Crop rotation is the practice of changing which crops you grow in different areas of your farm. The frequency of the rotation depends on the types of crops grown and the amount of farmland you have available. Some farmers rotate each season while others rotate every few years. The exact plan that will work for you depends on the environment of your farmland, resources, and of course your finances.
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The Benefits of Rotating Crops
Rotating crops might sound like a pain since you have to continually plan where you will plant certain crops, but it’s for good reason. Following are some of the benefits:
- Keep the soil fertile – If you keep planting the same crops in the same area, the same nutrients from the soil are taken out of it. Eventually, those nutrients get completely depleted, which puts your crops at risk for failure. When you rotate the crops, you use up different nutrients in the soil,
keeping it healthier longer.
- Reduce the risk of pests – When you plant the same crops in the same area year after year, the pests know exactly where to go for their crop of choice. When you shake things up by rotating the crops, the pests will not necessarily always find the crop they want. This can kill off the pests, leaving your crops in better condition.
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- Reduce the risk of disease – If there is a specific disease (bacteria) present in the soil, it can feast on the same crop over and over again. If you change it up and
plant different crops, though, the bacteria won’t find the host it thrives on, which could eliminate the risk of disease spreading even further in the crops.
- Prevent soil erosion – Planting the same crops repeatedly, leaves certain areas of the soil at risk for erosion. The same root shapes, watering needs, and spacing leave the remaining soil at risk weak and uncovered, causing potential erosion.
- Increase water conservation – Health soil is better able to absorb water. When you plant the same crops and leave the soil at risk, you will need more water to keep the crops healthy. Soil that is healthy, though, allows the water to remain in the soil and near the crop’s pores for healthier crops.
Crop rotation is a great way to keep the soil and land ‘alive.’ It helps the crops retain water better and helps them thrive longer. Depleting the same area of nutrients that it needs is detrimental to the crops and the soil itself. Adopting a successful crop rotation plan is the best way to ensure that your crops have the best chance at a fruitful life.
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