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The Mechanical Harvesting of Hemp Using In-Field Stand-Retting: A Simpler Approach Converted to the Production of Fibers for Industrial Use

1
CREA Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Center for Engineering and Agro-Food Processing, Via della Pascolare 16, 00015 Monterotondo (RM), Italy
2
Experimental Farm “M.Marani”, Via Romea Nord 248, 48122 Ravenna (RA), Italy
3
CREA Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Center for Agriculture and Environment, Via della Navicella 4, 00184 Rome (RM), Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8795; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218795
Received: 3 September 2020 / Revised: 19 October 2020 / Accepted: 20 October 2020 / Published: 22 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
The mechanical harvesting of hemp is a key step toward a profitable use of the product. Various fractions (fiber, seeds, residual biomass) may be recovered, and their correct management is fundamental for complying with the requirements of processors/end users. In the light of the renewed interest for its industrial use (panels and insulators), this work proposes the use of modified commercial machines to implement a field separation of the fibrous fraction of stand-retted hemp, a practice that would be profitable if realized with the systems adopted for textile use. The present work was conducted to test the efficiency of harvesting partially macerated plants by using a modified self-propelled forage harvester (SPFH). In Northern Italy, a hemp crop was stand-retted for four months. Then, an SPFH—with rotor knives reduced in number from 24 to 12—was used. Stand-retting made it possible to separate cortical fibers from the inner stem cylinder during harvesting; 53.3% of the material (fibers and shives) was separated automatically by the SPFH together with the chopped bast fiber, while the remaining 46.7% was separated on exiting the launch tube. More than 50% of the fibers were shorter than 5 cm in length, while almost 15% were longer than 10 cm. The SPFH had an effective operating speed of 3.48 km h−1, and no clogging occurred during the test. Therefore, the combination of stand-retting with harvesting using a modified SPFH could be helpful in obtaining an early separation of fibers from shives, thus facilitating the product treatment during its subsequent processing, e.g., by enhancing the defibration. View Full-Text
Keywords: hemp; in-field maceration; fiber separation; harvesting; mechanization hemp; in-field maceration; fiber separation; harvesting; mechanization
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MDPI and ACS Style

Assirelli, A.; Dal Re, L.; Esposito, S.; Cocchi, A.; Santangelo, E. The Mechanical Harvesting of Hemp Using In-Field Stand-Retting: A Simpler Approach Converted to the Production of Fibers for Industrial Use. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8795. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218795

AMA Style

Assirelli A, Dal Re L, Esposito S, Cocchi A, Santangelo E. The Mechanical Harvesting of Hemp Using In-Field Stand-Retting: A Simpler Approach Converted to the Production of Fibers for Industrial Use. Sustainability. 2020; 12(21):8795. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218795

Chicago/Turabian Style

Assirelli, Alberto, Lamberto Dal Re, Stanislao Esposito, Andrea Cocchi, and Enrico Santangelo. 2020. "The Mechanical Harvesting of Hemp Using In-Field Stand-Retting: A Simpler Approach Converted to the Production of Fibers for Industrial Use" Sustainability 12, no. 21: 8795. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218795

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