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Re-Constituted Event-Free Flax Seed

Over the past two years, the flax industry has experienced a significant drop in exports and acreage as a result of weather events and the detection in fall 2009 of the presence of genetically modified (GM) “Triffid” seed in shipments to the EU. The EU is a very GM adverse market and will not allow imports of such products.

The industry, in partnership with AAFC, is working very diligently to address these problems including the initiation in 2009 of a significant testing and monitoring protocol to remove GM Triffid from the seed supply in Canada. These efforts focus on both grain and seed and have worked to reduce both the frequency and level of presence of Triffid. However, the level will not move to zero unless a zero source seed is used across the industry.  While there are no guarantees, the industry believes this is the best path to remove CDC Triffid from the Canadian system and start to rebuild Canada as the global leader in flax production and export.

SeCan is a major player in the Canadian seed industry and an important player in the renewal of the flax industry. They have been involved in the agricultural sector since 1976 and represent between 85% – 90% of the flax varieties sold in the Canadian market. Because of their history and experience, SeCan is able to bring new flax varieties with improved features into commercial production more quickly. This is a benefit to the entire sector, including farmers, millers and other processors, consumers and exporters.

Through SeCan’ s network of more than 700 member companies (the majority who are seed growers/processors) seed supplies of new varieties can be increased rapidly, cost effectively and grown as close as possible to the farm customer. Where beneficial, SeCan uses winter multiplication to either increase product availability or speed a variety to market.

SeCan is leading the effort to re-constitute GM free flax breeder seed. Seed is in the process of being multiplied using a strict production and processing protocol.  The certified seed will be ready for sale to customers in the fall of 2013 for planting in the 2014 season.  Reconstituted supplies of CDC Bethune, CDC Sorrel and new products CDC Sanctuary and CDC Glas will be available in 2014.  To differentiate the new seed lots from past seed supplies, a “14” designation will be added to the previously released varieties (i.e. CDC Bethune-14 and CDC Sorrel-14). This designation will not be necessary for CDC Sanctuary or CDC Glas since this will be the first commercial sales of these varieties.

SeCan is encouraging flax producers to replace their existing seed stocks for the 2014 season so that all traces of Triffid can be flushed from the seed supply.  During the 2014 season flax producers need to be encouraged to deliver all previous seed stocks and grain inventory to the elevator system to minimize the chance of cross contamination of new flax supplies with old inventory.  It will be especially critical to draw out all remnant grain supplies from previous flax production years that may or may not have been tested for Triffid.  A small lot of Triffid, Normandy or Mons entering the system in 2015 or beyond may cause all of efforts in this process to be lost.

As long as stock seed is planted in the spring of 2013, SeCan can still have enough certified seed to plant over one million acres of flax with re-constituted breeder seed; however, SeCan members need some encouragement to get all the acres in the ground i.e. they need to know that there will be a market for the seed if they grow it.

To encourage SeCan members to grow as many acres as possible SeCan will communicate all Flax Council initiatives to SeCan members so they are fully aware of the communication efforts to the flax industry.

Flax producers are encouraged to talk to a SeCan member to express interest in purchasing seed supply for 2014.  If producers grow the seed in 2013 there will be a reasonable market in 2014.

SeCan can supply a list of growers that plan to have re-constituted seed available for 2014.  Please contact SeCan at 800-764-5487 or visit their website at www.secan.com

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