Crop Rotation and Planning Ahead-a useful agronomic practice

Crop rotation refers to the practice of growing different types of crops in the same area of land over a number of seasons.

Why is crop rotation important you might ask? Several problems begin to appear when you plant the same crop in the same field season after season, year after year. Problems that might appear include decreased yields and less fertile soil quality. When the same type of crop is planted repeatedly in the same area it continuously drains the land of the same nutrients needed for that plants growth. As well, pest levels might be difficult to control when they learn to make a home near a field that always carries the same variety of crop. Land erosion is also more common if the same type of crop is planted repeatedly.

Scheduled crop rotation is key in mitigating these effects. Different types of plants require different types of nutrients from the soil. Routinely changing crops allows for the land to remain fertile, since not all of the same nutrients are being used each season by the same crop. For example, rotating ginger with leguminous crops on a 5-year rotation plan is recommended to help replenish soil fertility.

Crop rotation also combats against soil erosion. By alternating between crops with deep roots and those with shallow roots helps to improve soil stability and prevents erosion.

Exactly how crops are rotated is determined by a number of factors including the type of soil, precipitation, climate and buyer markets for various crops. Amount rotation is dependent on farmer’s preference and circumstances. If you have not rotated your crops previously you might want to look into doing so.

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