AUSTRALIA’S industrial hemp industry has set its sights on the Liverpool Plains as a potential location for large scale production of the fibre crop.
Quirindi farmer Peter Slade, “Glenmore”, sowed the district’s first five-hectare trial crop of industrial hemp in late February.
Just eight weeks later, the plants tower above his head.
“It’s amazing, it’s like nothing else I’ve grown,” he said.
Mr Slade, who with his wife Adele also grows millet and nyjer for specialty bird seed products, found industrial hemp was a perfect break crop for his operation.
The hemp grew so rapidly and densely any weeds were quickly choked out, providing a clean slate for the next season’s crop.
Mr Slade said he would plant the crop again based on its performance so far.
“At the moment, it’s got all pluses in my book, but we’ll see how it goes after harvest,” he said.
The crop will be harvested for seed in June.
Phil Warner, managing director for industrial hemp producer EcoFibre Industries, said the Liverpool Plains’ soil types, climate, availability of infrastructure and depth of farming talent made it the obvious site for a potential hemp industry.
“Industrial hemp produces the greatest amount of useable biomass over the shortest period of time, using the least amount of water with the greatest amount of carbon sequestration,” he said.
Full story in next week’s The Land.