14 November 1997

Linseed and peas fall

SOWINGS of both winter linseed and winter peas have dropped this autumn.

Poor harvest experiences seem to have hit linseed hardest, cutting plantings by over a third to about 20,000ha (50,000 acres), says Jeremy Taylor of Semundo.

A move to earlier sowing – much of the crop was drilled in mid-Sept rather than at the end of the month – means many crops are already 7.5-8.75cm (3-3.5in) tall. Fine, moist seed-beds and good growing conditions have also helped and should see crops safely through the winter, Mr Taylor says.

By contrast winter pea sowings are only slightly down, says Daniel Wherry of Wherry and Sons, Bourne. "Last years crop was 5000ha and we expect a slight reduction on that." Tricky harvesting after June rains is the main cause of the check in the crops development, he adds. &#42