Growth and development of industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) in response to irrigation treatments

Induni Vijay Kumar1, Tina Botwright Acuna1, Shaun Lisson1, Marcus Hardie1

1 University of Tasmania, Churchill Ave, Hobart, TAS, 7005


Opportunity exists for Australian growers to develop a commercial cannabis/hemp industry to meet global demand for seed, fibre and pharmaceutical products.  Development of a commercial scale hemp industry requires improved knowledge of hemp crop water relations to maximise yield, understand irrigation requirements in new production regions, and for scheduling of harvest. Currently little is known of the hemp plant-water relations. This study sought to evaluate the growth, development and physiology of industrial hemp under varying irrigation treatments. A preliminary greenhouse experiment was conducted to monitor response of industrial hemp cultivar Ferimon 12 to different irrigation treatments (2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 day intervals). We found significantly taller plants for 2 day compared with the 8 and 10 day irrigation intervals. Significantly higher above ground dry biomass was observed for plants irrigated with 6, 8 and 10 day intervals compared to the 2 and 4 days interval at 42 DAS. Significantly higher PSII photochemical capacity (Fv/Fm) and leaf chlorophyll content (SPAD value) was observed for plants irrigated with 6 and 10 day intervals compared with the 2 day intervals. There for 6 day irrigation interval is probably the best frequency of irrigation. Results from the preliminary experiment will be used to inform the design of future research which will be used to develop irrigation recommendations and refine the hemp crop simulation model to further support farmer decision making regarding water management.




The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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