Hooray for Spring! Except spring is a very busy time for farming! And going forward, The XY Hemp Corporation will be spending more time doing research after harvest and more time planning for spring seeding during the winter. Let’s just say it’s been a bit of a rush to get everything together for this growing season, but now our plans appear to be in motion. In 2016, we’ll be taking a break from growing hemp and instead invest in our soil with a plough down crop. This will help suppress weeds and add nutrients to our soil which will support our 2017 hemp seed crop. The contract has been signed, the line of credit granted from ATB Financial, and now to plant the seeds and prepare for the inevitable set backs of farming.
The seeds we will be planting this year are 40/10 peas and faba beans. The peas have been suggested to us multiple times from our gracious mentor Larry Marshall. However, the peas were hard to find! On the other hand, the faba beans were bred at the University of Saskatchewan specifically for plough down crops. A plough down crop is when a field is planted with a rotational crop that you have no intention of harvesting. We’ll plant the peas and faba beans, then halfway through the season, before they (or the weeds) go to seed, we’ll cut the plants down and plough all the organic material into the soil. This process allows the roots of the legumes (peas and beans) to fix nitrogen in the soil while the plants grow. Then, when the plants shift focus to developing seeds instead of growing taller, the crop is cut down and ploughed into the field. This allows all the organic material to decompose in the soil. It will also suppress weeds by cutting down the competition before it goes to seed; anything that grows after the plough down should freeze and die in the fall before producing seeds. We would also like to maximize the nutrient content of the soil by having Al and Hélène’s organic, grass fed beef graze on the field before the plough down. However, that type of grazing and nutrient (manure) spreading is best done with a larger herd.
To facilitate our two year cropping plan, we altered our crop share agreement to cover 2016 and 2017. We also removed the cost sharing component of the agreement and now the XY Hemp Corporation will be paying 100% of the material costs and per acre farming operations provided by Breadroot Farms. As a result, we will also be earning all of the revenues from the hemp harvest in 2017. This would not be possible without the help of our bank, ATB Financial. We reached out to the branch where we were given a bank account in 2014, and the gracious and enthusiastic branch manager, Wendy Moyle, connected us with Jessie Pasquan. Jessie is in Peace River, Alberta (more evidence that our business can transcend distances) and she was incredible. She made it perfectly clear what information she needed me to provide, she took the time to understand our unconventional business model, and she advocated on our behave to ensure we got the line of credit we needed. We can’t thank Jessie enough and look forward to sharing our success with ATB.
In 2017, we will plant hemp on the field we are preparing this year. We hope to have more nitrogen available for the hemp and fewer weeds. This should improve our yield if we are given favourable weather conditions. We are excited to invest in our soil this season to improve our yield next year.
Cheers to the future!