Earmarked as a high potential emerging industry, AgriFutures Australia is working closely with the industrial hemp industry to reach its target of $10 million annual gross value of production by 2025. Key to this goal is the establishment of a national industrial hemp variety trial (IHVT) project which seeks to better understand the hemp varieties best suited for Australian conditions.

The Industrial Hemp industry is one of the industries which has been determined to have a high growth potential in the AgriFutures Australia Emerging Industries Program.

The Industrial Hemp Variety Trials (Trials) is a program co-funded by AgriFutures Australia (AgriFutures) and the participating state and territory government agencies. The Trials aim to provide Australian hemp growers with independent information about the performance of new industry hemp seed varieties suited to specific geographic locations within Australia.

The Trials will be executed by participating Trial Providers, adhering to the approved Industrial Hemp Variety Trial Protocols (project document).  The Trial Protocols provide technical detail on how the Trials will be conducted to ensure common standards and practices.

The cost of the Trials is shared between AgriFutures and the Trial Providers, with in-kind support from seed suppliers.

An Industrial Hemp Variety Trial Coordinator has been appointed to develop and review the Trial Protocols, manage the variety nomination process, and coordinate the publication of trial results.

An Industrial Hemp Variety Trial Agronomist has been appointed to provide hemp agronomy advice to Trial Managers and to undertake trial audits.

Analytical Services Tasmania has been appointed to provide laboratory analytical support for the Trials . Analytical Services Tasmania will analyse THC (in flowerheads), protein and oil content in seed, and test weight of seed.

As industrial hemp is a regulated crop, trial managers, seed suppliers, and the analytical laboratory must comply with all regulatory requirements governing movement (relevant to their state and territory), and the handling and evaluation of industrial hemp, and manage necessary approvals, consents, licences and authorisations.

Seven (7) sites will be established for the first year of the Trials (2021), representing three (3) climatic zones: Northern, Central and Southern. For consistent results, each trial site must adhere to the conditions outlined in the Trial Protocols. For example, the plots must be within a specified plot size, must be irrigated, and must be provided with non-limiting water and nutrients.

Access to trial sites will be limited and managed by the trial provider and/ or staff.

Additional trial sites may be added in future, at the discretion of AgriFutures in consultation with the states/ territories.

The trials will be conducted over a three-year period, with the intention to start trials in the 2021 planting season.

The following states and territory have joined the Trials as trial providers for years one to three:

  • Northern Territory of Australia, care of its agency the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
  • Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development (acting through the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI))
  • Department of Primary Industries Parks Water and Environment (Tasmania)
  • State of Victoria as represented by its Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) through its Agriculture Victoria group
  • Western Australian Agriculture Authority.

The Coordinator will liaise with the participating trial providers to facilitate the publication of an annual overview of the Trials which will include data around trial conditions and factors which may affect the Trials.

At the conclusion of the project, a full trial report will be published on the AgriFutures website for industrial hemp stakeholders to access.

Industrial Hemp Variety Trial (IHVT) virtual field day. 

This virtual field day provided an update from each of the Industrial Hemp Variety Trial sites. These updates included learnings and observations from each of the trial sites.

You can catch up on the virtual field day here:


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