Diving deep into hydroponic greenhouse hemp production

“The cannabis market in general has been an underground space for a while, it didn’t really reach academic testing,” Colin Clark, technical horticulturist with CropKing, says. “Because of this, there are limited protocol that growers can resort to in order to better understand how to operate a large-scale cannabis operation. And the hemp situation is, of course, very similar.” With the recent Farm Bill, many agricultural growers were enticed by hemp for the value of the crop. “Growers jumped into this quickly and treated hemp as an ag commodity, like corn,” Colin points out. “However, a lot of knowledge on cannabis came from these underground growers, and this knowledge is not based on scaled up agricultural entities. Similarly, the technology coming out of the illegal space is not tuned to traditional large-scale cultivation. And this is exactly where the workshop organized by CropKing comes in.”

Colin Clark, technical horticulturist

Deep dive into hemp greenhouse growing
CropKing, a greenhouse supply company, has been active since 1982. They are specialized in greenhouse structures. With the recent boom of hemp and cannabis, the company has decided to offer its services to these growers as well. The workshop “Hydroponic Greenhouse Hemp Production” will be held in Fort Collins, Colorado, from April 30th to May 2nd. Participants will be fully immersed in the nuances of greenhouse hemp production, by visiting a 5,000 sq.ft. hemp greenhouse growing smokable hemp flowers. “We will show them the different stages of growing, and they will have a hands-on experience of what growing hemp at scale entails,” Colin points out.

“Last year was tough for hemp growers,” Colin says. “The CBD market was hard last year for the many people who jumped in. The new angle is that of smokable hemp flowers, which means adapting to what high THC cannabis growers have been doing. However, hemp is not as expensive as high THC cannabis, and therefore you cannot grow them using the same methods and hope to be profitable. Growing in a greenhouse would ensure top-quality hemp flowers, thus allowing a grower to tackle this very profitable market segment. Among the many benefits, a greenhouse would allow for better cloning and breeding, especially considering the new CBG coming out.”

Getting hands dirty
Colin continues to explain that during the three days of the workshop, attendees will spend an equal amount of time in the classroom and in the hemp greenhouse. “In the classroom setting, we will touch upon the science behind the growing: we will provide the basis and teach attendees what is necessary for the plant. The second half of the day will be spent in the greenhouse, where participants can see with their own eyes what has been discussed in class, but mostly, they can get their hands dirty.”

Most of the classes will be led by Colin Clark himself, but there will also be guest speakers lending their expertise to the students. “Paul from CropKing will join us as well to discuss greenhouse structural design,” Colin explains. “There will also be other experts coming to discuss genetics and the extraction side of the things.”

From seed to sale
One of the most important concepts in a greenhouse hemp grow, according to Colin, is how plants are pruned. “It affects the total yield,” says he. “This specific operation is one of the things that truly sets hemp apart from other crops such as cucumbers or tomatoes, for instance. You need to know when is the right time to prune in order to give a uniform structure to the plant; but then, for a successful grow, you also need to consider what kind of crop management is possible to carry out, as well as the nutrient management and so on. During the workshop, we will discuss all of these and even more: we will touch upon everything, from seed to sale.”

Managing a hemp greenhouse at maximum efficiency is crucial if you are going  to be profitable in such a market. “You need to understand how cheaply and efficiently you can do this,” Colin remarks. “We are going for the long run, and the goal is to produce hemp for 100-200 dollars per pound. Hemp is going to be similar to other agricultural crops, but it will be much better than other crops, in terms of profits.”

Click here to check the program and to register

For more information:
T: +1 330-302-4203

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