MUSTARD (Brassica iuncea Coss.)
Climatic requirement
Mustard is essentially a Dry Zone crop, requiring a well-distributed rainfall pattern. Excessive moisture during any stage of crop growth may decrease yield. Mustard is ideally suited for cultivation on new chenas, but may be grown on homesteads, old chenas in Maha season, and irrigated paddy lands in Yala.
Soils
Sandy loams are best suited for growing mustard. Select only well-drained soils. Well-structured, deep soils favour establishment of a deep and extensive root system. Good soil fertility is essential for obtaining good yield.
Land preparation
a) Preparation with a mammoty is adequate for most chena lands.
b) Deep tillage (25-30 cm) is essential for old chenas and homestead conditions, followed by harrowing to prepare a good seed bed without large clods.
c) Compost or well-rotted organic manure (20-40 t/ha) is most beneficial when incorporated into the soil during the last harrowing.
Varieties: Local selection (maturation time 110-117 days)
Seed rate: 6-8 kg/ha
Time of planting
a) Maha - Late October to early November after the heavy rains
b) Yala - April to May (under irrigation)
Planting and spacing
a) Plant on flat beds where drainage is good.
b) The ridge and furrow system is recommended where drainage is difficult or when irrigated.
c) Shallow seeding (less than 1 cm) is essential to ensure good germination, which is complete in 2-3 days.
d) Mix seed with sand for fried finger millet seeds when seeding manually or dispense seeds using an empty powder can in which holes have been punched.
e) Optimum spacing is 30 cm between rows and 15 cm between plants
f) Thin plants for correct spacing 2 weeks after germination
Fertilizer use
a) Basal – apply the following formulations and rates :
i. Urea - 50 kg/ha
ii. TSP - 50 kg/ha
iii. Muriate of potash - 50 kg/ha
b) Top dressing - apply 100 kg/ha of urea 4 weeks after planting
Irrigation
Mustard is comparatively drought tolerant but irrigation every 5 or 7 days is beneficial during the first 4 weeks of crop growth and every 10-14 days thereafter.
Weed control
a) Avoid mustard cultivation in areas where perennial weeds such as cynodon dactylon or cyperus rotundus are abundant.
b) Weed 2-3 weeks after sowing (coinciding with fertilizer application) and later if necessary.
Insect control : Refer to annexure 4
1. Diamond back moth (plutella spp.)
a. Control
i. To avoid serious damage, which may occur at any stage of crop growth, take prompt action at the first sign of infestation
ii. Spray quinalphos 25 % EC 1400-2100 ml/ha (Bayrusil, Ekalux) or Profenophos 50 % EC 1050-1400 ml/ha (selecron) or Methamidephos 60 % EC 700-340 ml/ha
2. Bagrada spp.
a. Control
i. Methamidephos 60 % -700-840 ml/ha
ii. Monocrotophos 60 % - 1400-2100 ml/ha
Harvesting
a) Harvesting is done manually, as ripening may be staggered.
b) Threshing may be done with bare feet or tractor .
Yield
Average yields for homesteads and old chenas are 800-1000 kg/ha.
Post harvest
a) store harvested plants in a dry, well-ventilated place.
b) Cover threshing floor with a plastic sheet to prevent loss of seeds.