The small plot flax trials at Darkan, Wagin and Kojonup are all on the verge of bursting into full bloom. The time of sowing (TOS) 1 plots seeded on the 29th and 30th of May are ahead on maturity with the variety Glenelg coming into flower first. This is a white flowering variety which tends to yield slightly higher than Croxton but is more susceptible to Fusarium oxysporum which causes Fusarium wilt in susceptible flax varieties. Croxton a blue flowering flax is a Fusarium wilt resistant variety.
TOS 2 seeded on the 12th and 13th of June and TOS 3 seeded on the 25th and 26th of June are forming buds and will not be far behind in coming into flower. The flax plants in the TOS 3 plots are still quite short being on average around 10cm tall and with the onset of flowering it will be interesting to see if stem growth stops. This may be a determining factor as to the time of seeding required for both the Croxton and Glenelg varieties.
In this growing season to date, we have not had any insect or disease issues at any of the flax sites. Moisture stress is becoming apparent with theses early hot spring days and with little rain forecast we may have the opportunity to see how the flax copes with a dry finish. This is not ideal for the trials, however if it will provide valuable information as to the potential fit of these two varieties into the WA agricultural regions with our somewhat unreliable rainfall events.
A dedicated flax field day will be held in Darkan on Tuesday the 29th of October with guest speakers and site visits. If you have an interest in the potential of flax as a break crop or are just plain curious, please come along it will be a really great day.
To further explore the potential of the flax industry, GIWA have invested in the project: Pre-feasibility of a Flax (linseed) Oil Industry in the High Rainfall Zone of WA with the Focus on Food and Beverage Products. The GRDC is providing in-kind support for the flax industry feasibility study.
With the warmer weather the site at Andersons germinated very quickly and evenly. The late sowing has enabled the site to remain clean with excellent weed control achieved with a knockdown prior to sowing. Red legged earth mites from the neighboring pasture paddock were halted in their tracks with a barrier spray around the edge of the site. With the late sowing moisture availability may become an issue without good finishing rains, as may the height and seed capsule (boll) numbers the plants achieve before flowering and crop senescence occur.
Thank you very much to all our Southern Dirt trial hosts both for your time and input into the trials and for making land available. As a grower group we are reliant on grower participation and it is sincerely appreciated.
If you have any questions about new or continuing projects or would like to be involved by hosting a trial, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0475 399 677 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Bronwyn Copestake