Cover crops and no-till farming practices can improve soil health and increase the sustainability of cannabis production in areas where hemp is planted. Here are five tips for successfully implementing these methods into your farm business.

“The organic no-till farming book” is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the benefits of cover cropping and no-till. The author, David Pilz, provides detailed information on how to successfully implement these practices into your farm.



Those of us who began utilizing cover crops and no-till techniques to produce maize, soybeans, and small grains decades ago recall the difficulties we experienced.

In order to work out those new growth paradigms, we had to deal with challenges like selecting robust genetics and the right cover crops, adapting our planting equipment, and figuring out weed control choices.

Fast forward to today’s hemp production, and we’re still dealing with the same issues. The issue is compounded by the fact that hemp is a little seed that can only be planted a half-inch deep, and most of the genotypes are slow to emerge. But I’ve stuck it out over the last three years and have learned a lot about how to pull both CBD and fiber-type hemp out of the ground utilizing cover crops and no-till methods.

Selecting the Appropriate Cover Crop

When it comes to hemp farming, the kind of cover crop counts. The fiber hemp field that we utilized to make our hemp labyrinth attraction had been grown in a cereal rye mix. A section of the plot was planted with a combination that includes black oats, a cold-hardy winter oat.

Direct-seeded hemp sown directly into the black oats mix grew unrestricted, but cereal rye did not have as excellent emergence and was sluggish.

Seeing this reminded me of what I’d been teaching for years. The allelopathic impact of cereal rye is especially noticeable in inhibiting the germination of small-seeded broadleaf plants, such as hemp. Some things are learnt by accident rather than design.

I’ve also noticed that hemp, both transplanted CBD types and direct-seeded fiber hemp, grows nicely beneath hairy vetch. My preferred cover crop combination now includes black oats and hairy vetch.


Controlling weeds

When it comes to weed management in hemp, there are relatively few listed herbicide choices, but I am aware of numerous schools studying them, including Penn State.

Using a cover crop to suppress weeds is a sensible strategy, but it takes careful planning and execution.

It’s a given that you’ll take a consistent stance. Allowing it to develop as long as possible in the spring helps reduce weeds even more, but it will be more difficult to plant into and establish a healthy stand. Your best chance is to start with a field that has a history of minimal weed pressure.


Planting Equipment is being fine-tuned.

The majority of planters and drills are designed to plant bigger seeds at a depth of 1 inch or more. Hemp poses a unique issue since it needs only be planted half an inch deep.

Here’s what I learnt after hours of rearranging and rearranging our 15-inch planter.

Use aggressive row cleaners in conjunction with a sharp coulter. Install canola seed tubes in the shallow seed trench to guide the small seeds.

In addition to the Keeton seed firmers, we installed a Rebounder. Check that the closing wheels are properly spaced for shallow-planted seed. A excellent configuration, by the way, may also be utilized to sow a green cover crop.

A tiny seed plate will be needed to singulate the seeds and sow at the right low population for CBD-type hemp. Using a single disk drill for greater rates of fiber hemp might be difficult unless there is very little residue to cut through. Drills using coulters might be more effective. Set them up in the same way you’d grow alfalfa or grass.


Genetics That Work

This might be the most aggravating aspect, especially with CBD hemp. The majority of CBD genotypes, if not all, are grown in greenhouses before being transported to the fields. I’ve only got 60% germination with the finest CBD types I’ve direct-seeded. To satisfy this demand, I’m collaborating with a plant breeder to generate superior genetics.

Fiber and seed hemp varieties, on the other hand, are far superior because they have already been selected from a direct-seeding situation. Regardless, pay attention to the germination information on the seed tag, or better yet, do your own germination test to adapt to the desired emergence rate.


Fertility: An Overview

Hemp, like pumpkins and tomatoes, requires fecundity in all forms. Adjust the amount of applied inputs based on the cover crop’s potential and the level of soil health in the field.

Nothing beats firsthand knowledge of how to cultivate a good hemp crop utilizing cover crops and no-till techniques. Understanding these fundamental guidelines can help you get started in the correct path.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good cover crop for hemp?

A: That depends on the plant and how you want to use it. You can choose from many different types of covers for hemp, such as rye, millet, sorghum and soybeans. Some good cover crops include radish and turnips because they will help weed out weeds in your garden before they get a chance to take over.

What is a no till cover crop?

A: A no till cover crop is a type of agricultural practice where farmers plant crops in the same spot year after year without plowing. This allows for an even ground and higher yields than traditional agriculture which requires regular tilling to maintain soil quality.

How do you plant a no till cover crop?

A: You can plant a cover crop using the plant function in your Farming Simulator 19.

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