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 traits is problematic because mustard is a non-GMO crop and marketed as free from traits of genetic engineering. 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.

Another consideration is disease. Mustard is susceptible to many of the same diseases as canola and other broadleaf crops. To manage disease levels, a break from susceptible crops is required. One important disease is sclerotinia stem rot caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, which can also cause disease in canola, field pea and several other field crops and broadleaf weeds. Sclerotinia is often not a problem in mustard when grown in drier regions. However, sclerotinia risk may be greater when mustard is grown in rotation with lentils. If sclerotinia was a problem in the past, a break from susceptible crops prior to growing mustard is recommended particularly because the presence of sclerotia in the harvested grain can lead to downgrading.

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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