Cross - Canada Crop Report!

Cross - Canada Crop Report!
Posted by FoM on June 20, 1999 at 10:04:39 PT
By Arthur Hanks; Thanks to Roddy Hedding
Source: HCFR
Who is growing what? Where is the acreage and what is it being grown for? A survey of the various parties and players involved with hemp in Canada reveals a diverse group of companies and aims.
As with last year, every province except Newfoundland, has some level of industrial hemp activity. What is unknown is the number of smaller and independent operators who are growing without contracts, and are growing out of interest, personal research and pure speculation. Many contractors related that their plans were changing up to the last minute: as growers dropped out, some were dropping in. Organized chaos I call it.There are various market indicators. While many growing groups have production contracts and assured markets, others are intently developing the contacts they need to sell the crop. While almost all of Canada's hemp growers report end uses for their grain, fibre use is questionable in some cases. Some companies can process the fibre now, others have reported interest from buyers, or are looking for suitors; for others, its just ag waste to be ploughed back into the soil or burnt.When the dust settles and the seed drills are towed back to the shop this month, Canada's hemp acreage will look something like this.MANITOBA 12,000 + ACRESRoughly half of Canada's 1999 acreage is the work of one company, the American-based CONSOLIDATED GROWERS AND PROCESSORS (CGP), who through the ground level efforts of their Canadian subsidiary, CGP Canada, have turned Manitoba into Canada's first province of hemp. For their high-profile, high-acre strategy, CGP has been the subject of much discussion, not all of it positive. This has been exacerbated by an investigation by The Manitoba Securities Commission into fundraising irregularities for investment into numbered companies affiliated with CGP. The situation was compounded by CGP Canada President Doug Campbell leaving the company in late-May.On the ground level, Manitoba growers are unfazed and have continued to receive seed from the company. As of June 3rd, CGP has imported 70 tons of French seed (Fedora 19 and Fellina 34), and 100 tons of Ukrainian seed (Zolotonosha 11 and 15, USO 14 and 31).CGP has contracted the lion's share of its 1999 crop to the Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers, who are based out of Dauphin, Manitoba. By last count, at least 8000 acres involving 90 growers were planned for the region; according to Parkland President Joe Fedorovich, acreage is also being set aside for seed multiplication. Other acreage contracted by CGP in Manitoba includes 2300 acres in the McGregor region and 1000 acres in the Interlake/Arborg area. CGP had also contracted growers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In servicing such large acreages, CGP's Darryl McElroy admits that CGP has been facing logistical challenges, and that a final acreage count was not settled yet. In fact, it could be as high as 15,000 acres.CGP is committed to paying its farmers a fair return. Last year, their contractors averaged 800 lbs of grain and 2 tonnes of baled straw for an average gross of $480 an acre. For 1999, CGP is contracting hemp grain for $ 0.55 per lb. and $ 62.50 per long ton for baled straw (FOB plant). Farmers will carry the costs of transport for delivery. CGP is planning a number of processing facilities for its fibre and oil crops. However, the first, to be set up in Dauphin, will not be running until the year 2000. Plans are to have a temporary oil press operation ready in Dauphin within six months.Other groups growing in Manitoba include Prairie Hemp, and Hemp Oil Canada. PRAIRIE HEMP is seeing a modest increase from 1998, increasing to 600 acres. With agricultural consultant Jack Moes, PH is conducting fertility trials, seeding rate, and the timing of harvest impact on oil productivity and quality. Using Fasamo exclusively, the enduser in Ontario-based Hempola.Thirty farmers with HEMP OIL CANADA, mostly in the Red River Valley, are growing 750 acres, half of which is seeded with Fasamo and half with three French varieties. There is also a small crop of 20 acres of FIN 314 planted. Hemp Oil Canada is growing in bulk and for their own name products, Prairie Emerald Oil and Prairie Hempnut. Other products include roasted seed, sterilized seed and seedcake. They have also thrown open an exclusively hemp oil press facility in St. Norbert Manitoba, which according to Hemp Oil Canada's Sean Crew, has a capacity of 3 million lbs, and will be available to do custom processing for hemp food products. Winnipeg-based CANTERRA SEEDS confirms that they have sold 