An increase in flax acres this year on the prairies could be a cause for concern.
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada recently reported a 21% increase in flax acres for both Saskatchewan and Alberta, bringing seeded acres up to $1.1 million.
Rachel Evans, Extension Agronomist for the Flax Council of Canada, says those predictions, combined with poor harvest conditions last year, have prompted them to urge farmers to check their saved seed before planting it.
"We did have a bit of carryover from 2015 with that really high acreage, so there is some 2015 seed left that is still very good quality," she said. "The concern is that the seed that was produced in 2016 may not be very good quality for planting in 2017."
She adds the best source of flax seed is a certified seed, which is still in good supply and carries a number of advantages.
"You're also guaranteed the germination potential, which is really important for flax," Evans added. "We typically expect 50-60% seedling survival, so if you're going in with a germination potential of 80% or 95%, that has a big difference of what you're going to see come out of the ground in the spring."