Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Crop rotation

Crop rotation

Overview

Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crop
Crop (agriculture)
A crop is a non-animal species or variety that is grown to be harvested as food, livestock fodder, fuel or for any other economic purpose. Major world crops include maize , wheat, rice, soybeans, hay, potatoes and cotton. While the term "crop" most commonly refers to plants, it can also include...

s in the same area in sequential seasons.

Crop rotation confers various benefits to the soil. A traditional element of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 through the use of green manure
Green manure
In agriculture, a green manure is a type of cover crop grown primarily to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Typically, a green manure crop is grown for a specific period of time , and then plowed under and incorporated into the soil while green or shortly after flowering...

 in sequence with cereals and other crops. Crop rotation also mitigates the build-up of pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s and pests that often occurs when one species is continuously cropped, and can also improve soil structure
Soil structure
Soil structure is determined by how individual soil granules clump or bind together and aggregate, and therefore, the arrangement of soil pores between them...

 and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants.

Crop rotation is one component of polyculture
Polyculture
Polyculture is agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture...

.

Historic crop rotation methods are mentioned in Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 literature, and referred to by several civilizations in Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and on three major elements: sophisticated systems of crop rotation, highly developed irrigation techniques and the introduction of a large variety of crops which were studied and cataloged according to the season, type of land and amount of water they require.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Crop rotation'
Start a new discussion about 'Crop rotation'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia

Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crop
Crop (agriculture)
A crop is a non-animal species or variety that is grown to be harvested as food, livestock fodder, fuel or for any other economic purpose. Major world crops include maize , wheat, rice, soybeans, hay, potatoes and cotton. While the term "crop" most commonly refers to plants, it can also include...

s in the same area in sequential seasons.

Crop rotation confers various benefits to the soil. A traditional element of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 through the use of green manure
Green manure
In agriculture, a green manure is a type of cover crop grown primarily to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Typically, a green manure crop is grown for a specific period of time , and then plowed under and incorporated into the soil while green or shortly after flowering...

 in sequence with cereals and other crops. Crop rotation also mitigates the build-up of pathogen
Pathogen
A pathogen gignomai "I give birth to") or infectious agent — colloquially, a germ — is a microbe or microorganism such as a virus, bacterium, prion, or fungus that causes disease in its animal or plant host...

s and pests that often occurs when one species is continuously cropped, and can also improve soil structure
Soil structure
Soil structure is determined by how individual soil granules clump or bind together and aggregate, and therefore, the arrangement of soil pores between them...

 and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants.

Crop rotation is one component of polyculture
Polyculture
Polyculture is agriculture using multiple crops in the same space, in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems, and avoiding large stands of single crops, or monoculture...

.

History


Historic crop rotation methods are mentioned in Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 literature, and referred to by several civilizations in Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

 and on three major elements: sophisticated systems of crop rotation, highly developed irrigation techniques and the introduction of a large variety of crops which were studied and cataloged according to the season, type of land and amount of water they require. Numerous farming encyclopedias were produced.

In Europe, since the times of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, there was a transition from a two-field crop rotation to a three-field crop rotation. Under a two-field rotation, half the land was planted in a year while the other half lay fallow. Then, in the next year, the two fields were reversed. Under three-field rotation, the land was divided into three parts. One section was planted in the Autumn with winter wheat or rye. The next Spring, the second field was planted with other crops such as peas, lentils, or beans and the third field was left fallow. The three fields were rotated in this manner so that every three years, a field would rest and be unplanted. Under the two field system, if one has a total of 600 acres (2.4 km²) of fertile land, one would only plant 300 acres. Under the new three-field rotation system, one would plant (and thereby harvest) 400 acres. But, the additional crops had a more significant effect than mere productivity. Since the Spring crops were mostly legumes, they increased the overall nutrition of the people of Northern Europe.

