Thursday, January 18, 2018

Make space for spring linseed, growers urged

October 21, 2011 by  
Filed under Crops

GROWERS looking to maximse break-crop profits and improve subsequent wheat yields are being urged to make space for spring linseed.

At 700,000 hectares, oilseed rape is by far the largest break crop in the UK. And although some growers favour pulses, Richard Elsdon of United Oilseeds believes linseed is a better break crop.

Spring linseed may offer the perfect solution for growers seeking an alternative cropping option, and one that reduces the build-up of diseases which can compromise subsequent wheat yields, he says.

Linseed is currently one of the most profitable break crops with the added benefit of providing improved black grass control, Mr Elsdon adds.

This has made it popular among growers are on a quest to find a second break crop in order to reduce the frequency of rapeseed in their rotations and to inimise the build-up of problem diseases.

“It can be drilled and harvested with the same equipment as oilseed rape and can be sown in the spring after black grass has been sprayed,” says Mr Elsdon.

Analysis of gross margins over the past two seasons has shown that linseed has come second to oilseed rape, but invariably performs better than competing break crops.

This year however, spring linseed offers the highest earning potential with an estimated gross margin of £528/ha compared to spring rape at £513/ha, white peas at £521/ha and spring beans at £459/ha.

“Another key benefit of substituting oilseed rape with linseed is that after cultivating the ground to produce three to four inches of rough tilth, the grower can let the winter weather reduce the rough ground down to a fine seedbed.

“Flushes of black grass can also be sprayed off with glyphosate during the winter to produce a clean spring seedbed. This not only addresses mounting black grass problems, but also reduces the amount of time and fuel required to prepare the ground.”

Once spring linseed has been sown there then is a range of herbicides that can be used to control both grass and broadleaved weeds.

A final application of glyphosate in early to mid-August will hasten the ripening of the crop and control any remaining weeds. Subsequent wheat crops will therefore be sown into a much cleaner seedbed resulting in optimum yields.

“This, and the fact that linseed is not related to any other arable crop, means that growers who elect to break their rotation with linseed can do so without compromising profits and with the added benefit of improving black grass control.”

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