Here’s a look at whether the state of Utah has the necessary conditions to support the cultivation of high quality industrial hemp flower.
Plant Hardiness Zone(s)
According to the USDA Utah plant hardiness map, the zones in the state vary from 4a, for the northern areas, to 9a for areas in the southwest. The lowest winter temperatures experienced in the state vary from -30 degrees Fahrenheit, in the colder north, to 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the warmer southwestern parts. Hemp flower is a zone 8-11 hardy plant.
The state of Utah has a dry semi arid climate that is borderline desert climate. In this part of the country, winters tend to be cold and summers tend to be warm. The varied geography across the state gives rise to huge variances in the average annual temperatures from region to the next. The annual average temperature for the entire state is 54.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Average minimum temperatures ranging from 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit are necessary for the growth of hemp flower.
Length of Growing Season
The average length of the Utah growing season is 170 days. It is however worth noting that it is possible to have two growing seasons in some parts of the state, southwestern parts, where winters are quite mild. The growing season can start as early as February, and end in November. Hemp flower has a 120-day growing period.
Average Annual Sunlight
Average sunlight levels throughout the state of Utah is around 3,073 hours. Hemp plants need more than 12 hours of sunshine to grow to their maximum size during the vegetative stage.
Average Annual Precipitation
As a dry, semi arid state, Utah receives an average of 18 inches of rainfall each year. This falls short of the average annual minimum of 25 to 30 inches required for growing CBD flower. This means that like in the case of a variety of other crops grown in the state, irrigation might be necessary especially during the earlier growth stages of the crops. Older hemp plants are considered to be drought resistant and will not require further irrigation.
Utah boasts the third highest mean ground surface levels of of all 50 states in the country, with a mean elevation of 6,100 feet above sea level. Its lowest point is 2,000 feet above sea level. Hemp flower should not be planted at altitudes higher than 600-800 feet. Interested farmers should note that high altitude is thought to stress the plant, and might have the potential to increase THC levels, which must remain under 0.3 percent as per federal law. This effect is however being investigated.
Throughout most of Utah, soil pH is more than 7; this means that the soils are alkaline in nature. This matches up with hemp’s soil pH requirements, ranging between 6 and 7.5.
Mivida soil is considered to be Utah’s unofficial soil. This is mainly a fine sandy loam soil that holds minerals and water well in addition to being moderately aerated. Hemp flower does well in well-drained, aerated loamy soil.
Some of the common pests that pose a threat to growing hemp plants in the state of Utah include aphids, the European corn borer, and spider mites.
Obtaining A Hemp Flower Grower’s License In Utah
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 Utah, as well as a breakdown of the application process, click here. Read about CBD legality by state.