Delayed drilling brings linseed back into contention

The outlook for the UK Linseed crop for 2014 has significantly changed since the autumn drilling season came to a conclusion. A much reduced demand for spring crops compared to 2013 combined with a plentiful supply of spring seed had led to a significant reduction in forecasts for the Linseed Crop. With many growers experiencing major delays in spring work due to the atrocious wet weather, Linseed is immerging as an attractive alternative to late drilled cereals or pulses, particularly with new high yielding and early maturing variety Batsman being widely commercially available for the first time.

“Including Linseed in an arable rotation can provide a lot of benefits,” says Elsoms Seeds, Adrian Hayler. “Linseed has a long and late drilling window, typically from mid-March through to mid-April, which provides growers with time to control weeds and prepare seed beds,” said Adrian. “As well as providing a break from OSR, there is strong anecdotal evidence of a significant yield benefit in wheat crops following Linseed,” commented Adrian.

“Previously growers have had to choose between high yielding late maturing varieties, or alternatively sacrificing yield and selecting an earlier maturing variety,” said Elsoms Oilseed Breeder Mark Nightingale. “Batsman, widely available to farmers for the first time this year, removes this dilemma, by being both early maturing and high yielding,” said Mark. “In comparison to the existing early maturing varieties Abacus (95%), Marquise (98%), Duchess (99%), Batsman is a real step forward combining the important early maturity with an impressive yield of 105% on the HGCA Descriptive list,” he concluded.

“The financial performance of Linseed is often understated, “according to Bob Miles, Elsoms Agricultural Director. “Comparisons are usually made between Linseed planted in April with other spring crops drilled in Feb/March. Linseed is a cheap crop to grow and when drilling is delayed into late March and April the yield potential of alternatives has declined significantly making Linseed look very competitive” he explained. “In March, Linseed growers still have plenty of time to complete weed control programmes and seed bed preparation without prejudicing the margin of their crop, but with other crops the pressure to drill is intense as yield potential is declining,” commented Bob. “Following the current very wet weather, spring drilling is likely to be delayed into late March and April in many areas resulting in Linseed looking very attractive when achievable gross outputs, from crops drilled this late, are taking into account,” commented Bob.

Batsman is part of long line of successful varieties such as Brighton and Bilton bred by Dutch Breeder van de Bilt and trialled and selected for the UK by Elsoms Seeds. “We are very excited by the potential of Batsman,” said van de Bilt Breeder, Raimon Laan, “We see it as the idea companion for Brighton which has established an impressive reputation with growers in the UK over the last few years by consistently producing high yields of good quality Linseed for a wide range of markets” concluded Raimon.

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