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6 February 2023

6 February 2023

AHC President’s Report – January 2023

Welcome to our first report for 2023, a year in which we are looking forward to major developments for the Australian Hemp industry.

Seasonal conditions this year have been quite challenging, given a late wet cold spring including the effect of flooding with has caused issues in getting our crops in on time. We have heard similar reports from across the ditch in New Zealand, where the crop area has reduced this season. Right across Australia there has been a generally reduced area in hemp plantings. Apart from the season a very large oversupply of hemp seed for food is discouraging companies from contracting growers at the moment. We speculate that this oversupply will affect plantings for the next 2 years, although at the other end, market growth in hemp food products is still reasonably robust. Going against the trend is growth in the fibre planting area, which we will clarify later in the season.

At our last meeting Kieren Anderson, our communications manager, reported on our network analytics, which showed we are significantly increasing our communication reach. I ask that you suggest to any who are interested to subscribe to our report and if possible, join your state hemp organisation, which gives access to AHC resources. Our membership and network is growing which gives us further ability to engage effectively with Government, industry and community with the committed focus to open up the full potential of the Australian Hemp Industry to growers, processors and community.

Fibre Forum
Please note in your diary the AHC Fibre Forum which is to be held June 14th and 15th 2023 at Deakin University, Waurn Ponds Victoria. This forum will include presentations from organisations investing significantly into the Australian hemp fibre industry looking to establish regional fibre hubs. Further, we will hear from those with years of experience in the fibre industry, plus information on end use products and carbon sequestration. Keep an eye out for our “save the date” which will be out soon with further details.

Adelaide Workshop and Tour
On January 17th Agrifutures organised an industry research & development strategic planning workshop with around 28 attendees, discussing structure and priorities for plans on research investment for the hemp industry. Given there are so many opportunities in the industry, but only a small allocation of funds for research, it was critical we establish key priorities where the greatest return on investment will occur. There was a smorgasbord of researchers at the workshop with some of the most recent research information and enthusiasm for the industry to match.

In addition to the workshop the AHC, with help from agronomist John Muir, managed to organise a breakfast meeting with around 22 people including workshop attendees and local South Australian stakeholders, both researchers and growers. We inspected a hemp growing site where Mt Barker waste water will be utilised, and met with Adam Djekic from Vircura to learn about their exciting plans for the fibre industry in South Australia. We hope to learn much more at the upcoming Fibre Forum in June.

Corporate Sponsorship
The AHC has developed a policy allowing corporate sponsor members to partner with the AHC. The basic principle is that the organisation must already be a corporate member of one of our state organisations and satisfy our vetting process to qualify. If your organisation is interested, you can contact us on

IHVT Agrifutures field days

Click here for the schedule for the IHVT field days and links for registration.

Other News
AHC members have been involved in legislative reviews in both NSW and Tasmania, more to follow.

The AHC would like to highlight its support for a research proposal submitted by Leigh Fletcher and the Western Murray Land Improvement Group based at Barham who applied through the Federal Government’s Community Grants Hub Future Drought Fund – Long term Trials of Drought Resilient Farming Practices Program. This project is on both irrigated and dryland hemp systems looking at many of the agronomic factors affecting production in central Victoria.

State Reports

iHemp WA – Gail Stubber
Our state representative body iHemp WA is holding a strategic planning day 15th Feb to discuss transition into a more substantial lobby/advocacy group for the Western Australian hemp industry. Hemp Gro co-op is looking to conduct a couple of field days. We can see there is a great need for more research support from the WA state government. Our world first livestock trials are generating new information soon to be released.
There is a field day scheduled for the Kununurra hemp trials in June, date to be confirmed.

NT Farmers – Dominic Calder
Although the monsoon has passed, there are still a few more wet months to go before the wet season is over. It has been discovered that hempcrete, set up on Mastotermes termite nests late last year by Department of Industry Tourism and Trade researchers, remained untouched until the rains began. As soon as the first rains fell the termites made short work of the hemp blocks, tunnelling through to seek out the hemp fibre. An official report will be published in the near future.

iHemp NSW – Jaimie Milling
We have been working with a Swedish group on trials for product development, of completely natural insecticides and fungicides. Products have been patented and proven to work in Europe. We have also assisted in organising leaf material movement around the state, having various meetings with the DPI to work out how to assist the industry.
There are larger commercial trials planned for this year in NSW and Southern NSW growers are looking to trial dual purpose varieties this season.

Queensland Hemp Association – Lauchlan Grout
Pheromone traps for heliothis etc. are currently being trialled for future commercialisation including sensors to give feedback on pest activity

Tasmanian Hemp Association – Tim Schmidt
Summer has eventually arrived. Many crops have struggled in the spring due to extreme wet and cool weather. The IHVT trials look to be growing very well.
Coming up soon is a meeting with the Tasmanian Government on the review for state hemp legislation.

On February 24th the THA will be hosting some school groups followed by the IHVT field day that afternoon. The next day we have a community education day for people to learn about the hemp industry. You can register on the THA website.

Industrial Hemp Association South Australia – Mick Anderson
South Australian hemp crops are enjoying good growing weather, and fibre crops need to grow and be harvested before mid-April when the weather closes the window.
There are about 200ha in SA amongst around 3 growers.
We had visited a farm on the lower Darling River recently in very marginal country but growing very good hemp crops for fibre production, adding carbon to soils and improving soil productivity.

Regenerative Hemp Victoria – Lyn Stephenson
We note that the FSANZ food application call for public submissions is now delayed to March.

No known large areas of hemp grown in Vic.
Leigh Fletcher applied for a $800,000 drought resilience grant relating to hemp.

Regenerative Hemp Victoria recently received correspondence from Agriculture Victoria stating the following in relation to amended legislation for industrial hemp in Victoria:

From 1 January 2023, the allowable THC for crops planted under your authority will increase from the current 0.35% THC. The increase will mean that:

  • The seed you use for sowing must be harvested from a low-THC cannabis crop with a THC level of 0.5% or less; and
  • Crops that are tested at 1% THC or less may be harvested and processed for food (from the seed only) and/or fibre (from the stem only).

This means that crops tested in the range of greater than 0.5% to 1% THC are suitable for processing only and seed from these crops must not be used for sowing.

The Australian Hemp Council is a non profit volunteer organisation working hard to help the Australian hemp industry grow.  We thank you for helping us support those in the industry, when and where possible. By joining your state hemp organisation you will be giving us the needed support to help change our Australian hemp industry for the better.
As always, to be up to date for all information regarding hemp processing, growing in Australia be sure to subscribe to our mailing list through our website.

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