Improving Sustainability in Agroecosystems Using Mustards
The future of agriculture depends on our ability to balance environmental quality concerns with economic needs associated with commodity production and processing. To achieve such a balance, it is essential to consider scientific and economic aspects in an integrated fashion starting at the farm level and ending with viable products that help support rural economies. We propose that the incorporation of mustards into crop rotations may allow farmers to not only substantially decrease their impacts on the environment, but produce multiple products that have considerable potential to increase economic returns. We will develop the guidelines for growing mustards in typical rotations of the Pacific Northwest, assess the environmental benefits that accrue, and determine economic advantages of the new rotation. The role of seed meal as a natural
pesticide and nitrogen fertilizer and economic returns will be determined. Our work will contribute to the development and adoption of more sustainable agroecosystems by clearly documenting the environmental and economic benefits of growing mustards and using mustard seed meal byproducts.