White (Forage) Mustard such as ALBATROS has been used for many years by farmers as a cheap, easy and effective short term catch crop following the cereal harvest. In addition to the classical white mustard segment, farmers are now able to select varieties such as VETO that can be very effective in controlling soil borne diseases such as Beet Cyst Nematode (BCN). In addition both types of mustard can play an important role in reducing levels of rhizoctonia in the soil whilst their ability to assist in the control of soil borne pathogens in the horticultural industry is attracting strong interest from growers looking for an alternative to methylbromide.
ALBATROS (Classical) and VETO (BCN)
Both are very effective catch crops, establishing rapidly and easily, able to be sown from July up to end of September. ALBATROS and VETO produce extensive root systems and an impressive yield of biomass whilst being relatively impervious to drought and if not incorporated, any surviving plants are usually killed by the winter. In addition, VETO can be effective in reducing BCN with independent German trials crediting it with producing a reduction in BCN levels of up to 90%.
1. Soil Nutrient Content and Management
The deep and extensive rooting network combined with successful incorporation of the high quantity of biomass produced can very significantly improve the level of nutrients in the soil and their availability to subsequent crops.
2. Soil Health
Both types have strong bio-fumigant properties with VETO having a level 2 classification for BCN control. Combined with the ability to improve soil nutrient levels this makes white mustard a powerfully and popular Catch Crop.
3. Weed Suppression
The rapidly establishing mustard crop performs an excellent role in suppressing the development of weeds and volunteers.
Soil Structure and Erosion Control
Soil structure is improved and the risk of soil erosion significantly reduced as a result of the rapid establishment of the mustard crop.
Both VETO and ALBATROS should be sown after the cereal harvest from July through to the end of September. Minimal seed bed preparation is required, but the good seed beds will obviously produce better crops than poor ones. Seed should be sown to a depth of 1-2cm with VETO being sown at 25-30 kg/ha and ALBATROS (Classical) at 15-20 kg/ha.