Commodity News Service Canada
Canada s hemp crop came off in good shape this year, with better-than-average yields and no serious quality issues, according to an industry source.
We re seeing average to above-average yields, said Anndrea Hermann, of Manitobabased hemp processor Hemp Oil Canada and vice-president of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance.
On the conventional side, yields were reported at 30 to 40 bushels per acre on dryland, with yields as high as 60 bushels per acre on some irrigated fields. Organic fields were also seeing yields in the 30-bushels-per- acre area.
Hermann said there have been no complaints about quality either. Sclerotinia was often a problem in hemp, but was not an issue this year.
The wet spring caused some unseeded fields and planting delays, but did not hamper the crops aside from creating shorter stands and minor yield reductions in those areas affected, said Hermann.
Most of the hemp grown in Western Canada is currently grown for the food side, with very little grown for fibre only. However, Hermann said there are more investment and research projects in the works for the fibre sector. Research into livestock feeding is also underway, which could open new markets.
Roughly 25,000 acres were planted to hemp for seed production this year, which is slightly above the seeded area the previous year. Hermann said an additional 5,000 to 7,000 acres were seeded to fibre only.
Due to industrial hemp s association with its cousin marijuana, farmers need to be licensed through Health Canada and pass a criminal record check in order to grow the crop. Testing is also required to confirm THC levels, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, are below the allowable 0.3 per cent.
From a marketing standpoint, the legislated nature of the hemp industry means that all of the crop is grown on a contracted basis. This year, conventionally grown hemp seed was contracted for 60 to 65 cents per pound, with organic hemp seed contracted at 90 to 95 cents per pound, which Hermann described as being consistent with past years.
When factoring in crop input costs, an average hemp seed crop brings in $250 to $400 profit per acre, Hermann estimated.
The Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance will hold its national conference in Winnipeg, November 20 to 22, to discuss developments in the industry.