Fibre Production

Post-harvest Management of Hemp Fibre

Post-harvest management of hemp grown for fibre depends on the ultimate destination of the fibre.  Hemp contracted by textile industries has to be subjected to retting process before the next handling step of raking and baling. If no retting is required, windrows of hemp stalks can be made in preparation for baling as soon as the straw is sufficiently dry (12-16 %). 

Rotary rakes are recommended to handle hemp for both turning over stems during field retting process or forming windrows of dry straw in preparation for baling. Please note that the wheel rakes frequently used for hay management do not perform well with hemp since long tough stems easily wrap on the wheels making the windrowing process an inefficient task. 

Depending on the processing plant equipment, both big round balers and large square balers could be used to handle retted or unretted material straw. Small square balers are not suggested as they frequently wrap fibre in the pickup.

Bales made using sisal twine are desirable; however, if plastic net wraps or twine are used they must be removed prior to processing. Bales have to be made to maximum size to help keep trucking costs down.