From the end of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 until the 20th century, the three-year rotation was practiced by farmers in Europe with a rotation of rye
Rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

 or winter wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, followed by spring oat
Oat
The common oat is a species of cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name . While oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats, one of the most common uses is as livestock feed...

s or barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

, then letting the soil rest (leaving it fallow) during the third stage. That suitable rotations made it possible to restore or to maintain a productive soil has long been recognized by planting spring crops for livestock in place of grains for human consumption.

A four-field rotation was pioneered by farmers, namely in the region Waasland
Waasland
The Waasland is a region in Flanders, Belgium, although without any administrative functions. It is also called the Land van Waas ; Waas most likely refers to the soggy soil of the region even though the exact etymology is unknown - one possibility is a connection to the English word 'wasteland'...

 in the early 16th century and popularised by the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 agriculturist Charles Townshend
Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend
Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend Bt, KG, PC was a British Whig statesman. He served for a decade as Secretary of State, directing British foreign policy...

 in the 18th century. The system (wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, turnip
Turnip
The turnip or white turnip is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, bulbous taproot. Small, tender varieties are grown for human consumption, while larger varieties are grown as feed for livestock...

s, barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

 and clover
Clover
Clover , or trefoil, is a genus of about 300 species of plants in the leguminous pea family Fabaceae. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution; the highest diversity is found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, but many species also occur in South America and Africa, including at high altitudes...

), opened up a fodder crop and grazing crop allowing livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

 to be bred year-round. The four-field crop rotation was a key development in the British Agricultural Revolution
British Agricultural Revolution
British Agricultural Revolution describes a period of development in Britain between the 17th century and the end of the 19th century, which saw an epoch-making increase in agricultural productivity and net output. This in turn supported unprecedented population growth, freeing up a significant...

.

George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver , was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he is believed to have been born into slavery in Missouri in January 1864....

 pioneered crop rotation methods in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 by teaching southern farmers to rotate soil depleting crops like cotton with soil enriching crops like peanut
Peanut
The peanut, or groundnut , is a species in the legume or "bean" family , so it is not a nut. The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing tall...

s and pea
Pea
A pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the pod fruit Pisum sativum. Each pod contains several peas. Peapods are botanically a fruit, since they contain seeds developed from the ovary of a flower. However, peas are considered to be a vegetable in cooking...

s.

In the Green Revolution
Green Revolution
Green Revolution refers to a series of research, development, and technology transfer initiatives, occurring between the 1940s and the late 1970s, that increased agriculture production around the world, beginning most markedly in the late 1960s....

, the traditional practice of crop rotation gave way in some parts of the world to the practice of supplementing the chemical inputs to the soil through top dressing with fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

s, e.g., adding ammonium nitrate or urea
Urea
Urea or carbamide is an organic compound with the chemical formula CO2. The molecule has two —NH2 groups joined by a carbonyl functional group....

 and restoring soil pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 with lime
Lime (mineral)
Lime is a general term for calcium-containing inorganic materials, in which carbonates, oxides and hydroxides predominate. Strictly speaking, lime is calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide. It is also the name for a single mineral of the CaO composition, occurring very rarely...

 in the search for increased yields, preparing soil for specialist crops, and seeking to reduce waste and inefficiency by simplifying planting and harvesting.

Rationale


Growing the same crop
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 in the same place for many years in a row disproportionately depletes the soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

 of certain nutrient
Nutrient
A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism's metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy...

s. With rotation, a crop that leaches the soil of one kind of nutrient is followed during the next growing season by a dissimilar crop that returns that nutrient to the soil or draws a different ratio of nutrients: for example, rice followed by cotton.

Choice of crops


The choice & sequence of rotation crops depends on the nature of the soil
Soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

, the climate
Climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

, & precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 which together determine the type of plants that may be cultivated. Other important aspects of farming such as crop marketing & economic variables must also be considered when deciding crop rotations.

