Growing hemp in Australia is a hot topic at the moment, and everyone is wondering the same thing - how do I begin hemp farming in Australia?
Considering that many people are confused or have not heard about having a hemp farm in Australia, it is easy to imagine the amount of misinformation out there.
When considering the Cannabis plants, most people automatically think of THC - the psychoactive component responsible for the head high users experience when smoking cannabis.
Or perhaps you are more acquainted with CBD - a cannabinoid that is used to aid with many different things.
Nonetheless, confusion swirls primarily around cannabis because of these two components, leading most people to people that hemp cannot be grown in Australia - but we are here to tell you how it can!
If you are specifically looking for information about growing hemp in Australia, you can skip to the next part!
However, if you are hoping to gain as much insight as possible about hemp, continue reading while we clear up some questions about hemp farming in Australia and show you how to grow hemp state by state.
Let’s get started!
One of the essential parts of growing hemp is discovering the best way to grow the plant. So, where does hemp grow best? Hemp plants tend to perform better in subtropical climates
- hemp plants like heat and humidity, with plenty of rainfall, so it is generally grown through summer-autumn.
However, growing hemp is still possible even if you are not based in a topical/subtropical climate. This extremely versatile plant can even adapt to different environments - such as species found in Russia.
For example, Ruderalis species native to Russian territory experiences a climate where the ground is frozen for nine months of the year!
Ruderalis species native to Russian territory
How does the plant survive? Well, this hard-willed and versatile plant adapts by using a three-month seed to flower cycle, where these clever plants will drop seeds into the ground once it has matured, and then from there, the seed gets frozen in the ice until it has thawed out.
The seed is then protected and frozen in the ice until the next season when it can be germinated.
Tasmania & NSW grow the most Hemp in Australia, partly due to the cooler subtropical climates that make Tasmania optimal for growing Hemp for food.
Other states like VIC, SA, WA, and QLD can also meet these criteria. Essentially, the further north you go, it could be tougher to grow Hemp due to the intense and dryness that starts to present through summer.
When looking into genetics that could grow well in these conditions, it could be worth looking towards genes sourced from dry, hot locations like Africa.
These variations could offer more drought-resistant traits than a landrace from Jamaica or Asia, for example.
There has recently been progress in the field of Hemp genetics for Australia’s hotter environments.
Professor David McNeil is from the UTAS and Department of Primary Industries and regional development is working to develop seed strains better suited to warmer and drier conditions in Australia's north (North Queensland, Northern Territory)
There are a number of private Australian companies where you can buy the correct genetic seeds for growing hemp in Australia.
Here are a few of our favourites (you can also contact us at [email protected] to buy direct)
If you live here and are wondering how to grow hemp in QLD, you will be happy to know that there are three different hemp-growing licenses you can apply for!
The three categories available are ‘grower’ ‘, researcher’ and ‘seed handler’; however, for the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on a grower license.
No matter what hemp license you have for growing hemp in Queensland, you are required to keep records of your cannabis production, such as how many plants you have and how much industrial cannabis you will have in your possession.
Additionally, Queensland is stringent on CBD production, and as such, you are not permitted to supply hemp to any person or company who intends to use it to produce CBD oil or CBD flowers.
Requirements for growing hemp in QLD are pretty simple:
The rules around how to grow hemp in NSW are a little easier going than in Queensland, for example. In NSW, you are permitted to grow low-THC Hemp, as long as some specific requirements are met first.
In addition, you can apply for a few different licenses depending on your purpose of growing hemp in NSW, such as for commercial purposes, manufacturing purposes, scientific purposes or any other purpose outlined in the regulation.
However, before you jump on the NSW bandwagon and move states to set up a hemp farm, there are some specific requirements applicants must meet first:
At this stage, there are only processing facilities on a smaller scale for fibre and hurd such as Ashford Hemp Industries operating in New South Wales currently.
The question of how to grow hemp in South Australia is easier to answer as there is a little wiggle room when it comes to growing hemp, and the government here will issue three different licenses - a cultivation license, a possession license and a processing license.
Additionally, South Australia does allow a small amount of THC to be presented in the hemp plants (less than 1%), and a criminal investigation can be opened if caught with plants above 1%.
Victoria issues a growing license for applicants. Like every other state, a growing license is required that can be obtained from the Agriculture Department.
Very low-THC strains are permitted in Victora, as long as the seeds you are using to grow the plant come from a plant that contains no more than 0.35% THC, and no part of the plant is sold for human consumption.
Victoria has some requirements in place before you can start growing hemp in Victoria:
For processing your hemp, Victoria is home to one of the biggest hemp food processing plants in Australia, and is working on research & development for fibre & hurd.
Although the smallest state, there is a lot of interest from people wondering how to grow hemp in Tasmnaia.
Their hemp licensing is run by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water, and Environment, and similar to other states, it issues licenses for growing low-THC hemp strains in Tasmania.
Tasmania offers hemp growing licenses for various purposes such as supply, cultivation, manufacturing, research, or any mix of the purposes mentioned above.
However, like in every other state, there are some requirements in place applicants must meet if they wish to start a hemp farm in Tasmania:
Processing hemp in Tasmania has been made very easy thanks to people like Tim Crow from Hemp Harvests, who opened a hemp processing facility in Tasmania that can process over 3000 tonnes of Hemp per year. Tasmania also has small-scale hemp fibre processing.
Western Australia will also issue hemp growing licenses for farmers wishing to grow hemp in WA.
However, it is essential to note that Western Australia does permit the growth of low-THC hemp plants (less than 1%), and any parts of the plant containing more will be classed as marijuana which is a criminal offence.
Hemp processing in Western Australia is about to get a whole lot easier with our brand new processing facility that just opened up!
If you’re in Western Australia and looking for Hemp processing services, please get in touch through our website or www.hemphomesaustralia.com.au
A new hemp food processing facility also opened this year; 'Harvey Hemp'.
Choosing the right hemp genetics is an essential part of learning how to grow hemp in Australia, and where you are located has a great deal of influence on the types of strains that will perform well, given the climate you are in.
Additionally, Things like pests, mould, frost, and drought can be detrimental to your crop.
Of course, everywhere in the world will have something that can damage crops - which is why choosing the right hemp genetics is so important.
A few key things to consider is your climate - do you live in a hot and humid climate? Mould could be an issue to mould-resistant strains would be ideal. Or, perhaps you are based in an area that can have dramatic cold snaps? Then, frost-resistant crops would be needed!
So as you can see, despite the many difficulties that can be present in the environment around us, generally, most farmers can grow hemp plants pretty easy anywhere in the world, as long as the strain is suitable!
Additionally, the purpose of the hemp plants should also be considered.
For example, if you are producing fibre or flowers, you will require different breeds. If you are in doubt, contact some hemp experts such as ourselves!
Anyone who was considering learning how to grow hemp in Australia but was previously deterred by or those looking to grow hemp for the first time, hopefully, this article will clarify some important details about growing hemp in Australia. And it’s not the most unrealistic goal if it’s something you truly want to do.
Every state in Australia has open applications for Hemp farming, processing, and researching licences that you could get started on tomorrow.
No, you won’t be able to produce THC or CBD. Yes, you will have to comply with strict testing standards. But if you’re not breaking the rules, what’s the matter with that?
Everyone here wants the Hemp industry to continue to grow in Australia, and one of the key aspects of this industry is bound to be the exact same for Australia as in any other sector - export heavy.
The real economic potential will start to shine once we’re able to supply high-quality, Australian Hemp products to the world.
Growing hemp in Australia does not need to be a faraway dream; it is possible to make it a reality today, and the more hemp being produced in Australia, the better!
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!