Historically there has been a history of using nettles as a source of fibre. More recently there has been interest in the crop for commercial fibre production in addition to flax and hemp, for the production of textiles.
Nettles can either be directly sown in the autumn for establishment in spring or transplanted in the autumn. Harvest can occur any time during the growing season but is best once the majority of leaves have fallen and before new shoots have formed. Yields have been shown to be very variable, mainly as a result of soil conditions and plant establishment, they can range from 3t/ha on poorer soils up to 10t/ha on the more fertile sites.
Nettles are very response to applications of nitrogen, and rates of up to 300kg/ha may be required for the highest yields. They also respond well to applications of phosphate.