- Published on Sunday, 21 August 2016 08:14
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What is Jute Yarn
Jute is known as the ‘Golden Fibre’ due to its golden brown colour and its importance. In terms of usage, production and global consumption, jute is second only to cotton. It is the fibre used to make hessian sacks and garden twine. Jute is environmentally friendly as well as being one of the most affordable fibres; jute plants are easy to grow, have a high yield per acre and, unlike cotton, have little need for pesticides and fertilizers. Jute is a bast fibre, like flax and hemp, and the stems are processed in a similar way.
Biology of Jute Jute is an annual crop grown mainly in India and Bangladesh in the fertile Ganges Delta. It is classified in the lime tree family (Tiliaceae) by Kew Royal Botanic Gardens but jute has sometimes been placed in Malvaceae with cotton or more recently in Sparrmanniaceae. B) Jute Fibre Jute fibres are very long (1 to 4 metres), silky, lustrous and golden brown in colour. In contrast to most textile fibres which consist mainly of cellulose, jute fibres are part cellulose, part lignin. Cellulose is a major component of plant fibres while lignin is a major component of wood fibre; jute is therefore partly a textile fibre and partly wood. Jute fibre has strength, low cost, durability and versatility. C) Uses of Jute Fibre Jute is used where low cost is more important than durability, for example in coffee sacks and cotton bale covers. You are probably familiar with jute as twine used to tie garden plants, and as hessian fabric (or burlap in the US). Jute is used in shopping bags, carpets and rugs, backing for linoleum floor covering, chair coverings and environmentally friendly coffins. Jute is also useful as a geotextile fabric laid over soil to stabilise it against landslides and to control erosion or weeds. The fabric helps to keep the moisture in and holds the soil in place, whilst the open weave structure of the fabric allows space for plants to grow. As the plants get established, the jute fabric starts to biodegrade. This fabric is also used to wrap plant root balls, as it allows water and air to reach the roots. Experimental use of jute fibre in commercial papermaking has proved moderately successful and may eventually supplement pine and spruce as papermaking fibres. D) Cultivation of Jute This is a fibre crop that you will not be able to grow in European back gardens as jute needs tropical rainfall, warm weather and high humidity. Unlike cotton, it has little need for pesticides or fertilizers. Jute is planted close together so that the plants grow tall and straight. E) Harvesting Jute Jute is ready to harvest in four to six months, after the flowers are shed. The plant stems are then about 2.5 to 3.5 metres tall and as thick as a finger. Jute fields may be under water at the time of harvest and the workers often need to wade in the water to cut the stems at ground level or to uproot the plants. The stems are then tied into bundles. F) Jute Fibre Extraction On average, jute yields four times more fibre per acre than flax. The fibres lie beneath the bark around the woody core or ‘hurd’. To extract the fibre, the jute bundles are submersed in water and left for a few days until the fibres come loose and are ready for stripping from the stalk, then washed and dried. G) History of Jute Fibre Jute has been used in India on family farms for centuries. It was twisted it into cordage and made into twine and ropes to be used on the farm. The jute hurd, left after the fibre was extracted, was used as firewood. Now jute is almost entirely grown by commercial growers. Jute started to be exported in the 1880s when a system for spinning and weaving was developed in Dundee (Scotland), where there is now a jute museum. Jute products were then sold widely and soon replaced their equivalents in hemp and flax. By the 1970 many jute products were replaced by synthetic fibres and by the late 1990s, bulk packaging in global transport and storage reduced the need for jute sacks. Jute production declined from between 3 and 3.7 million tonnes a year to between 2.6 and 2.8 million tonnes. Despite this decline, jute is still a very important plant fibre, second only to cotton’s production of 22 million tonnes a year. H) Why Jute is an Environmentally Friendly Fibre Jute has a low carbon footprint, it is biodegradable, feeds the soil and all parts of the plant can be used.
a) Good for the air
b) Good for the soil
c) Source of wood pulp a) Good for the air Jute plants help to clean the air; during growth they assimilate three times more CO2 than the average tree, converting the CO2 into oxygen. Polypropylene (the material used in plastic bags) does the opposite, producing huge amounts of CO2 during its manufacture. b) Good for the soil As well as having little need for fertilisers and pesticides, jute plants enrich the soil. As these plants grow fast, they are often used in crop rotation. The leaves and roots left after harvest enrich the soil with micronutrients, maintaining soil fertility. The flooded fields also support fish populations. When used as a geotextile, it puts nutrients back in the soil when it decomposes. c) Source of wood pulp The jute stalks left after the fibre has been extracted may help to meet the worlds need for wood pulp, as well as being a renewable source of cooking fuel.