Linseed is an important oilseed and fibre crop grown both for its seed as well as fibre which is used for the manufacture of linen. The seed contains a good percentage of oil varying from 33 to 47 per cent in different varieties. The oil is edible and also due to its quick drying property is used for the preparation of paints, varnishes, printing ink, oilcloth, soap, patent leather, and waterproof fabrics.
The oil cake left after the oil is pressed out is a most valuable feeding cake, perhaps the most favourite cattle feed. It is good in taste and contains 36 per cent protein, 85 per cent of, which is digestible. It is fed to both milch and fattening animals.
It is also used as organic manure. It contains about 5 per cent nitrogen, 1.4 per cent phosphorus and 1.8 per cent potash. Straw from seed varieties are used in the manufacturer of upholstery two, insulating material, rugs, twine, and paper.
Lin Seed oil is a yellowish drying oil derived from the dried ripe seeds of the flax plant. It is obtained by pressing, followed by an optional stage of solvent extraction. Cold-pressed oil obtained without solvent extraction is marketed as flaxseed oil.
Lin Seed oil is the most commonly used carrier in oil paint. It can also be used as a painting medium, and is available in varieties such as Cold Pressed, Bleached and Refined.
Flaxseed oil is suitable for human consumption, and is used as a nutritional supplement. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid, which appears to be beneficial for heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and a variety of other health conditions.
Global output of linseed is estimated around 2.60 million ton per years with Canada, China,, U.S and India dominating the list of producers. Canada is the leading producer and accounts for nearly 80% of the global trade in linseed. Global production of linseed oil is estimated between 600,000-700,000 ton while linseed meal ranges between 1.1-1.4 million tons.
India is considered as the third largest producer of linseed in the world. India linseed is mainly cultivated as rabi crop in with October-November being the main sowing season. February-April is the main harvesting season in the country.
Madhya Pradesh is the leading producer of the crop, which is broadly divided into two categories- peninsular and alluvial types according to the root formations.
Oil markets in Indore, Kanpur, Agra and Gwalior are the main trading centres of linseed oil. Paint and allied industries are the main consumers of linseed oil accounting for nearly 70% of the total consumption. West Bengal, Maharashtra, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh are the main centres of linseed oil consumption in the country.