Mustard is better suited to the warmer and drier semiarid prairie than canola
Canola is a risky crop in the warm and dry semiarid prairie. Mustard is reported to be less susceptible to stress, although very little evidence is available to support this view. Nitrogen is the second most important factor limiting potential yield on the semiarid prairie. Therefore, a three year field study over 14 site years was conducted to compare the adaptability of different canola and mustard cultivars, with special interest in canola quality mustard, under low, normal and high risk levels of N. Differences in Brassica spp. were noticed for growth duration, biomass production, seed yield and yield parameters. Seed yield of Cutlass was 15 and 32% higher than Quantum and Maverick cultivars, respectively. Canola quality mustard, J90-4316 produced seed yield similar to Quantum, but was lower than Cutlass, suggesting further breeding to improve agronomic quality of J90-4316 is needed. Mustards produced higher pods per plant and lower seeds per pod and seed weight compared to Quantum, while the lowest pods per plant, seeds per pod and seed weights were observed in Maverick. All Brassica spp. responded to N application by increasing growth duration, biomass and seed and yield component production. However, availability of water limits response of some of the parameters to higher levels N application. N application reduced oil content, but overall oil yield increased with N application. Interaction between B. spp. and N application or environment was also observed. Thus, the results suggest that mustards, especially, cutlass is better adapted to semiarid prairie than canola cultivars.
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