Submitted to: Northeast Branch of American Society of Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 23, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L) is an annual, nonwoody fiber plant native to east-central Africa. It was introduced into the United States in the 1940's as a substitute for jute to produce cordage. Research and development work for pulp, paper, and other fiber products began in 1960 and continues today. products which are being manufactured commercially include paper, poultry litter, packing material, matting, seed, and fertilizer mats, fruit-packing mats, and cattle feed. Other products that have been developed and have a definite commercial potential include mats for oil absorption, sewage sludge filtering material, disposable diapers, "silk" cloth (from immature fibers), mature fibers for blending with cotton to make clothing, extenders for plastic, hydro mulch, briquettes, and lumber. Kenaf is a very drought-tolerant plant and it also responds very favorably to irrigation. We have tested kenaf under rain-grown conditions at various locations in the Southern High Plains for six years. Stem yields (at 8% moisture) have ranged from 1,534 to 8,998 kg/ha. The highest stem yield under irrigation has been 17,484 kg/ha. This yield was produced with a total of 461 mm of irrigation plus 364 mm of rain. Research with kenaf as windbarriers has shown it to be both very lodging resistant and quite effective in reducing wind velocity. Based upon our research and that of others, we believe that kenaf has a definite potential for becoming a profitable crop for the Southern High Plains area. However, markets will need to be developed before this potential can be reached.