AHC President’s Report – July 2023

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Australian Hemp Council President’s Report – July 2023

In this month’s report we have a few notices on upcoming events for our hemp industry.

AHC Fibre Group Meeting
Following from the AHC Fibre Forum, the AHC Fibre Group meeting will be held on zoom 7.30 pm (EST) on Thursday 17th August 2023. This meeting is open to all stakeholders, if you would like to be sent an invitation email: info@australianhempcouncil.org.au.

The AHC Fibre Group will be working for the industry in setting national fibre standards, give guidance for national research, national marketing and proposals for legislative change to allow for product expansion, among other functions. Further details are in the letter of invitation.

National Hemp Regeneration Workshop
To be held August Tuesday, 29th & Wednesday, 30th near Casino, northern NSW. Hosted by Stuart Larson and John Muir discussing the utilization of hemp in organic farming systems. Discounts apply to AHC Association members and the workshop will also be available via zoom. For further information and registration contact Logan Walker email: logan@hempproof.com.au or phone 0452 583704.

New Zealand Hemp Summit
The New Zealand Hemp Industries Association has organised the iHemp summit 2023 to be held at Rydges, Christchurch, 24th & 25th August 2023. They have a great line up of international and local speakers for the event. For further information, follow this link: https://hempsummit.nz/

Global Hemp Summit
The University of Melbourne is presenting the 3rd Global Hemp Summit 2023, September 27th – 28th, dedicated to exploring the potential of industrial hemp as a sustainable building material for the construction industry. They are currently calling for papers and registrations.
The summit is to provide a platform for interdisciplinary discussions, research presentations, and knowledge exchange to promote the adoption of hemp-based solutions in the construction industry.
Areas to be covered include fibre production agronomy, processing and development of hemp building products. For further information follow this link: https://www.globalhempsummit.co/

ABC Landline
Keep an eye out for a Landline presentation in a couple of weeks’ time covering developments in the Australian hemp industry.

Fibre Industry developments
Great news! Hexcore, located near Melbourne, has just commissioned their processing facility. This is a major step for the hemp fibre industry where scaled processing on a sustainable commercial basis has been established.

Another first is the importation of a Laroche decorticator into Australia to be installed before the year’s end. A sign that processing capacity in the Australian market is being ramped up.

And yet, further opportunities in scaled processing and production lie with the cotton industry and modified cotton gins. Systems have been trialled here where over 10t/hr of especially harvested hemp can be ginned using existing infrastructure. The gap between markets and processing is closing and once we bridge this gap, we will see enormous potential for the Australian hemp fibre industry begin to be realised.
We will be seeing a significant jump in fibre crop plantings this year with over 1,000 ha of which we are already aware.

We have learnt that Agrifutures will continue funding into decortication research for the industry where extensive consultation will occur to understand the knowledge and technology gaps. Our only concern is that the level of funding is not very adequate.

As a result of the fibre forum,  several proposals have come forward on cooperative type structures to facilitate significant capital required by the  industry to help secure a reliable supply chain to emerging markets. Details to follow.

The AHC is already fielding calls inquiring about investment into the hemp industry.

AHC Food Group Report
The first meeting has been held, a key point raised is the need for industry standards and product quality is maintained.

AHC Fodder Group Report
Reaching out to Charles Sturt University and University of Western Australia where there seems to be and interest in research in this area.

Currently hemp seed as a stockfeed is restricted due to the cost. Internationally there has been more research in hemp seed rather than biomass for stock. We have found that levels of THC and CBD in fat and from ruminants is about one third to one fifth of recommended health levels when considering a daily diet level for meat for consumption.

Anecdotal evidence in Australia has shown that pressed hempcake significantly enhances growth performances in pig production.

Agrifutures is supporting trials looking at companion animals and should have results of outcomes soon. Blood samples and metabolic analyses will be done in the trial.

Grower benefits
We are currently preparing a comprehensive hemp costing and profitability analysis tool for the benefit of growers and processors. It will include a web based version to help growers arrive at realistic costings for hemp production and  provide a sound basis for investment decisions.

For seed supply go to https://australianhempcouncil.org.au/hemp-seed-supplies/

To further assist you with growing hemp we invite you to join our Growers Forum. There you can share your questions and experience as well as get support from highly experienced consulting agronomists who are supporting this forum.

Access is free for members of the state based organisations who are members of the AHC.

Recently released are three Agrifutures reports which can be found on their website:
1. Best Management Practices Guide (BMP)
2. Hemp Industry Gap Analysis
3. Developing Technical Plans for Processing Australian Industrial Hemp Straw.

