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Crop rotation

5 min read

What is Crop Rotation?

Crop rotation could be a planned sequence of growing differing kinds of crops within the same field. Rotations square measure the alternative of continuous cropping, that is growing constant crop within the same field year when year. Ideally, these crops aren't of constant Seeds.

Why will we Rotate Crops?

Crop rotation could be a common follow on sloping soils thanks to its potential for soil reduction. Crop rotations may be accustomed higher or maintain sensible physical, chemical, and biological conditions of the soil. They will be used to scale back the typical rate of erosion from a field.

Together with a grass or legume during a rotation may be very effective for reducing erosion and rising soil structure. once a legume is employed within the rotation, it should eliminate the necessity for nitrogen plant food. alternative crops accumulate phosphorus or potassium. additionally crop rotation may be a vital a part of an integrated gadfly management (IPM) program.

The Value of Crop Rotation:


Plant Nutrition: every crop uses differing kinds and amounts of minerals from the soil. If constant crop is planted every and each year, over time the soil is depleted of the minerals essential for plant growth and health. In reverse, a distinct crop can typically come back missing minerals to the soil as the plant dies and composts or is was the soil.

Soil Structure: Rotation preserves and improves soil structure.  Crops have different root structures and grow to various depths.  By rotating, the soil isn't submitted to only shallow depth crops, however deep diggers which will slowly deepen the surface soil.

Insect Control: Insects will over winter in your soil. They enter the leaves and vines of your plants able to awaken within the spring to seek out their favorite meal. when you rotate, these insects square measure visaged with a plant they don’t take advantage of.

Disease Prevention: rather like insects, plant diseases will over winter in plant leaves, roots and vines below your soil.Rotating crops helps to protect against these diseases returning the subsequent year.

Water Quality: Surface water quality may be improved by reducing sediment loss, and losses of dissolved and sediment-attached nutrients and pesticides. nitrogen losses to water may be reduced by deep rooted sod crops which can use nutrients from deep within the soil profile. additionally, legume crops fix atmospherical nitrogen that may scale back or eliminate the necessity for business nitrogen fertiliser for the next crops. Crop rotations additionally tend to encourage healthy root systems that square measure effective at retrieving nutrients from the soil, so minimizing natural process to water.

How to Rotate Crops:

Crops should be revolved on a minimum of a three to four year cycle. they must be revolved each year. therefore a crop of corn planted this year isn't planted within the same field for consecutive 2 or 3 years. Ideally, altogether totally different crops should be used every year as insects and disease that have an effect ons one crop will doubtless affect similar crops, i.e. cabbage and broccoli square measure of constant family and may not follow one another.  Crops square measure modified year by year during a planned sequence.

Planning issues

Patterns, although not prearranged by all, emerge once deciding the most effective rotation arrange.  Legumes square measure generally a helpful preceding crop.  Potatoes yield best when corn.  Some preceding crops (peas, oats, barley) increase the incidence of scab on potatoes.  Corn and beans aren't greatly influenced by the preceding crop. Carrots, beets and cabbages square measure usually damaging to resultant crops.

When legumes square measure employed in a crop rotation, the nitrogen shaped by fixation should be taken into consideration once deciding the nutrients required for future crops, so preventing over application of nitrogen. Soil fertility levels should be regularly monitored and fertility maintained within the acceptable vary for all crops within the rotation.

When designing out a rotation, divide the crops into their families.  This follows the principle of not growing out constant crop or one within the same family.  Beets, chard and spinach square measure within the same family for instance. additionally examine what quantity area the crop will require.  Radish needs a lot of less than corn.

In addition to rotating crops, several farmers rotate their livestock among totally different sections of pasture. This facilitates the dispersion of manure within the fields additionally as prevents over-grazing of anyone section. Overgrazing of pasture will result in a depletion of vegetation and resultant soil erosion.

A few notes:

Crops must be suited to your soils.

Rotations that embrace little grains or grassland offer higher erosion management.
little grains and grassland will forever be accustomed replace any row crop or low residue crop to realize higher erosion management.

Corn (grains) will continuously be wont to replace soybeans or the other low residue crop within the rotation to realize higher erosion control.

For crop rotations, that embrace hay (meadow), the rotation may be extended by maintaining the present fodder indicate further years.

Avoid planting a grass when a grass if attainable.

Sample eight year rotation:

Potatoes, corn, the cabbage family, peas, tomatoes, beans, root crops, squash. The rotation moves to the proper, potatoes follow corn, corn follows cabbage family, etc.