Crop rotation is a very important strategy used in crop production. It’s has been in existence since a very long time and it has help so many farmer in maximizing their profit. By the year 1800, as many as possible European farmer as started implementing this method and it has been helping in so many ways.
There has been so many strategies for improving soil nutrients and productivity but Crop rotation also known as cropping sequence has proven to be the most effective in addressing issues that deals with soil, water, and environment quality. Producers and farmers who are innovative and can implement cropping systems and management strategies are sure to be more successful than those who can’t.
In this article we will be discussing
1. What is crop rotation?
2. How can we implement crop rotation?
3. Advantage of crops rotation
4. Type of crops we can rotate.
What is Crop rotation?
Crop rotation is the process whereby we plant different type of crops subsequently on different piece of land.
As we all know that different crops require a different level of nutrients. This means that some crop which requires a large amount of nutrients would have drained the nutrients out of the soil during their first plantation and if the same crop is planted on that same land the second time, the crop may not grow as it ought to.
Many thinks a farmer must have a large farming space or different land in different locations before he could practice crop rotation but that isn’t true. Crop rotation can even be practice in our small garden. All we have to do is segregate the land into 2 or 3 and allocate different potion of it to different class of crops base on their nutrients requirements.
Advantages of crop rotation.
- It improves soil structure
- It ensures steady and constant growth of crops for maximum productivity.
- It combats pest that may have familiarize themselves with a particular crop
- It gives room for soil recuperation
- It reduces soil erosion.
Improves soil structure
Yearly crop rotations practice brings about dramatic and significant differences in root structure over time. Ranging from plants with taproot to crops with fibrous-root , diversity and changing of root structure will help in the improvement of the soil structure physically, chemically and biologically.
Soil improvement also creates numerous macro pores (the space in soil that allow the passage of water, nutrients, and oxygen), and accommodate new root growth crops. Development in soil organic matter and nutrient pools is another benefit as a result of crop rotation, which can improve soil structure and increase the ability of soil to retain water.
It ensures steady and constant growth of crops for maximum productivity.
If we were able to give all crops the required nutrients for their maximum growth, this will ensure maximum productivity while we plant a less demanding crop on the soil used before so as to give the soil a chance to repair itself.
Picture credit: Arka Roy
Combats pest that may have familiarize themselves with a particular crop.
Planting just one crop on a piece of land for a very long period will increase the rate of growth of pest pertaining to that crop .Diversifying and changing of crops sequences and arrangement will help take away the ‘host organism,’ and destroy the annual life cycles of insects, diseases and weeds. For example, maize is a common crop on almost every farm and it is known to be the main food for some pest like Swinboe ( maize stem borer), shootfly atherigona and so on.
Planting maize on this piece of land for a very long time will increase the numbers of this pest which will later lead to the destruction of the crop.
But with the help of crop rotation, planting a crop that doesn’t feed on maize will reduce the number of pest.
It give rooms to soil recuperation.
Soil is just like any other thing that need rest so as to regain all the lost nutrients.Planting a less demanding crop on a piece of land that has accommodated a demanding crop will help the crop recover all it’s lost nutrients and also make it good for future purpose.
It reduces soil erosion
Soils that has good structure has the ability to accommodate water because of the increase in macro pores. The improvement and restructuring in soil tilth principles due to crop rotation will also help in reducing soil erosion because of the stable soil structure, improved water infiltration, and reduction in surface water runoff ,this will also reduce the rate at which soil are washed away into the streams and river .
What crops can we rotate?
This is one of the major problem of crop rotation as most farmers aren’t literate enough to know the requirements or the composition of each crops but through the help of some experts, we were able to know that all crops can be rotated but we must make sure we add nitrogen fixing crops to the rotation scheme.
With this article, I hope all farmers out there will be able to implement this practice and profit from it.