For years, the hemp crop was vilified alongside its sister plant, marijuana. With the government loosening laws around growing hemp for the first time in more than 80 years, popularity is on the rise for CBD oils, hemp milk, hemp beer, and other hemp-based products. The industry is booming, and hemp growers need a reliable drying system that will allow them to stay ahead of the demand.
Because of industry-specific obstacles hemp growers face, Louisville Dryer set out to understand the unique position of hemp farmers. Hank Lawson, Senior Process Engineer at Louisville Dryer, made it his personal mission to learn the best way our company can support hemp farmers and improve their business.
“I went through the entire process to see what it takes to plant, grow, and harvest hemp,” Hank explains. “I grew two acres of the crop and harvested it with my family, Then, we used what we harvested to test the drying process. We experimented with the product in different types of dryers, so we could find out exactly how they could be most effective for the growers.”
Here are 4 unique insights Hank uncovered about hemp farming and drying.
Farming, Drying, and Processing Hemp to Maximize your Harvest – Our Journey
#1: Growing Hemp Is Challenging
The challenge for hemp farmers starts with planting and harvesting. Hemp is not an easy crop to produce. It requires high fertility soil and abundant organic matter to grow. It is also susceptible to moles, insects, and weeds, and it has very particular water needs. Hemp farmers deserve a lot of respect. They are hardworking, knowledgeable and invest a great deal of time and energy to yield a quality product.
#2: Old-Fashioned Hemp Drying is Inefficient
There is a four-step process to go from seed to profitable product for the hemp farmer:
Experience and scientific advances have helped to streamline the first three steps in the process, but most hemp growers are still drying their crop the old-fashioned way by cutting it into strips and hanging it in tobacco barns. A farmer can grow a couple of acres that way but to increase production, growers have to increase the rate at which they can process wet biomass.
#3: A Hemp-Specific Dryer Increases Profitability
Hemp farmers that want to keep pace with the demand know they need to invest in an agricultural dryer, but many traditional industrial dryers are too expensive.
To make the hemp drying process easier and more profitable, Louisville Dryer engineered an industrial direct heat dryer exclusively for the hemp industry. Our new hemp-specific design implements the same technology we have been using for decades to successfully dry other agricultural products.
The most significant difference in the hemp-specific dryer is that it is substantially more affordable than other industrial dryers.
It can handle four tons of wet biomass per hour and offers hemp growers a massive increase in productivity over traditional drying methods. This revolutionary dryer is available to help hemp farmers increase efficiency in their operation, which ultimately leads to higher profitability.
#4: Steam Tube Dryers Can Process THC and CBD
Steam Tube Dyers can process THC and CBD. Through multiple experiments, we discovered that hemp dried in our Steam Tube Dryer went through the decarboxylation process. This is the necessary reaction where the organically present THCA or CBDA is converted into THC or CBD, which provides the consumer with the desired medicinal effects of the product.
Growers who are looking to decarboxylate their hemp product could consider using a Louisville Dryer Steam Tube Dryer to streamline their process, improve productivity, and ultimately increase profits.
Contact Hank Lawson
“Going through the experience of the experimental hemp farm,” Hank says, “helped me understand our customers and their unique struggles, Now I can serve them better, and that has made the whole experiment worth it.”
We invite our hemp customers to reach out directly to Hank for any additional insights into the unique issues involved with growing hemp. He is always happy to have a conversation and uniquely positioned to anticipate your needs.
If you’d like to contact Hank or any of our team members about a direct heat or steam tube dryer, please call us at (800) 735-3163 or fill out our online contact form. A more efficient and profitable drying method could change everything for your hemp business.