7 November 1997

Linola area is expected to double next spring

COMMERCIAL interest in new linseed-based crop Linola is mushrooming, with strong demand for the high quality oil expected to see the crop area double next spring.

Seed from the UKs first commercial crop was crushed at Cargills Hull mill last month, producing an oil which food companies are keen to use as an alternative to imported sunflower, says David Pearson, market development manager at Nickerson Seeds.

"The oils characteristics make it particularly suitable for margarines, salad oils and dressings." Indeed, demand is so strong that Linola is being imported from Canada where the crop has grown from nothing to over 80,000ha (200,000 acres) in four years.

Area aid is as for linseed with a buy-back contract guaranteeing crushing use. "With the same price as oilseed rape, lower growing costs and higher aid, and no risk of an MGA clawback, Linola is financially competitive with oilseed rape," Mr Pearson claims. Early movement is an added benefit.

The companys variety Windermere averaged over 2.4t/ha (1t/acre) last harvest, well ahead of conventional winter and spring linseeds, he adds.

This years 2000ha (5000-acres) crop generated 5,000t of seed for crushing and is expected to at least double for 1998. "Our buyers have guaranteed a 10,000t crush, with scope for upward revision only," says Mr Pearson. "With added interest for whole seed use in Germany and the pet food trade the prospects really look very good."

New crop Linola performed well in its first commercial crush, with oil from the 5000t of British-grown oilseed generating further interest from the food industry, claims marketing agent Nickerson Seeds.

LINOLA

&#8226 Edible version of linseed.

&#8226 Crop area doubling annually.

&#8226 OSR price, linseed aid.

&#8226 Spring sown, easy agronomy.

&#8226 Food use demand booming.