You can’t miss the hemp plants lining the roadside. Tall, bright green and almost two hectares of it. The field is just before the Schwabhausen district of Oberroth and is surrounded by fields that have already been harvested and fields where the corn is still meters high. Anyone who drives past the hemp plants is initially surprised: the feeling of having missed each other remains. A hemp plantation in the middle of the Dachau district?
The plants belong to Kilian Kellerer. The 25-year-old farmer runs the Ganter farm in Armetshofen, which is between Schwabhausen and Oberroth. The field is “an attempt,” he says. He also grows various other crops: in addition to wheat, spelled and soybeans, he also grows sugar beets and corn. Only since this year has hemp been included. Kellerer simply wanted to be “keen to experiment”, to “diversify cultivation”, he explains. The regional marketing opportunities would also have attracted him to hemp cultivation.
There are several hemp farmers in the region
This does not mean the sale of marijuana, which is still illegal in Germany. On his field, Kilian Kellerer grows – quite legally – only industrial hemp, i.e. the male hemp plant. Only the female plant can be processed into the intoxicant marijuana. Industrial hemp, on the other hand, must not exceed the legally specified THC value of 0.2 percent, which is something that is taken into account during cultivation. The ecological cultivation of the hemp is also important to Kilian Kellerer – just like with his usual range. Incidentally, he is not entirely alone with his idea of hemp cultivation. There are several hemp farmers in the region, he says, and there are about a handful in the Dachau district.
According to Kellerer, the crop has a bad reputation, depending on who you talk to. The plant is very diverse and fairly easy to care for. You only have to sow and harvest them, there is no more effort behind it. The hemp has also coped well with the heat of the past few weeks, even “best” of all his plants, because the plant has a widespread root system.
Hobby photographers pose in the hemp plants
Harvest time will soon be here: Towards the end of August or beginning of September, the plants will be threshed, processed and then the hemp nuts will be sold to oil mills in the region. The farmer says it’s not quite clear which ones. Sales are just beginning. The Ganter-Hof is in the first year of the hemp experiment, but Kellerer’s chances are good: hemp products such as oils are on the rise, and more and more shops are selling the unconventional products. He already has a sales partner: The Gürtner bakery based in Oberroth would like to use the hemp for pretzels, among other things.
And so far, the feedback from the population and from the local bakery has been mostly positive, says the hemp farmer, people find the cultivation interesting. This can also be seen on social media, where onlookers keep posting photos in front of the green plants. Kellerer has not yet had any problems with amateur photographers. But some would always take plants with them, which is incomprehensible to the farmer. After all, they wouldn’t benefit, according to the farmer – it remains unclear whether the interested parties also know that.
Local residents report legal plantation to police
Once, however, there was a negative reaction from a resident: in the form of a report to the police. The field was then examined several times by officials. Kellerer wasn’t there, he heard about the checks from third parties. He had no concerns, after all he had followed all the proper steps to grow hemp. According to Kellerer, this includes a “completely reported cultivation” at the Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food – also to avoid further home visits by the police.
The hemp field in Oberroth shows: If you only think of marijuana when you think of hemp, you are wrong. The plant has much more to offer than meets the eye and is therefore worthwhile for more and more farmers as a supplement to their farm. Whether farmer Kellerer will plant the hemp again next year depends on how well sales go after this year’s harvest, he says. But he remains open to trying again. And maybe the onlookers will be able to photograph significantly more hemp fields in front of Oberroth next year.