Harvesting Hemp in South Africa

Harvest of CBD rich hemp flowers takes place from February up into the end of May in Southern Africa. In Warmer areas harvesting can continue into June and July.

Potency tests on flowers should be carried out 1 month prior to harvest to ensure that the Cannabinoid profile falls within the desired threshold. From these tests the grower can learn the CBD:THC ratio of his crop as well as the total potential CBD and THC. Pesticide and mold residual tests can also be carried out at this point.

Harvesting slightly earlier than is specified for other recreational cannabis crops can aid to reduce the total potential THC somewhat. It is advised that the growers use a Jeweler’s Loupe to study the trichomes. Flowers should be harvested before Trichomes turn dull. It is somewhat of an art to know when to harvest at the right time for the optimum cannabinoid and terpene profiles of your crop.

Stems should be harvested in the cool of the morning, and transported to the drying and curing facility as soon as possible to ensure that Terpenes present in the flower do not degrade during the heat of the day. Stems are hung upside down of a trellis or drying rack. Wind curing with a slight draft over the harvested stems take place over several days. If Wet and humid conditions prevail during harvest time, the use of a kiln or tobacco dryer is advised to help reduce RH levels and prevent bud rot during curing.

Stems should be cured to the point that the flowers are spongy dry to they touch, but not brittle. This usually takes a few days. Trimming of the touch dry flowers commences if the product is to be marketed as a smokable flower. If the aim is to produce CBD extracts, whole stems, along with buds and sugar leaves can be shredded, bagged, and stored cool (or even frozen) until time of extract production.

Utmost care should be taken to prevent bud rot and fermentation of bulk material at this stage. If flowers are to be sold immediately, they can be bagged and cooled before shipping/transporting. If flowers are to be stored for a period of time, care should be taken to store them at an appropriate RH level to ensure that Terpenes do not degrade.

Buyers of Smokable flowers, or bulk material for extract purposes may insist on pesticide or mold residue tests, along with potency tests being carried out before buying your produce.

Savanna Hemp Consultant with B.Sc Agric Horticulture + Plant Path (Stell.) degree and 18 years of in field experience, directing the growing a vast range range of herbaceous annual and flowering crops under cover and also in open agronomic field settings. 

With years of experience in the Horticultural environment, I am already well connected with key role players in the industry with regard to the supply and delivery of farming equipment, greenhouse structures and coverings, black out and shading screens, fertilizers, growing mediums, measuring and fertilizer dosing equipment, electrical supplies and installations, water and chemical spray pumps, organic growing systems including the brewing of AACT and the running of disease free vegetative nucleus blocks amongst others.

As an owner of long established horticultural businesses myself, I will save you from making costly mistakes up front by using my reach within the South African Horticultural industry and my knowledge gained from contacts in the developing USA Industrial Hemp Market. Contact me today to schedule a free telephone consultation.

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