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POLL: Should we bring hemp industry to South Burnett?

There are calls to establish a hemp industry in the South Burnett.
There are calls to establish a hemp industry in the South Burnett. Armagan_A

THE South Burnett needs more jobs, economic development and industry.

One concerned citizen said hemp could provide the boost we need.

For close to 12 months Rosemary Pratt, of Kingaroy, has been talking about kick-starting the industry.

The plant has a range of uses in construction and manufacturing but Mrs Pratt wants to see it eaten.

"I feel that we do need something, the hemp seed is now legalised as a food in Queensland," Mrs Pratt said.

"It is regulated but you think if there's nothing tried there's nothing gained.

"Someone had to start growing peanuts, didn't they?"

The plant was grown in the region back in the early 2000s and was a success.

Mondure farmer Neil Otto grew it for seven years and said orders for the material came from all over the world.

"It's got a million and one uses," Mr Otto said.

"We started off in the trial period and we had one of the first licences issued."

Processors want the plant's stalk so it's grown like sugar cane with lots of water and fertiliser.

"It grows extremely fast and can hit five meters in less than 100 days," Mr Otto said.

At that speed it'll outgrow any nearby weeds and while insects like it, the plant is hardy enough to weather most bugs.

"We grew it around the cotton crops and used it like a trap crop, it would attract more insects than the cotton but because of the rate it grows at the insect didn't bother it," Mr Otto said.

Fibre, plastic and concrete manufacturers use the plant's stalk while the seeds can be pressed to produce oil.

Josh Gadischke from Proteco is eyeing off the new market now that hemp oil is cleared for human consumption.

He already produced it for cosmetics but has to cart the seeds up from Tasmania.

While the oil is legal to use in food, farmers need a licence to grow the plant.

Should farmers start growing hemp in the South Burnett?

View Results

For more information about growing hemp phone the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23.

Uses for hemp

  • Hemp seeds: They can be eaten raw, ground into a meal or sprouted. They can be pressed for oil for use in cosmetics and cooking. They are high in B vitamins and protein.
  • Bio-oil: The original diesel engines were designed to run on oil with similar combustion qualities to hemp oil, as such is can be used to fuel modern cars.
  • Hemp fibre: It has been used to make clothes for thousands of years and has a texture similar to linen.
  • Building materials: Hemp concrete has been used since the 1980s, it's light weight and is a better insulator than regular concrete. Hemp fibre board can be used for furniture and for walls in place of Masonite or Gyprock. It can be sound proof.
  • Hemp plastic: Hemp plastic is used for car interiors for the following brands; Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Porsche.
  • Weed and pest control: Hemp makes a good trap plant to attract bugs and outgrow weeds.

Hemp growing restrictions

Under controlled conditions and with the correct licence, you are allowed to:

  • Commercially produce industrial cannabis fibre and seed.
  • Conduct research into the use of industrial cannabis as a commercial fibre and seed crop.
  • Conduct plant breeding programs to develop new or improved strains for commercial production of industrial cannabis fibre and seed.
South Burnett

Topics:  hemp proteco south burnett industry


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