Thorough weed control prior to seeding and throughout the crop rotation will help to reduce the weed populations and can be used to manage problematic weeds that are difficult to control in mustard or can result in downgrading. Agronomic practices that promote a uniform and vigorous crop stand with early canopy closure will improve the competitiveness of the mustard crop. The following agronomy tips can be used to increase the competitiveness of a mustard crop.
- Use higher seeding rates. High seeding rates will produce a dense crop stand with faster canopy closure that will more readily shade and out-compete weed seedlings.
- Seed shallow. Seeding shallow and into moisture will ensure quick emergence and strong, quick growing seedlings and a uniform crop stand. However, seeding depth may need to be adjusted to place seed onto moist soil.
- Use narrow row spacing. Narrow row spacing will increase the competitiveness of the crop through quick canopy coverage and shading of weeds.
- Provide optimal fertility. Optimal fertility at the time of seeding will produce healthy vigorous seedlings that can compete with weeds and withstand some insect and disease pressure. Targeting fertility (example side banding) so that the crop can access it easily and nutrients are isolated from weed roots is a way to influence crop competitiveness versus weeds.
- Use clean seed. Using clean, weed-free seed will prevent the introduction of new weeds seeds. Also using new healthy seed will result in a more uniform and vigorous crop.
- Seed early. Seeding a crop early will allow the crop to utilize early spring moisture and will also allow the crop to be more competitive and shade out later emerging weeds. Early control of perennial and winter annual weeds has been shown to provide increased yield benefits versus delaying control until immediately before later seeding dates.