Crop rotation is the practice of planting different crops sequentially on the same plot of land to improve soil health, optimize nutrients in the soil, and combat pest and weed pressure. Ex: Farmer has planted a field of corn. When the corn harvest is finished, he might plant beans, since corn consumes a lot of nitrogen, and beans return nitrogen to the soil.
Agronomists describe the benefits to yield in rotated crops as “The Rotation Effect”. There are many benefits of rotation systems. The factors related to the increase are broadly due to alleviation of the negative factors of monoculture cropping systems. Specifically, improved nutrition; pest, pathogen, and weed stress reduction; and improved soil structure have been found in some cases to be correlated to beneficial rotation effects.
Other benefits of rotation cropping systems include production cost advantages. Overall financial risks are more widely distributed over more diverse production of crops and/or livestock. Less reliance is placed on purchased inputs and over time crops can maintain production goals with fewer inputs. This in tandem with greater short and long-term yields makes rotation a powerful tool for improving agricultural systems.
Advantages of Crop Rotation
- Improved soil fertility and structure.
- Disease control.
- Pest control and Weed control.
- Increased Soil Organic Matter.
- Erosion control.
- Improved biodiversity.
- Increase crop yield.
- Reduced commercial risk.
Types of Crop Rotation
Depending upon the duration, crop rotation may be of the following three types:
1. One-year rotation
- Maize – Mustard
- Rice – Wheat
2. Two years rotation
- Maize – Mustard-Sugarcane – Fenugreek
- Maize – Potato- Sugarcane – Peas
3. Three years rotation
- Rice – Wheat – Mung – Mustard
- Sugarcane – Berseem
- Cotton – Oat – Sugarcane – Peas – Maize – Wheat
Selection of Crops of Rotation
- Source of moisture through rain or irrigation.
- Status of nutrients in the soil.
- Availability of inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, manpower, and machine power.
- Duration of crop short or long
- Marketing and processing facilities.