To Australia Map Hemp Cultivation in Victoria

The situation in Victoria, Australia:

Hemp is legal in Victoria!

Victorian Farmers to try Hemp

Victorian Trials

Debate on Hemp in Victorian House


From: "Adrian Francis K. Clarke" <ahcl@ozemail.com.au>
To: Matthew@HempWorld.com
Subject: Press Release re Victoria's Hemp Bill 
Date: Monday, July 03, 2000 5:06 PM

Victoria's Opposition supports the Government decision to enable Industrial Hemp production.

On Tuesday the 16th September 1997, as the First Bill of the Spring Session of Parliament, the House of Assembly of the Victorian State Parliament debated the Hemp Bill. It was called the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances (Amendment) Bill. The debate began at 3.35pm with the first MP's speech of support and ended at 5.40pm with the Acting Speaker referring the Bill to the Legislative Council.

The formal Debate was not really a debate because the opposition was competing with the government in their fulsome support for the Bill. Speaker after speaker rose to add their endorsement for various aspects and possibilities the Bill created for their electorates and the state as a whole. City Representatives spoke of the downstream Jobs the new industry could create. Country Representatives spoke of the revitalization of the Countryside with new local industries including the creation of Power Alcohol to drive trains and cars, paper mills, fibre and textile industries - even downstream value adding like fashion and clothing industries.

The extended time taken up to pass the Bill was due to the large number of Members of both the Liberal National Party Government and the Labour Opposition who wished to speak in support of the Bill. The opposition wanted to be seen to support such a 'Green' bill and encourage the government in Environmentally sound directions.

They all spoke of the PROMISE which can only be delivered with the development of new Technology to process it.

The Legislative Assembly is the 'controlling' House of our Government and the Bill's Introduction by the Deputy Premier and subsequent passage through that House, supported by both sides of politics, is the start of a formal process through to the Signing into Law by the State Governor (Queen's Representative) in Council. Now there is only the formal process of our system to be worked through.

The Bill must now pass through the Legislative Council (Upper House) which is a 'house of review'. The Government holds a massive majority in that house also. However since the Opposition is so strongly supporting the Bill, it is expected to pass through that house in the same way as it did through the Assembly. That step is expected to be completed on the first day of sitting of that Chamber; the 7th. October, 1997.

The Fees Committee will work quickly to establish the fee for the farmers' growing permit (expected to be about $500) and the Public Servants will work out the simplest effective regulation framework they can. With the best will in the world these processes take time and are expected to be completed by Christmas or early in the new year. Then commercial low THC Industrial Hemp Crops will be grown in Victoria and the fibre and hurd products will be sold to the marketplace just like any other farm produce.


Date: Tuesday, November 16, 1999 7:21 PM
From: Dave Cull nozone@uniserve.com
To:
Matthew@HempWorld.com
Subject: Australia: Victorian Farmers To Try Hemp Crops

Newshawk: Kenneth William Russell
Pubdate: Mon, 15 Nov 1999
Source: Age, The (Australia) Copyright: 1999 David Syme & Co Ltd contact: letters@theage.fairfax.com.au Address: 250 Spencer Street, Melbourne, 3000, Australia Website: http://www.theage.com.au/

Author: Debbie Dalziel

VICTORIAN FARMERS TO TRY HEMP CROPS

Hemp could be planted in Victoria as early as next month to determine if hemp oilseed production could benefit farmers.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is seeking low-THC hemp varieties from Eastern Europe after a request from a North American company to examine Australia's potential as a supplier.

A Ballarat-based agronomist with the department, Mr Chris Bluett, said the first Australian hemp oilseed trials were likely to go ahead near Ballarat and in north-eastern Victoria next month, possibly on department and private land.

A 1998 Victorian legislative amendment made it possible to grow hemp oilseed under strict conditions for industrial purposes, Mr Bluett said. Victoria is one of only a few places in the Western world allowing hemp production.

The performance of hemp oilseed varieties in Victoria has not been tested, so little is known about the summer-growing crop's potential under dryland or irrigation conditions.

