Prospects for Australian emerging industries
Emerging industries play an important role in the Australian agricultural landscape, contributing to the national economy and helping meet changing global demand. This prospectus is...
Published: 22 Dec 2022
Author(s): Penny Riffkin
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AgriFutures Australia’s Emerging Industries Program has determined that industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.), i.e. low tetrahydrocannabinol hemp, is an industry with high growth potential. Industrial hemp has a diverse range of uses, including textiles, stockfeed, pet bedding, human food (seed) and building materials. However, to meet demand, there needs to be an increase in the scale of production.
Identified as a top priority in the Australian Industrial Hemp Strategic RD&E Plan (2022-2027) was the establishment of a nationally coordinated industrial hemp variety trial that covers the current and future major production environments.
The Industrial Hemp Variety Trials (IHVT) program aims to provide Australian hemp growers with independent information about the performance of industrial hemp seed varieties suited to specific geographic locations within Australia. The IHVT is a three-year project, with year one including sites in the Northern Territory (1), South Australia (2), Tasmania (1), Victoria (1) and Western Australia (2).
Year one results from Hamilton, Victoria showed that while yields were down in all varieties for the earliest time of sowing (TOS 1), Ferimon 12 and Henola performed the best in that region, yielding on average 2.4 t/ha (across TOS 2 and TOS 3). Seed oil and seed proteins were also high for Ferimon 12 (~29% and 22% respectively for TOS 2 and TOS 3). Although these initial year one results are encouraging, the remaining two years of data will provide industrial hemp growers with confidence about which varieties to plant and when, to maximise yields and profits in the region.