher for soybeans and setting the cleaning pans for oats is a good starting point.

Fibre Harvest (Optional)

Discbine and sickle mowers tend to work well. For self-propelled swathers, keep swath between 16ft-18ft.  Cut fibres as close to the ground as possible, within three days of grain harvest, in a path opposite to combine travel. You may be required to allow fibres to dry and ret in field depending on delivery specifications. Retting enables bast and shiv materials to be separated more easily after baling. Soft-core and hard core balers have both proven to be successful in the past. Bales should be at 14% or lower moisture and kept dry, preferably stored under cover.

After Harvest...


After harvest, the #1 priority is to dry the hemp to less than 9%. Dry within 4 hours or sooner using a batch grain dryer or aeration bin with full floor and large fan, with grain about 4-5 feet deep. Dry slow, at low temperatures, to avoid roasting/toasting the hemp.

***New growers are more likely to spoil a crop due to poor management at the drying stage than at any other time in the hemp production process. Any corn or wheat dryer will work but hemp cannot sit waiting to dry in a wagon, truck or bin without air. Heating can begin in less than 4 hours and spoilage can occur in less than 12 hrs. A crop can be a total write-off within 24 hours if poorly managed immediately after harvest.

Storage & Handling

Minimize damage to seed and grain by operating augers at full capacity and slowest possible speeds, similar to handling peas, beans, etc. Try to handle the grain as little as possible to prevent cracking or shelling of seed.

For long-term storage, cold and dry grain is essential. Hemp is susceptible to bacteria and mold growth. Prevent spoilage by watching for heating in the bin and monitoring moisture levels.  Higher moisture + Higher temperatures = conditions conducive for development of bacteria and molds.

Prevent other possible contamination by cleaning harvest and handling equipment, cleaning out bins and eliminating opportunities for rodents, birds, and other pests to get into stored grain prior to starting harvest and storage activities.

Residue Management

It is recommended to work any unharvested fibre back into the ground within one week of grain harvest for optimal results. Fibre can be rolled or disced into the soil. Wet soil conditions and dry fibre are a bad combination. The more frost the fibre gets, the more the bast fibre becomes tensile, which can be very problematic for equipment.