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Is it too early to plant spring OSR or Linseed?

Date Added: 25/03/2009

There is a temptation to plant these two crops now as the soil is dry and relatively friable. However we need to remember the problems that cold dry weather brings to these relatively tender young plants.

Firstly linseed will struggle to germinate and grow if the soil temperature is below 8°C; spring rape struggles at about the same temperature.

Secondly during cold dry weather the young plants grow very slowly but unfortunately in these conditions the flax flea beetle will graze the young linseed plants and the turnip flea beetle will graze the young oilseed rape plants. In both cases an appropriate insecticide would be needed as a matter of urgency.

United Oilseeds suggests waiting to plant the crop until this present spell of cold weather passes through and the crops can be planted in warmer soil when hopefully they will ‘hit the ground running'. It is possible to sow up until mid April and still get a good crop establishment. Soil conditions and temperature are more important than date of drilling.

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