Submitted to: Top Crop Management
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2005
Publication Date: 2/1/2006
Citation: Boydston, R.A., Mcquire, A., Riga, E. 2006. Mustard: more than just a condiment. Top Crop Management. February 2006. Pp. 8-10.
Technical Abstract: Cover crop use prior to growing potato has increased substantially in recent years in the Columbia Basin as many benefits including reduced soil erosion and compaction, increased soil tilth and water infiltration, and reduced incidence of pests and diseases are being realized. Research evaluating the cumulative effects of fall-planted cover crops including mustards, sorghum-sudangrass, an oat-hairy vetch mix, and wheat in a four-year crop rotation of potato-winter wheat-sweet corn-sweet corn was conducted in Washington State. The response of weeds, nematodes, disease incidence, soil microbial communities, and nitrogen cycling was evaluated. A competitive fall planted cover crop suppressed weeds and prevented increases in the soil weed seed bank, lowering the incidence of weeds in the following crop. Seed meal of several mustard species suppressed chickweed and prickly lettuce germination and emergence and root knot nematodes in green house trials. Yields of potato, sweet corn and winter wheat following cover crops have been similar to that where fumigation and no cover crop was used.