Interseeding Field Peas and Yellow Mustard for Enhanced Moisture Retention and Harvesting Ease in a No-till System
Diversification of wheat/fallow systems due to economics, environmental concertns, federal farm program changes, etc. has challenged producers to attempt alternative crop and management practices to break weed and insect cycles, provide crop nutrients, enhance moisture retention and facilitate harvesting.
Objectives: Interseed field peas and yellow mustard in alternate rows to: 1) determine if sufficient crop residue will remain after harvest to catch snow and prevent soil erosion; 2) determine if alternate row seeding of peas and mustard results in reduced crop loss of peas and improved crop quality; and 3) determine profitability of the enterprise compared to peas planted alone.
Results: The field pea/mustard combination resulted in 1.7 to 2.0 times greater moisture retention, reduced soil erosion, 48% reduction of crop loss at harvest and $1.32 return for each $1 invested in variable cost in a drought-stressed situation. Other benefits were nitrogen benefits from peas for the following crop, breaking weed and disease cycle, and faster harvest.