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Vibe Check: Illinois Hemp Harvest Numbers

Updated: Apr 20

Illinois Hemp Growers Association

Illinois Hemp Harvest Numbers


The Illinois Hemp Harvest Numbers report was published on April 8th, 2020.

Here is what you need to know:



Illinois had an average yield of 425lbs per acre. Most projections for an acre of CBD hemp say yields should be around 1,000lbs. Over 93% of the licensed acreage in the State was grown for CBD.


The best comparison we have for Illinois’ numbers is Wisconsin.

Here’s what we know about the hemp harvest from our neighbor State:


Wisconsin produced about 50% more hemp than Illinois with fewer growers and less acreage. Wisconsin hemp growers averaged yields of >775lbs per acre. Even though the data we have is incomplete, we know that 96% of the completed reports indicated hemp was being grown for CBD.

With both States falling short of projected yields, it is reasonable to assume that around half of hemp growers in Illinois and around a third of hemp growers in Wisconsin experienced some troubles with their crop last year. For those that did not have trouble with their crop, almost all have had trouble selling their harvest.


Why the Trouble?


For your reference (warning lots of numbers ahead), 5.5 million pounds of CBD hemp is roughly enough to dose the entire population of Illinois and Wisconsin combined (18,500,000) with 100mg a day for 107 days.

Nowhere near every single person in Illinois and Wisconsin is taking CBD daily though, and dosage usually varies from person to person and by method of administration. 25% Americans have tried CBD and only 14% use it daily. Some use 20mg a day while others use 1500mg or more.

Epidiolex, the FDA approved CBD medication, has a starting dosage of 2.5mg/kg twice daily. After 1 week, people may increase the dosage to 5 mg/kg twice daily. If average body weight is 80kg, that means 800mg a day for 2.6 million daily users for 96 days.

All other products that contain CBD fall outside FDA regulations, so there are no official guidelines for their dosage. Most users aren’t consuming 800mg a day. Assuming the current average estimated cost of 5 cents per milligram retail price, 800mg will cost you $40 a day. A more economically realistic dosage estimate is 80mg at $4 day.


At bulk price, you can buy distillate for $750/kg which comes out to $1 for over 2300mg assuming 80% CBD content. That means retail markup could be >11,500% in some cases.

At 80mg dosage, the amount of hemp harvested in Illinois and Wisconsin in 2019 is enough to supply those same 2.6 million daily users well into 2022 (32 months).

This is the level of oversupply we are facing right now and Illinois and Wisconsin are <10,000 of the harvested acres in the country this year which planted over 200,000 acres in total.


Retail: Where Are We Now?


Retail prices remain high in the short term - artificially restricting adoption and dosage levels. Right now those same retailers are stocking up on very low cost CBD during the oversupply and could potentially seamlessly transition to much lower upfront costs on their ingredients while maintaining a gluttonous markup when their higher priced supply runs out.

In an attempt to break the logjam, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has developed a short term policy to create more buyers of hemp biomass, distillate, and isolate.

In the press release accompanying the hemp harvest numbers report, Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello was quoted saying,


“The Department has been diligently working to open markets for growers to sell their hemp. We recently developed a policy allowing licensed hemp growers to sell product to licensed cannabis cultivators for use in medical and adult-use cannabis products.”

You can read more about this newly developed policy in our blog Hemp in Medical and Adult Use Cannabis Products.

Meanwhile, In a recent interview regarding the hemp harvest numbers in Illinois, Jeff Cox, Chief of the Bureau of Medicinal Plants is quoted saying,

“A lot of folks are sitting on hemp still. I think that’s the biggest problem is that farmers grew the stuff and now they don’t have anywhere to sell it.”

With the Illinois hemp harvest numbers report done and this recent interview with Jeff Cox in the news it’s the perfect time for the Illinois Hemp Growers Association’s Vibe Check for April 2020!


Vibe Check


For this month’s vibe check, we’re going to pull quotes from the recent interview of Jeff Cox by Hemp Benchmarks. We’ll put them into context to give you a solid analysis of the state of the Illinois hemp industry this month.

