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Keeping Flax Internationally Export Friendly

In 2009 the GM flax was detected in a European received shipment of Canadian flax. Prices went from around $9.50/bu to a NO BID position in about two weeks once the announcement was made. The NO BID position was maintained by a number of grain handling companies for the later part of 2009 and extending into spring 2010. As a result, flax acres dropped. Europe is slowly accepting shipments once again and the laws of supply/demand have taken a hold pushing prices up to a current $14.00/bu.

Flax is again an attractive crop. But caution should still remain. Prices could take another nose dive quickly and may not recover if a similar situation occurs.

So to maintain the European market (which was 70% of our Canadian export market), the bottom line is this - be cautious with the seed you are putting in the ground, be prepared to test the harvested seed for GM presence, and don’t use unregistered herbicides on your flax crop.


So how do you make sure your flax is export – friendly?

  1. Plant only seed that has been tested and is verified CDC Triffid-free. Any seed testing positive for CDC-Triffid must not be cleaned or planted. Only certain labs are certified to perform this test (see below). It involves sub-sampling your seed to produce a 2 kg sample; from the sample the test will draw four, sixty gram samples and each sample must test negative for the entire sample to be negative. If buying seed or testing your own seed, obtain and retain the certificate of laboratory analysis that verifies the planted seed tested negative.
  2. As of September 1, 2010, any flax entering the commercial grain handling system will be subjected to rigorous testing for the presence of CDC Triffid before accepted for delivery. Some flax buyers will only accept results from certain labs. Please check with your grain buyer and the Flax Council of Canada ( for more details.
  3. Only apply herbicides, fungicides registered for use in flax. Pesticides can leave residues on the crop, and there is Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) specific for each herbicide or fungicide compound in a specific amount allowable. If a herbicide/fungicide is not registered for use in flax, there is zero MRL allowable for that pesticide compound. To reduce weed pressures – plant your flax earlier, in a field where you know you can control the weed spectrum present, and spray on-time.

Canadian Labs approved to test flax samples for the presence of CDC Triffid (alphabetical order)

20/20 Seed Labs Inc.
Suite 201, 509 - 11th Avenue
Nisku AB T9E 7N5
Telephone: 877-420-2099
Facsimile: 780-955-3428
BioVision Seed Labs
7225 B Roper Road
Edmonton AB T6B 3J4
Telephone: 800-952-5407
Facsimile: 780-437-6875
Crop Genomics Laboratory
Saskatchewan Research Council
125 – 15 Innovation Boulevard
Saskatoon SK S7N 2X8
Telephone: 866-420-2293
Facsimile: 306-933-5505
Discovery Seed Labs Ltd
450 Melville St.
Saskatoon SK S7J 4M2
Telephone: 306-249-4484
Facsimile: 306-249-4434
Attn: Bruce Carriere, Sandy Junek  
DNA LandMarks Inc.
84 Richelieu Street
St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu QC J3B 6X3
Telephone: 450-358-2621
Facsimile: 514-827-7870
Quantum Biosciences Inc.
8 – 410 Downey Road
Saskatoon SK S7N 4N1
Telephone: 306-956-2082
Facsimile: 306-956-2066