Farming industrial hemp

Our leading Western Australian Industrial Hemp farmers are forging ahead, growing from strength to strength, the first truly WA grown Hemp Food products could be available as early this summer 2021/22 and the first truly WA grown Hemp Homes will be completed around the same time.

This is very exciting on many levels, especially from an horticultural perspective. There has been some trepidation from farmers looking at the emerging crop and rightly so, for without established processing manufacturing opportunities lay dormant and it’s very difficult for the consumers to support the industry. Looking at an incomplete supply chain is cause for concern.

Thanks to the WA industry leaders who are building the pathways to connect and complete the supply chain.

  • Food, Fibre and Land International Group: whose focus on grain production for hemp foods is just part of their plan. Working with irrigated farmers they have successfully proven their soil enriching biotechnology and have setup the first food grade hemp seed processing in WA.
  • MR Hemp Processing: who’ve taken a huge leap of faith following their dream for the industry at large, to setup and model a hemp stem processing facility. They cultivate, harvest, dry and store their seed in the SE of the state for growing for biomass closer to the facility. You will see on their website the array of products produced by first stage processing. While the Hemp Hurd is all allocated for construction the other products are yet to find a buyer.

Here is the most recent data provided by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) August 2021

Hemp in WA 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20 2020/21
Total Licencees 42 67 87 92
Licencees Cultivating 19 32 36 32
Total Hectares Sown 68 494 344 185
Varieties Sown 5 9 24 10

Historical data displayed below:

July 2020

  • 90 licensees

  • 36 licensees cultivating

  • total area cultivated 344 ha

  • 24 varieties

The total cropping area across Western Australia during summer 2018-19 was 488 hectares, up from 68 the previous year. 38 of the 64 WA industrial hemp licences are held by farmers in the southwest crn. WA was 2nd only to Tasmania where 1300 hectares are grown under contact for food grade seed and the rest of the plant is wasted.

HempGro, WA Hemp Growers’ co-op, formed 18 April 2018

HempGro, WA Hemp farmers co-op, formed April 2018 from a sub committee of iHempWA, imported 9 tonnes of seed for 2018-19 season and have ordered another 10.5 for 2019 sowing. They received government funding to run regional dry crop agronomy seed cultivar trials and are running a Harvest Survey in conjunction with DPIRD to collect the valuable data from the 79 crops across WA 2018-19.

The approval of low-THC hemp seed products to be used as a food additive by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) Nov 2017 was wonderful news for the developing hemp industry.

The Regulators

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Western Australia acts as the Registrar for the Industrial Hemp Act 2004. This legislation enables licensees to cultivate, harvest and process industrial hemp on a commercial scale. http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/plant-biosecurity/industrial-hemp-western-australia

The Depatment of Health via the Office of Drug Control regulate the medical Cannabis industry in Australia. The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016 details the regulatory framework that has been put in place to enable applications for licences and permits for the cultivation, production and manufacture of medicinal cannabis products. https://www.odc.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis

Manjimup hemp processing prefeasibility report

The Manjimup hemp processing prefeasibility report was commissioned by the Manjimup Agriculture Expansion Project, jointly steered by Shire of Manjimup, DPIRD, South West Development Commission and the Southern Forests Food Council. The work was completed by Strategy Matrix in 2017-18. The report considers production of hemp fibre and seed, supply chain and markets for hemp products.

It highlights the complexities of hemp variety selection and agronomy, as well as the diverse products that can be produced from hemp. It also considers maximum cartage distances for fibre processing, and issue particular to hemp. WA businesses may leverage our reputation for safe food production and capacity in related industries (oilseeds and agroforestry products) to capture value in this emerging industry.

The report of Stage 1 of the prefeasibility, and a comprehensive draft review of published literature is now available to download. https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/hemp/industrial-hemp-portal?nopaging=1 For enquiries or more information, email your DPIRD Industrial Hemp representative.

Harvester for family farms, specialty growers, cooperatives

Henry’s Hemp Harvester (HHH) brings dependability and unique customer engagement to the critical process of putting specialized hemp harvesting and processing equipment to work for your operation. With a basic two-unit model, our system opens the door for small and medium-size farms to gain efficiency, expand cropland and farmable acreage, and get an edge in overall competitiveness. With HHH technology, your hemp operation will gain independence from weather conditions that can be a headache for outdoor hand-harvesting operations. The harvester facilitates bud production in countries with high labor costs.

See video below and visit the website here: henryshempharvester.com If HHH could help you contact us so we can help each other.

Related articles

Hemp Foods Dinner Celebration

Founding Father – Hemp Movement of WA

Hemp conference field day

Hemp Seed Workshop success

A Hemp Story

Can I grow hemp?

History of hemp

What is hemp?

International resources:

Hemp Benchmarks – Monthly American Spot Price Index Report https://www.hempbenchmarks.com/

Prohibition Partners – International Cannabis Weekly https://prohibitionpartners.com/

Hemp Academy – Canadian online education https://manitobaharvest.com/hemp-academy/