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What is Crop rotation? Advantages and disadvantages of crop rotation | Tractorgyan

    What is Crop rotation? Advantages and disadvantages of crop rotation | Tractorgyan

30 Jul, 2022

Crop rotation is a successive order-wise growth of different types of crops or in a sequential manner which further helps in improving the fertility of the soil.

Crop rotation aids in preserving the structure and nutrient content of the soil as well as helping to keep pests that are carried by the soil from colonizing the garden. 

As the same nutrients are repeatedly consumed when a single crop is planted in the same location each year, the soil structure slowly deteriorates. After a while, the soil loses those nutrients and becomes unhealthy. At the same time, insect pests that feed on a single crop and spend their larval stage in the soil multiply if their food supply is still present. As their number grows, these pests get harder to control every year.

In various regions of the world, the traditional method of crop rotation during the Green Revolution of the middle of the 20th century was replaced by the practice of topdressing the soil with fertilizers, such as ammonium nitrate or urea and adjusting the pH with lime. By streamlining planting, harvesting, and irrigation, these techniques attempted to boost yields, prepare the soil for specialty crops, and decrease waste and inefficiency.


How is crop rotation practiced or organized

The method is helpful for farms with complicated operations, but it is easiest for a farm that grows a few crops and has uniform field conditions. Most grain farms and some large-scale vegetable operations are farms with relatively straightforward rotation issues because all the crops can be grown on all the fields. 

Although the approach is time-consuming, it can be used to create cycles with more crops and different types of soil. However, as the number of crops and the complexity of the fields rise, the benefits of regular crop rotation planning increase.

There are several steps in the crop rotation planning process. To start, you'll arrange your information. Then, you'll create a general rotation plan (optional), a crop rotation planning map, future crop sequence plans for each area of the farm, and finally, a finalized crop sequence plan.

If the crop mix is highly diverse, if you plant the same crop more than once each season, if you double or triple crop fields, or if the fields have different crop-growing capacities, the crop rotation planning procedure gets more complicated. For farms that need a sophisticated planting strategy.


Advantages of crop rotation

1. Increases the yielding capacity of the crops

Crop rotation boosts the yield from just one seasonal harvest. Because several crop varieties are used, one receives a general bountiful harvest each season in addition to a variety of crops. Scientific research shows that crop rotation, as opposed to monoculture, increases crop output by 10% to 25%.


2. The balance of nitrogen is maintained 

One of the essential elements for plant development is nitrogen. It is a crucial component of DNA, a protein's building block, and even chlorophyll. 

Even though 78 percent of the nitrogen in the atmosphere is in the form that plants can use. They require a sort of "fixed" nitrogen from the soil, such as ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite.


3. Improves the soil structure

A good crop growth depends on the condition of the soil. It has an impact on how easily water, air, and nutrients can reach the roots as well as how much room they must spread in the soil. Plants won't grow well and won't be able to establish a strong root system in bad soil. This has several unfavorable effects for farmers, including crop production loss and increased vulnerability of their field to erosion and surface runoff, which can leak nutrients and reduce fertility. Due to the alternation of deep and shallow-rooted plants during crop rotation on the same piece of land, the soil structure is improved.


4. Crop rotations ensure water conservation

Crop rotation increases soils' ability to hold water when combined with better soil structure. Solid soils enable quick and complete water absorption. While some of this water is quickly absorbed by crops, the remaining water is stored deeper in pore spaces for use by plants in dry seasons.


5. Pest control and weed management

Crop rotation was used by ancient civilizations primarily to stop the spread of illnesses, weeds, and pests. Crop rotation became unnecessary with the advent of pesticides in agriculture. However, the widespread use of these pesticides has resulted in some significant poisoning instances, environmental damage, and even an increase in pests' resistance to the active ingredients.



Disadvantages of crop rotation

1. Difficult to specify

Every season, a different crop must be planted to ensure the success of crop rotation. The farmer is thus prevented from specializing in a particular crop. Due to possible effects on the soil, the farmer might not be able to grow a single crop on a large scale for an extended period. 

The farmer might not be able to produce large yields of a certain crop because he lacks expertise in that crop. Crop diversification necessitates spending money and time on diverse planting methods for each distinct crop, as each crop has different needs for care and attention.


2. Not appropriate in certain conditions

Crop rotation may not be recommended in some temperatures and geographical areas. In that area, monoculture may be favored because some crops may not do well in certain types of soils and climates.


3. Improper implementation may lead to more harm than good

When this approach is used incorrectly, more harm than good results. There is no reason to experiment if one lacks the technical knowledge of crop rotation because there could be nutrient build-up that would take longer to fix. 


Therefore, improper implementation results in very significant losses for the farmer. However, information on the various planting methods is readily available, so the farmer should exercise caution and be prepared to use them as needed.

Crop rotation could aid in the fight against the environment's pervasive chemical contamination. Consequently, the technique is advantageous to our health and may be one approach to preserving our food security while limiting the adverse consequences of agriculture on ecosystems. This just serves to emphasize how crucial crop rotation is to build a sustainable future.


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