Agronomy VI - Fibre Crops

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

Grow Plants for Fibre Production

Cotton, Sisal, Jute, Hemp, and more

 

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  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

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


What Makes a Good Fibre Crop?

While all plants may produce fibres, some plants produce better fibre, that is more suited to processing than others.

Fibres can be obtained from various parts of plants including leaves, stems (bast fibres), fruits and seeds. The dimensions of these fibres, especially fibre length, depends mainly on fibre location within the plant. Fibres from stems and leaves tend to be much longer than fibres obtained from fruits and seeds.

Stem and leave fibres contain many sclerenchyma elongated cells that have tapered ends and are very thick, usually with heavily lignified cell walls. Sclerenchyma gives mechanical strength and rigidity to the plant since it is usually a supporting tissue. 
Common plant fibres, also known as lignocellulosic fibres, are obtained from a range of plants and crops, many of which are discussed throughout this course. The main advantages of these fibres are that they are biodegradable, economical, and available in abundance. They also provide employment to thousands of people living in the rural areas where many fibre crops are native. 

Fibres are generally composed of three structural polymers as well as some minor non-structural components (such as proteins and minerals). These include:

  • Cellulose – polysaccharide composed of only glucose molecules
  • Hemicellulose - polysaccharide
  • Lignin – aromatic polymer 

The cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin content in plant fibres vary depending on the plant species, origin, quality and conditioning.

Different fibre plants have different characteristics:

  • Surface fibres, soft or bast fibres, hard or structural fibres
  • Insulation/ temperature/heat and moisture resistance or water retention capability

Who is this course for?

  • Anyone with an interest in growing plants for fibre production; whether on a small or large scale
  • Farmers, farm workers, agriculture industry
  • Cottage industries, growing, harvesting and making things from plant fibre
  • Students, researchers, innovators, academics, agricultural media, or anyone els