There has been a substantial rise in the Australian hemp industry in the past few years. Hemp is used not just for medicinal purposes but also as food, fibre, oils, and building materials. Like bamboo, hemp is also one of the fastest growing plants on Earth, the first plants to be used as fibre about 50,000 years ago. Hemp can be spun into several commercial items like paper, rope, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.
For several years, hemp has been masquerading as a banned commodity. However, now that it’s out of the ‘banned commodity’ blanket, there has been a significant level of curiosity about its usage and benefits.
In this blog, we have listed a few facts about hemp farming that you might find interesting.
Hemp Farming: Fun Facts
- Hemp and Marijuana are Different
Albeit, both belong to the Cannabaceae family, industrial hemp is the strain that contains less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The types of hemp strains that we use contain a high concentration of CBD, CBG, and CBN.
- Equipment Required for Hemp Cultivation
When it comes to the farming equipment used for farming hemp, most tools are the same as other farming methods; provided there are suitable conditions. Since hemp is an annual crop, its cultivation methods are similar to vines or other perennial crops.
- Ideal Temperature
Hemp cultivation requires temperate weather characterised by hot summers and cold winters, with long days and nights.
- Topography Requirements
Even though hemp cultivation doesn’t require superior-quality soil, it needs other conditions to promote growth. Ideally, places that are far from the equator and closer to the poles are suitable for growing hemp. Flat fields with good percolation, hot days and cooler nights, short summers, and sufficient water and nutrient supply are ideal for growing hemp. As already stated, places that are perfect for vineyards or orchards are ideal for hemp cultivation.
- Seasons Ideal for Hemp Farming
Since hemp is a summer crop, the period between June and early November is best suited for hemp cultivation. To be specific, hemp cultivation near the poles harvest easily.
- Labour Requirements
The labour requirements depend on the style of farming you adopt. Extensive farming operations are mostly machine-driven and have low manual labour requirements whereas orchard-style operations are labour-intensive. However, labour demand rises during the harvest season and rises more during cure drying.
- Whom to Sell Hemp after Harvesting?
Hemp farming is usually done on a contract with manufacturing laboratories. But, there is a substantial market of hemp biomass both at the pre-sales level as well as post-harvest level. The decision, however, depends entirely on the financial needs of the farmers and the processors.
- Where to Buy Hemp Seeds from?
Only certified genetics of hemp that is environmentally safe and within the THC limits need to be grown. This will ensure a both healthy and profitable crop, which is a good source of hemp seeds.
- Hemp Farmers- Eligibility
Mostly, tobacco farmers are known to venture into hemp farming as they are accustomed to the irrigation and cultivation methods required for hemp farming. At the same time, fruit farmers have adequate knowledge to grow and care for hemp. Hemp should eventually be included as a rotational crop, because of its sustainable penetration into large-scale agriculture, and nitrogen fixation.
Bonus: The exceeding demand for hemp has made hemp cultivation a profitable venture for farmers. Farmers need to associate themselves with proven supply chain networks and genetics since there are several bad players in the market who do not live up to their commitments. It is imperative for farmers to check for proper certifications and track records as there are people who sell bad genetics.
Hemp Farming in Australia
Reportedly, “the estimated gross value of Australian hemp production in 2011-12 was around AU$ 300,000 but is forecasted to be valued at $3 million by 2023”.
Hemp cultivation was banned in 1937 which was later legalised in 2017, with low-THC hemp being considered legally suitable for human consumption. You would need a licence from a state government to cultivate industrial hemp in Australia as it is not recognised as a farming commodity. The Australian government categorises hemp under the ‘Drugs, poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981’. Other than obtaining a licence, the location for cultivation should also be government-approved, followed by proper inspections and monitoring by state government inspectors. These measures are taken to prevent hemp cultivation for therapeutic reasons and to prohibit the public from coming in contact.
In the End,
For a more comprehensive understanding of hemp farming in Australia, get in touch with us at KG2 Australia. We have the largest independent farmer database in the country referring to which you can identify the right methods and means that have proven to be successful over the years, benefitting several farmers in the country.