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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Plant Population Influence on Stalk Growth, Yield, and Bark Percentage of Sunn Hemp

Authors
item Cook, Charles
item Scott, Andrew, Jr. - RIO FARMS, INC.

Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 29, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Studies were conducted during 1994 and 1995 to determine the effect of four plant populations (161,300, 225,800, 290,320, and 354,840 plants ha-1) and two sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea) cultivars (Tropic Sun and PI248491) on stalk height, basal diameter, yield, and bark fiber percentage from two (lower and middle) stalk locations. Plant height and total stalk yield were not affected by the plant populations. Basal stalk diameter of plants grown at the two lower populations was greater than in the highest population. Populations differed for bark percentage in the middle stalk section only, with the two highest populations having higher bark percentages than the lowest population. Tropic Sun produced a greater stalk fiber yield than PI248491. Averaged across populations, plant height and basal diameter were positively correlated with yield. Within each individual plant population, basal diameter was more closely correlated with yield at the lowest population. Results of the study suggest that increasing the plant population above 161,300 plants ha-1 may not result in significant yield increases. Since increasing the plant population produced a higher bark percentage, the possibility of manipulating bast and core fiber yields through specific plant densities appears possible.

Technical Abstract: As consumption of wood-based products grows, demands for nonwood fiber sources like sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea L.) increase. Studies were conducted from 1994-1995 to determine the influence of four plant populations (161,300, 225,800, 290,320, and 354,840 plants ha-1) and two sunn hemp cultivars (Tropic Sun and PI248491) on stalk growth, yield, and bark fiber percentage from two (lower and middle) stalk locations. Plant population did not affect stalk height or total yield; however, basal stalk diameter of the two lower populations was greater than in the highest population. Populations differed for the middle stalk section only, with the two highest populations having higher bark percentages than the lowest population. Tropic Sun produced more total stalk fiber than PI248491. Averaged across populations, plant height and basal diameter were positively correlated with yield. For each individual population, basal diameter, not stalk height, was more closely correlated with yield at the lowest population. Results indicated that increasing the population above 161,300 plants ha-1 would not necessarily produce significant yield increases. The effect of plant population on bark percentage does suggest the possibility of manipulating bast and core fiber yields through specific plant densities.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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