FIBRE CROPS - Agronomy VI

Course CodeBAG311
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn broad acre or small scale farming of fibre crops

  • Cotton
  • Jute and Hemp
  • Flax, Sisal, Coir and more

Plant fibres from cotton to jute have long been used to make fabrics and ropes; but they have also been used in many other ways – among other things in building and construction. Growing, harvesting, processing and creating plant fibre based products is an enormous global business. Farm production quite obviously underpins that whole industry. This course focuses on the production of that raw product.

Lesson Structure

  1. Scope and Nature of Fibre Crops
    • Introduction
    • Fibre Properties
    • Fibre Uses
    • Types of Fibre Crops
    • Commercial Viability
    • Assessing Land Characteristics
    • Assessing land suitability
    • Broad Acre Farming
    • Crop Production Considerations
    • Production Systems
    • Crop Rotation and Management
    • Cover Crops
    • Crop Islands
  2. Cotton – Part 1
    • Cotton Production
    • Sustainable Agriculture
    • Crop Rotation
    • Conservation Tillage
    • Insects and Diseases
    • Insects
    • Aphids
    • Armyworm
    • Cotton bollworm
    • Cotton Diseases
    • Fungal Diseases
    • Viral Diseases
    • Bacterial Diseases
    • Pesticides and insecticides
    • Cotton Life Cycle
    • Types of Cotton
    • Better Cotton Initiative
    • Genetic modification
  3. Cotton - Part 2
    • Cotton Fibre Properties
    • Improving Properties of Cotton Fibre
    • Flexural testing
    • Industrial Use of Cotton
    • Cotton Fibre in Clothing
    • Wicking
    • Cotton - Milkweed blends
    • Ginning
    • Coloured Cotton
    • Textile Dyeing
    • Load Bearing Materials
    • Harvesting
    • Cotton Pickers
    • Cotton Strippers
    • Cotton Ginning
    • Uses of Cotton
  4. Jute
    • Types and Properties of Jute
    • Jute Production
    • Climatic requirements for Jute
    • Jute Characteristics
    • Genetic Yield Improvements
    • Pests and Diseases
    • Harvesting
    • Uses and Consumption
  5. Industrial Hemp
    • Terminology
    • Types and Properties
    • Cultivation
    • Countries of Production
    • Climate
    • Soil Fertility
    • Water
    • Pests and Diseases
    • Cost
    • Genetic Modification
    • Harvesting
    • Uses and Consumption
    • Geotextiles
    • Fabric
    • Carbon Capture
    • Phytoremediation
    • Hempseed
    • Building
    • Paper
    • Cannabidiol
  6. Sunn Hemp and Kenaf (Deccan Hemp)
    • Sunn Hemp
    • Properties
    • Cultivation
    • Soil Fertility
    • Water
    • Cost
    • Phytoremediation
    • Pests and Diseases
    • Genetic Modification
    • Harvesting
    • Retting
    • Uses
    • Fibre
    • Weed Control
    • Green Manure
    • Biofuel
    • Kenaf (Deccan Hemp)
    • Types and Properties
    • Cultivation
    • Countries of Production
    • Climate
    • Soil Fertility
    • Water Requirements
    • Pests and Diseases
    • Harvesting and Processing
    • Uses and Consumption
    • Textiles
    • Food
    • Sustainable Material
    • Soil Structure
    • Paper
  7. Flax
    • Types and Properties
    • Cultivation
    • Countries of Production
    • Climate
    • Soil
    • Water Requirement
    • Pests and Diseases
    • Genetic Modification
    • Harvesting
    • Processing
    • Uses and Consumption
    • Fabric
    • Bio Composites and Industrial Materials
    • Paper
    • Bioplastic
    • Food
  8. Leaf Fibres and Grass Fibre
    • Abaca and sisal fibres
    • Abaca
    • Types and Properties
    • Production and Cultivation
    • Pests and Diseases
    • Harvesting and Processing
    • Uses and Consumption
    • Sisal
    • Sisal Cultivation
    • Harvesting and Processing
    • Uses and Consumption
    • Grass Fibres – sugarcane and bamboo
    • Sugarcane
    • Properties
    • Sugarcane Culture
    • Growing & Production
    • Soil Conditions
    • Ratooning
    • Tillage
    • Crop Rotation and Break Crops
    • Harvesting
    • Burn-offs
    • Sugarcane Straw
    • Sugarcane Yield Limitations
    • Pests and Diseases
    • Pathogens
    • Uses and Consumption
    • Sugar
    • Energy
    • Bioethanol
    • Bioplastics/Biomaterials
    • Paper and containers
    • Other Uses
    • Alcohol – Rum
    • Bamboo
    • Types and Properties
    • Cultivation
    • Pests and Diseases
    • Harvesting and Processing
    • Uses and Consumption
    • Food
    • Fuel
    • Medicine
    • Building Material
    • Furniture, Household Items and Accessories
    • Clothing
    • Paper
  9. Fruit Fibre - Coir
    • Types and Properties of Coir
    • Coir Production and Cultivation
    • Countries of Production
    • Climate
    • Soil Fertility
    • Water Requirement
    • Cultivars
    • Pests and Diseases
    • Harvesting and Processing
    • Uses and Consumption
    • Cordage
    • Horticulture
    • Construction material
    • Biocontrol
  10. Fibre Processing and the Fibre Future
    • Fibre Quality
    • Retting
    • Biological Retting
    • Dew Retting
    • Water Retting
    • Enzyme Retting
    • Chemical Retting
    • Mechanical Retting
    • Physical Retting
    • Drying
    • Fibre Future
    • Hybrid Composites
    • Geotextiles
    • Building Industry
    • Car Interiors
    • Genetic Improvements
    • Other Fibre Sources