But interest in a hemp oilseed industry is coming from farmers, oilseed crushers and business, with the key existing market being the cosmetics industry.

"It's a potential industry waiting to happen", Mr Bluett said.

He said hemp seed yielded a quality oil with a good fatty acid profile that had gained favor in the cosmetics industry.

The Body Shop chain markets skin-conditioning products containing hemp oilseed. The company's communication manager, Ms Nicki Burkinshaw, said demand for hemp oil products was growing.

Although supply was currently sufficient, with the oil mostly sourced from France, Ms Burkinshaw welcomed the possibility of Victorian suppliers.


Date: - Tue Sep 23 17:03:19 1997
From: "Adrian Francis. K. Clarke" ahcl@ozemail.com.au
To: Matthew@HempWorld.com
Subject: Parliamentary Records on Net

Dear All,

If you go to the following address on your internet you will be able to read for yourself the debate in Victorian Parliament. You will see that the opposition supported the Bill and that the motion passed its second reading and has been referred on to the Upper House.

The Lower House is called the Assembly and that is controlling house. The Upper House is called the Council and that is a house of review.

To see the debate enter: http://www.vicnet.net.au/vicnet/vicgov/parl/parlia.html

Click on HANSARD Choose the Hansard Daily Button enter Drugs in the subject box Select Advanced Query in the Assembly

You will see the debate and its result.

You can also obtain a copy of the Bill from this address.

Best Regards,

Adrian


Hemp Agronomics Victoria

Low-THC Indian Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Trials in Victoria
For presentation to the First New Crops Conference University of Queensland, Gatton College, July 1996
Sam Lolicato1, Chris Bluett2 and John Blackstock3.
1Agriculture Victoria, Institute of Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture, Tatura, 3616
2Agriculture Victoria, Cnr. Mair and Doveton Sts, Ballarat, 3350
3Agriculture Victoria, PO Box 500, E. Melbourne, 3002

Abstract
The legislative and administrative processes undertaken to allow the cultivation of low-THC indian hemp in Victoria are outlined. The implementation process used for the 1995-96 crop growing season is described and the seven authorized sites are briefly described. Results of the administrative procedures and preliminary agronomic results are presented.

Government Policy
In July 1995, the Victorian Government authorized a three-year field research program on low-THC hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) to be conducted in collaboration with research organizations and potential end users of hemp fiber.

The Government's decision was based on the need for objective data on both the production and processing of hemp in Australia, so that industry participants and the Government can make informed decisions on whether a commercial hemp industry would be economically viable and of net benefit to the community.

Many recent claims of agronomic, environmental and economic benefits of fiber hemp have been overstated or unsubstantiated. While overseas evidence confirms the potential value of local hemp production in the manufacture of a range of specialty fiber, fabric and other products, there is no conclusive evidence that hemp production will be a profitable alternative for Australian farmers or that fiber processors will invest in the processing technology needed to generate local markets.

The Victorian research program addresses economic, health, drug law enforcement and environmental issues. These include:

Key principles and conditions announced by the Government in July 1995 when applications for permits were invited were as follows:

  • 1. location of trial sites, to ensure that trials were distributed in areas of greatest production potential;

    2. demonstrated ability to implement appropriate security measures and other permit provisions;

    3. scientific merit of the proposed research and;

    4. effective collaboration with commercial end-users.

  • The inter-departmental steering committee undertook the selection process for trials which were sown in 1995. Seed was imported by Agriculture Victoria under licenses and permits issued under the Commonwealth Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations. Successful applicants were authorized under the Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 1995 and the Catchment and Land Management Act 1994 to conduct the field trials. The steering committee decided to have all trial sites harvested at the flowering stage to prevent seed production. This arose out of concerns about anticipated difficulties in maintaining control over harvested seed and recognition that adequate amounts of commercial seed was available on the international market.

    The Government has made it clear to potential participants in the field trial program that the decision to authorize research does not bind the government to approve commercial production in the future. Future decisions on commercial production will need to take into account the results of local research on the agronomy and processing of the crop, the scale of local markets and the cost of policing the strict license arrangements which would be needed to address the obvious security issues associated with large scale production.

