Tasmanian hemp grower destroys crop after it exceeded allowed THC ranges

An entire hemp crop was destroyed in northern Tasmania because the concentration of the psychoactive component, which is also found in marijuana, was higher than allowed.

Important points:

  • The Tasmanian hemp farmer Tim Schmidt had to destroy his entire harvest because it exceeded the permitted THC concentration
  • The hemp seeds come from China and have already been used with success
  • The lost crop is worth about $ 5,000

The harvest was plowed into the ground, as the levels are outside the legally prescribed limit for hemp as a food and the farmer accuses an above-average cool season.

“Unfortunately, the harvest of seeds that I obtained from China has exceeded the THC threshold of 1 percent, and the legislation dictates that anything above 1 percent must be destroyed,” said Tim Schmidt, hemp farmer and President of the Tasmanian Hemp Association.

Farmer Tim Schmidt said he would “prefer not to burn it”.

ABC Rural: Fiona Breen

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In hemp, the cannabis plant was grown with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

While marijuana can contain more than 25 percent THC, hemp usually contains less than 1 percent, and smoking for a high value is useless.

However, Tim Schmidt’s hemp with 1.5 percent THC was a little closer to the plant, which gives people a high value.

The farmer will rethink the seeds

It stunned the farmer and his consultant agronomist, Konrad Chung, because the couple planted the same seeds with lower results last year.

“It can be a genetic thing that the plants respond to [the weather] that we had that would produce high levels of THC, “said Mr. Chung.

For Tim Schmidt, it’s a blow to his bottom line by 2021 as the lost crop is worth about $ 5,000.

“There was a lot of rainfall, so these conditions may have resulted in higher levels of THC, which is reflected in this situation,” Schmidt said.

The next time he plants, he thinks about which seeds to use.

For two years, the hemp seeds from China gave him a 50/50 success result.

“The literature and research I’ve done told me it was a low-THC strain, but in practice this isn’t a lesson learned, that’s for sure,” Schmidt said.

The hemp harvest is buried on Tim Schmidt’s property.

ABC Rural: Fiona Breen

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Tasmania produces about two-thirds of Australia’s hemp for food, with the seeds used in bread and grains and as an alternative protein.

Tasmania has been growing small-scale hemp for fibers and cosmetics since the 1990s.

When the laws changed in 2017 to allow hemp seeds to be sold as food, farmers took the harvest seriously.

According to Tim Schmidt, consumer demand continues to grow.

“Consumers are starting to learn the benefits of hemp foods for themselves, and things are expanding,” he said.

He plans to start rotating it again in a different paddock next season.

In the meantime, it is hoped that the crop destroyed this year will at least do something good in the soil.

“I would prefer not to burn it because it’s a terrible waste of carbon,” he added.

“It’s amazing stuff, it’s a wonderful garden mulch, but it breaks down pretty quickly under the right conditions, when it comes in contact with the soil and moisture and so on, you wouldn’t believe such a tough, fibrous plant,” said he

As for the future, experience has not stopped him from having a harvest that he is very passionate about.

“It’s a very new industry and we have a great group of farmers who have learned a lot over the past five years,” he said

With the industrial hemp industry in Tasmania in its infancy, Mr Schmidt said it was not surprising that there are some “teething troubles”.

“Every year we learn a little more and get a little better,” he said.