Trial Report Summary

Determining excess moisture effects on different flax varieties

Crop Type(s):

Derrick Chomokovski, Manitoba Agriculture
Laura Grzenda, Manitoba Agriculture
Bifrost Agricultural Sustainability Initiate Committee (BASIC)


Over the growing season, flax water use may be as high as 41 cm (16 in.). During the seedling stage, water use will range from 1 to 3 mm/day, rising to a high of 7 mm/day during the flowering stage. The critical water requirement period for flax is from flowering to just prior to seed ripening (Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission). However, excess water at early crop stages might affect flax adversely. Chlorosis can occur on flax when soil moisture is high, particularly on calcareous (high lime) soils and it can significantly affect flax productivity. The flax variety AC Emerson has shown the greatest tolerance to chlorosis conditions (Manitoba Agriculture).

Flax reaction to excess moisture varies considerably depending on crop stage and soil type. A recent study from Manitoba shows that irrigation increased total average yield of flax, even when conditions of excess moisture were prevalent in 2016 (Cavers et al, 2017).

The current study was undertaken to understand excess moisture effects on different flax varieties. Eight commonly grown flax varieties were planted in a replicated trial both under irrigated and non-irrigated set up to see if there is any irrigation-variety interaction towards flax productivity.

Project Findings:

Irrigation had significant effects on flax growth and yield. In general, four inches of irrigation did not cause any reduction in flax yield. Flax varieties, however, showed variability in their reaction to excess moisture and it needs further testing. This is the first year of trial and this trial will be repeated in 2017.


Entire findings are available by downloading the report PDF.

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