Drying Hemp–GHS

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What is the best way to dry hemp?

This topic is highly debated. And for many reasons. We all know of the many methods available to dry cannabis/hemp: hang dry, kiln, batch dryer, rotary dryer, and conveyor dryer to name a few. Many people have their own opinions on why one method is better than the next. Well, we want to throw our opinion out there in the mix, and for good reason.

First, we must determine what type of material we are drying to know which system is the best. When it comes to “smokable” flower, I think we can all agree that a proper climate controlled drying process and curing process is critical for a good tasting product. But what about all that biomass?

There seem to be many available methods for drying biomass. But in what capacities? You see, the method of drying is not only dependent on the type of material being dried but also the amount. Someone with 5 acres may have the ability to hang dry and the cost of a drying system may not be a good business decision based on ROI. Someone raising 20 acres can easily calculate a value and quite easily determine that purchasing a drying system will save them time and money. Now the big question is: What system is best?

Therein lies the debate.

A typical discussion about drying systems opens up with someone saying that “using a dryer will damage the cannabinoids and ruin the plant.” Okay. Let’s discuss this some. First and foremost,without any actual tests on a sample that was traced from start to finish, no one can say exactly how much damage, if any, occurs. This is merely speculative, at best.What actually damages cannabinoids? Touching them? Sure, anytime we handle the plant, we risk damaging the compounds found in cannabis. Do we not touch the plant when we hang dry?Absolutely we do! And a lot actually. We cut the plant (touch), we lay it in a container to transport from field (touch), we unload (touch), now assuming we unload and directly hang (touch), then it only gets touched again when it is taken down and then shucked to prepare for sending to a processor.Wow! That’s a lot of touching the plant just to do a simply hang dry, isn’t it?

Let’s continue the discussion and assume we are not “handling” the plant as if we were hanging it to dry. For sake of discussion, let’s base this on the idea that we are drying shredded

biomass that either 1) was harvested in the field and shredded, 2) was whole plants ran through a shredder, or 3) was shredded, and bailed wet. Ultimately, the product coming in would be what we are calling “biomass” (stalks, stems, floral material, seeds if any). Typically, a machine drying system is used on an industrial scale to continuously dry biomass in preparation for further processing.When using an industrial drying method, what can damage the biomass?Excess heat, agitation, thrashing, tumbling, and high air speeds (pneumatic transports) can damage the compounds.

Now, many always make claims like, “You are damaging the CBD and Terpenes using a dryer.”However, basic science tells us when cannabinoids and terpenes are damaged due to temperature.Below is a chart of cannabinoid and terpene boiling points:


As you can see, the necessary temperatures to damage cannabinoids and terpenes is significantly higher than most manufacturers have designed their dryers. Now that we understand that the temperature of operation in most industrial dryers is not damaging the compounds, lets discuss the movement or lack of movement of the material.Many are familiar with batch drying systems. A batch drying system is when a particular amount of biomass is placed into a container with forced heat induced, typically from the bottom through a screen. These systems require the material to be mixed multiple times per day. If the material is not mixed, then you risk the material having wet spots or even growing mold. Most batch drying systems are either not pushing enough air to thoroughly dry the entire batch evenly or they are using too much air and blowing the compounds and material around, damaging them. Kiln dryers use special containers that also act as batch dryers.

Another option many are familiar with are these high-volume industrial tumbler dryers used in other industries. While these systems are capable of handling a lot of biomass, the tumbling effect clearly causes the material to tumble at a high rate which in turn can damage the compounds.

Where does this leave us?

With the conveyor drying method!This is the method that we recommend and for good reason. Conveyor drying and dehydrating methods are nothing new. They have been the go-to for the food industry for many years. Conveyor dryers are continuous systems and typically fully automated requiring 1 operator. A conveyor dryer that is engineered to function properly with cannabis/hemp is a superior choice to all the other dryers on the market. When biomass is delivered to a drying facility with these types of dryers, the bail or loose biomass is unloaded into a hopper at the base of a feed conveyor and the conveyor does all the work! These systems will distribute the biomass (or other material) evenly onto the conveyor and as the material goes from one layer to the next, it is gently flipped. This allows for a thorough dry of all the material.

Another benefit of using a conveyor drying system is that most of them have what is called a heat exchanger. These are a critical component for dryers using an outside heat source like a burner. When using direct heat from fuels like diesel and natural gas, the final product after processing will have a lite film/glaze left behind, ultimately devaluing your crop. A heat exchanger is used to transfer the heat from the burner to the drying unit. With a conveyor drying system, you are also able to adjust each conveyor speed as well as the system temperature to fit your specific needs. This is important because not all biomass is created equal. One farmer may harvest a product using one method and another farmer with yet another method. It is important to have a system that can accommodate a variety of material. Most drying systems we see on the market are very basic in engineering and also lack in certifications preventing those systems from passing any possible regulations that may come in to action soon. When using any processing equipment, you want to ensure that the system has UL and ISO certifications. GHS has engineered one of the leading USA Made Hemp Drying Systems on the market. Our new system was designed by our amazing team of engineers and we are able to produce these systems in high volume and at nearly any capacity. Whether you want our base model of 25,000 lbs per day or you need 100,000 lbs per day drying capacity, we have the system for you. If you are needing a smaller system and even a dryer that is mobile on a goose-neck trailer, we have you covered!

But to top it all off, we don’t only engineer and build these systems, we provide a full turnkey installation where our team of experts will deliver, unload, stage, install, commission, and test with your material.

But wait! There’s more!

Along with our amazing manufacturer’s warranty, we offer a lifelong service to all our clients for maintenance and repairs as needed. We know that these systems will help make you successful and with success comes growth. We are here to help you every step of the way!


Post time: Jul-16-2020

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