Flax Seed Cultivation Guide:
Introduction of Flax Seed: – Flax seed is one of the oldest fiber crops cultivated since centuries. Modern world is behind these seeds due its excellent health benefits. Flax seed is also popularly known as “linseed”. This seed was originated from Mediterranean Centre and Canada is no.1 producer of the flax seed in the world. In India, these seeds are cultivated for years, but people are getting aware of these seeds recently due to their nutrition facts and health benefits. The cultivated linseed or flax seed belongs to the family of “Linaceae”. This linseed/Flax seed is cultivated for seeds and fiber. Flax fiber is used in textile industries. In India, Flax seeds or linseed is cultivated exclusively for seed/ oil purpose.
Health Benefits of Flax Seed:- Flax seeds are packed with excellent health benefits.
- Flax seeds are a good source of fiber and low in carbs.
- Flax seeds help in weight loss.
- Flax seeds are healthy for skin and hair.
- Flax seeds help in lowering cholesterol.
- Flax seeds are good source of antioxidants (Lignans).
- Flax seeds aid in digestive health.
- Flax seeds may reduce the breast cancer.
- Flax seeds are good source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Flax seeds can help control diabetes.
- Flax seeds are heart healthy.
Major Flax Seed Grown States in India:- Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Orissa, Assam, West Bengal, Karnataka, Nagaland, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana.
Local Names of Flax Seed in India:- Alsi (Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati), Jawas/Atasi (Marathi), Tishi (Bengali), Agasi (Kannada), Aviselu (Telugu), Pesi (Oriya), Ali vidai (Tamil), Cheruchana vithu (Malayalam).
Improved Varieties of Flax Seed in India: – Sheela, Gaurav,Shekhar, Padmini, JLS-9, NL-97, Shikha, Rashmi, Jeevan,Meera and Parwati.
Climate and Soil Required for Flax Seed Cultivation:- Basically, Flax seed crop is a cool weather/winter crop. This seed crop thrives well in both alluvial soil of the north and south peninsular region. However, Flax seed crop grows well in deep soils where moisture content is retainable in cold season. Flax seeds are cultivated in different parts of India with various soil and climatic conditions. As the roots of flax plants penetrate deep into soil, the main field/land should be ploughed to a greater depth and soil should attain the fine tilth level. This crop requires a relative humidity of 50 – 60 % along with 7 inches of rain (spread evenly for 3 months) for higher and quality yield.
Land Preparation in Flax Seed Cultivation:- Prepare the land by ploughing (Tractor is preferred) to a greater depth as the roots of linseed or flax seed penetrate deep into soil. Soil should attain fin tilth and become weed free.
Propagation in Flax Seed Cultivation:- It is mainly done by seeds.
Seed Rate in Flax Seed Cultivation:- Seed rate is about 45 to 50 kg/ha.
Planting Season in Flax Seed Cultivation:- As this is a winter/cold season crop, it depends on the region.
Manures and Fertilizers in Flax Seed Cultivation:- Apply Farm Yard Manure (FMY) as needed at the time of soil or land preparation. If the soil is poor in nutrients, land should be incorporated with micro nutrients. Adding good manure will result in quality of seed as well as yield.
Irrigation in Flax Seed Cultivation:- This crop requires the irrigation after sowing the seeds , so make sure moisture is maintained until germination phase. Flax seed crop is excellent for irrigated crop, Irrigation should be frequent when flowers are turning into seeds. Constant moisture should be maintained throughout the seed development stage. The critical irrigation phase for flax seed is from flowering to prior to seed ripening. Irrigation frequency depends on soil type and climatic conditions.
Weed Control in Flax Seed Cultivation:- Frequent weed control should be carried out and Applying a re-emergent and post-emergent herbicide will control the weeds in the crop. (contact nearest agriculture department for region wise weed herbicides).
Pests and Diseases in Flax Seed Cultivation:- Rust, Fusarium wilt, Seedling Blight and Root Rots, Pasmo, Aster Yellows and Powdery Mildew are main trouble makers in flax seed cultivation. Contact any nearest local agriculture department for controlling these pests and diseases.
Harvesting of Flax Seed Crop:- This crop will be ready for harvesting when 75% of the bolls have turned brown. As this crop is sensitive to frost, do not delay harvesting. Cut the flax seed crop and stack them for drying (2 to 3 days). Once they dried, threshing can be carried out.
Yield of Flax Seed Crop: – As flax is cultivated for both seed and fiber, it depends on the purpose and variety of flax. There are three kinds fiber flax flower varieties available, these are white, blue and purple. Flax with white flowers are more hardy & give more yield of seeds and fiber. Because of hardness, the fiber from theses white flower flax is is having low value in spinning point of view. The purple flowered varieties are used in commercial cultivation but to cross the other two varieties. An average yield of 500 kg to 1000 kg/ha can be expected with good improved variety of seed.
Bottom Line of Flax Seed Cultivation:- Due it’s wonderful health benefits and international market demand, flax seed cultivation is drastically picking up in India. With good crop management practices, one can expect high returns in the Linseed / Flax seed farming.
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