Winter linseed variety performance trials
About this project
The following report describes a programme of trials for winter linseed varieties. Winter linseed is a new crop, with the first varieties only added to the UK National List in time for sowing in Autumn 1996. Offering apparent advantages, in terms of ease of establishment and earliness of maturity, over the traditional spring linseed crop, strong interest from growers during 1996 and 1997 presented a clear need for independent variety advice for growers.
A total of 10 varieties have been included in trials during the two year test period. Of the six varieties to have completed two years of tests, the variety Oliver has shown the best combination of yield, quality and agronomic characteristics. Other varieties have shown significant defects, particularly in their yield and their resistance to lodging.
In the two years of the project, yields were below those reported from private trails during 1995. This has been largely attributed to disease and lodging developing from prolonged wet weather at flowering.
Potential problems for the crop, in the form of attacks from thrips, pigeon grazing and the fungal Pasmo disease were identified. An interaction between sowing date, population, fertiliser rate, lodging and yield was seen as perhaps the area requiring the greatest attention in addition to a variety testing programme.
Given a steadily improving understanding of the management of winter linseed and making the best variety choice, the crop remains an attractive alternative to spring linseed. The genetic yield potential of the first generation of winter varieties is not thought to be superior to current spring varieties but with a root system developed over winter, yield stability is likely to prove a long term advantage, through drought avoidance.
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