Everything You Need to Know about Crop Rotation
Crop rotation is the process of planting several crops in succession on the same piece of land in order to enhance soil health, maximize nutrient content, and reduce insect and weed load. Let’s take the example of a farmer who has a cornfield. He might plant beans once the corn harvest is complete since beans replenish the nitrogen that maize removes from the soil.Two or three crops may be rotated in a basic rotation, whereas a dozen or more crops may be rotated in a complex rotation. continue to understand a basics about crop rotation.
Varying plants have different nutritional requirements and are prone to various infections and pests.If a farmer plants the same crop in the same spot every year, as is customary in conventional farming, they drains the same nutrients out of the soil year after year. Pests and diseases will happily make themselves at home as long as their favorite food source is available. Increased quantities of chemical fertilizers and pesticides are required in monocultures like this to maintain yields high while keeping bugs and disease at bay.
It helps in the restoration of nutrients to the soil without the use of synthetic fertilizers.
Additionally, the technique aims to interrupt pest and disease cycles, enhance soil health by increasing biomass from varied crop root structures, and increase farm biodiversity. Diversity is essential for soil life, and beneficial insects and pollinators are attracted to it above ground as well.
Types of Crop Rotation
Crop rotation can be done for one year, depending on the amount of land available. One crop would be planted for half of the year, and after harvest, the soil that meets the needs of another crop would be planted with the other crop for the remaining of the year. Planting maize and subsequently mustard is an example of a one-year crop rotation. Another example is the planting of rice first, followed by wheat.
The two-year rotation is similar to the one-year rotation, except that the crop planting rotation lasts two years and there are additional crop options available. A two-year crop rotation could include two, three, or four crops sown over the course of the cycle. Following the harvest of the previous crop, the subsequent crops’ nutrient requirements should be met.A two-year rotation might involve planting maize, mustard, sugarcane, and fenugreek in succession, as well as maize, potato, sugarcane, and peas in succession.
A three-year rotation, as the name implies, entails planting a sequence of crops over a three-year period while meeting all of the nutrient requirements of each crop.The crops will be sown one after the other on the same plot of land. The nutrient requirements of the next crop will be provided by the previous crops sown.A three-year crop rotation might involve planting rice, wheat, mung, and mustard in succession; sugarcane and berseem in succession; and cotton, oat, sugarcane, peas, maize, and wheat in succession.
Advantages of Crop Rotation
Crop rotation has numerous advantages, according to agriculturists and agronomists. It contributes to increased soil fertility as well as crop productivity. In this part, we’ll go through a few of them.
1.Increases the crop’s yielding capacity
Crop rotation increases production from a single seasonal harvest. Because numerous crop types are used, each season yields a general bountiful harvest in addition to a variety of crops. Crop rotation, as opposed to monoculture, enhances crop productivity by 10% to 25%, according to scientific evidence.
2. Nitrogen balance is maintained
Nitrogen is a vital ingredient for plant development. It is an essential component of DNA, proteins, and even chlorophyll.
Despite the fact that plants can use 78 percent of the nitrogen in the atmosphere. They require “fixed” nitrogen from the soil in the form of ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite.
3. Improves soil structure
The state of the soil determines crop growth. It influences how quickly water, oxygen, and nutrients reach the roots, as well as how much space they require in the soil. Plants will not grow well or build a strong root system in poor soil. This has a number of negative consequences for farmers, including decreased crop yield and greater vulnerability of their fields to erosion and surface runoff, both of which can leak nutrients and impair fertility. The soil structure improves due to the interchange of deep and shallow-rooted plants during crop rotation on the same plot of land.
4. Crop rotation helps to conserve water
Crop rotation improves soil water retention when accompanied with improved soil structure. Solid soils absorb water quickly and completely. While some of this water is readily absorbed by crops, the rest is stored deeper in the pore spaces for use by plants during dry seasons.
5. Pest control and weed control
Crop rotation was first utilized by ancient civilizations to control the spread of diseases, weeds, and pests. Crop rotation became ineffective with the introduction of pesticides into agriculture. However, the extensive use of these pesticides has resulted in some serious poisonings, environmental harm, and a rise in insect resistance to the active chemicals.
Disadvantages of Crop Rotation
1.Difficult to specify
To ensure crop rotation success, a different crop must be planted each season. As a result, the farmer is unable to specialize in a specific crop. Due to potential soil effects, the farmer may be unable to grow a single crop on a large scale over an extended length of time.
Because he lacks knowledge in that crop, the farmer may be unable to generate big quantities of that crop. Crop diversification demands investing money and time in various planting methods for each specific crop, as each crop has different care and attention requirements.
2. Sometimes its More harm
When this strategy is employed incorrectly, it causes more harm than good. There is no incentive to experiment if one does not have technical knowledge of crop rotation because there may be nutrient build-up that will take longer to correct. As a result, incorrect implementation results in substantial losses for the farmer. However, information on the various planting methods is widely available, so the farmer should proceed with carefully and be ready to apply them as needed.
(Also Read- Factors affecting soil fertility)
Crop rotation is a common practice on sloping soils due to its soil-saving potential. It can help to improve or maintain good soil physical, chemical, and biological conditions. It also slows the pace of erosion in a field. Including a grass or legume in a rotation can help reduce erosion and improve soil structure. The inclusion of a legume in the rotation may eliminate the demand for nitrogen fertilizer. Other crops store phosphorus and potassium. It can also be an important component of an integrated pest management (IPM) program.