Crop rotation

Crop rotation is a very important part of any crop production system. An ideal rotation would be one in which mustard crops follow a cereal crop. To adequately control volunteers and prevent grain contamination and down grading, a break of several years between canola and mustards is important. Contamination of mustard grain with canola containing genetically-engineered (GE, or “GMO”) traits is problematic because mustard is a non-GMO crop and marketed as such. As a result, canola and mustard should not be grown in the same rotation unless there is an adequate break to remove all volunteers and prevent contamination.

All mustard types can be hosts to the clubroot pathogen (Plasmodiophora brassicae) as well; substituting canola with mustard to minimize risk of clubroot introduction or infection is not recommended. This would provide a host for the pathogen, while also increasing risk of contamination of mustard with canola volunteer seed. The same precautions and management strategies as outlined by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture should be considered with mustard production if clubroot is a concern.

Mustard is traditionally grown in the Brown and Dark Brown soil zones where moisture is often limiting. Crop rotation can be used to influence soil moisture by rotating between deep and shallow rooted crops.

A list of the common crops and their rooting depths is found in the following table.

Deep Moderate Shallow
Alfalfa Barley Field pea
Sunflower Canola Flax
Chickpea Mustard Lentil

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