    Trial Implementation
    Forty applications to cultivate Low-THC Indian Hemp were received by the closing date, on 25 August 1995, but many applicants failed to provide adequate supporting information. All applications with supporting information were presented to the steering committee one week after the closing date. Nine sites were chosen and seven were subsequently sown. Overall coordination of the trials and implementation of policies as outlined by the steering committee were the responsibility of the two Agriculture Victoria officers, one covering the north and east and the other covering the south and west.

    The designated duties of coordinators were to:

    All direct costs incurred by Government agencies to implement the trials were charged to the site managers on a fee-for-service basis. There was a fixed compulsory charge of $3,500 per site to cover the coordinator's time and operating costs expended in carrying out the above designated duties. In addition each site manager received some limited advice and on-ground work on site selection, site security, soil preparation, varieties, harvest timing and product storage, as well as seed handling and storage and plant sampling for drug content analysis.

    All sites were funded by organizations which contracted qualified agronomists from Agriculture Victoria and other organizations to work in association with site landowners to grow the crops. The agronomists were also contracted to collect and present field data.

    In order to gain authorization to cultivate fiber Hemp, site managers agreed to make important agronomic data available to the coordinators for publication. The published information includes approximate geographic locations, soil types and nutritional status, rainfall, treatments and yield data.

    Seed
    The coordinators were solely responsible for legally imported Cannabis seed until it was sown at the authorized trial site. All parts of the Cannabis plant are classed as a Schedule 9 Poison, so Health Department permits are required to allow handling and storage of the seed.

    On 1 August 1995 Agriculture Victoria placed an order with the South Australian Seedgrowers Co-operative Ltd (Seedco) for one 50 kg bag of each of five French owned varieties (Table 1). Earlier in the year the Co-operative had imported these same varieties for South Australian Hemp trials. Agriculture Victoria took delivery of the seed on the 29 September. Australian Quarantine Inspection Service officials supervised purity and germination testing and three varieties were subsequently found to contain excessive quantities of soil. The soil was in the form of granules about the same size and colour as the seed and was removed on a vibrating (gravity) table before being cleared for use.

    On the 14 August an order was placed with the Australian Hemp Industries Association for other certified low-THC varieties to broaden the genetic base for trials. On 13 November, Agriculture Victoria took delivery of four more varieties (Table 1). Two varieties were from the Polish Institute of Natural Fibers and the other two were from the International Hemp Association in The Netherlands, but originating from Hungary and Romania.

    Table 1. Varieties, brief descriptions and seed quantities imported by Agriculture Victoria in 1995

    Name

    Origin

    Maturity
    grading

    Quantity
    (kg)

    Germination
    %

    Flower
    type *

    Ferimon 12

    France

    Early

    50

    85

    Monoecious

    Fedora 19

    France

    Early

    50

    87

    Monoecious

    Felina 34

    France

    Mid-

    50

    79

    Monoecious

    Fedrina 74

    France

    Late

    50

    65

    Monoecious

    Futura 77

    France

    Late

    50

    77

    Monoecious

    Beniko

    Poland

    ___

    4.5

    65

    ___

    Bialobrzeskie

    Poland

    ___

    4.5

    64

    Monoecious

    Kompolti TC

    Hungary

    ___

    10

    15

    Dioecious

    Secuini

    Romania

    ___

    10

    64

    Monoecious

    * Monoecious: individual plant with both male and female parts
    Dioecious: individual plant with only male or only female parts.

    Cost of seed (Refer to Table 1 for quantities)
    Department of Health permits $1160
    Seedco - French varieties 4124
    AHIA - other varieties 585
    Seed testing 720

    Sampling for THC Analysis
    The Victorian Forensic Science Center directed the Agriculture Victoria coordinators to sample each crop at the flowering stage. Flowering was defined as the stage when 50% of the plants had at least one flower. The top 5 cm of 20 randomly-selected flowering female (or monoecious) plants was sampled from one replicate of each treatment.

