It is fiber-hemp harvesting time in the fields
At present, it is the busy season for the Lithuanian farms that grow fiber hemp – as long as the weather is favorable, they are collecting the harvest. Using special equipment, the employees of fiber hemp stalk-processing factory Natūralus Pluoštas (Natural Fiber) are helping farmers cut the grown hemp. The hemp has to lay for a few weeks in the fields and later will be brought into bundles and transported for storage.
‘This year, there are more than 1,800 hectares of hemp plants in Lithuania. We are hoping to collect up to 7 tons of hemp-stalk material per hectare. We are just talking of helping the farmers to collect harvest – this year we have expanded our fleet of harvesting machinery. We are working according to plan,’ says Raimondas Petreikis, CEO of Natūralus Pluoštas.
This is the second season of fiber hemp harvesting in Lithuania since hemp was started to be grown in such a large area. Before the opening of the Natūralus Pluoštas factory in Kėdainiai, fiber hemp was grown in our country only by individual farmers. Now Natūralus Pluoštas offers farmers a collaborative model by providing farms with fiber hemp seeds and advice, and later helping to collect the harvest and purchasing the harvest from them.
In its factory, Natūralus Pluoštas will use the purchased fiber hemp to produce hemp fiber, hemp shives and pellets. The fiber is used in the textile, paper and non-woven material industries, the pellets – for residential heating, while the hemp shives are used for construction, animal litter, and mulching.
‘No pesticides are used for hemp growing, the hemp needs very little water, so this plant is considered an eco-friendly and sustainable culture. The textile industry is more and more interested in hemp fiber due to its natural and positive properties: thermoregulation, good absorption, rigidity’, explains Donatas Čerkevičius, Head of Exports of Natūralus Pluoštas.
The factory began production this year in April, and the first batches of products have already shipped to potential clients.’ ‘We look forward to evaluating the results of the 2019 harvest. We are hoping to meet the quality requirements of even the most demanding clients, both in terms of fiber and hemp shives’, says D. Čerkevičius.