The whims of Mother Nature are some of our biggest struggles as hemp farmers . . .
And the threat’s never been clearer than last week’s early freeze in Colorado.
Our crops love warm skies and blankets of sunshine . . .
And we do everything in our power to help them thrive.
But with temperatures plummeting below freezing . . .
And a sudden brutal attack of early-autumn snow . . .
Millions of dollars worth of hemp and cannabis acreage are suffering severe destruction.
One thing we know all too well:
When one part of the supply chain is down, the rest takes a dive.
An Unpredictable Supply Chain
Buyers who were relying on the CBD and THC from these plants will now face some shortages, castrating producers’ ability to meet consumer demand.
And other companies are wishing they could go back in time and make different decisions not just on how to grow . . . But what to grow.
Take Nick Drury as an example.
As the head of cultivation for the cannabis company Lightshade, Drury typically sees outdoor cannabis flood the market around this time.
And since those high-yields are often average quality . . .
He uses it as an opportunity to focus on low-yields of superior, premium strains.
If he’d known the market wouldn’t be facing the same saturation of cheaper products, he would’ve directed his attention there.
When Temperatures Unexpectedly Drop by 70 Degrees . . .
Farmers can’t anticipate the warning signs that alert them to an early harvest.
Instead, without enough weather protection, they had no choice but to witness Mother Nature take a toll on their crops . . .
With mounds of thick snow snapping bud-packed branches in half . . .
And green leaves flattening beneath a frozen surface.
For PotCo farm co-owner James Lowe, that means a huge wrench thrown in the way of his best season yet.
“We were on pace for the largest harvest we’ve ever had,” he says in an MJBiz Daily article. “The weight of it was what ended up being the problem.”
Imagine 7,000 plants towering to nearly 8 feet tall . . .
Squashed by dense, winter-like moisture.
It’s Not All Doom and Gloom . . .
If warmer temperatures help his plants survive, then Lowe and his team can still harvest the flower.
And even if they can’t, they’ll still be able to extract the THC for sale . . . albeit at a much lower price.
Fortunately, the heavy yields they’d already achieved means they’re still anticipating a profitable season.
But Will it Drive Some Hemp Farmers Out of the Game?
For farmers like Harvey Craig, having 70% of his crops under the greenhouse cover was a saving grace.
For his outdoor plants, he had to rely on plastic . . .
A material that’s known to stunt floral growth.
As for the plants that went bare during the freeze?
They’ve all suffered broken branches, snapped stalks . . .
And a potential loss of high-value cannabinoids from busted trichomes.
Now, for farmers like Craig without insurance, these challenges can be
“I hope this doesn’t put people over the edge,” he said. “The hemp industry is a tough struggle.”
And for other hemp farmers, the race to adjust greenhouse temperatures meant working around the clock.
Because the thing is . . .
Even when your crops are protected by a cover . . .
And even when you’ve optimized the environment in your grow room for thriving plants . . .
The effects of a plummeting temperature drop can still be disastrous for your harvest.
Now, some farmers without insurance are contending with their worst nightmare:
A loss of cannabinoids, damaged harvests, and the potential for bud rot.
So What Can Farmers Do?
Make no mistake about it . . .
A volatile climate is bound to continue posing massive, plant-threatening challenges to outdoor hemp farmers.
Now, you can choose to grow indoors . . .
A less-than-perfect option that makes complete sense for navigating weather.
Or, you can invest in growing resilient strains that withstand the pressures of winter frost.
And of course, insurance helps to mitigate the catastrophes that could lie ahead.
No matter what . . .
We can’t control the weather. So as hemp farmers, it’s our duty to do everything else in our power to minimize the risk.