South Australia’s only hemp processor credits the improvement in agronomy for its highest seed yield to date.
- One SA hemp processor says its average yield has risen to more than a ton per hectare
- The national umbrella organization says hemp-specific agronomy is increasing across Australia
- A Tasmanian agronomist says knowledge was developed through trial and error
Mick Andersen of Bordertown said the average yield this season was 1.2 tons per acre, up from 500 kilograms per acre three seasons ago after legalizing hemp edible products in 2017.
“This year we had a harvest of 2.3 tons per hectare,” he said.
“The best yield that we had before last season is around one ton per hectare of the head.”
Mr Andersen’s company, Good Country Hemp, gets its seeds from contract farmers.
He said while seasonal conditions and diversity added to yields, growers’ hemp-specific agronomy had improved.
“We’re really starting to figure out how hemp grows,” he said.
“We can feed it all the things it needs to grow well and produce pretty good seeds.”
Most farmers in Australia grow industrial hemp for the seeds. (
Delivered: Good country hemp
The processor said using knowledge from Tasmania in building the SA industry “has been really helpful”.
“In SA the conditions are a little different so we need to have a specific agronomy for our soil types in our climate.
“As we go forward, we get better and better at it.
“It all comes together – all the planets are there for us and we’re really starting to figure out what it takes to grow good hemp crops.”
James Vosper, president of Australia’s Industrial Hemp Alliance, said producers are increasingly looking at growing hemp as real business. (
Delivered: James Vosper
Cottage days done
James Vosper, president of the Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance (AIHA), said hemp-specific agronomy had an “absolute” impact on crop productivity across the country.
“The real yields farmers make are increasing, there are fewer failed harvests because people are more specific about the type of seeds they are actually growing, and more serious, larger acreage results in greater economies of scale,” he said.
“What used to be more of a home industry has now established itself as a real industry.
“As the knowledge base grows, people naturally get better at what they do.”
Mr. Vosper estimated that the farmers harvest more than a tonne of seed yields of 500 to 900 kilograms, which would align the national increase very closely with the growth of Mr. Andersen’s farm.
Tasmania grows about two-thirds of the national commercial hemp crop. (
ABC News: Laurissa Smith
Trial and error
Tasmania is the largest hemp producer in Australia according to AIHA’s 2020 annual report.
The Tasmanian agronomist Konrad Chung has observed the growth of state industry from the beginning.
“We started with about 50 acres about 10 years ago – now it’s up to 1,500,” he said.
“We didn’t have a lot when we started, but now we have people ready to harvest it. We have an infrastructure to dry and clean the seeds.”
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Mr. Chung said the industry has learned many hard lessons in its brief existence, mostly through trial and error.
“The seed itself is very fragile,” he said.
“You have to be very careful when you sow because if you crack the seed it won’t germinate.”
“Seed contamination can also cause headaches … wild radish or even leftover grain in the head or in the paddock itself can be very difficult to remove from the hemp seed.
“We even learned with the harvest that if you get in too early while the harvest is still green, it can tie up the combine and cause problems.”