Mustard is a significant special crop that has a farmgate value ranging from about $50 million to $100 million annually. In Canada, mustard production is focused primarily in the southern prairie regions of Alberta and Saskatchewan, involving 370,000 to 740,000 acres and producing up to 300,000 tonnes of mustard seed annually.
Canada is a world leader in condiment mustard seed marketing, accounting for 70 to 80 per cent of global exports, annually.
“Mustard is a relative of canola but tends to be more tolerant to drought, heat and frost,” says Ross McKenzie, agronomy research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “Mustard has allowed producers in the drier regions to add an oilseed crop to their rotations, which has helped disrupt pest cycles, increase moisture use efficiency and increase farm income.”
To achieve optimum mustard yield and quality, the first important step is field selection based on previous crop and residue conditions. Using diverse crop rotations that include three or four different crops is generally the most desirable crop production practice.
“Mustard is commonly grown in rotation with small-grain crops,” says McKenzie. “Ideally, mustard should follow a cereal crop. Generally, mustard is not subject to the same insect or disease pressures as cereal crops. A break of several years between canola and other mustard types is needed to minimize volunteers that would contaminate the grain and lower the grade.
“Mustard should not follow pulse or oilseed crops. Under high potential yield conditions, mustard is susceptible to the disease sclerotinia (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum), which also affects most pulse crops such as pea or lentil and oilseed crops such as canola, flax or sunflower.”
A factsheet, Mustard Production for Alberta (Agdex 143/20-1) was recently produced and is available from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.
To view this factsheet, visit the Alberta Agriculture website at www.agriculture.alberta.ca/publications.Alberta Agriculture’s publications and other resource material can also be ordered by calling 310-FARM (3276).