4000 acres worth of Fasamo across the country, from BC to New Brunswick, making it widely available to any grower's group.MANITOBA AGRICULTURE'S Bruce Brolley confirms that the province is constructing herbicide trials in 1999, arising out of farmers' request for information on the subject (e.g.. "Can I grow hemp after canola?"). Other research follows the goal of determining standard production practises and investigating decortication scenarios and fibre feasibility. While intent on seeing the development of the industry in the province, Brolley urges caution, saying "Hemp is one crop I wouldn't want to grow as an independent contractor!" One factor influencing all acreage in Manitoba has been the extremely wet and unseasonable weather. Some growers planted early in May, and had their seeding interrupted, resuming in early June. Others have had to wait until the moisture has subsided. Many Farmers in the Southwestern region are looking at 1999 as a complete write off for all crops.SASKATCHEWAN: 4000 ACRESCGP is planning between 1500-2000 acres in Saskatchewan. Some of this just over the border from Dauphin.GEN-X is enjoying the notoriety of selling FIN 314, a seed with considerable allure. According to Sasha Prytyk, FIN has been sold out to growers across the country. In Saskatchewan, Gen-X has contracted 900 acres of mixed FIN and Fasamo production, over a third of it being certified organic production. An additional few hundred acres is being dedicated for seed multiplication. Vancouver's BioHemp is the enduser of 750 acres and are concentrating on the development of the market for organic oil and grain products.R&D HEMP is concentrating on supplying its existing clients with raw materials of oil and cake over 450 acres of certified organic production. According to principal Ruth Shamai, they are also contracting "native-grown" with a band in the province. R&D is exclusively using Fasamo.CRDC has an ambitious breeding and commercial production program. According to Terry Switensky, CRDC is breeding several new strains and is engaged in seed production over 200 acres coupled with up to 800 acres of hemp grain production this year. Some is organic. A fourth component is the commitment to value-added production. "We are not after large acreage," says Switensky, " We emphasize quality and a professional approach with ethics." Al Slinkard (formerly Sask Ag) is working with the Prince Albert-based company.ONTARIO: +/- 3500 ACRESKENEX of Chatham, Ontario is holding strong with the same amount of production as last year, with acreage that is a little lower, says Bob Lecuyer, General Manager (Last year Kenex contracted roughly 2000 acres). Kenex is also contracting some organic acreage this year for the first time. Most of the company's growth is in the oil and grain area, with sales in oil picking up, and dramatic gains being made with hemp seed (through its nutiva bar), and hulled hemp seed. Kenex is also experiencing fast growth in its horse bedding as well, a new product for them. Kenex is also continuing with its R&D in needle punch matting. Kenex is looking at the long-term payoff for its hemp activities " Our major concern is development in creating new markets," says Lecuyer, "and not in taking someone else's market." As of the first week in June, certified hemp seed was still available for late planters.HEMPLINE has doubled its dedicated fibre acreage this year to 1000 acres. Geof Kime cites that manufacturers are interested in the extra-marketability of hemp, based on the qualities of the plant but also on the continuing "hemp allure". Hempline is concentrating on growing the markets for its fine long fibres, primarily for carpetry and upholstery, but also for developing composite products and paper. On the hurd side, Hempline's Hempchips bedding are also proving to be winners in the marketplace. Because of the high quality of the finished fibres that Hempline produces, Kime is able to contract farmers for between $200-300 a ton.HEMPOLA is growing up to 100 acres of certified organic grain in province this year to supplement their contracted acreage with Prairie Hemp. They are also initiating a government-funded R&D project to investigate pressing technologies. According to Hempola's Greg Herriot, their goal is to develop proprietary procedures for hemp seed oil, and high-end seedcake. Complementing this research is the market development; besides launching several new lable products, Hempola has expanded its distribution network to include 6 distributors in the US and 10 in Canada.Cloud Mountain Organics and Brant Soil and Crop Improvement Association are involved with smaller acreages. BC: 1000+ ACRES CANADIAN HEMP CORP has contracted 800 acres in the Lower Mainland, mostly