    Site Security
    Security measures to prevent interference with growing crops relied mainly on the requirement for all crops to be situated away from a public thoroughfare and close to a residence. All persons with unsupervised access to a site, including a designated occupant of the residence, were required to undergo an Australia-wide police records check.

    Fences immediately surrounding the plots were built to a standard that would make it difficult for persons to climb through or over them. Only commonly-used stock fencing materials were required, with electric fencing constructed to a height of 1.2 m and conventional fencing constructed to a height of 1.8 m.

    The sites also required two lockable gates between the crop and public access. Two signs were required at the site stating that access was prohibited and the trials were for Low-THC fiber hemp.

    Trial Sites
    There was a good representation of suitable environments in Victoria, with sites close to:
    Benalla and Myrtleford in the north-east;
    Kerang in the north;
    Ballarat and Winchelsea in the south;
    Maryborough in the center and;
    Horsham in the west.
    All sites except one had facilities for irrigation

    .Preliminary Results
    At the time of writing preliminary results were available for all seven sites:

    Benalla
    This was the first crop to be sown in the trial program in Victoria. The site was well drained with a brown, very fine sandy clay loam soil 15 - 20 cm deep, overlying clay. The pH of surface soil was approximately 5.5. The trial included the five French varieties, replicated six times in a randomized block design.

    The five French varieties were sown on 15 October 1995, with viable seeding rate 65 kg/ha and NPK fertilizer (150 kg/ha Pivot 400). The site was flood irrigated after establishment.

    In leveling the site before sowing, top-soil had been removed from a corner of the site occupying about 25% of the total area of plots. Plant growth in this area was very poor and measurement procedures did not include this area.

    Measurements included crop establishment and several components of yield (Table 2). Observations on flowering time and weed and pest infestation were also recorded.

    The crop was cut on 22 December, 68 days after sowing. The earlier-flowering varieties had immature seed developing and significant numbers of heliothis (Family Noctuidae) caterpillars were observed in many of the seed heads. The crop was harvested using a baler producing large rectangular bales.

    Table 2. Air dried yield of above ground plant material, and stem density, diameter and maximum height of five French varieties at harvest in the Benalla site.

    Variety

    Flower and leaf yield

    (t/ha)

    Stem yield

    (t/ha)

    Total yield

    (t/ha)

    Stem density

    (No./m2)

    Stem diameter

    (mm)

    Maximum Height

    (cm)

    Ferimon 12

    3.0

    3.9

    6.9

    159

    3.82

    120

    Fedora 19

    3.0

    4.0

    7.0

    153

    4.10

    144

    Felina 34

    2.7

    4.4

    7.1

    147

    3.73

    154

    Fedrina 74

    2.4

    4.2

    6.7

    118

    4.28

    164

    Futura 77

    2.5

    5.6

    8.1

    166

    4.64

    172

    Lsd (p<0.05)

    0.45

    0.88

    1.28

    68

    0.71

    16

    Seed of the four non-French varieties were hand-broadcast and raked-in on 21 November. These plots failed to establish after flood irrigation to germinate seed.

    Myrtleford
    The soil was a dark well-drained grey loam. The five French varieties were first sown on 28 October, 1995 and in a second sowing on 21 November. Both had lime (2 t/ha) and fertilizer (N-100 kg/ha, P-40 kg/ha, K-40 kg/ha) incorporated in the soil before sowing. The viable seeding rate in all treatments was 75 kg/ha.

    On the second sowing date, the non-French varieties were sown in plots adjoining the French variety site. Sprinkler irrigations were applied at establishment (15 mm) and during December (60 mm). Rainfall during crop growth was 125 mm.

    The early-sown plots were harvested with a brush-cutter and tied into bundles on 31 December, 64 days after sowing. Heliothis caterpillars were observed in some of the immature seed heads. The second sown crop was harvested using a hay baler making small (conventional sized) bales on 31 January, 71 days after sowing.

    All varieties within the same sowing time appeared to flower within about a 14 day period. The earlier-flowering varieties tended to be shorter than the later flowering varieties.

