Product Assessment 1: Textiles

Industry Overview

Before cotton, hemp was a leading textile crop. The discovery of other fibers like cotton and synthetics forced hemp off the world view and into a more niche market, however it creates a much more sustainable product than other materials. Hemp is a plant that grows very rapidly, faster than weeds in fact, and does not require pesticides. Its fibers can be used to create a number of different woven textiles, which are then processed to create different value-added products ranging from apparel to insulation. There are social as well as environmental benefits, like many hemp products, but specifically the durability of hemp is relevant in textiles

Harvesting

For most fiber varieties, harvest time should occur one hundred to 120 days after sowing, but will depend on climate and weather conditions for that year. Harvest is carried out before maturity and the end of the flowering stage. Harvesting for fiber is usually done by hand and care should be taken that hemp stalks are not broken or cut during harvesting. When first reaping occurs, hemp should be harvested four inches above the ground to avoid the hard, woody portion of the stem. Then, stems are bundled and taken for retting. After retting, the bundles are dried and stored. This is usually done by baling it before sending the hemp straw to processing.  

 

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