Hot Commodities: Hemp Planting Updates

It’s crunch time for planting decisions. Today is the last day for corn prevented planting filings – a range of options on crop insurance that gives payouts for not planting the full, normal crop – for the corn belt. CBOT corn futures rallied this week to break-out levels as corn acres planted as of last week came in well below both last year and the 5-year average.

As of late, news programs have run endless reports of flooding across the Midwest, with farms underwater and disaster relief on the way. Indeed, uncharacteristic weather has affected much of the United States over the past few weeks, especially when looking at the agriculture-heavy states Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska and Iowa. In many of these areas, traditional grain farmers are currently deciding between planting late corn and hoping for conditions conducive to rapid maturity, planting shorter growing season soybeans whose pricing is currently in a slump from large carryout and trade wars, or taking prevented planting insurance coverage as the deadline approaches. But due to slower adoption of hemp regulations, these states were not slated to be major producers of hemp for the 2019 crop year.

Germination to harvest time for hemp is in the range of 90-120 days depending on location, genetics, weather, and a slew of other variables. Most of the farmers we’ve spoken with are planting from starts grown from clippings in a greenhouse versus seeds, thus gives an extra cushion for hemp farmers yet to plant. Clones taken from a sister female plant.

So what are current conditions like?

Although the USDA is not publishing hemp specific updates, using data from the Crop Progress Report, including current soil conditions, historical precipitation levels, and days suitable for planting, we can assess weather and soil conditions for those states expected to plant significant hemp acreage. Additionally, statistics on corn planted is a relevant proxy for hemp planting conditions where applicable as both crops are planted during the same time of the year and have a similar timeline to maturity, with hemp likely …

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