    Above ground air-dried weights were measured. There were no significant differences between the French varieties (Table 3), but the mean of the late-sown treatments (11 t/ha) was significantly (p<0.05) higher than the mean of the early-sown treatments (8 t/ha). The yields of the non-French varieties were similar to the yields of the late-sown French varieties.

    Table 3. Air dried yield of above ground plant material and height of five French varieties at the Myrtleford site.

    Variety

    Yield

    (t/ha)

    Height

    (cm)

     

    Early sowing

    Late sowing

     
    Ferimon 12

    7.2

    10.9

    94

    Fedora 19

    8.3

    11.6

    102

    Felina 34

    9.1

    11.0

    104

    Fedrina 74

    7.8

    9.6

    108

    Futura 77

    7.6

    10.8

    114

    Lsd (p<0.05)

    2.16

    2.16

    --

    Kerang
    The soil was a poorly structured red-brown earth, prone to crusting. The five French varieties were sown across soils affected by two levels of salt. The salt treatments were classed as low (<3.8 dS/m) and moderate (3.8 - 6.5 dS/m).

    Seed was sown approximately 50 - 100 mm deep into dry raised beds on 22 November 1995 and irrigated on 24 November. The seed bed was coarse, with 50 - 80 mm clods on the surface. Most seed failed to emerge.

    Small areas appeared to establish where:
    a. the beds were higher (better drainage);
    b. sowing depth was shallower and;
    c. there was some compaction by tractor wheels after sowing (better seed-soil contact).

    There was a small area at the end of the irrigation bays where plants reached a height of 1.2 m at flowering in mid-January, approximately 60 days after sowing.

     

    Winchelsea
    This high rainfall site was the only one in Victoria not irrigated. It was sown on 7 December into a fine seedbed with very little moisture. The soil was a basalt clay loam, situated on the slopes of a volcanic cone. Viable seeding rate was 80 kg/ha and fertilizer rate was 100 kg/ha DAP banded with the seed.

    In the main trial there were six replicates of the five French varieties. Alongside this were unreplicated observation plots with the following treatments:

    a. half, normal (80 kg/ha) and double seed rates;
    b. nil, 100 kg/ha and 200 kg/ha DAP fertilizer, banded with the seed on Felina 34 and;
    c. single plots of four eastern European lines.

    Stems at harvest were shorter, thicker and less densely spaced than in the Ballarat irrigated crop sown at similar seed rates.

    Rainfall during the crop growing season was: December, 26 mm; January, 35 mm; February, 33 mm.

    Plants appeared to go to seed quicker than those on the irrigated sites.

    The plots were cut and weighed on 29 February, 84 days after sowing. Undried, above-ground plant yields and plant heights were as follows (not statistically analyzed at the time of writing).

    Table 4. Undried yield of above ground plant material and height of five French varieties at harvest in the Winchelsea site.

    Variety

    Yield

    (t/ha)

    Height

    (cm)

    Ferimon 12

    14.75

    94

    Fedora 19

    15.20

    102

    Felina 34

    15.84

    104

    Fedrina 74

    15.97

    108

    Futura 77

    17.40

    114

    Preliminary measurements showed air dried weight to be 50% of undried weight, so yield of air dried product ranges from 7.4 t/ha to 8.7 t/ha.

    The earlier varieties appeared to have less height and undried weight than the later varieties.

    In the observation plots, there appeared to be no significant affect from the superphosphate treatments. The normal (80 kg/ha) seeding rate and the half seeding rate plots appeared to be significantly higher yielding than the double seeding rate treatment.

    In this district hemp grown as a summer crop may be useful to precede autumn-sowing of a winter crop.

    Ballarat
    This site was on a deep red volcanic kraznozem soil (Ballarat potato soil). This soil type is very free draining and well structured, but has low water holding capacity (potato crops in peak growth requiring weekly irrigations in summer).

