About one month ago, Central Oregon was struck by stormy weather that affected close to 500 acres of industrial hemp. Four weeks later, farmers are saying that they may not suffer a complete loss since the plants are bouncing back.
Matt Cyrus, the president of Deschutes County Farm Bureau, says some of the plants that were affected by the storms have sprouted new leaves and the crops are looking green again.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Cyrus had predicted that the damage caused would amount to about $25 million in this region that is one of the areas around the country with the highest concentration of hemp farms.
Matt Cyrus says that while the final tally of the damage will not be as high as he had initially feared, the losses are likely to be significant and their full extent will only be known once this year’s crop is harvested.
He is quick to add that he was surprised that some of the hemp fields that he thought had been totally decimated appear to have bounced back and some plants had even started flowering. The determinant of how well the plants recover will be measured by how well those plants produce flowers.
The worst affected hemp plants seem to be those that were younger when the hailstorm struck. Those younger plants had weaker stems, and they therefore suffered more damage during the rough patch of weather.
Wesley Ray, the co-founder of a hemp farm called Combined Hemp, agrees with Cyrus that the hemp plants have proved how resilient they can be.
Ray says his farm of 35 acres was hit really hard by the hailstorm, but most of the plants have now recovered although some still show visible signs of the battering they underwent.
Wesley Ray explains that when he learnt that there was an incoming hailstorm, he applied fertilizers that were rich in potassium and phosphorous on the plants as a way of getting them ready for the rough time ahead. Those fertilizers had minimal amounts of nitrogen, and that put a damper on vegetative growth.
He says that he isn’t celebrating as yet since he will only be sure that he survived that bad weather once he harvests the crop and assesses whether the yield is off the mark by a wide margin or it is within the expected numbers.
That bout of bad weather brought to light how important crop insurance is, but farmers like Matt Cyrus say that insurers need to design different packages for different hemp crops. For example, varieties grown for CBD cannot be looked at as those grown for fiber since CBD plants are more valuable.
The encouraging news from central Oregon can only lead industry watchers to conclude that industry players like Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) and The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) have heaved a sigh of relief now that hemp has provided proof of its resilience.
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