Trial Report Summary

Determining agronomic suitability of European flax (linseed) cultivars in agro-Manitoba

Crop Type(s):

MFGA, PCDF, PESAI, WADO, BASF, Limagrain NL, van de Bilt zaden en vlas


The current study was developed to examine agronomic attributes (yield, height, maturity) of European-origin flaxseed cultivars if they had a competitive advantage and agro-climatic fit within Manitoba flax production areas.

Project Findings:

Immediate yield results showed no statistical difference between European-origin lines and the Canadian-derived check, CDC Bethune at two of three diversification sites.  At Melita (WADO), significant differences were apparent, although no difference existed between the check variety and the highest yielding European flax variety.


With the declining popularity of flax as a rotational crop choice in Manitoba, farmers need incentive to grow a crop like flax.  A longstanding complaint is that current flax cultivars are not keeping up with yield advances, similar to gains made in canola, soybeans and to a lesser extent, cereals.  This disparity is what encourages a switch away from flax and into higher-yielding, more profitable crops.  Flax does have an important role to fill in Manitoba.  As a non-host crop for many of the major diseases in western Canada, flax is well suited to break disease cycles and provide a stable, steady return as part of a balanced crop rotation. With the closure of private breeding programs at Nutrien Ag Solutions, and the public breeding programs at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, only a single breeder of flax remains in Canada at the Crop Development Centre.  With the introduction and evaluation of European lines, there may be the possibility of a higher yielding cultivar, or a cultivar with more desirable quality characteristics may be found to be well suited to Manitoba’s agro-climate.

Currently, testing is underway at the University of Saskatchewan to determine oil content, fatty acid profile and other desirable characteristics.  Further data will be communicated upon completion of this project.


Entire findings are available by downloading the report PDF.

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