Hemp crop on the Hauraki Plains

Grant Paton
Sustainable soils
Environmental Fertilisers Ltd

This summer we decided to trial growing a hemp crop on some very flogged out maize ground.

This soil is marine clay and had been experiencing diminishing maize crop yields and returns during the last five years to the point where the land owner wasn’t prepared to risk (financially) another crop of green feed maize.
So after a few home brew rums we came up with a lease agreement and plan.
With a Reams soil test and a Lismore soil test results in hand we applied a 14 tonne per ha fertiliser mix of 10 tonne/ha of compost and 4 tonnes/ha of minerals, comprised of paramagnetic rock dust, soil force, gypsum, trace mineral microbial feeds and microbial inoculations (Bio-Vam, 10/25 and Combo-12).
After obtaining a growing license for hemp we proceeded to plant and learn.
We finally harvested the crop, dried the seed and have harvested 750kg/ha of seed.
We plan to extract the oil from this seed and then market it, as it will be the first North Island grown hemp oil for sale in New Zealand which has been extracted by its grower.
Next year we plan to harvest the fibre and hurd from the plant (hurds are the leftover fragments of the stems and stalk once all the fibres have been removed).
However, this year with the soil being in very poor condition, we have decided to put all this fibre back into the ground.
Hemp oil is one of the most beneficial oils for human health, having an ideal omega 6 to omega 3 ratio – even superior to olive oil and avocado oil.
Only hemp seed oil contains:
–     Omega6, Omega3 and GLA [gamma linolenic acid- 2.5-3 per cent of volume].
–    75-80 per cent poly-unsaturated fatty acids, which is the highest in the plant kingdom and unique among seed oils.
The Chinese grow more than 100 000ha of this a year; and a recent trial with military troops, going into adverse battle conditions, clearly showed the troops with hemp clothing and uniforms didn’t suffer the skin disease which the troops dressed in cotton did.
It appeared the hemp uniforms acted as a disease suppressant.
While the industry is very young in New Zealand it has huge potential in the health, building and clothing industries.



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