Cultivation of Rape Seed Mustard (Brassica spp.)

Cultivation of Rape seed Mustard (Brassica spp.)

Rapeseed and mustard  (Brassica spp.) are the major rabi season oilseed crops of India. They occupy a prominent place being next in importance to groundnut, both in area and production, meeting the fat requirement of about 50 percent population in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, and Assam.

India is one of the largest producers of rapeseed and mustard in the world. India’s contribution to the world’s rapeseed and mustard production is 9.8%. Globally India Accounts for 19% area of total Global acreages
Seeds are known by different names in different places e.g., sarson, rai or Raya, toria or lahi. While sarson and toria (lahi) are generally termed as rapeseeds, rai or raya or laha is termed as mustard. The oil obtained from the different types show a slight variation in the percentage of oil. The oil content varies from 37 to 49 percent. The seed and oil are used as a condiment in the preparation of pickles and for flavouring curries and vegetables. The oil is utilised for human consumption throughout northern India in cooking and frying purposes. It is also used in the preparation of hair oils and medicines. It is used in soap making, in mixtures with mineral oils for lubrication. Rape seed oil is used in the manufacture of greases. The oil cake is used as a cattle feed and manure. Green stems and leaves are a good source of green fodder for cattle. The leaves of young plants are used as green vegetables as they supply enough sulphur and minerals in the diet. In the tanning industry, mustard oil is used for softening leather
Origin and History
The origin and early culture of rapeseed and mustard are obscure. The earliest written records of rapeseed and mustard are found in ancient Sanskrit writings from 2000 to 1500 B.C. Sarson finds mention in all the Ayurvedic Samhitas. With the multiplicity of forms that are grown, it is quite probable that there were several separate areas of origin. According to Prain (1898). Bailey (1922) and others the Rai (Brassica juncea) originated in China and from there it was introduced to India. From India, it spread to Afghanistan via Punjab

