Hamilton Industrial Hemp Variety Trial site to open for inspection

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Farmers interested in growing industrial hemp are invited to attend a field day at Hamilton SmartFarm on Thursday, 9 February 2023.

The field day will feature a tour of the second season crop of a three year Industrial Hemp Variety Trial co-funded by AgriFutures Australia and Agriculture Victoria.

The trial plot is one of nine sites across seven states and territories of Australia where key performance data is being captured for a range of grain and dual-purpose (grain & fibre) varieties for different sowing times and environmental conditions.

The second year of the trial is evaluating the performance of ten varieties. These were sourced from seed suppliers in Australia, and include varieties from Australia, Canada, France and Poland.

Agriculture Victoria senior research scientist, Penny Riffkin said it would be interesting to see if the second year trial showed results similar to that observed in the first year.

“Year one results showed grain yields from the later sowing times in November and December were better than the early sowing times in October,” said Ms Riffkin.

“It also showed the Ferimon 12 and Henola varieties performed the best, yielding on average 2.4 tonnes/ha,” said Ms Riffkin.

“Field day visitors will be able to see how the second-year crop is growing, and the differences between the varieties and sowing times ahead of harvest.”

AgriFutures Australia Emerging Industries Program Senior Manager, Dr Olivia Reynolds said this is a great opportunity for farmers, processors, food retailers and commercial investors in the region to learn more about industrial hemp and the diverse opportunities it offers Australian agriculture.

“With a global industrial hemp market valued at $4.9 billion in 2019, and projected to reach $18.6 billion by 2027, this is a huge opportunity for Australian agriculture to produce an environmentally sustainable multi-purpose crop that can be used for everything from food to fabric and even building materials,” said Dr Reynolds.

The IHVT is aligned with the recent announcement of a $2.5 million program of research by AgriFutures Australia to grow the industry, which aims to exceed $10m in production at farmgate by 2026.

Industrial hemp, which must be grown under state or territory government permits, has very low tetrahydrocannabinol content (THC) but is high in protein and healthy fats. Since 2017 it has been legal to sell industrial hemp seed for human consumption.

The need for the IHVT was identified in the Australian Industrial Hemp Strategic RD&E Plan (2022-2027) developed by AgriFutures Australia, which sets out a clear pathway to grow the industry. The plan has five major objectives covering seed and varieties; growing the crop; products produced from the crop; the sustainability of hemp; and the regulatory environment.

The industrial hemp field day will be held from 10:00am-12:00pm on Thursday, 9 February 2023 at Agriculture Victoria’s Hamilton SmartFarm, 915 Napier Rd, Hamilton.

Registration is required via this link. For enquiries email penny.riffkin@agriculture.vic.gov.au

For more information on field day times, locations and programs at other locations around Australia, visit Industrial Hemp | AgriFutures Australia

[ENDS]

Media enquiries:
Megan Hendry
AgriFutures Emerging Industries Extension Officer
m.a.hendry@cqu.edu.au | +61 7 4930 9344

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