Edward Burman

Hemp whole foods

Edward Burman began growing industrial hemp for cooking oil and animal feed on his family’s arable and livestock enterprise last year.

The crop is cold-pressed to create a cooking oil which is favoured by the health food movement. It is sold through local farmshops, health food stores and online.

One particular target audience has been that of the vegetarian and vegan community, with the aim to strengthen the relationship between farmers and consumers. The high protein bi-product of bottled hemp oil is fed to the farm’s sheep flock as a complete nutritional and palatable animal feed which has successfully finished a selection of trialled spring lambs.

Weight gains and carcase grading have matched that of lambs fed on conventional compound lamb creep and trials on other species, such as cattle and pigs, are intended for 2021.

Edward says he consciously chose hemp as it works alongside the farm’s existing arable practices and best suits their current technology, while having an excellent environmental profile.

Both Edward and his father’s backgrounds lie in mechanical engineering and they used their experience to fabricate a specialist combine header to more efficiently manage the harvesting of hemp.

Although still in its infancy, input cost savings from the introduction of the low input crop are estimated at £4,700/year. The crop is also effective in black-grass control, as well as having phytoremediation and carbon sequestration properties.

Edward is using his experiences to quash negative perceptions of the crop and its relation to drug problems through education and marketing.

The eventual aim for producing hemp is to have a sustainable crop with zero waste, and every inch of the crop having its own unique purpose, including as livestock feed, bedding and as a building material.