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Trimming hemp flower is a critical part of the harvesting process, and a good farming plan includes trimming strategies that meet your grow operation’s needs. Today we’ll cover some hemp trimming methods, equipment, and tips.
Choosing a Trimming Method
Farmers generally choose between machine trimming and hand trimming, and some even combine the two methods. Some farmers with high volume use industrial machinery, while others with smaller acreage prefer the advantages of hand trimming.
Machine trimming can involve purchasing moderate to expensive equipment and processes a higher volume in a shorter amount of time. However, some farmers believe that machinery removes some of the valuable parts of the hemp flower (like trichomes) because it takes a standardized approach to trimming buds. In contrast, hand trimming requires removing fan leaves from each bud individually. Although it is certainly time-consuming, this process produces more intact flowers and thus maximizes the quality of the crop.
Consider volume, scale-ability, human resources, and other factors when deciding if machine trimming, hand trimming, or a combination is right for you. Other factors, such as labor costs and time frames, are essential when exploring the options of hand versus machine trimming.
Equipment Needed to Trim Hemp
Research equipment options based on your preferred trimming methods before harvesting your hemp crop. Trimming machines range in cost, speed, and size but can trim several dry pounds of hemp in one hour (high-end machines can trim up to 20 pounds). Moreover, trimming machines can handle either wet or dry hemp. Consult a buyer’s guide to trimming machines to learn about options that suit different needs.
Hand trimming requires non-stick gloves (to reduce the impact of handling flower), a trimming tray, a work table, comfortable seating, and trimming scissors. Gloves can be either specially made for hemp trimming or disposable rubber gloves. Use either a basic trimming tray or one designed to catch the loose flower bits and kief that fall through the sifter screen.
Some farmers invest in specialized work stations for trimming hemp flower, but many others use simple, cost-efficient solutions by making do with already available furniture. Many insist that sitting in any chair while leaning over the trimming tray is just as effective as more pricey setups.
Choosing the right pruning scissors contributes to an efficient work tempo and clipping effectiveness. The blades should be sharp, non-stick, and small to make precise cuts. Having a few different pairs of pruning scissors is also a good idea. Curved blades are useful for removing smaller leaves that develop around the base of the bud, and micro-tips help snip in tight spots. Ergonomic scissor designs reduce hand cramping since trimming can be a laborious process.
When to Start Trimming Hemp Flower
Some farmers like to trim hemp in phases instead of waiting until harvest. Many growers suggest starting pre-harvest (about a week before cutting down the plants). This process is called “de-fanning,” and helps increase the airflow around the flowers. Another key time to trim is right after harvesting hemp plants and just before the drying them. These strategies lighten the load of some of the post-harvest labor and can facilitate any time-sensitive processes that happen after completion of the trimming stage.
Incorporating a clear strategy for trimming hemp flower into your larger farming plan is essential. As you plan, determine when (pre-harvest versus after harvest) and how (machine, hand, or a combination) to make the process more manageable. Allotting enough time for trimming, determining labor requirements, and other key factors will help you avoid some common hemp farming problems and develop a manageable farming plan.
The Steps of Hand Trimming Hemp Flower
To start the process of trimming hemp flower, prepare your work area. Have a table and tray ready. Pick up a dried plant upside down and cut off the stems with flowers one at a time. Place them down gently on a clean surface area. Hold the stem to avoid handling the flower as much as possible.
Begin clipping away fan leaves with the other hand. Start by trimming away the larger fan leaves so the bottom of the flower becomes more visible, and you do not risk cutting into it. When you have removed many of the larger leaves and have a better view of the flower, hold it right side up and closely examine the flower to see where you can away trim smaller fan leaves. Remove as much as possible, but be careful not to harm the flower. Remove any smaller leaves with insignificant trichome content. Finally, cut off the “stem” handle and place the flower on the tray. Store the trimmed hemp flowers in containers in a low-moisture facility until the next phase of processing.
Final Thoughts on the Hemp Trimming Process
Trimming hemp is a crucial step in hemp processing; proper planning and execution of this phase can result in increased quality and quantity. Consult our hemp farming experts who can answer your hemp trimming questions.
Please contact us to learn more about Fortuna Hemp.
What questions or tips do you have about trimming hemp flower? Please comment below.