Crop rotations may include 2 to 6 or more crop rotations over numerous seasons. A two crop rotation such as corn and soybean in cash grains or corn and alfalfa in forage systems use legumes to help fix nitrogen in the soil for utilization over the long term. Multiple cropping systems, such as intercropping or companion planting, offer more diversity and complexity within the same season or rotation. Carrots can be shaded by tomatoes and loosen soil below them. Double cropping is common where two crops, typically of different species, are grown sequentially in the same growing season. Winter rye and barley can be sown after oats or rice and harvested before the next crop goes in of oats or rice. These systems can maximize benefits of the rotation as well as available land resources.

More complex rotations commonly utilize animal resources for greater use of on-farm nutrient management and additional farm products. A soil-feeding crop of clover could be replaced or aided by an application of manure to set up a field for a double crop of winter grains after potatoes. Soil building and pest population management benefits can be further utilized with different complexities of crop rotation. In general the complexity of a field’s rotation is limited by what soil, climate, and other environmental conditions permit. This also includes the current or desired management tools and goals of the farmer.

Incorporation of animals


In Sub-Saharan Africa, as animal husbandry becomes less of a nomadic practice many herders have begun integrating crop production into their practice. This is known as mixed farming, or the practice of crop cultivation with the incorporation of raising cattle, sheep and/or goats by the same economic entity, is increasing in commonality. This interaction between the animal, the land and the crops are being done on a small scale all across this region. Crop residues provide animal feed, while the animals provide manure for replenishing crop nutrients and draft power. Both processes are extremely important in this region of the world as it is expensive and logistically unfeasible to transport in synthetic fertilizers and large-scale machinery. As an additional benefit, the cattle, sheep and/or goat provide milk and can act as a cash crop in the times of economic hardship.

Benefits


Using crop rotation farmers can keep their field
Field (agriculture)
In agriculture, the word field refers generally to an area of land enclosed or otherwise and used for agricultural purposes such as:* Cultivating crops* Usage as a paddock or, generally, an enclosure of livestock...

s under continuous production, instead of letting them lie fallow, as well as reducing the need for artificial fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

s, both of which can be expensive.

A general effect of crop rotation is that there is a geographic mixing of crops, which can slow the spread of pests and diseases during the growing season. The different crops can also reduce the effects of adverse weather for the individual farmer and, by requiring planting and harvest at different times, allow more land to be farmed with the same amount of machinery and labor.

Agronomists describe the benefits to yield in rotated crops as "The Rotation Effect". There are many found benefits of rotation systems: however, there is no specific scientific basis for the sometimes 10-25% yield increase in a crop grown in rotation versus monoculture. The factors related to the increase are simply described as alleviation of the negative factors of monoculture cropping systems. Explanations due to improved nutrition; pest, pathogen, and weed stress reduction; and improved soil structure have been found in some cases to be correlated, but causation has not been determined for the majority of cropping systems.

Other benefits of rotation cropping systems include production costs advantages. Overall financial risks are more widely distributed over more diverse production of crops and/or livestock. Less reliance is placed on purchased inputs and overtime crops can maintain production goals with fewer inputs. This in tandem with greater short and long term yields makes rotation a powerful tool for improving agricultural systems.

Nutrients


Rotating crops adds nutrients to the soil. Legumes, plants of the family Fabaceae
Fabaceae
The Fabaceae or Leguminosae, commonly known as the legume, pea, or bean family, is a large and economically important family of flowering plants. The group is the third largest land plant family, behind only the Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with 730 genera and over 19,400 species...

