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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Kenaf - An Alternative Crop for Arkansas?

Authors
item Moore, Billy - UNIVERSITY ARKANSAS
item Roth, Ii, Frank - UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
item Webber, Charles

Submitted to: Arkansas Cooperative Extension Bulletin
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: September 1, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The acceptance and establishment of a new crop, such as kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.), in Arkansas faces many challenges. Kenaf research in Arkansas and elsewhere have answered many of the critical agronomic questions, yet the present crucial component of kenaf development is the establishment of stable markets to provide farmers with an economic return nequal to or surpassing what they now receive for a given crop. Kenaf can now be used for cordage (rope, twine, carpet backing, burlap, and textiles), paper products (newsprint, bond paper and corrugated medium), core material (poultry litter, animal bedding, absorbents, bulking agent for sewage sludge composting, and as a potting soil amendment), building materials (particle boards of various densities, thickness with fire and insect resistances) and as a livestock feed. As these products are further developed and stable economic markets are established, additional agricultural research in Arkansas will need to include disease control an variety adaptation, along with the evaluation of harvesting systems, and the economics appropriate for Arkansas production areas and products.

Technical Abstract: Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.), a warm season annual crop, is a possible alternative crop for Arkansas. Arkansas could use kenaf as a fiber source for paper pulp (newsprint and bond paper), poultry litter, animal bedding, bulking agent for sewage sludge composting, potting soil amendment, building materials, absorbents, textiles, and extraction molded plastics. The development of kenaf as a fiber crop in Arkansas will depend on several conditions. What happens in the forest industry, in the wood and pulp product areas, will be a major factor in the development of kenaf into a major industry. The development of large stable markets for the raw and finished products must occur before farmers and industry will be willing to invest time and capital on a large scale. As the appropriate products are selected and stable markets are established, agronomic research will need to address specific production concerns and further integrate the production, harvesting and processing systems in Arkansas.

Last Modified: 12/20/2014
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