Developing Superior Oilseed and Mustard Cultivars From Brassicaceae Species
Few crops have shown commercial adaptability to the dry land regions of the inland Pacific Northwest. Small grain cereals (winter and spring wheat and spring barley) account for more than 80% of the acreage annually. Traditional rotation crops are pea and lentil. This has prompted many of the region's growers to investigate alternative crops to avoid the disease build up and other problems associated with monoculture cereal production. Brassicaceae crops such as canola, rapeseed and mustard have shown potential as good rotational crops. The reasons behind high cereal yield following Brassicaceae crops is as yet not fully understood, and are almost certainly a combination of several factors, including; a break from monocot crop production; long tap roots that break up soil compaction; improved water percolation; high plant biomass that improves
the soil physical structure and water holding capacity, and reduces erosion; and these crops have glucosinolates, which break down in the soil to produce toxic pesticidal substances . Breeding efforts resulting from this proposal will develop superior Brassica oilseed and mustard cultivars that are highly adapted to a wide range of dryland and irrigated regions of Idaho and other U.S. regions. Availability of these crops will offer growers greater flexibility and alternatives to include in crop rotation, help to reduce crop inputs, improve profitability and sustainability, and make growers more competitive in international markets.