Monday, January 11, 2010
This Triffid flax problem just won't go away. For those that don't know, Triffid flax was a genetically modified variety of flax introduced in the 1990s but never officially released to the public for production. A couple of months ago some alert testers detected some minute traces of the Triffid gene in a Canadian shipment of flax to Europe. That pretty well closed the doors to anymore of our flax being sold to the European market.
The latest solution seems to be testing all flax grown here to see if it contains the Triffid gene. The cost of that test is about $110 and guess who pays for that test? The farmer of course. Apparently we will not be allowed to deliver any flax for sale unless it shows a clean bill of health (below the benchmark figure for triffid content.)
Luckily mine has tested negative although the test did indicate triffid genes at a very low concentration. Where did that come from? I have no idea. This flax was grown from seed I saved last year. That previous crop was grown from seed purchased from a neighbour and his was originally bought as certified seed so one would assume it was gmo free. And what is the problem with gmo flax anyway? Nobody has ever come out and showed conclusive evidence that gm flax is a health hazard at any level.
Flax prices have lost ground since this event . I was selling for over $11 per bushel last winter, now I would be very lucky to see $9 for the same flax. This is not what we needed after the horrendous task of harvesting the crop. Flax is difficult at the best of times but this year (09) it was nearly impossible for me. Actually it was impossible and I was only able to get a small percentage through my combine and had to hire a neighbour to do the rest.
My suspicions are that this triffid nonsense is just an artificial trade barrier in an effort to drop the price of our flax. We are seeing similar shenanigans from the Chinese who suddenly have decided they will not buy any of our canola that contains blackleg. Now blackleg is a fairly common disease of canola that has no effect on the seed or to human health and I would guess that almost every field of canola would have at least a small percentage of blackleg in it.
Now we have the rest of the winter to think about what to grow in the spring. A link to what other farmers are talking about.........