By Clint Thompson
Hemp should soon be going into the ground in Alabama. According to Katelyn Kesheimer, Auburn University Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, there should be more growers but less acres in 2021.
“I think people are realizing they should go down to 1 or 2 acres to start, and don’t start big and make sure you have everything lined up in terms of buying before you put all of that money in,” said Kesheimer, who added that there were 500 licenses issued for 2021 by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. “People are realizing how much time and effort it’s taking to grow this plant, and we have so much of it.
“You’ve heard of Charlotte’s Web, probably the biggest CBD company. They only need like 65 acres of hemp to run their whole operation and they’re the biggest in the country. When we have growers growing 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 acres and there’s 500 of them, that’s too much. That’s how we ended up with all of this plant material.”
The exact Alabama acreage remains a mystery for 2021. So, too, is when growers should plant their crop. Planting date studies are still being researched, though Kesheimer believes growers need to get their hemp planted before July 1.
“I think if you can get it in before July, then that’s what I’m telling people is good,” she said. “At that point, it’s super hot, and then the day length, it’s getting shorter. So you don’t have enough light and you may go into premature flowering.
“Talking to the Department of Ag, they said the same thing. Basically, if it goes in after July, it’s not going to make a crop.”
Kesheimer planted hemp last year on July 25, and it burned up, did not do well.
She said she has not heard of any hemp that has been planted as of last week.