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Abstract

Since the 1940s, kenaf has been viewed as a potential source of fiber, mainly for newsprint and high quality paper. Kenaf research has once again risen to the forefront due to the recent USDA tobacco buyout. Many states and farmers dependent upon tobacco revenues have been seeking alternative crops for a number of years. This study seeks to expand the current literature by examining the economic feasibility of growing kenaf within three counties in Tennessee. Nitrogen meta-yield response functions for kenaf and four traditional crops were developed for 30 soils through crop growth simulation modeling and used to compare optimal crop budgets for each soil. Results reveal that kenaf would not compete favorably with traditional crops on any soil at prices below $49/ton, while profit-maximizing farmers could supply as much as 1,385,700 tons of kenaf if the price were $55/ton.

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