Flax is a promising agricultural crop for Russia

In this article, our company «GeoBuro» LLC wants to announce a new promising direction of flax cultivation in the North-West lands of Russia.

Flax is a unique plant. Flaxseed products are fiber and flaxseed, flaxseed oil. Flax is an extremely useful and multifunctional material, bactericidal and antiseptic, it is a most valuable plant for the food and medical industry, its derivatives can and should be widely used in construction, automotive and other industries. This is a product that discovers new beneficial properties. A highly environmentally friendly product that fully contributes to the aspirations of people to create a new quality of life, when the ecological purity of the product is at the forefront.


In Russia, the culture of flax and the production of fabrics from it have been known since the 8th century. By the 9th century, linen fabrics had spread so widely across Russia that the Grand Duke Yaroslav the Wise introduced a special paragraph in his church charter (1050) on punishments for the theft of flax and linen clothes. For example, the Vologda Territory, famous for its flax, attracted the attention of the Novgorodians, who had been exporting flax to Europe since the 12th century. In the 16th century, with the opening of a trade route across the White Sea, the British began to show attention to Vologda flax, who bought up northern raw flax and canvas. In the 18th century, the development of flax growing in Russia was facilitated by the Decree of Peter I "On the reproduction of flax and hemp trade in all provinces". The standard No. 1 in Russia was approved by Peter I for linen. At this time, large linen manufactories appeared. By the end of the 18th century, they were already considered the best of all industrial establishments in Russia. The impetus for the further expansion of flax production in Russia was the permission of Catherine II for free export of flax (1763).

Common flax is divided into three types: fiber flax, curly flax (certain types) and mezheumok flax (oil flax). Fiber flax is cultivated for fiber, stems from 60 to 175 cm, few seed bolls. Flax-curly is cultivated for seeds, from which oil is obtained, the stem is from 30 to 45 cm, seed bolls are 35-50.

In the 19th century, the boom of oilseed flax in the Russian Empire was due to the huge demand in the domestic and European markets. England alone in the middle of the 19th century bought up to 10 million poods of flaxseed oil annually, plus Germany, France and other countries. Before the First World War, Russia produced up to 0.5 million tons of flax. It was at that time that linseed tow was in demand, it was used for armament as a basis for gunpowder. In 1931, the area under crops in the USSR was more than 500 thousand hectares. And then, when the areas under other oilseeds began to grow, in particular, under the sunflower, the interest in flax decreased. In 2000, Europe began to actively use flax as a food additive in food, it is used in cooking, it is added to bread, so in the last decade they have been buying from Russia annually 200-250 thousand tons of oil flax. So 90% of the flax produced in our country is exported.

Now in Russia about 40 thousand hectares are sown with flax, but in Russia since 2017 a state subsidy program for flax production has appeared. It is $ 140 for planting flax and another $ 80 after the sale of the crop to the flax mill. Flax mills buy flax fibers at $ 1,000 per ton. The yield per hectare ranges from 500 kilograms to one ton in European countries, the yield of flax, thanks to the use of modern technology and agronomy, reaches 1.5 tons per hectare. Now in Russia, the main leaders in the collection of flax are such regions as: Omsk, Smolensk, Tver, Novosibirsk and Altai Territories and the Republic of Udmurtia. But now such regions as are almost not used for flax production: Vologda, Novgorod, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, Ivanovskaya, Vladimirskaya, Nizhegorodskaya and Kirovskaya. According to the data of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the area of fiber flax cultivation by 2030 will amount to 168 thousand hectares, the gross harvest may increase to 200 thousand tons.

Now, in the first 30 years after the collapse of the USSR, a new modern flax mill is opening in Russia in the Smolensk region. The Russian Flax company, the Textile division of the Promagro agro-industrial holding (one of the largest pork producers in the Chernozem region), is completing the construction of a flax mill at the Safonovo industrial park in the Smolensk region. It will include a flax mill with a mechanical cottonization workshop, which will be able to process 10 thousand tons of flax, and a spinning mill with a capacity of up to 3.5 thousand tons of flax yarn per year. The cost of the project is about $ 30 million, the first stage is expected to be implemented in 2021. When it reaches its full capacity, the mill will become one of the largest flax processing enterprises in the country. According to the State Statistics Agency of Russia - "Rosstat", if in 1990 fiber flax was sown in the country 418,000 hectares, then last year agriculture occupied only 48 thousand hectares.

According to Rosstat, in the Smolensk region last year fiber flax was sown on 5 000 hectares, which is 1.5% more than in 2019. In the country, the collection of flax fiber per hectare is 4 centners, therefore, in terms of gross harvest (2.6 thousand tons), it significantly lagged behind the leaders. The first in this indicator was the Omsk region, where they harvested 6.9 thousand tons of flax fiber with a yield of 12 centners per hectare, the second place was shared by the Smolensk and Tver regions, which received 4.5 thousand tons of flax fiber each. The yield in the first was 8.9 centners per hectare against 10.3 centners per hectare. In 2021, the Altai Territory and the Republic of Udmurtia produced less, slightly reducing the area under flax, starting the production of a very popular product in Russia - buckwheat.

According to the pessimistic scenario, by 2025 the export of flax fiber from Russia will increase 26 times, linen yarn - 50 times, linen fabric - 2 times.

The development of flax production can have a significant impact on the economy of the regions of the North-West: at the moment, 30-50% of arable land in each of the regions of the North-West is not cultivated; it is a resource that can be used to increase the acreage of fiber flax.

Our company will help you purchase agricultural land plots in Russia for the cultivation of flax.

You can organize a very profitable agricultural enterprise (farm) if you build your crop rotation correctly: you will give 25% of the land for fodder grasses and the sale of hay.

Use 75% of the land for a 5-year crop rotation:

  • 1. The first year (15% of the land) is flax.
  • 2. The second year (15% of the land) - oats.
  • 3. The third year (15% of the land) - rapeseed.
  • 4. The fourth year (15% of the land) is rye.
  • 5. Fifth year (15% of the land) - couples (resting land).

Prices in flax growing regions range from $ 250 to $ 400 per hectare.

The publication was prepared on September 27, 2021 by Andrey Kichaev, General Director of «GEOBURO» LLC.