Robert Payne Partners - Alpaga Winter Linseed

Produced with the kind permission of Tim Payne

February - March

The soils have dried out enough at last to allow applications. The much-needed Centurion Max has been applied for the black grass, which thanks to the weather have had a good start. Spring fertiliser has been applied to help the crop start growing and branch out to fill any thin patches.

As mentioned previously the on-farm micronutrient trial, as part of a collaboration between myself, Premium Crops and S-Chelate Plant Nutrition has continued to run where conditions allow.  A spring application has been made with the spring nitrogen application. The final application will be made at green bud and tissue samples taken two weeks after to allow crop uptake. These will be analysed in the lab.

Alpaga linseed - picking itself up

In February, there was still a fair amount of rain, it seems now to be lessening thankfully into March, a total of 100mm rain has been recorded. Average temperatures are still mild and slowly creeping up, averaging 6.6°C (see weather data below).

December - January

In the best fields, the rows are now clearly visible, and plants are looking visibly stronger. Centurion Max is yet to be applied as conditions are too wet to travel, so the aim is to spray once temperatures start to warm up and the blackgrass starts growing.  The poorer fields remain patchy, and the blackgrass is getting too big for graminicides to get adequate control. A hopefully drier February will allow decisions to be made on the poorest field.

When conditions allow, the first dose of micronutrients will be applied to the Linseed, as part of the on-farm trial previously discussed. It will be interesting to see if the crops respond differently to the micronutrients this year given the contrast in conditions this year compared to last year.

Winter Linseed rows visible in January

In January total rainfall has eased compared to the previous months, but there has still been 51.3 mm of rain in total for the month. Average temperatures are still mild averaging 6.4°C (see weather data below).


The rain has slowed autumn growth of the plants; however, most plants are starting to put out side branches. The wet weather has meant the crop has had nothing applied to it since sowing (except slug pellets) and it still looks quite clean.

High levels of straw in one of the fields has meant that emergence is uneven. In addition, patches of blackgrass have emerged in this field because of the late rain triggering germination. Due to the weather, no graminicide has been applied and it is now too late to apply Centurion max. If the blackgrass becomes too big to be controlled in the spring, then there is a possibility that it may better to spray the crop off with Glyphosate. The other field seems to have come through the high straw conditions, remaining clean and ready for winter (see below).

Winter linseed in the first frost of November

Since sowing until the 2nd December there has been 224 mm of rain recorded by the Sencrop weather station. The download below highlights the frequency of this rainfall.  Average temperatures are starting to drop to 9.2°C, with a wide diurnal variation (see weather data below).


Rain has helped establishment and the linseed is now up in rows and the first set of true leaves are emerging. Crops are looking well, but there are some signs of slug damage in the fields with higher levels of surface straw, but the fields are too wet to travel. Post-emergence herbicide applications are also to be applied. However, surface straw from the previous crop has provided good ground cover, whilst the linseed is small and has low weed competition, to repress weed germination.

This year a repeat on-farm trial of micronutrient application to linseed is being run on the farm. Last year a trial of a zinc product, kindly provided by S-Chelate Plant Nutrition. The Chelate agent used in S-Chelate Plant Nutrition products is produced through a biological fermentation process, instead of a synthetic chemical process, and therefore the product does not build up in the environment and is better for it. The zinc product was applied to the crop to the seed bed and at green bud, linseed is known to require the micronutrient zinc for rooting and branching. Encouraging rooting and branching early on builds yields, and maximising branching means there are more branches for capsules to form on. Linseed yield is built at flowering, as with oilseed rape, and a late application was applied at the same time as the balance of nitrogen is applied to help feed yield. The farm was split into treated and untreated areas, and a tissue test was taken by Premium Crops to see if greater quantities of zinc were found in the treated areas. Unfortunately, results were inconclusive, this year again in partnership with S-Chelate Plant Nutrition a wider range of micronutrients will be applied to the crop at different timings and a tissue test taken again.

For more information on S-Chelate Plant Nutrition visit 

Alpaga plants establishing - 8th Oct '19
Alpaga rows clearly visible now - 8th Oct 2019

Rain has continued to fall, 66.3mm of rain been recorded by the Sencrop weather station in October alone. Average temperatures remain relatively mild at 11.5°C, with day temperatures pushing high teens (see weather data below).


Sowing Date: 13th September 2019

Sowing Conditions: Direct drilled using a weaving drill into the previous crop of wheat stubble. The wheat straw was not baled, which has helped conserve moisture in the seedbed in a dry year. Premium Crops would normally advise against drilling into high levels of straw as it can reduce crop establishment due to poorer seed to soil contact.  No pre-emergence herbicides were applied to this crop.

High levels of straw in the seedbed
Close up of seedbed showing conserved moisture

Four days after sowing the seed could be found in the seedbed and was sowing signs of germination.

Seed in the seedbed 4 days after sowing
Seed showing signs of germination


Premium Crops have established a network of Sencrop weather stations at our Montor Farm locations. The weather stations provide a live-feed of the rainfall and temperature at each site. The details recorded at Robert Payne Partnerships' farm to the 16th April 2020 are given below...

The data recorded at this site will be updated at regular intervals throughout the growing season.