10 MARCH 1939, Page 18

Flax Prospects Of flax, a crop now recognised to be

of increasing im- portance, especially in defence schemes, we imported 50,000 tons last year. This represents something like 25,000 acres of growing flax and, at the 1939 contract price, a value of £300,000. Farmers must surely look into this. In Northamp- tonshire, where fields of flax are one of the pleasantest war memories, flax has again become a commercial proposition. In 1938, 2,200 acres were grown there, and this was enough to keep the Billing Mills working at full pressure for a year. Flax is grown under contract for this mill, which distributes seed free and collects the harvested flax in its own lorries. The crop is not a difficult one, and with good cultivation the yield is about three tons an acre. It seems, too, that flax is a stimulant to a following crop, and yields of eight quarters of wheat to the acre have been reported on land following a flax year. An increase of z5 per cent, in the yield is also reported following the use of flax-pulling machines, which replace ordinary binders. The whole thing looks an extremely good proposition, in fact, to any farmer of adaptability.