Hemp fibre needed in World War II

In World War II, fibre was in great demand, so after outlawing hemp as marijuana in 1937, by 1942 the USA Department of Agriculture had made a call to patriotic farmers to grow hemp, with a 14 minute news reel “Hemp for Victory”

Hemptastic-YouTube-2016-1Hemp for Victory


In Germany they had the same issues regarding the demand for fibre and the Government encouraged Germans to grow the lustrous hanf (hemp) fibre, with a houmerous primer (pamphlet) which explained how to grow and process hemp. See the document here  GermanPrimer-PDF-72dpi


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Hemptastic – Medicine

A large number of diseases and symptoms including anxiety disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, epilepsy, dystonia, diabetes,  diabetes, cancer, inflammatory diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, skin diseases, hepatitis, obesity as well as ADHD

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Hemp world wide

The world wide industry was reignited in the 1990’s, the iHemp industry has been slowly gaining pace.  But this has recently been eclipsed by the medical markets.  

Traditional markets for the stems were in the specialty papers (Bible, currency and rolling papers) and horse bedding.  The seed was mainly used for bird seed.

But then the hippies got people interested in a vast range of other products and the potential is just starting to be realized.

The Worldwide market for iHemp products was up to a US$ billion last year and growing.  The US food and cosmetic industry was 640 million alone and has had double digit growth in the USA for the last 10 years and that is set to continue.

Some companies in various countries, mainly in Europe are making parts of the production chain to decorticate the stems.  They have been successful in combining the various processes into million dollar operations.   Which are being used to supply the growing demand for fibre (composites, especially in the automotive industry ) and hurd in the construction industry.

In 2011 the worldwide cultivation was around 85,000 ha, 60,000 ha for fibre and 25,000 ha for seed mainly in China and Europe (and Canada for seed)

Where the recreational markets have been allowed to develop huge $ are involved.  Just ask Colorado whose legal cannabis market turned over $US 750 Million in 2014, which increased to $996 Million in 2015, now there’s a billion dollar industry, providing a huge tax income which the state government has been set aside for specific projects.

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Leaf and roots


Leaf and roots for medicinal uses, juices, balms and tinctures.

Leafs fall to the ground during the growing cycle and return nutrients to the soil, they are collected in Europe as an animal food and have tremendous uses as a medicine and human food.

Roots rapidly grow, penetrating deep into the soil , preventing erosion and breaking up compacted soil.

The plant grows so rapidly that in well prepared soil it will out compete the weeds, so no herbicides are required if your soils are prepare correctly.

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c. Seed black and whiteHemp seed can be used as a super food/drink, a superior animal feed, as an oil in cosmetics, industrial lubricants, paint and varnish or as a fuel and lighting oil.  The seed is high in protein and has the highest level of total EFA 85%(essential fatty acids) in the plant kingdom with around 25% LNA Omega 3 and 55% LA Omega 6, and contains some Omega 9.  



Dehulling machine – China

In New Zealand the seed is a class C drug so you need a licence to possess iHemp seeds. This means that even though they come in a perfect container for storage and transport purposes.  Before the public can get them they need to be hulled.  By removing the husk they are no longer a seed and become a “hemp product – derived from iHemp.

Once the seed is cold pressed into oil, you have to keep it away from sources of heat, light and air  as they will deteriorate the nutritional quality over time.  The oil is a great additive to smoothies, a drizel on salads and as a supplement.  

hemp seeds can be made in to oil, protein powders and flour, to produce milk, ice creams, pastas, breads and can also be sprouted to make even more super foods.


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Hemptastic – hemp processor overview

The seeds, stems, roots and leaves grown on the farm need to be processed locally, as transporting bulk raw materials around is expensive.

The seed and material threshed off the stems during harvest, needs to be dried out to a moisture content of around 12 %, they can then be transported to a licenced seed cleaner to be dressed and stored until called for by a producer.

We have the infrastructure in New Zealand to do these steps, so the capacity is there and the industry can scale once demand is proven.

Stems require more processing as they are bulky to move, the closer the processing can be to the field the better.  The stems go through a process of decortication, which is where they are split between, primary and secondary bast fibres and the inner woody pith called hurd or shiv.

This decortication step can be achieved by hand, via a small two man machine or a production line can be used, the difference is the cost to set up.  The costs of these alternatives range from a few thousand to $2-$20 million. 

Please note in New Zealand seed and seed processing require a licence for the location being used.  Stems with out leaves do not require a licence.



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Hemptastic – growers and farmers

Hemp farmers must have a licence form the Ministry of Health.  Two licences are available General licence $511.11 and a Research and Breeding licence for an additional $153.33 including GST.

