Linseed production has in the past been very variable in the UK, due to the changes in value in comparison with other break crops. Some reports suggest that over 200,000ha were grown in the UK at the end of the 1990s, but this area has dramatically fallen due to the reduction in market prices. In 2006 the area was just over 32,000ha.
Linseed is mostly a spring-sown crop, although winter varieties are still available, which like oilseed rape, requires a fine seedbed to optimise emergence. Average yields in the UK are 1.5t/ha, with higher yields where conditions are favourable, but they have rarely exceeded 2.5t/ha.
The seed tends to ripen before the stems fully dry out, therefore chemical desiccation is usually required pre-harvest. The crop can then be harvested using a conventional combine harvester. Problems can arise where incomplete desiccation occurs or where the crop is wet or lodged.
Nitrogen applications should be made to the seedbed along with phosphate and potash applications, at rates of 50-80kg N/ha, depending on the Soil Nitrogen Supply., where are rates of nitrogen are dictated a split application on N should be considered to reduce lodging risk.
Linseed crops are particularly susceptible to manganese and zinc deficiencies although other micronutrients may be a problem depending on soil pH which affects availability.
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