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MEMBER POST: Hemp Fiber planting and harvesting in Kendall County Illinois

Updated: Jun 30, 2023



Currently, 2023 has gifted us the challenge of very dry weather in April and May (only an inch of rain), so we sprayed our rows with water from the Fox River which flows along our property.

Transferring river water into 55 gallon barrels. 6-17-23
Generac semi-trash pump. 6-17-23
Using a Generac Clean Water pump to spray crop. 6-17-23
Using a Generac Clean Water pump to spray crop. 6-17-23
Part of plot 1 (of 4) planted 5-31-23. Growth as of 6-11-23. Dry.
Growth as of 6-19-23. Dry conditions; at least they are alive.
Growth as of 6-24-23, a few days after hand watering. Noticeable growth.

Our adventure with Hemp fiber is in its fourth year now. In 2019 Hemp fiber agriculture was allowed by our government, and so in 2020, we cleared and planted four plots above the flood plain along the Fox River in northern Illinois. To do that we had to clear the land by removing bushes, weeds, grass clumps, and small trees. We dug out large rocks and sawed fallen logs. We measured and staked out fencing.


These four plots total one acre, and have a variety of conditions including wet drainage, well drained, full sun, full shade, and all with slight slopes. The plots are bounded with reused old sheep fencing topped off with three strands of 40 lb fishing line to discourage deer.


The first year we did not amend the soil. In 2021 we added a minor amount of 19-19-19 NPK, and in 2022 we used manure. This year 2023 we did not amend. We have not cleared or tilled after harvest, and it's taken three years of considerable effort to get the land somewhat under control with grass and weeds.


We've planted in early May, mid-May, early June, and late May. Harvests have been in mid-August.


In 2020 we planted Hlessia (Ukraine) with short plant growth. In 2021 we planted Futura 75 (France) and Bialobrzeskie (Poland) with excellent results. In 2022 we planted as we did in 2021 but with only 10% emergence (failure). In 2023 we've planted Futura 83 (France).


The following photos are from our start in 2020 and from our best harvest in 2021.


2020:

2020 - plot 1 un-cleared land.
2020 - plot 1 un-cleared land.
2020 - plot 1 cleared and ready for tilling
2020 - plot 1 - Repurposed fencing and stakes, with guide lines.
2020 - plot 1 - Greg raking the vegetation.
2020 - plot 1 - John tilling.
2020 - plot 1 - mid-May big rains create a wash out forcing a replant
2020 - late June, plots 3 and 2
2020 - plot 4 in late August with poor height.
2020 - harvest of rather short plants

2021:

2021 - plot 1 in early May with thick grass before tilling and spreading of NPK.

2021 - x4 photos of early August growth


2021 - x4 photos of harvest


2021 -x2 photos of delivery to processor






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