Submitted to: Flax Institute Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2002
Publication Date: 3/23/2002
Citation: Proceedings of the 59th Meeting of the Flax Institute of the United States, Fargo, ND, March 21-23, 2002, pp 124-137
Interpretive Summary: Ariane flax was grown as a winter crop, in southeastern South Carolina, and evaluated for production characteristics. Worldwide, the United States is the largest user of flax fiber, which is neither grown nor produced in the U. S. Collaborative research between the USDA and Clemson University have addressed farm production issues for implementing a flax fiber industry. To evaluate fiber produced by this process new standards for marketing flax fiber are in development. Flax was grown as a winter crop in the southern U.S. and harvested with traditional mowing and baling equipment. The results are important to U.S. farmers and a future flax fiber market in helping to establish a new, environmentally friendly domestic source of flax fiber.
Technical Abstract: Flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) is the source of fiber for textiles, i.e., linen, and linseed. Development of a flax/linen industry in North America is needed to supply a domestic source of clean, consistent quality fiber for blending with cotton in textiles and to supply the emerging composites industry. The objective of this work was to evaluate traditional farm equipment for flax production. Flax was grown as a winter crop in the southern U.S. and harvested with traditional mowing and baling equipment. 'Ariane' fiber flax was grown along the Coastal Plain of South Carolina in 1998-1999 under less than ideal moisture conditions using equipment and fertilizers typically available on farms in the United States. Flax harvested with drum mowing gave favorable straw yields, with stubble heights between 6.0 and 7.3 cm resulting in fiber losses of about 3% of the plant (about 10% of the potential fiber yield). Dry straw yields were about 4,075 and 5,075 kg/ha for early and late harvests, respectively. ASTM test methods and practices are currently being developed to grade flax fibers for length, strength, fineness, color, fineness and trash to aid in marketing.