in Chilliwack. CHC is exclusively using Fasamo, and is positioning itself as a wholesaler. According to CHC's Rick Plotnikoff, the company will be producing for seed, nut, oil and cake, including a brewery, pet food and animal feed. CHC will have a hemp processing operational in Chilliwack by the Fall of 1999. Production on Vancouver Island will remain small, up to 100 acres, despite the interest from many farmers. Reportedly, many farmers want to grow for fibre, and not for grain; accordingly there is lack of facilities and heavy equipment to advance the acreage in the local communities. There are also several independent contractors scattered around the province, fitting in with BC's agricultural profile as a province of small, niche crop producers. NOVA SCOTIA- 350+ ACRESHemp in Nova Scotia has a long history; it was one of the first crops planted at Annapolis Royal in 1606. Two centuries later, hemp has come full circle, and is being touted as a solution to aid the depressed region. ANNAPOLIS VALLEY HEMP has planted 250 acres of Ferimon, Fasamo, Uniko B, Fedrina and Kompolti in a mix of research-minded and commercial production. According to AVH's Mike Lewis, the company will have a limited supply of oil and seed cake on the market this fall, and are looking at a variety of fibre processes. 1999 is a serious R&D year, he says. AVH has an "arm's around" strategy that links growing quality grain and fibre crops through to processing in the tightly-knit Annapolis Valley community. End-uses the company is looking at include paper, fibreboard, and a food bar. Don Hunter of Pugwash is reportedly heading a second grower's group that will have roughly 100 acres in the ground this year.ALBERTA: 300? ACRES Of all the western provinces, Alberta has been blessed with the best weather; much planting was done early when possible. However, hemp production in the province has not jumped up in the way it has with its western neighbours; perhaps, according to one observer, because Alberta's economy is already full of opportunity, and there being less imperative to investigate a risky crop.CGP has contracted close to 200 acres in province, mostly certified seed production in Alberta (all Ukrainian strains). A group in Vulcan, Alberta, has contracted 60 acres. There are also an unknown number of independent growers scattered around the province.Stan Blade continues agricultural research for Alberta Agriculture. He reports that AA is working with 12 varieties over 3 locations, including for the first time, planting at the Alberta Research Station, which will allow additional data to be gathered. Several trials are planned, including a 10 silage trial comparing hemp's suitability to barley in feeding trials, and another trial investigates hemp's suitability as a fodder crop. The Alberta Research Council is also continuing to pound ahead with its hemp board research.NORTHERN ONTARIO: This year, The Thunder Bay Hemp Growers Association obtained support from CanAdapt Small Projects Initiative funding for $50,000 (towards a total project cost of $90,250). Coordinated by Gordon Scheifele, this summer's research will focus on trials on grain and fibre, including: evaluation on optimum fertility, seeding time and harvest time. As well, evaluations will be made of fibre quality based on maturity and evaluations of grain quality for oil yield, meal fibre and protein, meal amino acid profile, and oil EFA profile. A component of the study will evaluate hemp fibre for value-added byproducts. Efforts are also underway to secure funding for a comprehensive multi-faceted feasibility study on the future potential of the hemp industry for northern Ontario. Seeding trials for livestock and poultry are also being developed. It is reported the Kenora/ Dryden region has 16 acres of commercial grain production and Thunder Bay has a commercial crop of 10.NEW BRUNSWICK: Chuck Schom is heading up another 10 acre research project this year. There is some small scale commercial production of unconfirmed acreage. QUEBEC: A few grower's groups including Chanvre Estrie and Hempco are growing again this year, as well as that a few research projects in the works, including a trial of FIN in the rough northern interior. Fibrex Quebec will also be testing hemp fibres at their reopened flax scutching plant in Salaberry-de-Valleyfied.PEI-20: ACRESHemp research continues on the island at a modest level. More information soon.END NOTE:Worthy of more than a footnote in this brief survey is the high amount of certified organic acreage, which could be as high as 1500 acres this year. This is a strong market trend, and undoubtedly, this acreage will grow as it can be found.
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