Borage is an annual plant sown in the spring. It grows to a height of approximately 1-1.2m with stout, prickly stems, broad rough wrinkled leaves, and is extremely competitive against weeds.

The seed of borage is similar in size to wheat, is black in colour and the oil within it contains the highest natural source of Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) discovered so far.

What is GLA used for? 

GLA is a naturally occurring essential fatty acid.  Borage oil capsules are sold over the counter in chemist and health food shops as dietary supplements under the names super evening primrose or star flower capsules.  Other uses include pet food supplements and skin creams.

Benefits of Growing Borage

  • Very good gross margin
  • Unrelated to other species grown in the arable rotation therefore providing a true break crop on the farm.
  • Very low input crop – with minimal pesticide and fertiliser use.
  • Excellent entry for wheat
  • Minimal storage requirement (100 acres will probably produce approx. 16t.)
  • Pigeon and rabbit resistant!
  • Very few pest and disease problems.
  • Can be sown late in the Spring.
  • Guaranteed whole crop buy back contracts.
  • Support throughout the season from Fairking’s agronomist.
  • Attractive, environmentally friendly crop and excellent for honey.

Points to Remember

  • The availability of a swather is essential as is the use of a Draper Pickup Header.
  • Borage will not perform at its best on very light, drought prone soils.
  • Bee keepers should be encouraged to place hives near the crop.
  • Attention to the timing of swathing is essential as the crop matures indeterminately.