Opening the gates to hemp fed livestock in Australia

Page last updated: Monday, 7 February 2022 - 2:21pm

Phase 2

Phase 2 of ‘Opening the gates to hemp grazed livestock in Australia’ will investigate nutritional value and THC pathways of industrial hemp during the flowering stage.

As described in Figure 1, four experiments will investigate the following:

  1. pharmacokinetics and excretion of cannabinoids in sheep and cattle;
  2. nutrient digestibility and rumen parameters in sheep;
  3. excretion of cannabinoids by sheep whilst on clean feed; and
  4. effect of exposure time on cannabinoid deposition and remobilisation from various tissues in sheep.
The project design for Phase 2 includes 4 experiments testing cannabinoid metabolism in sheep and cattle.
The project design for Phase 2 includes 4 experiments testing cannabinoid metabolism in sheep and cattle. 

Phase 2 has been planned around the following objectives:

  1. Measure and determine cannabinoid digestion, metabolism, storage, and excretion (i.e. pharmacokinetics) in sheep and cattle, and remobilisation in sheep.
  2. Measure and establish the nutritional value of hemp forage as a potential green feed for ruminants in summer.
  3. Measure the effect of exposure time (days) on cannabinoid deposition and remobilisation in liver, kidney fat, muscle and subcutaneous fat in ruminants.

This data will provide valuable insight into the half-life of THC in sheep and cattle and the rate of elimination of THC from various tissues.

The results will contribute towards drafting an Industry Code of Practice for feeding hemp forage to ruminants.

As in Phase 1, project partners include DPIRD, ChemCentre and CSU, with AgriFutures Australia as the major sponsor and Omega Assets Pty Ltd as a minor sponsor.

Completion of Phase 2 is expected in June 2022.

Results will guide further research in this field.

Contact information

Bronwyn Blake
+61 (0)8 9780 6225

Opening the gates to hemp fed livestock in Australia