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Mustard (Sinapis) is an oilseed crop. Gray mustard, or Sarepskaya, and white mustard are of economic importance.

Brown mustard (Brassica junceae)
Brown mustard (Brassica junceae)
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Economic importance

The oil content in the seeds of gray mustard is (34) 35-47%, white – (25) 30-40%. The iodine value of the oil obtained from mustard seeds is 92-119.

Mustard (fatty) oil is characterized by high taste qualities. It is used for food purposes: in the canning, baking and confectionery industries, as well as in the production of soap, textile and pharmaceutical industries.

Mustard seeds also contain essential oil: in gray – 0.5-1.7%, in white – 0.1-1.1%, which is used in the perfume industry.

Powder with a specific burning taste is made from mustard cake, which is used for the preparation of table mustard and for the production of mustard plasters, phytin and essential oil. The quality of mustard powder depends on the content of essential oil in it, which is approximately 1-1.5%. It is not recommended to use for fodder purposes, as it contains toxic glycosides. Cake can be used as organic fertilizer.

White mustard in the phase before the formation of the pods can serve as an early green fodder or green manure. 100 kg of green mass correspond to 11 (12) feed units. The green mass is well eaten by farm animals and has milk-producing qualities. It also serves as a support plant in mixed crops, such as with peas, vetch and other lodging legumes. Good honey plant.

The stubble mass of mustard in summer crops contains more nutrients and less fiber than in spring crops, therefore, it expands the possibilities of farms in the production of green fodder and silage.

Due to the short growing season, mustard can be used as a stubble and catch crop, as well as for rock crops.

Crop history

Gray mustard is considered a very ancient culture. In the wild, it is found in Central Asia, China, the Himalayas, Transcaucasia, therefore Southwest Asia is considered its homeland.

White mustard is native to the Mediterranean.

In Russia, both types of mustard began to be cultivated at the end of the 18th century.

Cultivation areas and yield

Blue mustard is cultivated in the countries of Asia Minor, Egypt, India, China, as well as in Europe (France, Germany, Holland, etc.).

In Russia, the main (more than half of the entire country) sown areas of blue mustard are concentrated in the steppe regions of the Volga region (Volgograd, Astrakhan, Saratov regions), in the North Caucasus (Rostov region, Stavropol Territory), in Western Siberia. Cultivated in Kazakhstan.

White mustard is grown mainly in the humid regions of the Non-Chernozem zone, in small areas in the Central Black Earth zone, Western and Eastern Siberia. Cultivation areas extend up to 61-62 °N.

There are no official statistics on this culture in the world. In Russia, general statistical reporting has been established for gray and white mustard.

The sown area of ​​gray and white mustard in 1986 in the USSR was more than 250 thousand hectares with a seed yield of 1.0-1.5 t/ha. The yield of green mass of the white mountain reaches 20-25 t/ha.

For 2001-2005 about 100 thousand hectares or 1% of the total sown area of ​​oilseeds were occupied under gray and white mustard in Russia. The gross seed harvest was 60 thousand tons or 1% of the total production of oilseeds with a yield of 0.4-0.7 t/ha.

Botanical description

Gray mustard (Brassica junceae Czern.) and white mustard (Sinapis alba L.) belong to the Cabbage family (Brassicaceae).

Gray mustard

Gray mustard refers to annual herbaceous plants.

The root is taproot, penetrates to a depth of 2-3 m.

The stem is branched, gray with wax coating, pubescent at the base.

Plant height (0.5) 0.6-1.5 m.

Lower leaves on petioles, lyre-pinnate. The upper leaves are sessile or on short petioles, entire, oblong-linear.

Inflorescence – brush. The flowers are quadruple type, bisexual, bright yellow, with a strong honey smell. Self-pollinating, cross-pollination may occur at high temperatures.

The fruit is a thin, oblong pod, 3-5 cm long, with a long awl-shaped spout, easily cracking when ripe.

