Editors Note: This is a guest post.
Hemp may have phenomenal versatility, but it’s not one of the easiest plants to store long-term. Indeed, many farmers now classify hemp as a “risky crop” due to its high susceptibility to mold. Cultivators must pay extreme attention to their storage room’s climate if they want to keep their hemp buds fresh for months.
Although there’s still a lot we don’t know about proper hemp preservation, a few storage strategies have emerged in recent years. Knowing about these techniques could help farmers keep their hemp in prime condition even one year after harvesting.
Keep The Mold Out – Test & Re-Test Your Buds Before Storage
The first step to creating a successful storage facility is to screen your buds before bringing them indoors. Expert cultivators always recommend sending multiple samples to third-party labs for thorough screenings before adding them to your storage room.
The purpose behind these preliminary tests is to prevent microscopic mold spores from entering your storage area. As we hinted in the intro, mold is the most significant threat for long-term hemp storage. You don’t want to risk exposing your storage room to mold. Even tiny mold spores could scatter onto other plants, which could create a multi-million-dollar mess.
As a bonus, COAs protect against various legal issues and could improve your brand’s credibility. Not only will these screenings show that you knew your plants were mold-free, they’ll also document traces of heavy metals, pesticides, and THC.
While you wait for lab results, cultivators recommend drying your hemp flowers in an industrial dryer and keeping them in a humidity-controlled room away from your storage facility.
Climate Over Containers – The Importance Of Environment For Hemp Storage
The key to successful hemp storage is quality climate control. It doesn’t matter how high-quality your storage sacks are; without proper environmental conditions, your hemp buds won’t survive the long-haul.
So, what are the ideal climate conditions for hemp? Although there’s still debate over specific levels, most agronomists agree hemp does best in a dark environment with low humidity and moderate temps. Indeed, many farmers recommend keeping moisture levels as low as 8 – 10 percent.
The reason you want to maintain this semi-arid climate is to keep moisture at bay, thus preventing mold formation. To further decrease the risk of mildew, storage facilities should also invest in reliable air circulation systems.
As for temperature, farmers have to be careful not to let their storage area get too steamy or too chilly. If your buds are exposed to too much heat, the delicate cannabinoids and terpenes could degrade quickly. On the opposite extreme, cold temps invite moisture into the room, hence a greater potential for mold. Today, most farmers agree that temps between 65 – 70°F are ideal for hemp storage.
Please note: hemp flowers bred for smoking might perform better in an environment with slightly more moisture. Some cultivators have found hemp buds stored in arid conditions create flowers that are too harsh for smoking. Cultivators should carefully experiment with slightly above-average humidity when evaluating their smokable hemp strains.
What Should I Store My Hemp In?
Now that you’ve got your humidity and climate well-situated, it’s time to decide where to place your precious buds.
A common practice in the modern hemp storage industry is to place hemp buds in a bag known as a “super sack.” These large fabric bags often measure 35” x 35” x 53” and typically hold about 250 pounds of hemp biomass.
Although super sacks are the most popular option nowadays, plenty of farmers use large plastic bags or bins to store their hemp. Some cultivators even place their biomass in bales and add a layer of white plastic to deflect light exposure.
Do These Buds Go Bad? – Evaluating Hemp’s Longevity
No matter how well you store your hemp, it’s going to degrade over time. Even in ideal storage conditions, cannabinoids like CBD often reduce in strength by 2 percent per year. Plus, since every terpene has a slightly different boiling rate, these aromatic compounds could degrade even faster in a well-controlled facility.
In general, farmers should store hemp biomass for no more than one year to offer their customers the highest-potency product.
For High-Quality Hemp, Invest In Quality Controls
Just because you’ve successfully harvested your hemp doesn’t mean storage is smooth sailing. Farmers need to be as vigilant scanning their stored hemp as they were during cultivation. Be sure to establish a reliable quality control schedule to keep tabs on your facility’s humidity, climate, and lighting conditions. You should also examine your hemp buds for warning signs of disease, over-drying, or mold. All of these strategies will help preserve the potency of your hemp long after the harvesting phase.