Revised October, 2021.
Mustard is native to temperate regions of Europe and has its historic base there. However, mustard supplies from western Europe were disrupted during World War II, and mustard began being produced as a specialty crop in North America.
Mustard is an annual, cool-season economic cash crop that has a short growing season and is commonly grown in rotation with small grains. Yellow mustard varieties usually mature in 80 to 85 days, while brown and oriental varieties typically require 90 to 95 days to mature. Mustard is best adapted to grow in fertile, well-drained, loamy soils. Producers are encouraged to grow mustard under contract to guarantee a market and a selling price.
The three types of mustard are: yellow, brown and oriental. In general, mustard seed is primarily used in the food or condiment industries in the form of either seeds or oil. Yellow mustard is the mildest of the three and has lower oil content. It is most commonly used to produce “mild” prepared mustard for table use but is also used as a dry mustard for seasoning in mayonnaise, salad dressings and sauces. The flour that is made from yellow mustard is also an excellent emulsifying agent and stabilizer for prepared meats. Brown and oriental are primarily used for “hot” table mustard and for oil and spices. The leaves and flowers of the brown seed plant are eaten as salad greens.
Mustard is grown in Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon and Washington. Mustard production increased from the previous year to 81.8 million pounds in 2020 with yields of 895 pounds per acre. The total value of production was $22.1 million that year. (NASS)
Total acres of mustard harvested in the United States was 91,400 acres in 2020. Total production of mustard was 81.8 million pounds. (NASS)
Consumption of mustard has been steady, and any growth in the market for mustard has a direct relationship to population growth. Japan was the primary export market, followed by Canada and Thailand. All three countries experienced a double-digit decline in mustard seed purchases.
On the other hand, imports have been increasing steadily. Canada was the main supplier, followed by India.
The major market for yellow mustard is the North American condiment industry. Europe is the major market for brown mustard for use as a condiment, often in the form of specialty mustards such as Dijon. Asia is the major market for oriental mustard for use as spicy cooking oil and condiments.
- Crop Production Annual Summary, National Ag Statistical Service (NASS), USDA.
- Crop Values Annual Summary, NASS, USDA.
- Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS), Foreign Ag Service, USDA.
- Mustard, Carrington Research Extension Center, North Dakota State University.
- Mustard: Hot stuff for natural pest control, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia, 2008 - Using mustard to manage soil-borne pests and weeds is being researched.
- Tame Mustard Production, North Dakota State University Extension Service, 2007.