Thomas G. Chastain

Here’s an article just published by our seed production team on nitrogen’s effect on seed yield and other seed production characteristics in yellow mustard.  Trials were conducted on this crop over a 3-year period at OSU’s Hyslop Farm by Alyssa DuVal, a former graduate student and current instructor in the department.  Yellow mustard is a potential seed crop for the high rainfall areas of western Oregon and unlike many other Brassica family crops, there is no threat of crossing of yellow mustard with the region’s vegetable seed crops.

Yellow mustard crop pods prior to harvest. (Photo by T.G. Chastain)

This article was published in Agronomy Journal and can be found at the link below:

Duval, A.S., T.G. Chastain, C.J. Garbacik, and D.J. Wysocki.  2017.  Nitrogen affects seed production characteristics in yellow mustard (Sinapis alba L.).  Agron. J. 109:995-1004.

Key findings of the article:

  • Applied N increased seed and oil yield in yellow mustard in a high rainfall environment.
  • Seeds m–2 was the most influential factor in determining seed yield in yellow mustard.
  • Applied N increased height, biomass, tissue N content, leaf area index, and crop growth rate.

Thomas G. Chastain

The late summer and early fall period has long been thought to be critical for regrowth of the perennial ryegrass and tall fescue seed crops after harvest and for the following year’s seed yield.  Extremely dry conditions during this period in the Willamette Valley can reduce stands and crop regrowth in both seed crops.  There is good evidence from our research that irrigation improves the appearance of the stand (number of tillers and stand cover) going into the winter.  But what about the impact of fall irrigation on seed yield in perennial ryegrass and tall fescue?

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Willamette Valley agriculturalists need rotation crops, especially on soils that have few alternatives.  The well-publicized conflict over canola is one manifestation of this unmet need for crops that diversify cropping enterprises.  Sinapis alba, known by the common names yellow or white mustard, is a potential oilseed feedstock crop that will not cross with Brassica spp. vegetable crops.  Other cultivated mustards are members of the genus Brassica and will cross with Brassica spp. vegetables or canola.  Because of this distinction, S.alba is not regulated by current ODA administrative rules nor by proposed Oregon legislation.

Here’s my handout from the Hyslop Farm Field Day with more information about this oilseed crop:

Sinapis alba 2013 Field Day


Here’s a new article on nitrogen and sulfur nutrient management in camelina that has been published in Field Crops Research.  Camelina is a Brassica family oil seed crop that has demonstrated potential for production in the Pacific Northwest.  This work was led by Don Wysocki, OSU Extension Specialist located at Pendleton Oregon.

The study shows that camelina seed yield ranged widely across the four study sites in the Pacific Northwest due to differences in annual precipitation and soil available N.  Applied N increased the seed yield of camelina at all sites except the very low rainfall Lind Washington site.  The study was the first to show that oil content in the seed of camelina was not influenced by applied N and to report nitrogen use efficiency values for the crop.  Seed yield was also not affected by applied sulfur.

Click on the citation below to go to the article:

Wysocki, D.J., T.G. Chastain, W.F. Schillinger, S.O. Guy, and R.S. Karow.  2013.  Camelina: seed yield response to applied nitrogen and sulfur.  Field Crops Research 145:60-66.

If it’s winter where you are at, then you’re probably looking for a good book to read.  I have one suggestion that you might consider – Crop Ecology:  Productivity and Management in Agricultural Systems by David J. Connor, Robert S. Loomis, and Kenneth G. Cassman.  This is the 2nd edition of this very good book published by the Cambridge University Press.

You can read my review of this book that was published last month in the Quarterly Review of Biology at this link:

Review of Crop Ecology