Climate information for Flaxseed Farming.
The crop requires less than the average temperature for its growth. The range stays between 21°C to 26°C. However, excessive heat resulting in temperature over 32°C is harmful to the crop and if accompanied by drought, impacts the crop yield. Linseed requires an annual rainfall of 450-750 mm. The best yield is, however, obtained in cold and moist conditions.
Linseed is a crop typically of the cool seasons. It requires a cold climate for its optimum growth. This can be achieved by cultivating the crop in low altitude limits ranging from mean sea level to 600 meters. It is an ideal crop for the hilly zones of India where it can be grown in both rain-fed and mildly irrigated conditions. The crop is sensitive to high temperature, and thus low temperature should be ensured for the good yield of oil.
Suitable Soil for Flaxseed Farming.
Linseed crops grow best on clay loamy soils and deep clayey black soils. However, deep clayey black soils of central and peninsular India and the alluvial loams of the Indo-Gangetic plains are best for the crop. The range of pH may vary from 5.0 to 5.5 indicating that the optimum condition would prevail at moderately acidic soil.
Recommended sowing times for Flaxseed Farming.
Since it is not a hardcore food crop, it has no particular season of sowing. However, in India, the months of October to November of the Rabi season would be the ideal time since the cold weather would help in the germination of the seeds. The seeds can either be broadcasted or sown in lines.
Land preparation for Flaxseed Farming.
An important task required for linseed farming is proper land preparation. A good quality weed-free and debris-free seed-bed are prepared. On the marginal and sub-marginal rain-fed soils, two to three ploughings are undertaken followed by two to three harrowing. Linseed crops require a firm and fine seedbed free from stagnation and a proper ploughing plan with good quality tillage implements is also necessary.
Sowing methods and tips for Flaxseed Farming.
After collection of the seeds from matured plants, the best ones with excellent vigor are chosen for successful propagation. The seed rate of linseed is fairly high and an amount of 10-12 kg is enough to cover a land of 1 hectare. However, the seed rate entirely depends on the cultivar and the method of sowing.
Irrigation methods for Flaxseed Farming.
Linseed is essentially a rain-fed crop and in case of a well-distributed rainfall, does not require any additional irrigation. However, in extremely dry areas and in special cases of drought, irrigation is essential. The frequency of irrigation would be altered depending on soil type, climate and crop stage.
Fertilizer Requirements for Flaxseed Farming.
About 10-15 tonnes of good quality and well-rotted farmyard manure (FYM) or compost should be applied uniformly per hectares of the land. Then, the manure should be properly mixed with the soil by means of right tillage practices before sowing. During the time of final plough and under appropriate soil moisture conditions, the dosages of fertilizers should be –
· Nitrogen at the rate of 30 kg per hectare
· Phosphorus at the rate of 15 kg per hectare
The deep placement of fertilizers provides better results. The fertilizers should be applied in two splits at a gap of 40-50 days.
Seeds Requirements for Flaxseed Farming.
Seed required for sowing one-hectare farmland is in between 45.0 Kg. to 50.0 Kg.
Seed Treatment for Flaxseed Farming.
For preventing diseases like linseed gall midge and linseed rust and wilt, seeds should be treated with Aldrin or Chlordane 5% dust at the rate of 25-30 kg per hectare of seeds. Also, the dust can be applied within soil during the last ploughing before sowing to protect the young seedlings from early damage of worms and ants.
Best seed Varieties for Flaxseed Farming.
The varieties of linseed differ essentially in branching habits, the color of the stem and branches, nature of capsules, size of seeds and content of oil in the seeds. Some high yielding varieties found in India include Jawahar-17, K-2, No. 55, T-397, M-10, Hira, Mukta, B-67 and Neelam.
Best Practices for Flaxseed Farming.
Weed control or intercultural operations – For linseed plants, frequent weedings at intervals of one month are necessary for controlling unwanted weeds since the weeds affect the overall yield of the plants. In cases of irrigated conditions, weeding should be carried out more precisely since stagnant water accelerates the chances of germination of weed seeds. Chemical weedicides like Fluchloralin or 2,4-D can also be used in proper limits for better results.
Harvesting – Crop becomes ready for harvesting in about 3-4 months after planting, by the middle of February. The crop should be harvested when the capsules of the bunch are extremely ripe. The harvesting is done by means of sickles or simply just by uprooting the plants. In case of obtaining fiber along with seeds, the harvesting is done at early stages of maturity even when the crop is light green. After removal of a whole bunch of capsules, they should be stacked in a dry place and then dried in the sun for a couple of days. The dried capsules can then be threshed and winnowed and then the extracted oil, as well as the husks, are thus ready for transportation.