With the wet weather likely to delay spring drilling, linseed could be a profitable alternative crop to late-drilled cereals or pulses.

Seed merchants say linseed offers a number of benefits such as being cheap to grow while linseed’s later sowing date can allow added time for weed control.

The crop has a long and late drilling window, typically from mid-March through to mid-April, and linseed sown in April compares well with other spring crops drilled in February or March.

See also Better linseed contracts on offer to tempt growers

“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,” says Bob Miles, agricultural director at seed merchants Elsoms.

“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.”
Elsoms agricultural director Bob Miles

If spring drilling is delayed into late March and April in many areas, this will make linseed look a very attractive crop to growers, he adds.

His group is offering a new variety Batsman, widely available for the first time this year, which it says is both early maturing and high yielding.

In comparison with the yields of existing early maturing varieties such as Abacus (95%), Marquise (98%), Duchess (99%), Batsman gives an yield of 105% on the HGCA descriptive list, Elsoms says.

Batsman is part of a long line of varieties, such as Brighton and Bilton, bred by Dutch breeder van de Bilt and trialled and selected for the UK by Elsoms.