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Hemp-tation: Crop trial progressing

Hemp-tation: Crop trial progressing

Sunday 20 August 2017

Hemp-tation: Crop trial progressing

Sunday 20 August 2017

A trial of locally grown hemp is progressing well after favourable growing conditions this summer.

The trial, which is being overseen by the Plant Health Laboratory in the Department of the Environment, is part of an alternative crop strategy to try and diversify Jersey’s rural economy.

Hemp, which used to be commonplace in Jersey, is grown for its fibre, which has multiple uses from construction to animal bedding, and its oil which is used in cooking and beauty products.


Pictured: Hemp oil, which is extracted from the plant's seeds is popular for its uses in culinary and beauty products.

Head of Plant Health at the Department of the Environment, Scott Meadows said that results so far looked promising. “Now the focus is on getting the harvesting right. It will be important to get some accurate and meaningful results from both the seed and the stalks. The information we get will help inform the business plan, and give us a steer on whether there is a commercial future for this crop here in Jersey.”

Next month, specialist equipment will be used to harvest the seeds produced in the top third of the plant and the fibre from the bottom two thirds.

The trial also has a number of direct environmental benefits. The growers haven’t used pesticides or fertilisers, and the crop produces large amounts of pollen and nectar so is beneficial for invertebrates (animals without backbones). The part of the plant that isn’t harvested will improve soil organic matter.

If the hemp harvest and oil pressing are successful this season, it’s likely that the area grown will be increased for 2018.

This season tea and haskap (also known as honeyberry or blue honeysuckle) have also been planted in Jersey. Other crops will be explored over the five-year lifespan of the current Rural Economy Strategy.

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