Industrial hemp, also known as non-psychoactive hemp, refers to the cannabis Sativa plant that is grown specifically for industrial use, and it should not be confused with psychoactive marijuana. Industrial hemp focuses on using the hemp plant material, which is composed of the stalk, seeds, and leaves of the plant and marketed as a seed, fiber, or dual-purpose crop.
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Because hemp is a versatile plant, there are many applications for hemp that range from clothing and beauty products to building materials and biofuel.
The Best Processing Environments for Hemp Products
For the industrial Hemp Processing Equipment cycle and cultivation process to go as expected and yield an optimal harvest, growing conditions on hemp farms must remain stable and free from pests and diseases. While hemp can grow in a wide variety of soils, it tends to thrive on nitrogen-rich land non-acidic; this type of property is also ideal for growing corn. Therefore, soil tests to evaluate soil fertility and determine nutrient management are necessary for hemp cultivation. Hemp also prefers milder climatic conditions with a humid atmosphere.
Limit exposure to the elements, which can introduce dust and other contaminants.
The Different Uses and Processing of Industrial Hemp
From the roots to the leaves, each component of the hemp plant can be processed and made into an industrial hemp product. Therefore, the harvesting and processing methods depend on the intended application.
The hemp stalk is one of the most versatile components of the plant. It can be used to make rope, paper, insulation, building materials, and animal bedding. The stalk’s bast fibers are used to make hemp textiles, and they can be blended with other fibers. CBD extracts also come from the plant’s stalks and stems through the process of CBD isolation.
Processing for the Hemp Plant’s Flowers and Seeds
Getting the timing right to harvest for seed production can be tricky because seeds mature at varying rates, with different seeds growing at various times on the same plant. Sometimes, the lower seeds near the stalk will have already grown and split open, while the seeds at the top aren’t ready. The challenge of hemp harvesting is to do it when there is the least risk of losing seeds. Premature accumulation will only result in non-viable seeds.
Processing for the Hemp Plant’s Stalks
Harvesting for fiber production usually begins when plants are in early bloom. Historically, the collection was done manually by hemp farmers to ensure the stalks would not be damaged. The core or the hurd is separated from the fiber by hand. Because of the fiber’s strength, pulling it from the stalks took a lot of manual force. Today, technology allows hemp crop harvesting and processing to be done by machines with equipment that is advanced enough to take care of the careful separation of the hemp fiber from the stalk.
After decortication, the fiber is scutched and hackled. Scutching refers to the dressing of the hemp in preparation for spinning. The process separates the impurities from the raw material, such as seed particles and other matter. Scutching was once done by hand, but it is now done by a machine called a scutcher. Scutching hemp results in long fibers called lines. Hackling or combing removes the hard particles and broken fibers and helps align the fibers in a continuous sliver.
The Best Equipment to Process Hemp Fiber
During the bulking phase, the best destemming equipment will not pull or pop the delicate hemp flowers but rather, cuts them gently off the stem. When they are cut in this manner, there’s a minimal risk that the large crown buds will fall apart into small pieces. The goal is to keep the structure of the buds intact and fully preserved.