Good fertility in organic production systems requires good management of the fields prior to hemp production. This is achieved by:
- Crop rotations and fertility enhancement before seeding hemp. Hemp can be a large plant that requires high soil nutrient levels to maximize production.
- Growing hemp following alfalfa.
- Using annual nitrogen fixing cover crops such as sweet clover, fababeans, peas etc. the year before seeding hemp.
- Seed the annual legume the year before and plow down in late summer. This will also help with weed control.
- Incorporating all stubble and trash from previous crops to increase organic matter.
- Utilizing manure and compost if available.
- Allowing fibre to rett in the field after grain harvest. Nutrients are captured in the stalks of the hemp plant. These nutrients in the stalk are quickly leached out and returned to the soil after a few rains making them available for the next year’s crop. If the fibre is removed without retting, the soil nutrients will be greatly reduced over time.
- Using fallow.
It is suggested that producers refer to organizations such as their provincial organic certifying agencies, provincial ag consultants and resources and the national organic agency for additional resources.