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Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 503582
Title Hemp for textiles : plant size matters
Author(s) Westerhuis, W.
Source University. Promotor(en): Paul Struik, co-promotor(en): Tjeerd-Jan Stomph; Jan van Dam. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462577879 - 234 p.
Department(s) Centre for Crop Systems Analysis
Publication type Dissertation, internally prepared
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) cannabis sativa - fibre plants - textile fibres - textiles - photoperiod - hemp - plant fibres - plant density - harvesting date - sowing date - biobased materials - vezelgewassen - textielvezels - textiel - fotoperiode - hennep - plantenvezels - plantdichtheid - oogsttijdstip - zaaitijd - materialen uit biologische grondstoffen
Categories Fibre Crops / Plant Physiology


Key words: Cannabis sativa L., day length sensitivity, fibre hemp, genotype, harvest time, plant density, plant weight, primary fibres, secondary fibres, sowing date, textiles.

Westerhuis, W. (2016) Hemp for textiles: plant size matters, PhD thesis. Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands, 234 pp. With English and Dutch summaries.

Fibre hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) may be an alternative to cotton and synthetic fibres as a raw material for textile yarn production in the European Union. The agronomic options to manipulate plant development and crop growth with the aim to optimise hemp long fibre production were investigated. Field trials with factors sowing density, sowing date, harvest time and variety were conducted. Stems were traditionally processed by retting, drying, breaking, and scutching. Following standard protocols, almost 1500 hemp stem samples were analysed. Varieties differ widely in their fibre content, but this thesis shows that when variety and plant size are known, the amounts of fibres, wood, and retting losses are known. The dry weight of the stems at harvest, not the factors underlying this weight, are determinant. In retted stems the dry matter is split–up into fibres and wood in a fixed way. The options to manipulate this ratio by crop management, given variety, are very small and for practical reasons they can be neglected. In fibre hemp two bast fibre types occur. Primary or long fibres are valuable for yarn spinning. Secondary fibres are too short and their presence hampers the production of fine yarns. This thesis shows that the secondary fibre front height increases with plant weight. Although a causal relationship between secondary fibre formation and flowering does not exist, the secondary fibre front is found higher in flowering plants when compared to non–flowering plants of the same height. This is likely to be caused by the higher weight or momentum of flowering plants as compared with non–flowering plants of the same height. Consequently, a harvest before flowering is preferable. This was shown in a greenhouse experiment, in which the short–day response of hemp was used to create size ranges of flowering and non–flowering plants. To produce high–quality raw materials for textile production, short crops should be grown. The options to produce plants with the desired size are manifold. Since sowing density, sowing date, and harvest time do not have an additional effect on the primary fibre content besides the indirect effect through stem weight, any combination of these factors could be chosen to optimize plant size.

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