, for instance, have nodules on their root
Root
In vascular plants, the root is the organ of a plant that typically lies below the surface of the soil. This is not always the case, however, since a root can also be aerial or aerating . Furthermore, a stem normally occurring below ground is not exceptional either...

s which contain nitrogen-fixing
Nitrogen fixation
Nitrogen fixation is the natural process, either biological or abiotic, by which nitrogen in the atmosphere is converted into ammonia . This process is essential for life because fixed nitrogen is required to biosynthesize the basic building blocks of life, e.g., nucleotides for DNA and RNA and...

 bacteria. It therefore makes good sense agriculturally to alternate them with cereals (family Poaceae
Poaceae
The Poaceae is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of flowering plants. Members of this family are commonly called grasses, although the term "grass" is also applied to plants that are not in the Poaceae lineage, including the rushes and sedges...

) and other plants that require nitrate
Nitrate
The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a...

s. An extremely common modern crop rotation is alternating soybean
Soybean
The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses...

s and maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

 (corn). In subsistence farming
Subsistence agriculture
Subsistence agriculture is self-sufficiency farming in which the farmers focus on growing enough food to feed their families. The typical subsistence farm has a range of crops and animals needed by the family to eat and clothe themselves during the year. Planting decisions are made with an eye...

, it also makes good nutritional sense to grow beans & grain at the same time in different fields.

Pest control


Crop rotation is also used to control pests & diseases that can become established in the soil over time. The changing of crops in a sequence tends to decrease the population level of pests. Plants within the same taxonomic family tend to have similar pests and pathogens. By regularly changing the planting location, the pest cycles can be broken or limited. For example, root-knot nematode
Root-knot nematode
Root-knot nematodes are plant-parasitic nematodes from the genus Meloidogyne. They exist in soil in areas with hot climates or short winters. About 2000 plants are susceptible to infection by root-knot nematodes and they cause approximately 5% of global crop loss...

 is a serious problem for some plants in warm climates & sandy soils, where it slowly builds up to high levels in the soil, & can severely damage plant productivity by cutting off circulation from the plant roots. Growing a crop that is not a host for root-knot nematode for one season greatly reduces the level of the nematode in the soil, thus making it possible to grow a susceptible crop the following season without needing soil fumigation
Fumigation
Fumigation is a method of pest control that completely fills an area with gaseous pesticides—or fumigants—to suffocate or poison the pests within. It is utilized for control of pests in buildings , soil, grain, and produce, and is also used during processing of goods to be imported or...

.

It is also difficult to control weed
Weed
A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance, and normally applied to unwanted plants in human-controlled settings, especially farm fields and gardens, but also lawns, parks, woods, and other areas. More specifically, the term is often used to...

s similar to the crop which may contaminate the final produce. For instance, ergot
Ergot
Ergot or ergot fungi refers to a group of fungi of the genus Claviceps. The most prominent member of this group is Claviceps purpurea. This fungus grows on rye and related plants, and produces alkaloids that can cause ergotism in humans and other mammals who consume grains contaminated with its...

 in weed grasses is difficult to separate from harvested grain. A different crop allows the weeds to be eliminated, breaking the ergot cycle
Frequency
Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency.The period is the duration of one cycle in a repeating event, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency...

.

This principle is of particular use in organic farming
Organic farming
Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost and biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and control pests on a farm...

, where pest control
Biological pest control
Biological control of pests in agriculture is a method of controlling pests that relies on predation, parasitism, herbivory, or other natural mechanisms...

 may be achieved without synthetic pesticides.

Soil erosion


Crop rotation can greatly affect the amount of soil lost from erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

 by water. In areas that are highly susceptible to erosion, farm management practices such as zero and reduced tillage can be supplemented with specific crop rotation methods to reduce raindrop impact, sediment detachment, sediment transport
Sediment transport
Sediment transport is the movement of solid particles , typically due to a combination of the force of gravity acting on the sediment, and/or the movement of the fluid in which the sediment is entrained...

, surface runoff
Surface runoff
Surface runoff is the water flow that occurs when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and excess water from rain, meltwater, or other sources flows over the land. This is a major component of the water cycle. Runoff that occurs on surfaces before reaching a channel is also called a nonpoint source...

, and soil loss.

