Hemptastic – hemp processor overview

The seeds, stems, roots and leaves grown on the farm need to be processed locally, as transporting bulk raw materials around is expensive.

The seed and material threshed off the stems during harvest, needs to be dried out to a moisture content of around 12 %, they can then be transported to a licenced seed cleaner to be dressed and stored until called for by a producer.

We have the infrastructure in New Zealand to do these steps, so the capacity is there and the industry can scale once demand is proven.

Stems require more processing as they are bulky to move, the closer the processing can be to the field the better.  The stems go through a process of decortication, which is where they are split between, primary and secondary bast fibres and the inner woody pith called hurd or shiv.

This decortication step can be achieved by hand, via a small two man machine or a production line can be used, the difference is the cost to set up.  The costs of these alternatives range from a few thousand to $2-$20 million. 

Please note in New Zealand seed and seed processing require a licence for the location being used.  Stems with out leaves do not require a licence.



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Hemptastic – growers and farmers

Hemp farmers must have a licence form the Ministry of Health.  Two licences are available General licence $511.11 and a Research and Breeding licence for an additional $153.33 including GST.

If you are considering growing you should go the to Ministry of Health website – Key word industrial hemp  

Your next step will be to source seeds, the NZHIA can put you in touch with seed sources www.nzhia.com

Growing economics, with the revenue streams form all the parts of the plant, there are significant returns for the farmer.  It is early days and the industry is only just starting to develop and create a demand, but in time good gross profits will be available to farmers and value added opportunities for regional New Zealand will create business and employment outcomes.

Growing for phytoremdiation, hemp can be grown in polluted soils and has shown to be effective at lifting heavy metals form the soil, cleaning the land for future productive use.  The long tap root and extensive root system breaks up and aerates compacted soils as it searches for the water table penetrating up to a meter deep.


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Growing iHemp

Hemp grows in 90-140 days depending on the end use, For fibre the harvest date is earlier as you do not want the seed to develop, requires minimal if any agri chemicals 

Pollen drift from low THC industrial hemp crops will reduce the potency of any marijunna growing in the area and pollen can drift across the Mediterranean. By growing iHemp we are helping the police control illicit outdoor cannabis crops.

Seed crops are harvested once seed has set which takes a little longer, (harvested in March and April)  recreational and medicinal crops are harvested before seed set and any male plants need to be controlled.

It grows best in well prepared lose soils and does not like wet feet.

Ideal in rotation, hemp is planted October/November and left in the ground until February/march depending on your latitude within in New Zealand.

Irrigation tends to improve yield, but as long as it gets sufficient water at the right times, it can survive on minimal water.

Minimal pest problems have been noticed in New Zealand and the crop requires little if any pesticides, fungicides or herbicides

Please note in New Zealand you need a licence to grow industrial hemp, liceneces are obtained from Medicines Control, Ministry of Health 

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Manufacturing and processing steps required

EX the farm

Working with retted and unretted fibre hurd/shiv, leaf, roots and seed.

Seed – perfect to eat as a snack ask the birds.  It comes with its own container that stores and transports well.  But the seed is a “Class C” drug,  you can only possess them if you have a licence. So you have to derive a product from the controlled seed.  Pressing for oil is a growing market and provides a lovely nutritional  oil, taking the husk off, leaves a hemp meal which is a super food, byproducts get made in to protein powder and flour.  Or you could make milk and ice creams and other juices and therapeutic preparations, (both topical and digestible) from the seed.

Fibre – comes from the stems which are normally retted, with the dew for a time or in a silage pit. The vision is to have a on-site machine where a farmer or group of locals can process there own green stems and prepare the raw materials which they can sell separately, gaining from this vertical integrated step.

Understanding how the fibre is to be used will define how crops are cultivated, harvested, stored/prepared in the future.

In this case fibre represents two distinct products, which create dust and waste in their production.  Spiting the stems into fiber and the inner woody pith (hurd/shiv) is called decortication.  

The Popular Mechanics magazine article in 1938  “New Billion Dollar Crop” starred hemp and was, a recognition of a German inventor who had developed a mobile decorticator that processed green stems on the farm, producing 1 tonne of hurd/shiv per hour which supplied the paper industry .

He had been promoting the revolutionary mechanical process for a previous manual job since first convincing some paper experts in 1917 of the economic sense and benefit of an annual crop rather than chopping down old growth forests.

When the US banned marijuuna in 1937 that was the end of the hemp industry in US, prohibition has meant only limited work has been done on improving the processing of stems, and fibre in to higher value raw materials and other end products.

Some companies in various countries largely European are making parts of the production chain and it is being successful combined into million dollar operations.


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