- McGowan Government investing in research to examine hemp as a summer feed source for sheep
- Trials part of broader McGowan Government effort to support growing hemp industry
A new research project backed by the McGowan Government will examine the potential for hemp as a feed source for sheep.
Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced the project at the Australian Industrial Hemp Conference today in Fremantle.
Interest is growing in the industrial hemp industry, due to the crop's versatility for a range of end products spanning from food and oil, to textiles, paper, building materials and fuel.
The Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, in collaboration with ChemCentre WA and Charles Sturt University, will lead the research project to test the nutritional value of hemp as a summer grazing option for sheep.
The trials are planned for WA and New South Wales, and will examine the meat quality of sheep on a hemp diet.
The research aims to enhance understanding around potential transfer of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to meat products, to determine if hemp can be safely used as a feed source for food producing animals.
Meat products supplied for human consumption in WA are not permitted to contain detectable levels of THC, with similar restrictions affecting the use of hemp as feed across Australia and a number of other countries.
The project also has funding support from research partners and industry partner St Francis Group.
Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"The hemp industry is growing fast in WA, with hemp licences doubling over the past two years. There are more than 70 commercial crops and seven hemp research plot trials this season, using 22 hemp varieties.
"Research, such as the new livestock trials announced today, is vital to help fill information gaps and give growers, processors and innovators the knowledge to take this industry to the next level.
"The McGowan Government has provided grants worth more than $400,000 to industry over the past 15 months to support hemp research, development and processing."
Minister's office - 6552 6200