Australian update

Hemp research continues in Australia, with a variety of experimental and small-scale trials planned for this season. Hemp researcher Dr Andrew Katelaris told Cannabis Culture about “the difficulty of adapting existing fibre cultivars to relatively more equatorial latitudes, and the unfortunate influence that United States drug policy has in this country.”
Australian legislators have adopted the European level of 0.3% THC as the limit for hemp crops, but Katelaris explained that “there is a tendency for hemp grown at more equatorial latitudes to express higher levels of THC, and negotiations are in progress to establish an Australian level at around 1%.”

Katelaris also described the “demonstration of potentially commercially viable yields of both seed and fibre by a number of independent workers at diverse locations in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. In addition, progress has been made in developing semi-tropical fibre cultivars for use in northern New South Wales and Queensland.”

Katelaris described a technique developed by Australian hemp farmers, whereby they “use plants adapted to flowering in the northern (more equatorial) states to produce seed, which is then grown as a fibre crop in the southern (more temperate) states. Fibre yield increases of 25-30% were demonstrated last year, using this strategy.”

Overall, Katelaris is enthusiastic about hemp’s possibilities in Australia, saying “we remain confident that we can develop more rational farming systems, utilizing fibre hemp in rotation with traditional crops.”

* Hemp Cyber Farm Australia: website; email [email protected]