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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Yield and Cultural Recommendations for Kenaf (Hibiscus Cannabinus): a New Bioenergy Crop for Arizona

Authors
item Wagner, Michael - NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIV.
item WEBBER, CHARLES
item Mcmillin, Joel - IOWA STATE UNIV.

Submitted to: Bio Energy
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Kenaf production research was conducted at two locations in Arizona (Maricopa and Snowflake) using five varieties. The Maricopa kenaf yields averaged 8.9 t/a, while stalk yields at Snowflake averaged 3.0 t/a. The yield differences were expected because Maricopa is in the heart of the cotton production region of Arizona, while Snowflake is at a higher elevation, has lower temperatures, and a shorter growing season. The Snowflake research did provide valuable information concerning the production of kenaf under unfavorable growing conditions (higher elevation, lower temperatures, and a shorter growing season) when irrigated with waste water from a paper pulp mill. The agronomics of growing this crop are now well established for Arizona and there is every reason to believe it can be successfully and profitable grown in Arizona in the cotton growing regions. The best opportunity for kenaf in Arizona seems to be as livestock forage and as an industrial fiber. The lack of paper industry utilization of kenaf fiber may be related to a reluctance by paper manufacturers to take the risk associated with switching raw material from wood to kenaf. A number of businesses continue to examine the possibility of kenaf pulping facilities. The industrial and composite fiber markets may be a better outlet for kenaf fibers given this limitation. Under the right political and/or economic environment kenaf could be widely grown in areas where cotton is currently planted in Arizona.

Technical Abstract: Cultivars of kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L. Malvaceae) were evaluated for yield components in south-central Arizona. Five cultivars of kenaf ('Everglades 41', 'Everglades 71', 'Tainung #2', 'SF459', and 'KK60') were planted at the Maricopa Agricultural Center, AZ and were grown for 226 days safter planting. Plots of every cultivar were planted in a randomized complete block design with four replicates. Plots received 1,947 mm of irrigation water and natural precipitation over the 7.5 month growing season. Data collected included plant population, plant height and diameter, leaf and stalk fresh weight, dry stalk weight, and total dry plant yield. Statistical differences among cultivars were detected for plant population, stalk dry weight, and bast:core fiber. Cultivars KK60 and Tainung #2 had the highest yields, and cultivar SF495 had the highest bast:core ratio. Based on these results, we conclude that cultivar KK60 produces the highest total yield (28.5 mTons/ha/yr).

Last Modified: 9/29/2014
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