Postponed sowing does not alter the fibre/wood ratio or fibre extractability of fibre hemp (Cannabis sativa)

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Because hemp is a short-day plant, postponing the sowing date might be a suitable strategy to obtain shorter and smaller plants around flowering, when primary fibres are 'ripe' enough to be harvested. Smaller plants can be processed on existing flax scutching and hackling lines and might have fibre characteristics that are desirable for producing high-quality 'long fibres' for yarn spinning. It was investigated whether sowing beyond the normal sowing period in the Netherlands affects the ratio in which fibres and wood are produced, and what proportion of these fibres are long fibres, suitable for long fibre spinning. About 400 stem samples were fractioned into retting losses, wood, tow, and long fibre, and the ratios between fractions were analysed using multiple linear regression analyses. A normal sowing date at the end of April was compared with a postponed sowing date at the end of May. The total fibre/wood ratio was not affected. More than 95% of the variance in total fibre was accounted for by the wood weight per stem (55.5%), the variety (+33.3%) and the stem part (+6.5%). The amount of long fibre per stem mainly depended on the amount of the total fibre per stem (95.4% variance was accounted for) and the stem part (+2.0%). For economic reasons, it could be interesting to grow two successive high-quality hemp crops in one growing season. Therefore, in an additional experiment with one variety, the effect of sowing fibre hemp up to 12 weeks later than normal on the quantity and quality of the fibres was studied. Postponing the sowing date up to 12 weeks had no important effects on retting losses, the total fibre/wood ratio, and the long fibre/total fibre ratio. It is therefore technically possible to grow two successive hemp crops. Whether this fits well in farming systems and a hemp production chain remains to be studied
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-348
JournalAnnals of Applied Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • nitrogen-fertilization
  • plant-density
  • yield
  • l.
  • quality
  • cultivar


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