Swathing of hemp is not a common practice but it does have its place in some circumstances. Consider swathing for the following:
- Hemp production in arid locations i.e. Southern Alberta
- Areas of high winds to reduce plants rubbing each other causing shelling.
- Short varieties.
- To reduce aeration or drying requirements.
A field of Finola a few days before it’s ready for swathing
- Pick a window when there will not be rain.
- Swath and leave for 2 to 4 days to dry down. Combine before it is too dry. If the stems are too dry, the fibres in the stalk shatter and separate, causing fine fibres to wrap on bearings, chains, etc.
- Do not swath if rain is expected or if the soil surface is staying wet.
- If conditions are wet, hemp will sprout very quickly in the head and especially on the bottom of a swath.
- Seed in contact with the ground may develop mould, bacterial development and coliform contamination causing quality loss and downgrading of seed.
- Be aware seed contamination can occur from small stones, dirt, manure and other foreign material.
- Remember standing hemp will dry faster in damp conditions than swathed hemp