|AgJournal |  Home | New Crops Vault In Value | Feature||May 25, 2013|
New crops vault in value
Kenaf: A clear-cut alternative
Kenaf grows to heights of 12 to 14 feet in as little as 4 to 5 months. U.S. Department of Agriculture studies show that kenaf yields 6 to 10 tons of dry fiber per acre per year. This is 3 to 5 times greater than the yield for southern pine trees, which can take from 7 to 40 years to reach harvestable size. While the flowering can last 3 to 4 weeks, or more, per plant, each individual flower blooms for only one day.
The stalk of the kenaf plant consists of two distinct fiber types:
In addition to paper production, kenaf fiber may be used in the making of textiles and bedding for livestock and poultry.
Kenaf does not require treatment with insecticide and it is often grown without use of any crop protection products or fertilizer. Mississippi State University research has shown, however, that competition from weeds like cocklebur can cause moderate yield reductions. Preemergence herbicides that have established acceptable weed control in kenaf include:
All of these herbicides reduced kenaf height and also lowered yields significantly:
Mississsippi State University maintains an on-line database of kenaf research .
For more of an overview of kenaf paper production, check out the Vision Paper Web site.
The American Kenaf Co. also has additional information on kenaf products.