Canada’s hemp growers grew a record-large crop in 2013, and while acreage to the multi-use crop is still very small compared to most other options, further increases are expected next year.
The longer-term outlook may see it even compete with canola at some point in the future, from where one industry promoter sits.
“We had an excellent hemp crop this year,” said Kim Shukla of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance, based at Steinbach, Man. Canadian farmers grew a record 66,700 acres of hemp in 2013, which compares with about 54,000 acres the previous year, according to Health Canada data.
Yields were good, with no challenges reported during the growing period, said Shukla.
The biggest acreage increase was in Saskatchewan, where the bulk of Canada’s hemp crop is grown, with Alberta and Manitoba also seeing increases, she said. “The economic return has been great for producers,” she said, noting the acreage increases were the result of both new growers and existing producers expanding their acres.
Coming out of the CHTA’s annual meeting last week in Saskatoon, the industry appears to anticipate another acreage increase in 2014, said Shukla, the association’s executive director since 2009.
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