TERRE DE LIN experimenter farmer’s group wants to explore alternative culture methods to make flax culture even more sustainable.
Based on integrated farming practices, flax is an environmental-friendly culture, relying on the farmer’s regular observation of the plant and using very few intrants compared to many other cultures.
Willing to meet consumers sustainable development concerns, TERRE DE LIN decided to launch a group of pilot experimenter farmers two years ago, whose objective is to improve culture itineraries so as to make flax an even more sustainable culture.
For this second year, 25 farmers were involved in the experimentation.
In 2018, this group had an objective to use no chemicals at all to grow flax, comparing this chemical free culture to usual technical itineraries.
This group thus worked on alternative methods of culture, using a variety of approaches from using tolerant varieties like Bolchoï, a triple tolerant variety decreasing the disease pressure during flax vegetation to introducing mechanical tools to remove weeds like in organic farming, etc….
The cooperative had decided thus to invest on mechanical equipment to run these experiments, but also on technical human resources internally so as to run the project, support and advise the farmers and follow them during the campaign.
In November, after having scutched the flax straw resulting from this experiment, the group gathered so as to make an assessment of their achievements in 2018 and set up new objectives for 2019.
2018 experiments were a success for the team, as the encouraging results show that it is possible to grow flax using alternative culture methods.
Due to this success, new farmers want to join the group, which is positive: TERRE DE LIN’s objective is to motivate more and more farmers to go into this approach. The cooperative will thus invest in another mechanical weeding equipment to run new experiments and test other alternative methods next year.
It is too early though to draw any conclusion on a large scale development of such methods all over the cooperative: this year was for sure an easy year, low desease pressure due to favorable weather conditions, very little pest pressure, and as every flax farmer knows, every year is a different year in flax farming: one has to adapt each year….
Guillaume Hemeryck, the TERRE DE LIN President explained that TERRE DE LIN is still at the very beginning of this approach. Humility is therefore necessary, we still have to learn a lot and gain experience to confirm these first positive results.
He also insisted on the fact that this TERRE DE LIN commitment to develop more sustainable alternative culture methods should deliver some value both for the consumers but also for the TERRE DE LIN farmers themselves. Thus, the objective is to value these fibers through a sustainable value chain starting from the fiber to the textile and to the final product.
In this respect, the project is consistent with the mission of the cooperative, which is to value the farmer production through sustainable outlets, but also with the commitment of the cooperative to meet the consumer concerns in terms of sustainable development and rooting TERRE DE LIN flax know-how into a continuous improvement approach to sustainable development.