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Published January 30, 2010, 12:00 AM

Fantastic flax crop

Flax yields were good this year, prompted by abundant moisture and a cooler temperatures, a state official said.

Flax yields were good this year, prompted by abundant moisture and a cooler temperatures, a state official said.

Sheri L. Coleman, executive director of Ameriflax in Bismarck, said there has been a gradual increase in flax prices, but nothing extreme.

“We’ve been seeing better prices here in the U.S. because sales have been moving through to Europe,” Coleman said. “We had that adequate moisture, as well as having extended cool season, and this is a cool season crop that just did really well.”

Coleman said she is aware of some growers having problems getting into the fields due to a wetter spring, along with a late harvest, which mirrored what occurred with the canola crop.

Some of the flax crop didn’t get taken out until November and early December in some cases, she added.

“What was grown was tremendous,” Coleman said. “I think we’ve got a little over 2,000 producers (throughout the state), this year we had about 335,000 acres that were planted.”

Darrel Ottmar, who grows flax 22 miles northeast of Mott, said his crop yielded well.

“It was the best crop I’ve ever had,” Ottmar said. “Of course it’s the best crop of any wheat or anything I’ve ever had, but the flax was good.”

Ottmar said he’s grown flax for a number of years and said the cool, wet summer helped the quality of the crop.

“I’ve tried to raise it most years,” Ottmar said. “A lot of years when it’s blooming in the middle of June, then we get a hot spell, and it doesn’t like that, like most crops don’t.”

Much of North Dakota’s flax crop stays within the U.S. The portion that goes to Europe goes to its industrial market, she added.

“Here you see a lot of it used for the health and nutraceutical market, as well as the animal-feed market,” Coleman said.

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