Skip to main content

Linseed Crop

Volume 437: debated on Monday 5 May 1947

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Minister of Agriculture what type of machine it is proposed to use for reaping the linseed crop when grown in the Fenlands this year; what plant is available for drying the crop after harvesting; and what steps are being taken to prevent this linseed becoming mixed with the pedigree flaxseed selected for fibre production.

It will be for farmers who grow linseed themselves to decide how they propose to harvest and dry the crop; but I am advised that linseed can be reaped with an ordinary binder or cut by combine harvester if sufficiently dry. and the seed can be dried with an ordinary grain drier. Flax grown for fibre production is delivered unthreshed to the factory where the separation of seed is undertaken, and there appears to be no danger of this seed being mixed with linseed for oil production.

Is the Minister aware that the flax seed is indistinguishable by experts, and that the tens of thousands of pounds which have been spent on the selection of seed for fibre production is in grave danger, and that this matter concerns the feeding of livestock, the linoleum trade and also the textile trade?

I can assure the hon. and gallant Member that since his Questions on Monday of last week, I have made careful inquiries, and I gather that the fears he harbours really do not exist.


asked the Minister of Agriculture how many tons of linseed have been purchased in the U.S.A. for sowing in Great Britain this season; what will the seed cost per cwt. delivered at or near Kings Lynn; and how many acres are likely to be available for this crop this year.

One hundred and eighty-five tons, Sir. The maximum retail price of this seed will be 120s. per cwt. As regards the last part of the Question I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply I gave to a Question by the hon. Member for Buckrose (Mr. Wadsworth) on 28th April.

Is the Minister aware that the price that is being paid for this seed is out of all proportion to the price being paid for seed for the textile trade, on which thousands of pounds have been spent? Is he further aware that despite what he has said, this problem is causing the gravest alarm amongst all the seed merchants in Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

I am not aware of that. As a matter of fact, I understand that the price being paid for the seed is less than the cost price of the seed, and actually the public are helping the farmers in this particular matter.

Is the Minister prepared to consider all the papers and documents and the facts and figures which I have in my hand, and which I will send to him?

Certainly, any information which the hon. and gallant Member cares to send along we shall be glad to look at, but I can assure him that we have a few experts in the Department.