Hemp biomass farming and harvesting can be profitable—but the industry isn’t without its frustrations and pitfalls.
For example, seemingly small scheduling snafus or poorly made packaging can have disastrous consequences. (Remember the hemp-tastrophe of 2019?)
Before we get into the best ways to protect your hemp biomass business and work toward reliable profits, we’ll provide a brief overview of the basics: What is hemp biomass? What is it used for? What can go wrong with its harvesting? And (importantly) is there anything you can really do to avoid hemp biomass harvesting nightmares and protect your business’s resources going forward?
Hemp Biomass: A Basic Overview (and How Bulk Bags Can Help)
First things first: We’ll start with a helpful definition.
What is hemp biomass?
Hemp biomass is a grown material that comes from the leaves, flowers, and stalks of the hemp plant. This biomass itself can be used in a variety of ways. For example, hemp biomass is often used to create CBD oil, textile materials, bioplastics, building materials, and fuel.
Hemp biomass is a very versatile raw material. That versatility is helping fuel the expansion and growth of the hemp industry.
Unfortunately, harvesting hemp biomass is anything but straightforward.
In order to harvest usable hemp biomass, many things need to happen at specific times and in specific ways. Deviating from standard procedure even slightly can result in horror stories. For example, harvesting at the wrong time, not having the right equipment to harvest, or undergoing weather-related or labor shortage issues can result in wet, rotten, or moldy biomass.
That’s an incredible amount of time, money, and resources wasted.
Fortunately, there’s a fix: Investing in the proper packaging can help hemp farmers manage these concerns.
How? Let’s take a look.
Here’s What Goes into Successful Hemp Biomass Harvesting
Typically, optimal start-to-finish hemp biomass harvesting includes these steps:
- Assessing hemp biomass maturity. Farmers and hemp biomass specialists will see whether the plant is actually ready to harvest.
- Harvesting the plant. This step involves cutting the hemp plant down and separating the hemp leaves and flowers from the stalks.
- Drying the hemp biomass. Before successful processing, the hemp biomass needs to be at an ideal (low) moisture content level.
- Processing the plant. In this step, hemp processors will separate out the fibers, remove the leaves and stems, and otherwise categorize and separate the different parts of the hemp plant.
- Packaging the biomass. The hemp farmers will then package the hemp biomass itself so it’s ready for storage and transit. Keeping the biomass airtight and dry is very, very important here—if the mass gets too moist, it could rot and become worthless.
- Shipping the biomass. From there, hemp farmers will get the hemp biomass where it needs to be for further processing and end use.
Clearly, there’s a lot going on here. And minute changes can make big differences in terms of hemp biomass quality and profit.
Having the right packaging can make a big difference.
How Can Modified Atmosphere Packaging Help Hemp Biomass Harvesting?
Modified atmosphere packaging, or MAP, is a specific type of technical bulk bag that helps keep products safe. For example, MAP bags can be both food-grade and anti-static to reduce the risk of sparking and fire in moisture-protected products. MAP packaging can also be vacuum-sealed and hermetically lined to prevent moisture, oils, and gases like nitrogen and oxygen from getting through the bag.
If you’re using MAP packaging, you can be certain that what you put in the bag is exactly—and exclusively—what stays in the bag.
And for hemp farmers, that’s a must.
Let’s dive a little deeper.
The right type of packaging has the following attributes:
- Maintains moisture control
- Easy to stack
- Easy to use
- Well built and durable
Great hemp bulk bags or FIBCs keep the hemp biomass preserved and fresh, so it retains max value when ready for further use. Good packaging also minimizes extra work and weight during storage and transit, to keep costs and labor requirements low.
The correct hemp biomass harvesting and storage can also:
- Help growers remain in compliance with industry regulations and standards (e.g., labeling and product safety)
- Result in increased market appeal
- Keep warehouses safe both for workers and for the product!
Looking for a Great Hemp Biomass Bag? Consider This.
When you’re in the market for good hemp biomass packaging, you’ll want to think about:
- The quality of the material the bag is made of
- The ability of the bag to protect the biomass
- The convenience and utility of the bag
- The cost of the bag
- The reusability of the bag
Don’t be afraid to ask your prospective FIBC supplier about each of these factors!
Interested in finding the right bag for you? The materials scientists and hemp packaging experts at Sonoco are ready to help! Contact our team today to learn more about how to find bulk bags that will work hard for you. In the meantime, check out our three-part HempCast webinar series to stay up to date on the latest and greatest in hemp biomass packaging!
Tags: Hemp, bulk bags, Hemp Storage