30 June 1995

Mixed future for linseed?

WINTER linseed varieties survived last winter well and look to be on schedule for an August harvest. But autumn-sown spring types were badly thinned by the weather and possibly pests, too.

That was evident from plots on view at Dalgety Agricultures "Farming Future" event at Throws Farm, Essex.

The companys French-bred Artica is a true winter type, flowering in early/mid-May and ready for combining about a month before spring crops.

Launch is due next year, allowing a further year to develop the specific agronomy the winter crop seems to need, says Dalgety ISPs linseed specialist Ray Luckhurst.

Weed control is a good example. Ally (metsulfuron methyl) cannot be used on the winter crop. As conditions are too cold for Basagran (bentazone) to work effectively, an alternative needs finding. Until then farmers may need to incorporate Treflan (trifluralin) pre-drilling.

"Another difference is that a lower seed rate may be needed," Mr Luckhurst says. Plant growth regulator may also help stiffen the stem so it can withstand harsh weather and hold the crop up for the combine.