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What is Crop Rotation and Why it is Important?

Swati Sharma
Swati Sharma
Crop Rotation
Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is a process of planting different crops sequentially on the same plot of land to improve soil health, optimize nutrients in the soil, and fights pest and weed pressure.  

For example, a farmer plants corn crop, and when the harvest finishes, he might plant beans or any plant that returns nitrogen to the soil as Corn consumes the nitrogen from the ground. It's essential to choose the crop that returns nitrogen to the earth and regains the soil nutrients. 

Why is Crop Rotation necessary? 

Different plants have different nutritional needs and are open to various bacteria and pests. 

If a farmer plants the same crops each time, he continuously draws the same nutrients from the soil. Pests and diseases will make permanent houses happily as their favored food source is guaranteed.  

It's essential to plant different crops to avoid monoculture planting problems. 

A simple rotation might involve two-three crops; the complex cycle might incorporate a dozen or more. 

Benefits of Crop Rotation 

  • Improve the work capacity of the soil

  • Reduce Soil crusting

  • Improve crop Yields

  • Reduce erosion and sedimentation

  • Recycle plant nutrients in the soil

  • Better distribution of labor by using different crops, planting dates, and harvest period 

  • Reduce fertilizer and insecticide inputs

  • Improves crop emergence, growth, and health

  • Reduces financial risk by using multiple crops

  • Avoid the problem of overproduction

  • Improves air quality

  • Reduced fertilizer and pesticides inputs

What is the cost involved in crop rotation practice? 

There is little to no cost to implement this practice while giving you financial benefit in the end. 

Crop Rotation planning consideration: 

  • Soil test [every 1-3 years] for PH, organic matter, and nutrients.

  • Use soil test recommendations to adjust PH and nutrient levels for optimum crop yields and quality.

  • Identify Soil erosion

  • Determine nutrient needs [Fertilizer, Manure or compost]

  • Access and change the crop sequence based on the identified concerns

  • Participate in the training needed for the crop, soil, and pest hunting

  • Access cover crop needs

  • Clean field equipment while moving from one crop to another

Simple steps for crop rotation 

  • Estimate and Map your Farm/Garden

  • Divide your Farm 

  • Group crops based on family and season of planting and harvest

  • Outline each divided part, separate your crop families so a family will not return to the original plot for two to four years

  • Fill in blanks with cover crops; cover crops are beneficial as they help reduce weed germination, prevent soil erosion, raise soil temperature and boost soil nutrients

  • Stick to the plan

Crop rotation is advantageous both to the environment and the farmer. By crop cycle, a crop that draws one specific nutrient from the soil follows during the subsequent season by a crop that returns the nutrient to the ground or draws a discrete ratio of nutrients such as rice followed by cotton. 

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