7 reasons to invest time in crop rotation
Crop rotation is one of the oldest methods used in rural farming, which, today combined with modern technologies, is capable of producing even more substantial yield. Implementation of crop rotation means that the same crop is not cultivated on the same field for several consecutive years, however, monoculture cultivation is not practised. For the purposes of this article, we look at the 7 benefits that the right effect of plants has on the farm. In this article we will look at 7 benefits that crop rotation can give to your farm.
Although there is no specific scientific evidence that crop rotation improves field productivity, it is considered that harvests rise by 10-25% compared to growing monocultures, as the negative effects of growing the same crop over several seasons are limited.
1. Increases soil composition
One of the benefits of crop rotation is improved soil organic composition, better soil structure and balance. Different crops consume different combinations and types of organic matter, so if the crop rotation is properly carried out, not all elements are exhausted on a seasonal basis. Legumes, for example, tend to restore nitrogen levels in soil, which, in turn, will require wheat cultivation next season. In this way, you have the opportunity to improve soil health and to reduce the use of additional soil-enhancing products.
2. Reduce soil erosion
Implementation of crop rotation reduces the loss of soil as a result of water erosion, for instance, in places exposed to this risk. Traditional methods such as non-ploughing or minimal ploughing together with crop rotation can limit the soil erosion. For example, including plants in crop rotation that leave most of the plant stem on top of the soil, protecting it from the effects of external forces.
3. Pest and disease control
Also, pest and disease limitation are one of the benefits of crop rotation. Firstly, in such way happen the interference in the life cycle of pests, and secondly, their normal living environment is being disarranged. For example, single-family plants (such as winter rye and oats) tend to have the same pests and diseases; therefore, crop rotation of plants is important to prevent them from spreading. This is a particularly important aspect of organic farming, which prevents the use of chemical products.
4. Reduce reliance on chemical products
At the previous point we touched the use of chemicals on the field, namely, the smaller need for chemical products. Well-planned crop rotation reduces the reliance on the functioning of the various agricultural products and, in the long term, reduces not only farm costs, but also protects the environment from getting these products into it.
5. Weed control
Crop rotation is also a useful tool for limiting weeds, for instance, the inclusion of catch crops in a crop rotation plan. Weeds reduce the quality of the plant, as well as disrupt the harvesting process. Growing the catch crop and green manure instead of leaving the field empty for “rest” reduces the risk of weed spreading. These plants typically outgrow weeds and prevent them from getting through the soil and exhausting the nutrients that will later be needed for future crops.
6. Reduce risks
Crop rotation also contributes to risk reducing. In particular, cultivation of several crops reduces the risk of spreading diseases and pests, the negative effects of improper weather conditions on one crop, and the effects of synthetic products.
7. Yield and productivity
As we have mentioned, compliance of crop rotation, affecting other factors, contributes indirectly to increased yields and productivity. Crop rotation improves soil composition, which ultimately increases yield as plants get higher-quality nutrients. Moreover, plants not only get better soil, but also in the long run do not do so much damage to the environment and the farmers wallet.
As we have mentioned before – the impact of crop rotation is particularly important for organic farmers since the use of various chemicals is limited.
With eAgronom, it is possible to plan crop rotation as well as to automatically calculate changes in soil composition after each season.