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Growing Homes | Hemp Farming in Margaret River

Hempco Administrator
November 11, 2021

Growing hemp is our favourite thing to do!

Regardless of the many wonderful uses for hemp, one of our favourite (and most magical) will always be growing homes (or as the regular folk may call it, “building” homes)

The hemp crop is one of the most magnificent, fast-growing, and durable crops one can grow. It’s so impressive that just 1 hectare of hemp can produce enough hempcrete for an entire house! Imagine how much hemp could revolutionize the building industry and the number of benefits it could provide for everyone.

Our Hemp Growing History

We have always been huge advocates and supporters of the hemp industry and utilizing hemp for all of its incredible benefits. We started farming in 2016 right here in Margaret River, Australia, and our first-ever harvest followed shortly after. 

Our Hemp Growing History

As first-timers, we knew we had a lot to learn, and over the last six years, we have seriously expanded our knowledge and production to farm top-notch hemp. We started small, being able to hand-harvest our crops, and have now grown to over 70 hectares in collaboration with four other local farmers. 

How Do We Farm and Harvest Hemp For Building Materials?

We have come a long way from hand-harvesting here at Magaret River. We cranked up production, dedicated time and resources to learning everything there is to know about growing and harvesting hemp – and were able to expand quickly!

Farm and Harvest Hemp For Building Materials

We are big believers and practitioners of regenerative farming practices, that has the added benefit of helping farmers reduce pesticides, herbicides and other nasties used in other crops. This allows us to produce high-quality, multi-use hemp – although we are currently focusing on hemp housing. Additionally, the process of turning our hemp into building materials has seriously improved. 

Up until recently, we had to send our hemp interstate to be processed due to a lack of equipment and a processing facility. This increased production costs and expanded the project’s carbon footprint. However, in recent years, that has all changed.

Modern Day 

Let’s take a look at some of the improvements we have been able to make over the last few years. These improvements allowed us to process and harvest more hemp, decrease our costs and decrease our overall carbon footprint – making it a much more sustainable and environmentally friendly project: 

Our farm and hemp are grown 100% organic

2021

  • We were finally able to purchase our very own hemp harvesting equipment, which allowed us to stop hand-harvesting! This saves time and energy significantly and will enable us to harvest a larger scale of hemp in a shorter time frame.  This allowed us to plant 70 hectares of hemp!
  • Addtiaonly, thanks to funding from the WA government, we were able to launch our very own hemp harvesting facility in WA. This was a massive step for us and allowed us to process our hemp stalks right here in WA and avoid sending everything interstate. 

2022

  • 2022 saw our largest successful hemp grow to date (70 hectares), and put in a lot of research & development into some new & exciting Australian-first hemp products such as pet bedding and kitty litter –  we can’t wait to announce more and have more to show you in 2023.
  • We even had the unexpected milestone of a major movie studio purchasing over 200kg of our hemp for a movie set! 
  • With two new farmers coming on board, new products and industries taking notice – 2023 is looking bright.

How Did We Get Started Growing Hemp Homes? 

Started Growing Hemp Homes

We’ve come a long way from our first harvest.  The first time we took to growing Hemp Homes, harvesting our crop was a very hands-on process – and we mean that literally.

Rewind to 2016.  

When it came time to harvest, we had to bring some friends and family on board to help us pull each plant by hand.  This was a tedious process that took well over a week of day-in-day-out work – and we swore never to do it again!  Then once we’d harvested, we had to send our yield interstate for processing, after which it was sent back to us and used to make the first Hemp Home through Hemp Homes Australia. 

What Are The Benefits Of Growing Hemp? 

Despite how fantastic hemp homes are, hemp plants actually have a considerable amount of beneficial properties and other uses! 

Benefits:

  • Fast-growing crop: Hemp is one of the fastest-growing crops, taking approximately 2 – 3 months to grow. In comparison, hemp is about 4 X faster growing than cotton.
  • Extremely durable: Hemp crops are one of the strongest available crops, and hemp’s compressive strength is six times stronger than steel!
  • Environmentally friendly: The environment is a critical aspect of life right now, and growing hemp is a hugely beneficial crop for the environment. It does not require any pesticides or herbicides, takes less space, and needs less water than other crops.
    If you’d like to read more about the environmental benefits of Hempcrete, check out the blog we wrote about it!
  • Carbon sequestration: The process of carbon sequestration is when a plant takes carbon from the atmosphere and releases oxygen instead. Although all plants do this, hemp plants breathe in 4 times more carbon than trees. Just 1 acre of hemp plants can sequester 10 tonnes of carbon! 

How Can Hemp Be Used To Build Hemp Houses? 

So, how exactly can hemp be used to build a house? Well, the hurd and fibre that is gotten from a single hectare of hemp are enough to make one entire house, as well as additional byproducts. Even though that alone is seriously impressive, hemp has even more commercial uses to offer. We also farm the following parts of hemp plants: 

  • Bast Fibre
  • Hemp Seed
  • Hemp Leaves (although we sadly still have to discard these)
  • Hemp Root

That’s a whole lot of commercial benefits from one plant! Just to completely blow you away, hemp actually has even more benefits to add! 

Benefits For Farmers 

Hemp farming can be hugely beneficial to farmers and their land. Hemp is a rotational crop that can alternate between their stable crop and hemp. Rotating hemp on the land will improve soil nutrition and save money by not needing to add soil enrichment ingredients too! 

Final Words

Hemp clearly has a considerable amount of benefits, and the discoveries that can be made in the future are endless. Hemp housing is a huge step forward for an eco-friendly, energy-efficient solution to a saturated housing market.

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When it comes to hemp, there isn’t much we don’t do! Come on down and say hi to the team at our stores!
hempco logo
When it comes to hemp, there isn’t much we don’t do! 
Come on down and say hi to the team at our stores!
Margaret River Hemp Co honours the traditional owners of this land, the Wadandi (Saltwater)people, and their elders past, present and emerging.
We acknowledge the Wadandi people’s 60,000 year custodianship of this special place, and we thank them for generously sharing with us their immensely deep culture knowledge and connection to the land.
© 2022 Margaret River HempCo. All Rights Reserved.
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