28 April 2020 by News Desk | SHARE Australia Hemp Trials have taken place in a bid to create a major new legal industry down under.
Industrial hemp is produced from cannabis plants with low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content – less than one per cent – in the leaves, flowers and stems. The produce is used for industrial and medicinal purposes.
New industrial hemp varieties planted as part of a third round of trials in South Australia have been harvested in a step towards a new multi-million-dollar industry for South Australia.
After positive results from the first two years of trials, the Marshall Liberal Government funded a third consecutive year of industrial hemp trials to guide industry growth and investment.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone, who toured the trial site at Loxton prior to the coronavirus restrictions, said there has been ongoing interest in the emerging industrial hemp industry.
“Given some of the challenges our primary producers currently face, being able to diversify their income is vital and that’s why industrial hemp is so appealing,” said Minister Whetstone.
“I’ve been particularly impressed with the varieties that have grown strong in the dry and hot conditions as they are adaptable and able to be planted across many areas of the state.
Australia Hemp Trials
“Each year of these trials we have planted new industrial hemp varieties to assist those looking to enter the industry with the best information about what variety will suit them.
“The industrial hemp industry in South Australia could have a farmgate value of $3 million within five years but we have to make sure we’ve done the research and development for the industry to succeed in the long term.
“In the first two years of trials in the Riverland and South East nine different industrial hemp varieties were planted which showed that under the right conditions, including free-draining soil and good-quality irrigation water, industrial hemp can be a successful summer crop option for producers.”
Minister Whetstone said the third year of trials involved seven crop varieties planted at Loxton in the Riverland and Maaoupe in the South East, with five of the varieties being grown at both sites.
“The focus of this year’s trials was on the optimum sowing and growing period, assessing the different industrial hemp varieties and determining ideal seeding time for hemp grain production,” said Minister Whetstone.
“To date the State Government have approved 17 cultivation licences and two processing licences for industrial hemp in South Australia.”
For more information on the South Australian industrial hemp trials, visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/industrialhemp
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