Desiccation timing key to linseed success

ACCURATE TIMING of desiccation and careful combining will be vital to maximising linseed yields this harvest, growers have been told.

With the area of linseed harvested this year expected to double to around 60-80,000ha and at least 50% of those producing the crop for the first time, the margin for error is greater than ever, said Premium Crops’ Andrew Probert.

“Linseed can be combined rapidly and efficiently immediately after the wheat harvest for a good, timely first wheat entry. But both desiccation and harvesting need to be spot-on.”

Growers should spray crops when seeds are full-sized, plump and ivory in colour, with pods yellowy-lime green, upper stems and leaves still green/yellow and lower leaves withered, he advised.

Spraying too early could easily lead to yield losses of 10-15%, as crops are not given enough time for seed filling, he noted.

Timely harvesting is also important. Linseed can be cut 14 days after Roundup (glyphosate) spraying, but 21-28 days may be needed, depending on the weather, he said. Moisture content should be 8-12%.

“It may be that the straw is still slightly green at this stage, but most modern combines will handle green stems with little problem.”

Interest in growing linseed has been largely fuelled by price, Mr Probert added. For example, spring oilseed rape – which is comparable on cost and yield is around £130-135/t, but linseed prices are closer to £170-190/t, he said.

Premium Crops has produced a free guide to linseed desiccation and combining, which is available by calling 02392 632883, or email


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