If you are considering growing you should go the to Ministry of Health website – Key word industrial hemp  

Your next step will be to source seeds, the NZHIA can put you in touch with seed sources www.nzhia.com

Growing economics, with the revenue streams form all the parts of the plant, there are significant returns for the farmer.  It is early days and the industry is only just starting to develop and create a demand, but in time good gross profits will be available to farmers and value added opportunities for regional New Zealand will create business and employment outcomes.

Growing for phytoremdiation, hemp can be grown in polluted soils and has shown to be effective at lifting heavy metals form the soil, cleaning the land for future productive use.  The long tap root and extensive root system breaks up and aerates compacted soils as it searches for the water table penetrating up to a meter deep.


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Hemptastic – Paper


China the worlds first paper maker, used hemp to make paper 2,000 years go and until 1883 the majority of paper was made from hemp, producing books, bibles, maps, paper money, stocks, bonds, newspaper etc.

The 15th century Gutenburg Bible was printed on hemp paper.  The first and second draft of the US Declaration of Independence was written on dutch hemp paper, prior to it being copied to a parchment (animal skin) prior to it being signed.

Hemp rag paper (recycling hemp clothing and rags) was used to produce paper that nearly never wears out, making it the go to paper for archival documents

When hemp replaces some of the wood pulp, we can reduce the paper making chemicals needed by 60-80%.  The paper is stronger, acid free and can be recycled up to 10 times.

This must be a good thing for our rivers and the economics of running a pulp and paper mill.

Hemp stalk produces both long and short bast fibres and hurds with a high cellulose content,  which can be used to make paper and reinforce recycled paper production, the production process uses less water as hemp is highly absorbent

Hemp as a paper maker was discused in USDA Bulletin No. 404, October 1916, Hemp Hurds as Paper-Making Material, Lyster H Dewey and Jason L Merrill

BULLETIN 404 – Download PDF (2MB)

“Hemp produces an average of 1,000 pounds/acre of fibre and the hurds are about 5 times that of fibre so an average of 2.5 tones of hurd per acre is a fair average” and that was in 1916.

The woody inner portion of the hemp stalk, broken into pieces and separated from the fiber in the processes of breaking and scutching, is called hemp hurds. These hurds correspond to shives in flax, but are much coarser and are usually softer in texture.

The often quoted fact attributed to bulletin 404 is found on page 24 “Every tract of 10,000 acres which is devoted to hemp raising year by year is equivalent to a sustained pulp-producing capacity of 40,500 acres of average pulp-wood lands”

The quote – hemp can therefore produce 4 times as much pulp as trees.

Yes this will save trees, but there are other considerations, such as hemp is an annual crop, so needs to be stored in large quantities so it is ready to be called by the pulp mill.  It is quite bulky so transport costs may increase.  

Hemp can be part of a paper strategy in conjunction with using other agricultural sources of fibers including various trees and shrubs for the manufacture of various grades of paper.

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Hemptastic -Medicine

Time for a paradigm shift, we need a grown up debate about natural plant based medicines,  an evaluation of the facts will show that medical plants can help heal many of the ills facing our modern society, especially anxiety and depression.

In combination with diet, exercise and mindfullness we can better equip our bodies to overcome many health issues.

Medical marijuana has a role to play in modern medicine.  The more we understand about the cannobiniods in hemp and the effect they have on the endocannabiniod system in all humans is critical if we are going to realise the benefits in a huge range of medical conditions.

In the past hemp was used widely as a medicine and it is only in recent times that modern research is catching up and identifying how closely our bodies are in tune with the cannanbiniods, terpenes and flavonoids found in cannabis.

Work in this area has been suppressed for many years, but we are quickly catching up due to the passion of people who are getting beneficial effects from using medical cannabis.

This is a very safe medicine with no safety issues as there is no chance of overdosing and many people find that once they are using whole plant extracts as a source for cannabiniod based medicines they can reduce or stop other chemical pills which they are taking.


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Hemptastic – Food

Hemp seeds are a super food and can be brought as oil or as dehulled, hemp hearts.

The seed can be cold pressed in to oil, with a low saturated fat (8% of total oil volume) The oil contains 55% linoleic Acid (LA – Omega 6) and 25% linolenic acid (LNA – Omega 3) only Flax has more LNA at 58% but hemp seed has the highest total essential fatty acids at 80% of total oil volume.

The by product of oil pressing is a high quality protein seed cake, which is unique as 65% of the protein is in the form of globulin edestin plus the albumin contained in all seeds, the protein contains all the essential amino acids in ideal proportions to build a strong immune system.

It can be sprouted, ground and baked, made in to milk, icecream and many other edible products.  It is one of the finest complete and available to the body vegetable proteins available.  

It is a complete food source, suitable for domestic and farmed animals.

In time we will see sacks of hemp seed being delivered to communities in need following man made and natural disasters.  It is in its own perfect container (as a seed) for transport and will sustain human life. Hemp seed should be grown widely to solve world hunger.

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