Dr Stuart Gordon from CSIRO has had significant input to all three reports and we would like to acknowledge his contribution to the Australian hemp industry to date. The AHC has been responsible for the production management of the BMP and Gap Analysis.

The AHC will be working with Miracle Dog (Russell Pattinson) in conjunction with Forest Hill Consulting (Scott Williams) to assist AgriFutures Australia preparation of a four-year Strategic Plan for the Emerging Industries Program in 2023-2027 relating to the Australian hemp industry.

APVMA Permits
Two key industry permits have expired in late 2022 and are no longer available to the hemp industry. The AHC recognises the importance of these compounds in managing hemp production and so will, as a service to the industry, seek to reapply for permits indicated below.

• PER85055 – Fungicides (boscalid, fludioxonil, metalaxyl-M, thiram, potassium bicarbonate, mancozeb) / industrial hemp / various diseases

• PER85061 – Herbicides (fluazifop, glyphosate, pendimethalin, trifluralin) / industrial hemp / various weeds

State Reports

iHemp WA
iHemp WA gala awards will be held 9 September at Henley Brook – Creating an event where we can encourage the WA Agricultural Minister and others in the community to learn how important the hemp industry is for agriculture in Western Australia. The following day there will be a hemp expo open to the public. Refer iHemp WA website: https://ihempwa.org/

iHemp WA member Ken Dods is collaborating with Steven Birkbeck at Raintree Estate near Denmark researching hemp fodder in cattle. Some fantastic work is been carried out leading the world in fodder research. Refer this link to the ABC article: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-06-25/farmers-feed-livestock-hemp-based-pellets/102426246

Northern Territory Farmers
The dry season is in full swing. 33 degree days, 24 degree nights and not a cloud in sight. If there was ever to be a planting window however, then this really would be the last weeks. The build up is just around the corner.

There is emerging interest in hemp cropping from growers evident.

Regarding the IHVT trial field day in June unfortunately most varieties did not suit the conditions. Some varieties pushed seed at 25mm tall. Seed production is highly variable.
Trials were grown under birdnets. NT DITT will continue trial work.

iHemp NSW
NSW has been receiving some rain the last 3-4 weeks but much of the state is still on tenterhooks, concerned about all the reports of the state going into an EL Nino event.

We are receiving quite a few enquiries from new growers wanting to plant fibre crops this coming season.

We have received fantastic feedback from both in-person and Zoom attendees of the AHC Fibre Forum, expressing their appreciation for the excellent organisation of the event.

The Victorian Stock and Land Rural Newspaper will be running some articles following up on the recent fibre forum and the prospect of the establishment of fibre hubs.

Queensland Hemp Association
Currently Queensland has a number of crops in the ground, ranging from research crops in Gatton to commercial crops in Townsville, Ayr and the Burdekin.

We are holding an association meeting at the University of Queensland Gatton Campus to explore with stakeholders, researchers and campus staff, current and future opportunities.

A recent report from North Queensland mentioned that the Burdekin has around 200ha in again this year, most hectares with one grower who also grew last year. There are now two contracting companies looking for growers in the region. It’s good to see local efforts are continuing for the industry.

Industrial Hemp Association South Australia
It’s a quiet time of the season here. There is already 87ha of hemp contracted for seed and our first dryland crop is being sown in September. Seed stock has run out from 2022, making it necessary to import seed stock from Tasmania to keep hemp food production for retailers.

A major win for South Australia, with the export of hemp oil to South Korea. This is a sign of the solid growth in hemp for food sales both nationally and internationally.

We have put together a local newsletter for IHASA members.

Regenerative Hemp Victoria
The major events for Victoria include the AHC Fibre Forum and work on the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry for the state’s hemp industry. We are seeing a lot of hemp fibre industry activity in Victoria as mentioned in ‘Fibre Industry Developments’

For the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry, submissions were contributed by the Association on behalf of members as well as individual submissions from members facing specific challenges with their hemp businesses. Submissions are all treated as “parliamentary privilege” and, once approved by the Parliamentary Committee, will be published on the Inquiry’s web site. We will keep members updated on progress.

Get in touch
If you wish to follow up on any of the issues mentioned by our state members, please contact them directly. Contact details can be found here: https://australianhempcouncil.org.au/about-page/

The AHC is a voluntary organisation supported by lots of individuals determined to support the successful establishment of an Australian hemp industry. The more members we have, the more we can achieve. Thanks for reading and if you’re not already subscribed, join now to stay up to date with any new information regarding hemp around Australia.

From everyone at the AHC, thanks again and see you next month.

Tim Schmidt – President Australian Hemp Council