Hot and dry temperatures are not necessarily a bad thing for Georgia’s hemp producers, according to Tim Coolong, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialist. What the crop will not do well in is when the soil is wet.
“Every single grower that I’ve met with is irrigating their hemp anyway. Actually, a little bit drier is probably fine, because if they do need some water, they will irrigate,” Coolong said. “The only negative thing is some people are planting pretty late because they’re just getting their licenses. Some of the heat we’re having may make it a little bit harder to establish plants. Just like planting fall vegetables, if you’re planting and it’s 95 degrees out, sometimes it helps to have a little bit of a shower to cool things down.”
According to the US Drought Monitor, various parts of the state include areas that are classified as abnormally dry. It is especially concerning for middle Georgia and east Georgia along the coast.
It is a critical point for hemp producers since hemp is expected to begin flowering in early August. Coolong said the handful of growers that are still planting are in danger of producing a crop with reduced yields.
“Hemp for the most part, when you get below 14 hours of day length will start to flower. That’s right about now when we start getting below that threshold. Most of the plants will start flowering around the first week of August,” Coolong said. “The idea is if you plant too late, you’ll have this relatively small plant that could start flowering. Your yield would be lower than if you planted in late May or June when you can build a larger frame on a plant.”