Introduction To Kenaf
Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) is a warm season annual closely related
to cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.).
Kenaf can be used as a domestic supply of cordage fiber in the
manufacture of rope, twine, carpet backing and burlap. Research, in the
early 1940s, focused on - the development of high-yielding
anthracnose-resistant varieties, cultural practices and harvesting
machinery. During the 1950s, kenaf was identified as a promising fiber
source for paper pulp. Kenaf fibers have been processed into high
quality newsprint and bond paper. Although kenaf is usually considered
a fiber crop, research indicates that it has high protein content and,
therefore, is a potential livestock feed. Crude protein in kenaf leaves
ranged from 21 to 34 percent, stalk crude protein ranged from 10 to 12
percent, and whole-plant crude protein ranged from 16 to 23 percent.
Kenaf can be ensilaged effectively, and it has satisfactory
digestibility with a high percentage of digestible protein.
Digestibility of dry matter and crude proteins in kenaf feeds ranged
from 53 to 58 percent, and 59 to 71 percent, respectively Kenaf meal,
used as a supplement in a rice ration for sheep, compared favorably with
a ration containing alfalfa meal.
In addition to the use of kenaf for cordage, paper pulp and livestock
feed researchers have investigated its use as poultry litter and animal
bedding, bulking agent for sewage sludge composting and as a potting
soil amendment. Additional products include automobile dashboards,
carpet padding, corrugated medium, as a "substitute for fiberglass and
other synthetic fibers," building materials (particle boards of various
densities, thicknesses, and fire and insect resistances), absorbents,
textiles and as fibers in extraction molded plastics.
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