A FOURTH season of industrial hemp trials will go ahead in the South Australia’s south east as the industry continues to grow momentum with approved licences doubling since the crop’s 2018 introduction.
SA now has 21 approved licences for industrial hemp – up from 10 in October 2018 – as the latest trial report reaffirms the crop continues to grow very successfully in local conditions.
Over three seasons the trials have compared 14 different industrial hemp varieties, sown across a range of different times from late October to mid-January.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the steady growth and interest in growing industrial hemp was another opportunity to diversify agriculture.
“The Marshall Liberal Government is investing in a fourth season of industrial hemp trials in 2020/21 because we believe this is an industry with real economic potential for South Australia,” Minister Basham said.
“The local industrial hemp sector is continuing to grow and it is anticipated it could have a farmgate value of $3 million within five years.
“To date there have been approval of 19 cultivation licences and two processing licences for industrial hemp in South Australia which shows the high level of interest in the local industry. This is double the amount of approved licences at the same time in 2018.
“The trial sites at Loxton, Maauope and Kybybolite have given us the opportunity to see how different varieties react in South Australian conditions.
“The report found improved performance of trial plantings in the south east at Maaoupe in 2018/19 and 2019/20 compared to Kybybolite in 2017/18, indicating the sensitivity of hemp to high salinity.
“These results will help give potential growers the information needed when deciding whether to enter the industrial hemp sector and in selecting suitable growing sites and varieties.”
The ideal conditions for the crop are free draining soil, good quality irrigation water and high plant density.
Industrial hemp is produced from cannabis plants with low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content – legislated to be less than one per cent – in the leaves, flowers and stems.
Source: SA Government
The update report includes full results from trials completed during the 2017/18 and 2018/19 growing seasons, as well as preliminary results from trials conducted during the 2019/20 growing season. To view the report, visit pir.sa.gov.au/industrialhemp
Industrial hemp production is regulated in South Australia under the Industrial Hemp Act 2017 and the Industrial Hemp Regulations 2017.