Researchers on Prince Edward Island on Canada’s east coast are studying brown mustard seed to see if the plant can do double duty in the potato crop rotation — preventing both disease and generating a cash crop.
Right now, most P.E.I. farmers plow the mustard into the soil. As it breaks down, the plants give off a biofumigant that kills wireworm and other pests, reports Nancy Russell of the CBC News.
Scientists at the Harrington Research Centre are trying to find out what would happen if they could grow the mustard to maturity and then sell the seeds.
“We did the work with buckwheat, we found that there was no difference between whether you flail or disc or take it off for seed,” said Aaron Mills, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. “So if there is a some sort of an economic advantage that can be realized through taking the seed then we want to know.”
W.A. Grain and Pulse Solutions, which opened an $8 million pulse processing plant on Prince Edward Island in 2018, is one of the partners in the research.
Chivilo’s company also sells mustard seed grown in the Maritimes and sees lots of potential, including a large market in Europe.