Classification of Kind of Rapeseed and Mustard Grown in India

Indian Group

International Commercial Name


Common Name

Local Name


Indian Colza, Colza rape

Brassica compestris  Var. Yellow Sarson

Turnip Type

Yellow Sarson


Indian Colza, Colza rape

Brassica compestris  Var Yellow Sarson

Turnip Type

Brown Sarson



Brassica compestris  Var Yellow Toria

Indian Rape

Yellow Toria



Brassica compestris  Var Black Toria

Indian Rape

Black Toria / Lahi



Brassica juncea

Indian Mutard

Rai / Raya/Laha



Brassica Juncea Var Rugosa


Pahari Rai



Brassica Nigra

Black Mustard

Banarsi Rai

Climatic Requirements
Rapeseed and mustard are crops of tropical as well as temperate zone and require somewhat cool and dry weather for satisfactory growth. They require a fair supply of soil moisture during the growing period and clear weather at the time of maturity. Cool temperature, clear dry weather with plentiful of bright sunshine accompanied with adequate soil moisture increases the oil yield. In India, they are grown in Rabi season from September-October to February-March. Toria is more liable to suffer from frost and cold and is, therefore, usually sown earlier and harvested before the onset of frost. Rapeseed and mustard are long days in periodic response. These crops are not drought tolerant. They require annual precipitation of 35-45 centimeters. The crop also does not tolerate waterlogging.
Rapeseed and mustard are capable of growing under a wide range of soil conditions varying from sandy loam to clay loam soils but they thrive best on light loam soils. They neither tolerate waterlogging conditions
Rotations and Mixed Cropping
Rape and mustard are grown in rotation with other crops like maize, cotton, bajra, pulses, etc. Rape and mustard should never be grown in fields that were sown with the same crops in the previous two years. Such a minimum period of rotation is required to break the insect and disease cycle.
Toria being a catch crop, maturing in 90-100 days can easily be adjusted in the following crop rotations:
(1) Maize—toria-wheat 
(2) Maize-toria-sugarcane 
(3) Bajra-toria-barley 
(4) Maize-toria-cotton 
(5) Maize-toria –sugarcane-ratoon
Brown sarson and mustard (rai) are usually cultivated as pure crops in rainfed areas. During rainy season no other crop should be sown, rather moisture should be conserved as much as possible by ploughing. In regions where irrigation facilities are available, the following crop rotations may be followed:
(1) Moong-brown or yellow sarson or rai 
(2) Urd-sarson or rai 
(3) Guar (Green manure)-sarson or rai 
(4) Maize sarson or rai 
(5) Early paddy-sarson or rai Rape seed and mustard are generally grown mixed with Rabi crops like
wheat, barley and gram. The practice of taking mustard (rai) as an i crop with autumn planted sugarcane in which no additional land required also offers scope to augment mustard production without adve ly affecting the yield of companion crop of sugarcane,
Field Preparation
A clean and well-pulverized seedbed of good tilth is needed for better germination. The land should be well prepared first by ploughing deen with soil turning plough, followed by two cross harrowings. Each ploughing should be followed by planking so that the soil is well pulverized and leveled. Care should be taken to see that weeds and stubbles are well removed from the field and the soil contains adequate moisture to ensure good germination.
Seed and Sowing
Time of Sowing; Planting time is the single most important variable affecting the seed yield of rapeseed and mustard to a great extent. Since the rate of development of oil in the seed is greatly influenced by the variation in atmospheric temperature, humidity, and other biotic factors, sowing either too early or too late has been reported to be harmful. Delay in planting reduces the yield on account of its depressing effect on the plant growth, flowering duration, seed formation, and seed size. Therefore, for getting good yields of rape and mustard timely sowing is a must. Toria should be sown from the mid to the last week of September. If the sowing of toria is delayed, there is great danger of an attack of aphids on this crop. Sowing of sarson and rai must be completed in the first fortnight of October
Seed Rate And Spacing; Spacing has no absolute value in the cultivation of rape and mustard as it fluctuates a great deal with the growth habit of variety, date of sowing, manuring, and irrigation practices. Generally, toria is planted in rows 30 centimeters apart while sarson and rai are sown in rows 45 centimeters apart. Thinning is done three weeks after sowing to maintain a plant to plant a distance of 10 to 15 centimeters. In the case of mixed cropping, they are generally sown in rows 1.8 to 2.4 meters apart in the main crop. Five to six kg seed should be sown in rows at a depth of 2.5-3.0 centimeters in case of a pure crop. When sown mixed with some other crop, 1.5 to 2 kg seed per hectare is sufficient. Sowing could be done either behind the local plough or through seed drill. Before sowing seed should be treated with Thiram or Captan at the rate of 2.5 g per kg of seed.
Manures and Fertilisers
Rapeseed and mustard respond well both to organic and inorganic manure. If available, apply 15-20 tonnes of farmyard manure or compost the time of field preparation. These crops show a good response to chemical fertilizers. For a good harvest, apply 60-90 kg nitrogen, 60 kg Phosphorus, and 40 kg potassium per hectare. The quantity of phosphorus and potash should be based on soil test recommendations. Split application of nitrogen been found very useful for rape and mustard crops. Under irrigated, conditions half of the nitrogen and full dose of phosphorus and potash should be applied as basal dose at the time of sowing by placement method. The remaining half of the nitrogen should be applied at the time first irrigation. If the crop is rainfed, use only half of the dose of recommended nutrients. Rapeseed and mustard have a higher requirement for sulphur, therefore, nitrogen should preferably be applied through ammonium sulphate and phosphorus from single superphosphate. In rai, foliar application of nitrogen is useful under barani conditions.
Water Management
Rapeseed and mustard are usually raised as rainfed on the conserved moisture from monsoon rains. Good yields can be achieved if the fields are bunded and leveled before the monsoon and plough two to three times during the monsoon season bulky organic manures are applied in the soil to improve the moisture storage capacity of soil and evaporation losses of moisture are minimized by the use of inter cultivation or mulching on the soil surface. Rapeseed and mustard respond to irrigation as well. The application of even a small quantity of water has shown very encouraging results in these crops. Two irrigations at pre-bloom and pod filling stages are beneficial.
Weed Control
Weeds in rape and mustard crops cause approximately a 20-30 percent reduction in yield. The most common weeds which grow in rape and mustard crop are Chenopodium album (bathua), Lathyrus spp. (chatri matri) , Melilotus indica (senji), Cirsium arvense (kateli), Fumaria parviflora and cyprus rotendous (Motha). Care should be taken to remove all the weeds in the early stages of crop growth to avoid competition on the reserve of moisture. One intercultural operation with hand hoe is very beneficial. This, besides creating a soil mulch and thus reducing moisture losses through evaporation helps in better growth and development of crop plants. The thinning operation should be accompanied by intercultural to provide the plants proper space within the rows.
Chemicals could also be used to control the weeds effectively. Apply Nitrofen at the rate of 1-1.5 kg a.i. per hectare or Isoprofuron 1 kg ald per hectare in 800-1000 litres of water as a pre-emergence spray,
Diseases of the Rapeseed Mustard Crop;




Alternaria Blight

This disease is caused by a fungus, Alternaria brassicae. The path perpetuates through seed and affected plant portion (refuse) in the soil The disease is characterized by the appearance of concentric black spor on leaves, stem, and pods. In years of a severe outbreak, pods turn black color and may also rot. Such pods contain shriveled, undersized seeds

(1) Use of healthy seeds for sowing should be preferred. (2) Spray  Difolatan or Dithane M-45 at the rate of 2 kg in 1000 lit water /Ha at 10 days an interval as soon as symptom start appearing on the plant (3) Collect and burn the affected plant portions after the harvest of the crop

Downy Mildew

This disease is caused by a fungus, Peronospora brassicae. In the disease affected plants, yellow, irregular spots appear on the upper surface of the leaves and white growth is visible on the under surface opposite to spots. If the attack is severe, the inflorescence is also affected. The affected inflorescence is malformed, twisted, and covered with a white powder. No pods are produced on such inflorescence.

