Manjimup Industrial Hemp Variety Trial site opens for inspection with field day this Thursday

Daniel HockingManjimup-Bridgetown Times
DPIRD research scientist Shahajahan Miyan and AgriFutures Australia emerging industries senior manager Dr Olivia Reynolds.
Camera IconDPIRD research scientist Shahajahan Miyan and AgriFutures Australia emerging industries senior manager Dr Olivia Reynolds. Credit: AgriFutures Australia

Lower South West farmers can get an up-close look at Australia’s booming hemp industry at one of just nine trial plots in the country — right in their own backyard.

The Manjimup Horticultural Research Institute will open up its Industrial Hemp Variety Trial site to interested farmers for a field day on Thursday, when the institute will showcase results from the most recent harvest.

Co-funded by AgriFutures Australia and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, the three-year Industrial Hemp Variety Trial allows researchers to capture data for grain and dual-purpose varieties of hemp to measure harvest potential from different sowing times and environmental conditions.

The field day will be held from 9.30am-12.30pm at the Manjimup Horticultural Research Institute, revealing the results from the eight different varieties sown on the November 1 as well as 11 varieties sown on November 24.

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Sourced from seed suppliers in Australia, the crops including varieties from Australia, Canada, France and Poland.

DPIRD research scientist Shahajahan Miyan said the yield differences between the varieties would be of interest.

“The early standout in the first-year trial was Ferimon 12, a dual-purpose variety originating from France that produced the highest grain yield and the highest dry matter at harvest, while CFX 2 and CRS 1 also performed well,” he said.

“Four new varieties were added to the second year of the trial, one from Poland and three from France, to add diversity and compare performance under local conditions.

“Field day visitors will be able to see how the second-year crop is growing, with some plants expected to be more than 2m high.”

AgriFutures Australia emerging industries senior manager Dr Olivia Reynolds said the day was a great opportunity for farmers, processors, food retailers and commercial investors to learn more about industrial hemp and the diverse opportunities it offered.

“With a global industrial hemp market valued at $4.9 billion in 2019 and projected to reach $18.6 billion by 2027, this is a huge opportunity for Australian agriculture to produce an environmentally sustainable multi-purpose crop that can be used for everything from food to fabric and even building materials,” she said.

The Industrial Hemp Variety Trial is aligned with the recent announcement of a $2.5m program of research by AgriFutures Australia to grow the industry.

Industrial hemp, which must be grown under State Government permits, has very low tetrahydrocannabinol content but is high in protein and healthy fats.

Since 2017, it has been legal to sell industrial hemp seed for human consumption.

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