Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Due to the emerging nature of the industry and the small number of data points that past economic studies have been able to collect, there are no current, universally respected cost of production and marketing statistics or calculations for industrial hemp production. New entrants to the crop need to gather information and calculate costs.
Many other factors are involved in the cost of production. The cost of seed varies according to variety. See the Canadian Seed Grower Association website and check the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance Links for seed suppliers.
Crop insurance for hemp varies from province to province. It is recommended that you check with government insurance programs prior to growing the crop.
Currently there is only one herbicide registered for use on hemp and that is Assure II. Work is underway provincially as it relates to minor use. For additional information refer to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada sites.
Many farmers are using their current machinery as is or with slight modification to harvest equipment at minor costs. For modification suggestions see the section entitled Harvest Management in this eGuide.
For safety concerns, some farmers have on-field water pumping equipment available during harvest.
Hemp producers should carefully evaluate the economics of production and develop strategies for achieving low cost production. Individual producers need to understand these factor for their enterprises to be profitable.
New entrants are encouraged to grow limited acres (under 300 acres/121 ha) of hemp in the first year to establish an understanding of the management requirements of the crop.
Industrial hemp prices have varied over the years. Hemp may provide one of the highest returns with current grain prices alone.
Yields from hemp grain are variable. For dryland in Alberta, a conservative average is 800 lbs/acre (850 kg/ha), with yields significantly higher for irrigated crops. In 2014 one major buyers was paying $0.80 to $0.84 per lb based on yields of 500 lbs/acres with right of first refusal "in specification' quantities above this amount. In 2014, certified organic grain was approximately 1.5 times the per lb price of conventional.