Hemp’s attractiveness as a commercial crop for Ohio farmers is partly owing to its potential for cyclic planting in rotation with other cash crops. It joins other crops and will further increase the state agricultural output which is already the largest industry in Ohio.
The potential for successful harvests has bolstered the lessons that have been learned in neighboring Kentucky, where the climatic conditions – including mild weather and a humid atmosphere are also present. The income potential from growing hemp flower is also attractive to cultivators due to the hardy, annual nature of the plant.
Plant Hardiness Zone(s)
The US Department of Agriculture Ohio plant hardiness map divides the state into 3 main zones, including 5a, 5b, and 6a. In the state, the average winter temperatures can be as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit. Industrial hemp plants are said to be best suited to zones 8 to 11.
Most parts of the state of Ohio lie within the humid continental climate zone. The Blue Grass region of the state however lies in the humid subtropical climate zone. Generally, Ohio summers tend to be hot and humid, while winters are cool or cold in some areas. The state’s average annual temperature is estimated to be around 52.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Mild climates, with an average annual minimum temperature of 45-50F, support the healthy growth of hemp plants.
Length of Growing Season
The growing season runs from the month of May to the month of October. Due to the climatic differences between the northern and southern parts of the state, the average length of the growing season varies. In the north, and most parts of the state, the growing season is shorter, at an annual average of 150 to 178 days, and cooler, as compared to the warmer and longer season, at an annual average of 198 days, experienced along the southern end. This can comfortably accommodate the premium hemp flower growing season which spans 120 days on average.
Average Annual Sunlight
On average, Ohio gets around 12 hours of sunlight per day. The day length grows to a whopping 15 hours of sunlight during the summer solstice, in the month of June. It decreases to about 9 hours during the December solstice. Hemp plants need more than 12 hours of sunlight each day to grow to their maximum stage during the vegetative stage. Once the sunlight hours dip below 12 hours, the flowering stage is triggered and growth comes to a halt.
Average Annual Precipitation
The annual precipitation for the entire state is 37.7 inches. It is important to note that the southeastern part of the state generally receives more rainfall than the rest of the state, with the northwestern end receiving the least amount. Most of the rainfall experienced in Ohio falls during the growing season. The average annual rainfall requirements for growing hemp flower range from 25 to 30 inches.
Ohio’s mean elevation is 850 feet above sea level; rising from 485 feet in the Ohio River, to 1,549 feet above sea level on Campbell Hill. Hemp seeds should be planted no higher than 400 to 800 feet above sea level.
Naturally, Ohio soil pH can be acidic and alkaline depending on the location under consideration; this is partly due to geological and climatic differences. Most parts of western Ohio are known to have alkaline soils, while eastern parts have acidic soils. Hemp flower grows best in soils with a 6 to 7.5 pH level.
Soils in the state of Ohio are classified according to region. There are four main regions, including Northwest, West, North-Eastern, East, and Central East. Well aerated and drained soils that can hold the necessary nutrient and moisture levels are best for hemp cultivation.
The European corn borer is one of the common pests found in Ohio. This pest poses a huge threat to hemp plants grown in the state.
Obtaining A Hemp Flower Grower’s License In Ohio
Under federal law, it is illegal to grow hemp flower anywhere in the United States without first obtaining a grower’s license from the appropriate regulatory body for the state in which the interested party intends to plant the crop. For information on the legal status of hemp in Ohio, as well as a breakdown of the application process, click here. Read about hemp legality by state.