Seeds are spherical, 1.2-1.8 mm in diameter, reddish-brown or black with a bluish bloom or yellow with a cellular surface. The mass of 1000 seeds is 2-4 g.

White mustard

White mustard, unlike gray mustard, has a more branched stem.

The stem and leaves are covered with dense stiff hairs.

The fruit is a tuberculate pod, with hard hairs, ending in a long flat xiphoid spout, 5-6-seed. Pods do not (usually) crack when overripe.

Seeds are spherical, smooth, 1.8-2.5 mm in diameter, cream or pale yellow. Weight of 1000 seeds 5-6 (8) g.

Biological features

Gray mustard

Gray mustard is undemanding to heat.

Seeds begin to germinate at a temperature of (1) 2-3 °C. Seedlings are able to withstand frosts down to (-3) -4 … -5 ° С.


Prefers chernozem and chestnut soils. Poorly tolerates heavy, floating and saline soils.

Long day plant.

White mustard

White mustard, in comparison with gray mustard, is more cold-resistant.

Seeds begin to germinate at a temperature of 1-2 °C.

Seedlings are able to withstand prolonged frosts down to -6 ° C.

More demanding on moisture and less drought-resistant than gray mustard.

It is adapted to infertile medium acid podzolic soils due to the high absorbing capacity of the root system. Not strongly cohesive loams are considered optimal.

Long day plant.


The vegetation period of mustard blue is 90-100 (110) days. Flowering time is 10-25 days.

Vegetation period of white mustard (65) 80-90 (100) days.

As you move north, the growing season shortens.

For mustard, it is customary to distinguish the following development phases:

  • seedlings;
  • socket formation;
  • shooting;
  • bloom;
  • fruit formation;
  • seed maturation.

Crop rotation

The best predecessors of mustard in crop rotation are winter, leguminous and tilled crops, as well as the rotation of the layer of perennial grasses.

It is not placed after oilseeds from the cabbage family, for example, after rapeseed, camelina, because of common pests, primarily earthen fleas, as well as flax.

In field crop rotations, mustard can serve as a good precursor for spring cereals (oats, barley, wheat) and corn.

It is also suitable as a cover crop for alfalfa.

In conditions of little snowy steppes, mustard is sown in a small amount for winter crops. By the time frost sets in, it manages to form tall stems that hold snow well.

In the conditions of Western Siberia it is often used as a rock plant in fallow fields.

Fertilizer system

For the formation of 100 kg of seed yield, gray mustard consumes almost twice as many nutrients as winter wheat: nitrogen – 7.2 kg, phosphorus – 2.8 kg, potassium – 5.4 kg. For this reason, it responds well to fertilization.

The generalized application rates for mineral fertilizers for blue mustard are: nitrogen – 30-35 (40) kg/ha, phosphorus – 45-60 kg/ha, potassium – (40) 45-60 kg/ha. In the case of organic fertilizers, the application rate is 15-20 t/ha of manure, which is applied under the previous crop. Direct application of manure for mustard can reduce its yield and oil content of seeds.

The use of fertilizers for mustard can increase the yield by 80-100% and the oil content of the seeds. The combined use of mineral and organic fertilizers can increase yields by 30%. Mustard is particularly responsive to phosphorus fertilization.

Since the roots of white mustard have a high absorbing ability, it is advisable to add phosphorite flour under it, instead of 1/3 of the dose of superphosphate.

According to the data of the Don Experimental Station of All-Russian Research Institute of Oilseeds, the introduction of granular superphosphate in the amount of phosphorus 15-20 kg/ha into rows during sowing is effective. At the same time, the yield of mustard seeds increases by 0.24 t/ha.

On acidic soils, liming is effective.

Responds well to copper fertilization.

Tillage system

Tillage for mustard is similar to the tillage system for early grain crops (stubble peeling, plowing, snow retention, spring harrowing and pre-sowing cultivation).