“We were really pleasantly surprised by the dedication of the farmers, ...[who] were faced with a ton of challenges early in the spring and into the summer. But they continued to push through, get something in the ground, and then 73% of those folks were able to harvest their crops, which is pretty great.”

Don’t be surprised! The dedication of the Illinois farmer is not something to underestimate. We agree that the percentage of growers that harvested their crops is pretty great, but Wisconsin’s percentage is higher in comparison. Growers in Wisconsin had the advantage of an extra year of experience over growers from Illinois though. 70 of years absence broken by a single year is not to shake a stick at when you actually A – B the numbers.

“Illinois, geographically we’re made for fiber hemp. ...We’re one of the leaders in corn and soybeans. I think that’s one thing that’s very attractive to farmers that are used to taking a combine out and cutting down 100 acres at a time. Hemp [for fiber] isn’t going to be that much different from corn and soybeans.”

Absolutely. Illinois had more hemp fiber mills than any other state during the war effort. Surviving documentation from the era indicates the federal government knew exactly what it was doing when selecting a geographic region to raise hemp for fiber. In fact they based it on productivity numbers for corn, but managing hemp grown for fiber is different than corn and soy. When grown for fiber, hemp is more similar to a hay operation. (Managing hemp grown for grain is more similar to corn and soy than hemp grown for fiber is.)

“I think we’re going to see an increase in the amount of fiber, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to see a decrease in the amount of CBD. ...I think that CBD will be the major hemp crop and that’s probably a nationwide thing. We have some companies [in Illinois] that are hoping to be building some fiber processing facilities or at least industrial-use facilities, rather than just CBD oil.”

We will definitely see an increase in the amount of fiber being grown in Illinois. We’ll be growing it ourselves – you can read our blog on hemp fiber research. From what we have seen and heard from our members and new growers looking for information, there most likely will not be a decrease in the amount of CBD produced in 2020. Illinois has no established large scale fiber processors as of right now. Hoping to be building a fiber processing facility is far from ready to run with a purchase agreement. We’ve still got a long way to go before it’s easy and economical to produce and process hemp fiber 100 acres at a time, but it’s going to be a beautiful journey.

“We figure it’s only fair to allow our farmers to continue under the program they’re familiar with, through this year, especially since they’re buying clones and they’re buying seeds as we speak. They’ll put them in the ground here within the next few weeks. So we want them to know what’s going to be compliant this year, versus what will be compliant in 2021.”

This is the main reason why we most likely won’t see a decrease in CBD production in Illinois this year. Stricter THC limits kick in for 2021. If the Congress and/or the FDA still hasn’t delivered a regulatory bailout and the market continues to be oversupplied it’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen to CBD production by then.


New Map


Because Illinois is now allowing cannabis cultivation centers to purchase hemp, we’ve been getting a lot of requests for more information regarding who they are and where they are. So we made a new map.

The map shows all 21 licensed cannabis cultivation centers in Illinois by zip code. When you click the red highlighted areas, a box will pop up with their contact information.

They’ve been raking in the cash from Illinois residents for the last 4 months, so let's remind them they can give back. Illinois doesn’t require that the hemp that cannabis cultivators buy be grown only within the State. Let them know you have local hemp for sale.

This is our message to all the cultivation centers in Illinois:

Band together and purchase as much locally grown hemp as you can!


New Sponsor



Welcome our latest sponsor ZEBZS Hemp!

ZEBZS Hemp, Inc. is a national environmentally controlled feminized hemp seed producer for farmers that want to grow CBD biomass and or CBD smokable flower. They will have seed available in May for the 2020 planting season. They have an indoor environmentally controlled facility, where seeds are nurtured and monitored closely to ensure a high-quality seed that will produce a high-quality product in the field for CBD biomass and or CBD smokable flower. They also can provide consulting throughout the grow to assist in your success.

Glad to have you aboard ZEBZS!


Put them on your list of reliable suppliers of genetics in Illinois!


Trilogene Seeds


Speaking of reliable suppliers of genetics, we were contacted by Trilogene Seeds to let you all know that they have an absolutely immense collection of COAs, photos and more of the hemp they have available for 2020!


It’s a treasure trove of eye candy to window shop through on your quest for the perfect strain.

Click here to browse the collection

Thanks Trilogene!

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