A global analysis of cannabis cultivation

23 Oct 2019

A global analysis of cannabis cultivation featured image
Thomas Forrest happy in a hemp field amongst an organic dual-purpose hemp crop (CBD and grain) in Slovenia

Thomas Forrest, Director of Indicated Technology Pty Ltd and 2018 Churchill Fellow, recently returned from Canada, Israel, The Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and Italy where he investigated cannabis agronomic practices in order to provide this information to our emerging medicinal cannabis industry.

“My Churchill Fellowship gave me the opportunity to explore how the cannabis legal framework and distribution model influence relevant horticultural practices,” said Mr Forrest.

“Cannabis agronomy has different ‘grades’ of cultivation and resulting saleable commodities, however there is a lack of education between the different cannabis cultivars and suitable growing practices.”

(Left) Tom filming at Aurora Sky in Edmonton, Ontario - the world's largest cannabis glasshouse. (Right) Tom and Technical Director Juan at MedReleaf Bradford site, Ontario, Canada. MedReleaf is one of the world leaders in producing a 'pharma' grade cannabis commodity.

Mr Forrest gained insights into the development of new specialised equipment such as harvesters, drying and processing technology, and learnt the farms that focus on locally sourced inputs increase their sustainability, reduce operational expenses and stimulate the local economies.

“My Churchill Fellowship allowed me to learn about how cannabis agronomy is also pushing horticultural practices in adaptable methods of irrigation in harsh environments, and I discovered  how suitable this crop can be to replace other less valuable commodities such as cotton, grain and tobacco,” added Mr Forrest.

Tom and Gianpaolo in Italy. Gianpaolo Grassi is a world leading geneticist and cannabis breeding research at the CREA Institute in Rovigo.

“After observing a novel trend towards ‘organic or biological’ cultivation in protected cropping applications, it was great to gain an understanding of why this method is able to produce a top-quality product, that can also command a premium price”.

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