LETHBRIDGE - API Labs is continuing test plots of thebaine poppies near Lethbridge.
The federal government has allowed trials of the crop, which can be used to
produce pain killers.
API completed their first test crop last year and they they did very well.
President Glen Metlzer believes that poppy cultivation is well suited to this
area because of the same reasons that give us Taber corn. He says "we get the
hot days, the cold nights and that causes stress on the plants, and in corn that
increases the sugar content in the corn and with poppies that increases the
alkaloid. The dry winds that we have are good, poppies are susceptible to some
of the different diseases that are more related to humidity, so with our drying
winds it takes care of that aspect of it."
Metzler adds they're still in the research stage, but everything is moving
along nicely and he hopes that one day we'll see commercial production of
poppies high in thebaine in Canada.
Since the crop did so well last year, they've expanded the test plot, making
it about 100 times larger this year. Seeds went in the ground last week and
should be ready to harvest at the beginning of September.