Growing Hemp in Michigan

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A Guide to Growing Hemp in Michigan

 

Michigan is known for its vibrant manufacturing industry, hemp farming however gives locals a means of further diversifying the local economy. Here’s a look at whether the state has what it takes to grow high quality crops. 

Plant Hardiness Zone(s) 

The entire state of Michigan has a humid continental climate. It is however worth noting that the Upper Peninsula and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula experience short warm summers and cold or cool winters that last longer than the cold winters and hot summers experienced in the southern part of the Lower Peninsula. The average annual temperature is 48.2 degrees Fahrenheit, meeting the minimum average annual requirements for hemp plants estimated to be between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Thermal Profile

Michigan has a humid continental climate. It is however worth noting that the Upper Peninsula and the northern part of the Lower Peninsula experience short warm summers and cold or cool winters that last longer than the cold winters and hot summers experienced in the southern part of the Lower Peninsula. The average annual temperature is 48.2 degrees Fahrenheit, meeting the minimum average annual requirements for hemp plants estimated to be between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Length of Growing Season

On average, the growing season in the state lasts for 140 days. The last frost is seen in May while the first frost usually comes in November. Hemp growers can be able to plant and harvest mature plants within this window as it only takes an average of 140 days for the crops to grow from seedling to maturity. 

Average Annual Sunlight

The state receives more than 2300 hours of sunshine each year on average. Hemp crops grown in the fields need more than 12 hours of natural sunlight to grow to their full size. If the amount of sunshine decreases to less than 12 hours, the plants stop growing and go into the flowering stage.

Average Annual Precipitation 

The state of Michigan receives an average of 32.25 inches of precipitation per year. This meets the minimum average annual rainfall requirements of growing hemp, estimated to be 25 to 30 inches. June is the wettest month of the year in Michigan, while January is the driest. 

Surface Elevation

The state lies at an average altitude of 900 feet above sea level. The point where Michigan meets Lake Erie is the lowest point, at 572 feet, while the highest point is Mount Arvon at 1,979 feet. This mean elevation favors the cultivation of hemp, as these plants should not be grown at altitudes higher than 600 to 800 feet. 

Soil pH

Most soils in the state of Michigan have a pH of between 4 and 9. Hemp plants grow best in soils with a pH of 6 to 7.5. Growers might need to treat their soil depending on their location within the state. 

Soil Composition

Michigan has a variety of soil types. In the Upper Peninsula, soils in the western and northern parts are mostly sandy. Loamy and clayey soils, on the other hand, are found in most parts of the Lower Peninsula. Well drained, aerated loamy soils that can retain moisture and nutrients well are the best when it comes to growing hemp. 

Notable Pests

Some of the common pests posing a threat to hemp plants in the state include corn borers, spider mites and aphids. Viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens known to target hemp plants might also be of concern to Michigan hemp growers.

Obtaining A Hemp Grower’s License In Michigan

Under federal law, it is illegal to grow hemp 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. View our breakdown of the 2018 Farm Bill for more information on the legal status of hemp in Michigan, as well as a breakdown of the application process.