Protection against soil loss is maximized with rotation methods that leave the greatest mass of crop stubble (plant residue left after harvest) on top of the soil. Stubble cover in contact with the soil minimizes erosion from water by reducing overland flow velocity, stream power, and thus the ability of the water to detach and transport sediment. Soil Erosion and Cill prevent the disruption and detachment of soil aggregates that cause macrospores to block, infiltration to decline, and runoff to increase. This significantly improves the resilience of soils when subjected to periods of erosion and stress.

The effect of crop rotation on erosion control varies by climate. In regions under relatively consistent climate conditions, where annual rainfall and temperature levels are assumed, rigid crop rotations can produce sufficient plant growth and soil cover. In regions where climate conditions are less predictable, and unexpected periods of rain and drought may occur, a more flexible approach for soil cover by crop rotation is necessary. An opportunity cropping system promotes adequate soil cover under these erratic climate conditions. In an opportunity cropping system, crops are grown when soil water is adequate and there is a reliable sowing window. This form of cropping system is likely to produce better soil cover than a rigid crop rotation because crops are only sown under optimal conditions, whereas rigid systems are sown in the best conditions available.

Crop rotations also affect the timing and length of when a field is subject to fallow. This is very important because depending on a particular region's climate, a field could be the most vulnerable to erosion when it is under fallow. Efficient fallow management is an essential part of reducing erosion in a crop rotation system. Zero tillage is a fundamental management practice that promotes crop stubble retention under longer unplanned fallows when crops cannot be planted. Such management practices that succeed in retaining suitable soil cover in areas under fallow will ultimately reduce soil loss.

Additional soil improvements


The use of different species in rotation allows for increased soil organic matter (SOM), greater soil structure, and improvement of the chemical and biological soil environment for crops. With more SOM, water infiltration and retention improves, providing increased drought tolerance and decreased erosion. Soil aggregation allows greater nutrient retention and utilization, decreasing the need for added nutrients. Soil microorganisms also improve nutrient availability and decrease pathogen and pest activity through competition. In addition, plants produce root exudates and other chemicals which manipulate their soil environment as well as their weed environment. Thus rotation allows increased yields from nutrient availability but also alleviation of allelopathy and competitive weed environments.

Risks


Balancing the commitment to new crops or livestock with increased yield potentials and long term sustainability is the task of many farmers and agricultural scientists. With this research many new rotations have been developed and become widely accepted.

Risks of crop rotation include less overall profitability due to decreased acreage of the most valuable crop. Greater investment and lower relative efficiency in machinery used for different crops is also a possible outcome. More complex rotations require more crop species and livestock. This means the farmer must have additional skills and make more time and equipment investments initially. Also the more complex the system, the less flexible it becomes in terms of long term land management. Starting a rotation of a new crop may add profitability and farm resilience over time, but benefits are initially subject to being over-shadowed by volatile markets or high startup investments which can take time to overcome. Overall many farmers and agronomists agree finding a suitable rotation can benefit the overall productivity and sustainability of the farm.

See also

  • Companion planting
    Companion planting
    Companion planting is the planting of different crops in proximity , on the theory that they assist each other in nutrient uptake, pest control, pollination, and other factors necessary to increasing crop productivity...

  • Dry land farming
  • Ley farming
    Ley farming
    Ley farming is an agricultural system where the field is alternately seeded for grain and left fallow. Other name for the method is "alternate husbandry"....

  • Set-aside
    Set-aside
    Set-aside was introduced as a political measure by the European Union in 1988 to help reduce the large and costly surpluses produced in Europe under the guaranteed price system of the Common Agricultural Policy ; and to deliver some environmental benefits following considerable damage to...

  • Soybean management practices
    Soybean management practices
    Soybean management practices in farming are the decisions a producer must make in order to raise a soybean crop. The type of tillage, plant population, row spacing, and planting date are four major management decisions that soybean farmers must consider...

  • Shmita

External links