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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Kenaf Production, Properties and Potential Users

Author
item Webber, Charles

Submitted to: Kenaf Association International Conference Abstracts
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 20, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Kenaf is a warm season annual crop that is closely related to cotton and okra. It can be successfully produced in a large portion of the United States, particularly in the south. The bark of the kenaf stalk contains a long fiber called bast, while the woody core contains a shorter fiber. As a result of the individual properties of the bast and core fibers, kenaf can be used for a wide range of products. Kenaf can be used for cordage products (rope, twine, carpet backing, sackcloth, and burlap), paper products (newsprint, bond paper, and corrugated liner board), building materials (particle boards of various densities, thicknesses, and fire and insect resistances), absorbents, textiles, and fibers in extraction molded plastics. Although kenaf is usually considered a fiber crop, the entire kenaf plant, stalk (core and bark) and leaves, can be used as a livestock feed. Standard planting equipment can be used to establish kenaf on either rraised beds or on flat ground. Kenaf grows quickly, and competes well wit weeds, but like most crops initial weed control is often required. The length of the growing season, the average day and night temperatures, and adequate water will determine the potential kenaf yields. Kenaf can be harvested before or after a killing frost in the fall. The harvest method depends on the production area, the equipment availability, the processing method, and the final product use. In addition to its low economic inputs and high stalk yields, suitable production areas for kenaf will greatly depend on the economics of the competing crops and that of the kenaf market.

Technical Abstract: Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) is an annual crop which can be successful produced in a large portion of the United States, particularly in the southern states. Kenaf can be used for cordage products (rope, twine, carpet backing, sackcloth, and burlap), paper products (newsprint, bond paper and corrugated liner board), building materials (particle boards of various densities, thicknesses, and fire and insect resistances), absorbents, textiles, livestock feed, and fibers in extraction molded plastics. Standard planting equipment can be used to establish kenaf on either raised beds or on flat ground. Kenaf grows quickly, and competes well with weeds, but like most crops initial weed control is often required. The length of the growing season, the average day and night temperatures, and adequate water will determine the potential kenaf yields. Kenaf can be harvested before or after a killing frost in the fall. The harvest method depends on the production area, the equipment availability, the processing method, and the final product use. In addition to its low economic inputs and high stalk yields, suitable production areas for kenaf will greatly depend on the economics of the competing crops and that of the kenaf market.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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