Submitted to: Crop Management at www.cropmanagement.org
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/30/2002
Publication Date: 1/24/2003
Citation: Crop Management online:doi:10.1094/CM-2003-0124-01-MG, 6 pages Interpretive Summary: Extension personnel may want to learn more about fiber flax and its cultivation practices for many reasons. Flax fiber and oilseed use is increasing with traditional agricultural equipment now able to grow and harvest the crop in the U. S. Globally, the U. S. is the largest per capita consumer of flax fiber, with all industrial grade fiber imported. Flax production in the southeastern United States has the potential to enhance rural economic growth and to supply a domestic source to the fiber industries. South and North Carolina contain commercial plants utilizing flax fiber. Kingstree, SC is the location of a newly organized flax fiber processing company, which is dependent upon local farmers to produce flax for its commercial processing plant. Brevard, NC is home to a paper manufacturing facility that utilizes flax fiber to manufacture 100% flax paper. Farmers interested in a new or alternate crop may require additional information before they would scale-up agricultural flax production.
Technical Abstract: This paper details the farming of flax in the Southeastern United States. Flax fiber and oilseed use is increasing with traditional agricultural equipment now used to grow and harvest this crop in the U. S. South and North Carolina contain commercial plants utilizing flax fiber. Farmers interested in a new or alternate crop may require additional information before they would scale-up agricultural flax production. Flax was grown and harvested for fiber in South Carolina during 1998-1999 using equipment that is low cost, readily available, and well understood by U.S. farmers. Continued interchange between Extension personnel, federal government, land-grant institutions, flax producers, and industry is required to arrive at the optimal agricultural production rates, flax fiber and oilseed properties, and end uses. Research shows that high-quality, short-staple fibers are found in early-harvested flax and ideally from mature flax harvested for seed and fiber. Our data indicate that flax as a winter cro for fiber, especially in double cropping with high value summer crops, has the potential to enhance the income of local industries in the southeastern United States.