HOW VIABLE IS IT TO PRODUCE FIBRE FROM PLANTS?

There is considerable interest in many areas in the production of fibre crops. Potential crops include: New Zealand Flax, Kadzu Vine, Jerusalem artichoke, Chugar vine, reeds, and rushes. Some have potential to be weeds so careful selection is important. Cotton is successfully grown in Australia, but requires a warm climate (e.g. Inland northern N.S.W.). There may be more value in raising a sheep or two for fibre than growing horticultural crops on a small scale. Recently, there has been interest in the legalisation of commercial hemp crops for use as a fibre. This is not an innovation either, as hemp has been used extensively in the past for such things as sail cloth, clothing and paper. The plants that are proposed for this crop are genetically different to the hemp plants that are cultivated for their narcotic properties.

Some fibre plants are widely grown around the world, while others are popularly used in a particular region only. Cotton is by far the most widely cultivated fibre crop, followed by Sunn Hemp and Jute.

Typically, the following tasks may be involved in the production of any type of crop.
  • Soil preparation - treatment may involve tilling the soils, adding lime or sulphur to adjust pH, formation of rows and furrows, addition of organic matter into the soil, etc.
  • Fertilising - select the right chemical blend for the crop and the stage of growth. Consider chemical and organic alternatives. Satisfy any nutritional disorders.
  • Irrigation - design and install irrigation system, develop irrigation schedule, consider water quality, establishment of drainage channels.
  • Weed control - identify weeds and select control method. Consider chemical and natural methods. Maintain a hygienic farm.
  • Pest and disease control - identify pests and diseases and select control method. Consider chemical and natural methods, such as IPM. Maintain hygienic farm. Consider legal restrictions and licensing.
  •  Harvesting - select optimum stage for harvesting (timing). Harvest using economical method. Consider labour requirements. Reduce/prevent damage to harvested produce.
  •  Post-harvest operations - select optimum transportation and storage facilities. Consider refrigeration and cooling, packaging and marketing, also market proximity, transport.
     

Who Should Study this Course?

  • Farmers and farm managers and workers
  • Service providers, agricultural analysts, marketers, educators, writers or any other professionals working with or in support of fibre crops
  • Investors, entrepreneurs, students, innovators or anyone else with an interest in learning more about fibre crop production

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