Industrial Hemp Variety Trials: Results from The University of Sydney Stanthorpe trial site for the 2022-23 growing season

  • 56 pages

  • Published: 22 Dec 2023

  • Author(s): Guy Roth, Edward Chaplin

  • ISBN: 978-1-76053-458-5

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AgriFutures Australia has determined that industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.), i.e. low tetrahydrocannabinol hemp, has high growth potential due, at least in part, to its diverse uses and sustainability credentials.

However, growth of the industry in Australia has been constrained due to limited information regarding the most suitable hemp varieties and optimal growing conditions for specific regions across the country. Against this backdrop, the AgriFutures Emerging Industries Program has invested in a series of variety trials to understand the crop’s performance across Australia and foster industry expansion.

The Industrial Hemp Variety Trials (IHVT) program aims to provide Australian hemp growers with independent information about different varieties suited to different farming regions within Australia, as well as ideal planting times and agronomic practices in line with local growing conditions. This second year of the program includes sites in the Northern Territory, South Australia (2), Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia (2), New South Wales and Queensland.

The IHVT trials near Stanthorpe, in the Southern Downs region of Queensland, collected data on the performance of nine industrial hemp varieties with two sowing times. Crop performance, grain yield and grain quality data indicate industrial hemp can be successfully produced in the Southern Downs region of Queensland using organic farm management strategies, with sowing dates in December and January.

The best-performing variety across a range of grain production and quality parameters in this region in 2022-23 was Fedora-17. Further, monoecious varieties outperformed all dioecious varieties aside from Ruby for both biomass production and grain yield. However, these results are based on only one season of data and further data from different seasons with a range of sowing dates are required before growers decide on variety preferences for this region.

The IHVT program will continue with trials in 2023-24 to provide further data in a subsequent season and for different times of sowing for varieties from this trial as well as additional varieties.