Mighty Mustard® Cropping/Rotation Plans for Row Crops
- Time the planting to ensure maximum biomass production, preferably in early spring or late fall when daylight hours are shorter. Allow roughly 30 days for mustard plants to flower before incorporation, then allow an additional three weeks for Mighty Mustard® biofumigation prior to planting successive cash crop.
- Seed a Mighty Mustard® cover crop. Please note that mustards are day-length sensitive and will winter-kill at sustained temperatures of 26 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Prior to planting, check herbicide plant-back restrictions.
- At the first sign of flowering, typically 30-35 days after emergence, chop mustard as finely as possible.
- Immediately incorporate into soil.
- Immediately water and roll soil to activate and seal glucosinolates. **The incorporation process is time-sensitive, so it’s crucial to complete all the actions in one day.** PLEASE NOTE that moisture is key, as the glucosinolates are short-lived, so you need to release them into the soil ASAP to improve biofumigation potential. To learn more, read “How Mighty Mustard® biofumigation works.”
- Allow three weeks between time of incorporation and the planting of your next crop.
Planting & Termination Guidelines
Nematode Suppression Protocol
In Row Crop systems, Mighty Mustard® is proven to:
Suppress Columbia root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne chitwoodi) and other types of nematodes
Suppress soilborne pathogens: Verticillium wilt, Verticillium dahlia, Rhizoctonia and sclerotina
Attract pollinators when in bloom
Reduce broadleaf weeds
Scavenge excess nutrients
Increase active Soil Organic Matter
Reduce soil compaction
Prevent soil erosion
Retain soil moisture
Improve water infiltration
Reduce nutrient runoff
Improve overall soil health
How-to Video: Maximizing mustard cover crop biofumigation potential.
Video courtesy of Michigan State University
Mighty Mustard® tips for row crop production:
- From the University of Massachusetts: “Brassica plants contain glucosinolates that, when broken down, produce biocidal compounds called isothiocyanates which are similar to metam sodium, the active ingredient in the commercial fumigant Vapam.”
- According to Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE): “Mustard cover crops have been extremely effective at suppressing winter weeds in tillage-intensive, high-value vegetable production systems in Salinas, California.” Read the full report here.
- Choose the right glucosinolates for the job: White Gold for weed suppression; Kodiak or Pacific Gold to suppress some nematodes and soilborne pathogens.
- Time the planting to ensure maximum biomass production, preferably in early spring or late fall when daylight hours are shorter. Increased biomass is key to improving biofumigation results through increased availability of glucosinolates and organic matter.
- Mighty Mustard® is a trap crop for crucifer flea beetles and cabbage aphids.
- The biofumigation action of glucosinolates is short-lived, so it’s crucial to chop, incorporate and irrigate the Mighty Mustard®️ green material in one day. Leaving a trash layer of dried mustard on top of the soil will diminish biofumigation impact and decrease effectiveness of nematode suppression.
- According to Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE): “Planted in mid to late August, white mustard emerges quickly and produces a large amount of biomass before succumbing to freezing temperatures. As a component of integrated weed management, using brassica cover crops in vegetable rotations could improve weed control and reduce reliance on herbicides.” Read the full report here.
- According to Washington State University, fall incorporation is most effective for suppressing nematodes and soilborne diseases.
- Researchers recommend using mustard cover crops to enhance, not replace chemical herbicides and nematicides.
New to cover cropping?
Cover Crops Research Library
Helpful research links for cover crop management in row crop production: