Hemp trials pave way for industry

Hemp trials pave way for industry

South Australia has the ability to grow, cultivate and process industrial hemp after good research results were obtained in a first trial.

Trials undertaken by South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) Crop Research Division in the Riverland and South East have shown a number of hemp varieties can adapt to the state's climate.

The 2017 and 2018 trials of several varieties has provided a number of ways growers can achieve better results.

Using high plant density to help with weed control and planting in free draining soil has shown to be beneficial, with other results available to help growers make informed decisions.

Another trial of six varieties has begun with in the Coonawarra and Riverland districts.

Industrial hemp fibre is used in paper and building materials as well as producing textiles while oil from the seed and the seed itself can be processed for cosmetics and industrial and food products.

The fibre and seeds are sourced from plants with low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, which is less than 1 per cent in the leaves, flowers and stems.

The South Australian Government has issued 11 licences for cultivating and two for processing across the state with more licences available for those deemed fit to trade.

It is forecasted the industry would have a farm gate value of $3 million per year in the next five years.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), University of Adelaide and SARDI have collaborated in the trial with representation from the industry helping with the design.

For more information visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/industrialhemp or phone 1300 799 684.