In the South, 2019 has been marked by a dry, warm growing year full of disease and pests. These states are investing hard in the high profit possibilities that hemp grown for CBD can provide.
Early in cultivation fields were attached by fusarium root and canker disease. The fields affected suffered heavy losses. Other foliar diseases caused problems, as did Southern blight and botrytis. One of the biggest challenges growing CBD centered hemp was corn earworms attacking the flowers.
Besides the corn earworms, other caterpillars like cabbage loopers, tobacco budworms, and wireworms attacked the leaves and the soil. Rust mites made an appearance in July, as well as cucumber beetles and Japanese beetles. Commercial pesticides are not yet available for hemp. Many farmers resorted to biological controls or even dispersing predatory insects to keep the pests at bay.
North Carolina has taken advantage of the infrastructure and labor already in place for growing tobacco in their hemp production. This year, North Carolina licensed 933 hemp farmers 11,572 acres of hemp and 4.5 million square feet of indoor cultivation. Only 20% of farmers used seeds to start their crops. The rest preferred to use clones. Nearly all farmers harvested their crops by hand. Some have prototypes of harvesting equipment, but many are simply cutting the whole plant. Almost half of the farmers have contracts for their crops.
Virginia is investing considerable resources towards state testing facilities to grow other crops, which include hemp. This year Virginia licensed 800 hemp farmers and 8,500 acres of hemp. 60% of growers this year ordered clones, and the remaining 40% used seedlings. Some of the most common strains for the region include BaOx, Suver Haze, Cherry Wine, T1, and Midwest.