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  • Writer's picturePhilip

Blue is the Colour.

Variety is the spice of life or so they say, sadly none of my clients are growing spring sown linseed this year so I have none to look at nor directly comment upon. Considering how difficult it was to establish spring crop this year maybe it was a wise decision (or good advice) not to grow any.

Establishment of the crop is challenging at the best of times. It is costly where new seed is purchased, seed accounting for a large part of the input cost.

Seed rates of 40 – 60 kg/ha are historically common with the objective of achieving a final plant population of 400 plants/m2.

In practice, final plant populations are far lower than this, with 200 – 300 plants not uncommon and sometimes considerably less.

If you have a variable rate “seeder” linked to satellite maps I am reliably informed the seed rate can vary from 60 – 110 kg/ha to achieve a final plant population of 400 plants/m2. Now that makes you wonder how “accurate” the historic recommendation is when it comes to a commercial viable financial return since if the crop has a low plant population yield will be limited. As a very general rule in mature crops if you can easily see the ground then they are too thin!

So what is going wrong? Well a myriad of things can contribute to low plant populations.


Seed lot germination, soil moisture and temperature.

Method of establishment.

A dry seedbed (overworked) or a wet one, too soon this April.

Soil texture.

Sand, silt and clay along with how many stones.

Pest control.

Flax beetle.

Herbicide damage

Residual herbicide choice, rate, the state of the soil and environmental conditions.

The photographs; a selection from recent Revive Agronomy clients Linseed crops mixed in with a selection taken this spring from elsewhere.


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