(1) Use healthy seeds for sowing. (2) Spray the crop with 0.2% Zineb or 0.1% Karathane as soon as the symptoms are noticed and repeat the spray two to three times at 10 days interval.

White Blister

This disease is caused by the fungus, Albugo candida. This disease can be a serious menace if it occurs along with downy mildew. The disease is characterized by white raised blisters on leaves, stem, petiole, and floral marts. These blisters burst and liberate a white powder. There is much deformity of the floral parts. Flowers get malformed and become sterile

(1) Use healthy seeds for sowing. (2) Spray the crop with 0.2% Zineb or Difolatan as soon as the symptoms noticed and repeat the spray if needed at the 10 days interval.(3) Keep the field free from weeds.


Insect and Pest of the Rapeseed Mustard Crop;

Insect – Pest




Mustard Saw Fly

The adult fly is the most important seedling pest of rapeseed and mustard. the adult fly is orange colored with a blackhead. Since the female has like ovipositor, it is called as sawfly. The larvae of this pest feed leaves of rapeseed and mustard making holes. Sometimes they eat entire lamina of the leaf leaving behind the midribs. It is a sporadic pest and in certain years it becomes so serious that plants are defoliated completely. It appears in the month of October and its peak season of activity is in November. The population disappears suddenly on the onset of winter

Dusting with 5 or 10% BHC at the rate of 20-25 kg per hectare controls the post effectively

Mustard Aphid

It is a very serious post and is the main limiting factor in the production of rapeseed and mustard. Both nymph and adult suck the sap of the tender leaves, twigs, stem, inflorescence, and pods by means of piercing and sucking type of mouthparts. The aphids are green small insects about 2 millimeters in size. The affected leaves usually curl and in case of severe infestation the plant wilt and dry. Due to the attack on the inflorescence, the pod formation is adversely affected. The aphids also secrete ‘honeydew! on which black mould develops. This mould adversely affects the normal physiological activities of the plants.

 As the cold and cloudy weather favors the pest multiplication.sowing the crop earlier than the normal sowing time escapes the pest attack. Spraying  of crop with Dimecron 1`00@ 250 ml per hectare or Metasystox 25 EC at the rate of one liter per hectare or Rogor 30 EC at the rate of one liter per hectare in 1000 liters of water is quite effective in controlling these insects

Painted Bug of Mustard

The full-grown bug is a small insect about 6 mm in length, black in color with conspicuous red and orange spots on the body. Both and adults suck the sap of leaves and tender stems resulting in poo and pale yellow color of the leaves. In a later stage, the insect sucks the sap of the pods with the result of both quantity and quality of  seed is adversely affected

(1) The nymphs can be very effectively controlled with 5 % BHC dust at the rate of 20-25 kg per hectare. (2) Use of systemic insecticides like Dimecron, Rogor or Metasystox has been found very effective to control both nymph adults.


Cabbage Butter Fly

The full-grown larvae of this pest are 3 to 4 cm in length with bright yellowish-green color and small hairs on the dorsal side. The larvae of this pest feed voraciously on the leaves, branches, and pods of the crop The plants are defoliated with the result the small plants die while the grown-up plants suffer in growth and yield.

(1) The caterpillars in early-stage should be controlled by handpicking and killing. (2) Spraying with Malathion 50 EC at the rate of 1 liter per hectare controls the pest. In case there is an attack of other pests also, the use of Nuvacron 40 EC at the rate of 1 liter per hectare in 1000 liters of water has been found very effective,


Bihar Hairy Caterpillar

This is a polyphagous pest and causes severe damage to rape and mustard crop when it appears in epidemic form. The newly hatched caterpillars remain in clusters on the lower surface of the leaves and feed on the epidermis. The grown-up larvae disperse and feed in isolation. They eat away entire leaf tissues leaving only the midribs. If the attack occurs at the green pod stage, the entire green tissues of the pods are eaten up resulting in pre-mature shriveling and drying of the seeds causing heavy loss to the crop.

(1) Clipping and destruction of eggs should be followed, (2) Early instars can be controlled by BHC 10″ dust at the rate

20 kg per hectare. (3) Grownup caterpillars can be controlled by the spray of Malathion 50 EC, Thiodan 35 EC, or Fenitrothion 50 EC at the rate of 1to 1.25 liters in 1000 liters of water per hectare

Harvesting and Threshing
As soon as the pods turn yellowish-brown, harvest the crop. The crop table to shattering, hence it should be harvested just before the pods
in order to avoid losses. Sarson is less liable to shattering as compared to toria and mustard. The crop is harvested with the help of sickles. The harvested crop should be stacked on the threshing floor for five to six days before threshing. Threshing is very easy with the help of sticks. The pods easily shatter and give away seeds. Threshing could be done with bullocks or a tractor. The threshed grain is separated from the husk with the help of a slow-moving natural air current. The cleaned seed must be dried in the sun for four to five days or till the moisture content comes down to 8 percent.
With the use of improved varieties, agronomical, and plant protection techniques, the farmers may expect to harvest per hectare 14-20 quintals of the seed of rapeseed and 20-25 quintals of mustard.
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