Hemp in Australia
Australia’s a large, barren continent with a strong agricultural heritage built on the back of sheep farming. But there’s an ancient crop that’s beginning to take on a new lease of life, now that the government has rolled back laws preventing its cultivation.
So what’s the story?
After being outlawed for years, the government of Australia have made it legal to grow industrial hemp under licence. Now an expanding group of farmers are growing Industrial Hemp crops with outstanding results. We’re very excited by the possibilities!
What’s so special about hemp?
Hemp is an incredibly resilient, drought-resistant, and sustainable crop. It’s also incredibly versatile, with some sources saying it turned into 25,000 different products – from foods, to fuel, clothing, paints and beyond!
Hemp’s easy to grow and doesn’t require pesticides like other crops, such as cotton and rice. This means that it’s economical to grow and its hardiness makes it perfect for harsh climates like Australia. Its ability to handle different soil types also makes it a popular crop choice.
Hemp by-products are popular in the modern manufacture of beauty products, paints, food, textile biodegradable plastic composites, biofuels and building products. With an array of uses, hemp’s a very versatile crop for manufacturing.
As we move towards a sustainable agricultural future, Australian farmers are looking for crops that are more suited to our natural environment. Hemp fits the bill!
Why does it do so well in Australia?
Industrial Hemp requires just a fraction of the water required for traditional crops. It’s also resistant to pests and grows in tight formations, meaning it outgrows potential weeds too. Featuring a deep root system, Hemp excels at drawing nutrients from deep underground, improving soil fertility for the rotational crops planted after the hemp season is over.
It’s a plant that thrives in barren environments, making it the perfect match for the Australian environment.
Why was it banned?
It was a case of mistaken identity. Industrial Hemp belongs to the same family of plants as marijuana, and looks similar to the untrained eye. As a result, lots of people confuse the two. In the United States, Industrial Hemp was effectively outlawed in the 1930s by passing of heavy tax laws on hemp growers. Prior to that it was a very popular crop.
Now that hemp has been legalised, Australian Industrial Hemp crops are being grown under licence in a number of states. Crops are tested regularly and must maintain a THC reading of less than 0.3% to maintain their legal status.
What is it being used for in Australia?
Hemp crops are currently grown for the production of hemp oil, which is used in everything from food to cosmetics and paints. Additionally, harvesting the hemp seed produces an excellent source of vegan protein!
Aussie farmers & producers are looking to expand their use of the hemp plant. Some producers are looking at producing products from the stalks and leaf matter – including Cannabidiol Oil (CBD Oil) in future.
CBD Oil is made by extracting the oil from plant material. There are currently some very promising results relating to the use of CBD Oil in the treatment of a variety of ailments. CBD Oil isn’t cleared for use in Australia just, but that should be changing soon. We’re looking forward to having access to this amazing supplement!
The increasing popularity of hemp products has seen demand for hemp crops increase dramatically. That, coupled with more farmers looking at a more sustainable agricultural future, points to hemp becoming a very popular crop indeed.