Seed and Fertilizer Information

A farmers resource for seed

Seeding Flax to Provide the Best Start 

Typically flax is seeded from May 1st to June 20th.  It may be seeded the last out of all the crops as the bolls and seeds can stand and ripen in the fall without shelling while other crops such as canola are being harvested.  Prolonged exposure to fall weather, though, will reduce the quality of the harvested seed and make it ineligible for a food grade market.  MASC data shows flax has good yield potential in the last week of May (Table 3), but yields decline in some areas as the calendar turns to June.  MASC seeding deadlines are June 20th for all of Manitoba.


Relative yield (%) of FLAX by seeding date and region (1989 to 2008).

Seeding Date (week/month) RR Valley Eastern Interlake South Central West Central Southwest Northwest
01/May 108 115 118 108 111 109 105
02/May 105 105 116 108 109 102 105
03/May 104 117 112 103 105 104 106
04/May 91 89 96 95 98 98 93
01/June 78 66 72 77 87 85 84
02/June 67 42 61 66 66 71 68
03/June 60 34 NSD 52 49 62 58

Source: Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation Seeded Acreage Report Records (1989-2008)

Getting the flax out of ground with an even good stand will help later for weed control and consistent maturity.

  • Target ½  – ¾ inch deeding depth to allow crop to emerge quickly
  • Don’t over fertilize, flax does not respond to higher rates of fertilizer.  Excess nitrogen will cause prolonged maturity and potential lodging issues.
  • Target a higher seeding rate.  Flax depends very heavily on adequate stand establishment and plant populations for good weed competition. Target a seeding rate of 40-45 lbs/ac to achieve a target population of 40-56 plants/ft2. Typical emergence for flax is 50% to 60%. Seeding rates on the high end of the recommended seeding range should be used for ground prone to crusting, when seeding late or under heavy weed pressure.


Fertilizer Recommendations for Flax

For specific recommendations on fertilizer rates, have your soil tested.  Flax is easily injured by seed placed fertilizer. All fertilizer should be applied away from the seed.

If soil analysis is not available, a general recommendation is as follows:

Nitrogen (N): Apply 40-60 lb/acre N following stubble, 0-40 lb/acre N following grass and grass-legume breaking.Deficiency symptoms – stunting, small leaves that are yellowing, starts with older leaves.
Phosphate (P2O5): Apply 30-40 lb/acre P in a sideband or placed below the seed.Deficiency symptoms – darker leaf colour than normal, stunting, smaller leaves, thin stem.
Potassium (K2O): On sandy textured or organic soils, apply potassium at rates of 30-60 lb/acre.Deficiency symptoms – stunted growth and leaf tip browning on lower leaves.
Sulphur (S): Apply 15 lb/acre sulphate as recommended by a soil sample.Deficiency symptoms – leaf yellowing, starting with the newest leaves.