Mustard rising dryland star

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Indian mustard has major promise as an oilseed crop for farmers in sheep-wheat zones with 300-400 mm annual rainfall. If 10 per cent of farmers in these areas adopted the new crop, the annual return would be approximately $150 million.

These conclusions come from research carried out by Agriculture Victoria at the Mallee Research Station and by Primary Industries South Australia at Minnipa Research Centre.

Experiments at both centres confirmed mustard has many superior qualities to Canola in harsh environments with low rainfall. Mustard can produce large quantities of dry matter and should be able to improve soil organic matter and assist in the control of cereal diseases. However, work on mustard is not complete; findings are still coming in. For instance, mustard grown in the experimental areas did not respond consistently to high rates of applied nitrogen and phosphorus fertiliser.

No mustard varieties have yet been released. Scientists still need to test promising cultivars for their glucosinolate levels...see story below.

A handbook, produced under the project, provides farmers and others with reference material and the technology to produce mustard.

Subprogram 2.11.25 Contact: Mr Geoff Castleman 050 941 203