    The trial was sown on 22 December, with the five French varieties replicated six times. Unreplicated observation plots contained N and P fertilizer treatments, seeding rate treatments and the four Eastern European varieties. The crop received several effective rainfall events, which were supplemented with spray irrigation from overhead gun equipment. It is likely that the crop was mildly water stressed on some occasions between rainfall and irrigation events. Crop growth was very dense and vigorous, with clear responses to water availability. The rapid initial growth effectively out-competed a dense population of wild radish ( Raphanus raphanistrum) seedlings.

    Viable seeding rate was 80 kg/ha and fertilizer rate was 100 kg/ha DAP banded with the seed.

    On 1 April, 100 days after sowing, the site was harvested for yield measurements. Undried, above-ground plant yields and plant heights were as follows (not statistically analyzed at the time of writing).

    Table 5. Undried yield of above ground plant material, stem density and height of five French varieties at harvest in the Ballarat site.

    Variety

    Yield

    (t/ha)

    Stem density

    (No./m2 )

    Height

    (cm)

    Ferimon 12

    26.5

    305

    123

    Fedora 19

    24.1

    276

    127

    Felina 34

    26.6

    286

    142

    Fedrina 74

    26.3

    253

    141

    Futura 77

    28.6

    339

    154

    Assuming air dried weight to be 50% of undried weight, then yield of air dried product ranges from 12.1 t/ha to 14.3 t/ha.

    Maximum height of some plants, especially those of Futura 77 exceeded 185 cm. All stems were counted regardless of size. Some plants failed to compete and remained short and thin.

    Crop heights of later varieties were clearly greater than earlier ones. However although crop height of Futura 77 was 25% greater than Ferimon 12, undried weight appeared to be 8% higher.

    In the observation plots the highest nitrogen rate had the highest yield, but there appeared to be no affect on height. It appeared that superphosphate rates had no significant affects. With increasing seeding rates, plants/m2 and yields appeared to increase, while crop height appeared to decrease.

    Maryborough
    This site had been laser-levelled for flood irrigation and was formerly under lucerne. The soil was a red duplex clay, with pH(H20) 5.97 and pH(CaCl) 5.38. Colwell P was 10.00 ppm, Colwell K 158 ppm and the levels of exchangeable cations were satisfactory.

    The site was sown on 29 November 1995. Treatments were the five French varieties in a factorial design with four rates of phosphorous and with unreplicated observation plots similar to those at Winchelsea.

    Soil moisture at sowing was marginal for germination and anticipated follow-up rainfall did not occur, so the site was flood irrigated before full seedling establishment. Final establishment was very uneven and poor. Several more irrigations were applied, however growth was satisfactory only at the end of the irrigation bays, where water coverage was least. Over most of the site there were patches with few live plants and many dead ones a few centimeters tall. Death of the small plants was most likely due to scalding during flood irrigation. Plants in the most vigorous plots were generally about 180 cm high.

    Yield comparisons were not possible.

    Horsham
    The soil was a grey self-mulching clay in a flood irrigation bay, laser-leveled to a slope of less than 1:750. Seed was sown on 5 December into moderate soil moisture. Treatments were the five French varieties replicated six times. Unreplicated observation plots were also sown with treatments similar to those at Winchensea. Soon after sowing the emerging crop was flood irrigated. Although the irrigation duration was relatively short, with the water supply outlet remaining open for less than one hour, crop establishment was very poor. This result was similar to the results from other sites using flood irrigation to aid establishment.

    The most vigorous part of the crop was situated on a slightly raised 4 m2 area near the high end of the irrigation bay. The air-dried yield of above-ground plant material in this area was 5.9 t/ha.

    Yield comparisons were not possible.

    Results of THC analysis

    Table 6. Results of THC analyses from all tested sites.

    Variety

    Benalla

    Myrtleford

    Winchelsea

    Ballarat

    Horsham

    Ferimon 12

    B

    A, B

    C

    B

    E

    Fedora 19

    B

    A, C

    F (0.34)

    B

    C

    Felina 34

    A

    A

    E, D, D

    B, B, A

    D

    Fedrina 74

    B

    A

    B

    A, A, A, A

    B, F (0.30)

    Futura 77

    B

    B

    E

    C

    F (0.42)

    Beniko

    --

    B

    F (0.36)

    C

    D

    Bialobrzeskie

    --

    B

    F (0.93)

    B

    D

    Kompolti TC

    --

    F (0.50)

    F (0.30)

    E

    F (0.38)

    Secuini

    --

    F (0.70)

    C

    E

    F (1.03)

    Key to percent w/w THC levels:
    A for
    0.05
    B for > 0.05 to
    0.01
    C for > 0.10 to
    0.15
    D for > 0.15 to
    0.20
    E for > 0.20 to
    0.25
    F for > 0.25

    Where there was an F grading quantitative results are shown. Each grading within a site applies to a different treatment. Treatments exceeding the authorised limit of 0.35% w/w are shown in bold.

    Preliminary conclusions
    Security arrangements appeared to be adequate, with only one reported breaching of a fence surrounding a hemp site. There were no reports of plant material being lost from authorized sites.

    In well established crops initial hemp plant growth out-competed both grass and broadleaf weeds so that spraying of herbicides was not necessary. At Myrtleford and Ballarat above ground plant material production appeared to approach levels of production reported in European commercial hemp crops (Werf 1994).

    In The Netherlands (48o latitude) differences in time from the earliest flowering to the latest flowering in a similar range of French varieties was observed to be up to 47 days (Meijer 1994), while in the current trials this time was approximately only 14 days. Despite this the breeders maturity classification of the French varieties was observed to be retained under local conditions.

    There was a clear tendency for early varieties to flower and cease vegetative growth sooner. This resulted in the early varieties being harvested at lower heights and at slightly lower yields than the later varieties. With well established, vigorous plants it is likely that early flowering was the main limitation to stem yields of all varieties. The shorter period from sowing to flowering and the significantly (p<0.05) lower mean yield of all varieties from the early sowing at Myrtleford compared to the late sowing indicates that the short-days of late October were significantly more strongly flower inducing than the daylengths of late November.

    The French varieties are adapted to a latitude of 48o (Meijer 1994), while central Victoria is situated at the lower latitude of 36o. Meijer (1994) found that in moving cultivation of a variety from higher latitudes to lower latitudes the period from sowing to flowering was reduced, with consequent reductions in final stem lengths and yield.

    Flood irrigation on flat bays or low beds should not be used to establish hemp, even when soil drainage is good. Crop failures in these trials were most likely due to scalding, soil crusting and waterlogging. Early sowing would allow greater reliability for establishment under rainfall, but daylengths in mid-spring induces early flowering and reduced stem yields. Further work is needed to identify varieties more highly adapted to Victorian latitudes (to utilize more of the potential growing season) and to identify best irrigation practices for establishing crops in early summer.

    Heliothis caterpillar may be a limitation to commercial hemp seed production in at least some seasons.

    Acknowledgments
    The presented agronomic information was made available by J. Avery and A. Dridan for Action Benalla; J. Davis and H. Dennis for the Clarke Consortium; D. Pye and D. Hamilton for Ellendell Pty Ltd; I. Smith and M. Drum for the Central Goldfields Regional Development Board and C. Dyson and J. Haupt for the Northern Irrigation Salinity Group. Valuable information and support was also provided by P. Clayton and the site landholders.

    References
    Meijer, E. de 1994. Diversity in Cannabis. Thesis, Wageningen, Holland. (
    ISBN 90-5485-338-7)
    Werf, H. van der 1994. Crop Physiology of Fiber Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.). Wageningen, Holland.
    (
    ISBN 90-9007171-7). (Australian Hemp Products, PO Box 236, New Lambton, 2305).

    _________________________________________________________________

    Do you know more about this? e-mail us at Matthew@HempWorld.com

    *Industrial-Hemp has no psychoactive properties following definition of the European Economic Community (EEC); THC content is less than 0.3%. In general, low THC-seed varieties without psychoactive properties are those that have a THC content of less than 1%. (See also No-THC Hemp-seed.) THC= Delta-9 TetraHydroCannabinol.

    Copyright 1995-2003 HempWorld, Inc. and IHA All Rights Reserved.