Hemp Vs Cotton

Hemp Vs Cotton

With industrial hemp being reintroduced into American agriculture with the 2018 Farm Bill we are fortunate to have this miracle crop available to us. Hopefully, with hemp as an agricultural commodity for the US we will see it integrated into more and more of our daily routine. 

One of hemps most widely known uses is as a fabric or textile.  We use a great deal of cotton in our clothing and we feel that hemp can provide a much more useful alternative.  Lately the jeans company Levi’s announced that it will be taking steps to start transitioning from cotton to hemp fabric.  Why are they doing it?  Why is hemp so much better than cotton to make fabric? It is time to compare and contrast, hemp vs cotton.

Here Are 5 Reasons Why Hemp is Better Vs Cotton

Hemp vs cotton!  Part of the reason why hemp is a better fabric than cotton is because it is a better crop and plant.
Part of the reason hemp is a better than cotton because it is a better agricultural crop.

Hemp Uses Less Water than Cotton

Cotton uses about twice as much land as hemp does. While that might seem like a staggering figure how much more water goes into growing cotton can be even more staggering. It uses 4 times as much water as hemp.

Cotton needs about 5,200 gallons of water in order to produce one pound of cotton, which means it takes that much water to produce one pair of jeans.

It Revitalizes Damaged Soil: Cotton Does Not

The federal government and several states are taking steps to make hemp an agricultural commodity.  This provides great opportunity for farmers who are looking for a new crop to grow.  But hemp can provide farmers so much more than that. Hemp can actually replenish the fertility of the soil and help grow a new round of crops. 

If hemp is used as a rotation crop, it can help revitalize suffering areas of agriculture.  A campaign in Florida for the legalization of hemp, called Hemp 4 Water, has been preaching how hemp can save Florida’s dying citrus industry for years now.

Hemp also has a short growing season and a deep root system that allows for aeration and constant improvement to the soil structure.

Cotton crops occupy 1% of the country’s farmland but uses 50% of all pesticides. Using these pesticides and fertilizers ruins soil and the plants root system. This leads to a decrease in the soil quality.

Hemp Doesn’t Need Pesticides: Cotton Needs a Lot

Nearly 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides come from the cotton industry.  These just so happen to be some of the most hazardous pesticides available, which ends up in our soil and eventually in our rivers and our streams.

The hemp plant is naturally resistant to most insects and disease. Meaning the plant doesn’t need much pesticides and herbicides.  This makes hemp a much safer crop to grow for the environment.

It Requires Half the Space of Cotton

Hemp can grow about 2,650 pounds of fiber per acre compared to 1,190 pounds of cotton fiber per acre of land. Hemp just grows faster and better than cotton.

The usual environment to grow cotton in is a dry and arid environment.  These crops are fed by a little bit of rain, but their main source of water needs to be irrigation.  If over watered, the crop is easy to lose.  However, hemp production in places like Georgia, which is heavily affected by climate change and is now under threat from natural disasters like hurricanes, many cotton crops are lost, or their quality is severely diminished due to over watering.  

Hemp is Stronger and More Durable Than Cotton

It is just a better fabric. Hemp lasts longer and doesn’t wear out as quickly as cotton does. It has 3 times more tensile and flexible strength than cotton. It breathes really well, can absorb moisture, is UV protectant, and is antibacterial.

Don’t get me wrong, cotton is great! Cotton has a natural ability to control moisture, insulate, is comfortable, and is also hypoallergenic. The problem is, due to heavy chemical use in production there is an overall loss in integrity in the fabric. We find how harmful cotton production is coming up a lot in this argument about hemp vs cotton.

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