The use of snow retention is effective, especially in the southern and southeastern regions of Russia, to increase the reserves of productive moisture in the soil. For this, snow-ploughs-swathers СВУ-2.6-1 are used.

Pre-sowing soil preparation is recommended to be carried out according to the type of improved plough. By spring field work, they begin immediately when the soil dries up. First, the soil surface is leveled with tine harrows, then pre-sowing cultivation is performed to a depth of 5-7 cm with simultaneous harrowing and smoothing.

When early weeds appear (after 10-15 days), in order to destroy them, it is advisable to perform a second cultivation.


For sowing, high quality sorted seeds are used.

Mustard seeds must have a purity of at least 97%, germination rate of at least 90%.

White mustard seeds must be at least 97% pure and have a germination rate of at least 85%.

1-3 months before sowing, the seeds are treated with 90% technical gamma isomer of hexachlorane in the amount of 3 kg/t.

Sowing is carried out at an early date, simultaneously with early grain crops. Early sowing dates are especially effective in the steppe zone, as they allow the most complete use of moisture reserves.

It is permissible to sow white mustard at a later date, due to the short growing season, it is able to produce seeds even when sown before July, but the yield is lower.

The most common is the usual ordinary method of sowing (15 cm). In weedy fields and in extremely arid regions, a wide-row sowing method with row spacing of 45-70 cm is more effective. According to the experimental data of the Kamyshin State Breeding Station, with a wide-row sowing method, the yield of mustard seeds increases by 0.2-0.3 t/ha and the soil is well cleaned from weeds.

The seeding rate for blue mustard with the usual row sowing method is 9-12 kg/ha, white mustard – 15-18 kg/ha. For the wide-row method – 6-8 kg/ha and 10-12 kg/ha, respectively.

For the Volga region, the most optimal seeding rates are 10-12 kg/ha for row sowing, and 6-8 kg/ha for wide-row sowing.

Sowing depth (2) 3-4 (5) cm. For white mustard, the sowing depth can increase up to 6 cm depending on soil moisture.

Crop care

Care for mustard crops consists in rolling the soil after sowing. This is especially important in the southern regions.

After germination, harrowing is carried out with light or rotary harrows.

In wide-row crops, 2-3 inter-row treatments are performed.

Plant protection

The most dangerous pests of white mustard are earthen fleas, which can significantly reduce the yield, especially at late sowing dates.

To prevent the appearance of cruciferous flea in the seedling phase, the edges of fields 20-25 m wide, and in the case of pests, the entire field, are pollinated with 12% hexachloran dust at a consumption rate of 15-25 kg/ha.


The ripening period of mustard seeds is extended, so the delay in harvesting leads to crop losses.

Harvesting blue mustard is usually carried out in a two-phase method, but single-phase is also allowed.

Harvesting is started in the phase of wax ripeness, when most of the pods on the plants turn yellow, while the seeds in the pods acquire a color characteristic of the variety. Harvesting should begin before the bottom pods begin to crack.

Drying of the mowed mass is also not allowed, as this leads to large losses during threshing.

The threshing of the rolls is carried out by grain combines, for example, “Niva”, equipped with a ПКК-5 device to reduce crop losses and crush seeds.

It is advisable to harvest white mustard, the pods of which almost do not crack, when the seeds are fully ripe.

The seeds are stored for storage with a moisture content of not more than 10%.

Mustard straw after harvesting in crushed plowed into the soil and serves as an organic fertilizer.


Crop production / P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov and others; Ed. P.P. Vavilov. – 5th ed., revised. and additional – M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. – 512 p.: ill. – (Textbook and textbooks for higher educational institutions).

V.V. Kolomeichenko. Crop production / Textbook. — M.: Agrobusinesscenter, 2007. — 600 p. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.

Fundamentals of agricultural production technology. Agriculture and crop production. Ed. V.S. Niklyaev. – M .: “Epic”, 2000. – 555 p.