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Salvaging Hemp Fibre

Some growers preserve post-grain harvest straw in anticipation for upcoming market opportunities for the fibre.  This approach involves baling the straw right after combining, which means that the retting process (see fibre retting section) is often omitted. If grain was combined with tables elevated to about 2-3 feet above the ground, the post combine tall stubble could be cut with a discbine (with lowest possible conditioner pressure) or swather (swath width must be narrower than baler width) and subsequently baled or handled in a way described above (burning, raking).

Some existing hemp fibre buyers require retted hemp for their applications. In such instances, grain type (or eventually dual purpose) varieties could be winter retted, which implies leaving hemp straw residues on the ground until the spring, followed by baling when the straw is sufficiently dry (12-16 %). 

Hemp Straw

Research is being conducted to optimize winter retting methods for different fibre applications. In the areas experiencing sufficiently long periods of warm fall weather with occasional rain events, allows the retting process to be completed (see fibre retting section), the baling could be done before winter’s arrival. This approach leaves more time in the spring to prepare fields for new crop production.