Crop Rotation Advantages:
Crop rotation is nothing but the successive cultivation of different crops on the same land in order to preserve the fertility and productivity of the soil. In addition, crop rotation is growing of a series of different or dissimilar crops in a particular area in sequential seasons. Crop rotation is a method of cropping system. Crop rotation plays a major and important role in AgriFarming.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Crop rotation
Crop Rotation Advantages:
There are many advantages of crop rotation in agrifarming viz., given below.
- According to Agriculturists and Agronomists, there are many benefits of crop rotation. It helps in increasing the soil fertility along with crop productivity.
- There is some scientific evidence that proves 10 to 25% increase in yield of the crop in crop rotation rather than going for monoculture.
- The cost of production of the following crop decreases to an extent which mostly depends on the crop we select.
- Crop rotation helps in increasing the nutrient uptake of the plants from the soil as different crops require different nutrients in different quantities.
- The farmer can also see a decrease in the incidence of insect pests and pathogens when they go for crop rotation.
- In addition, crop rotation also improves the soil structure as well as soil texture.
- Following crop rotation also helps in weed-free cultivation of crops.
- It prevents the accumulation of toxic chemicals or substances secreted by some crop plants.
- Aids in improving the organic content in the soil.
- Regulates the nutrient uptake of the crop plants.
Disadvantages of Crop rotation
- There are no or least disadvantages of crop rotation. However, those cons of crop rotation may arise when we go for crop rotation with unsuitable crops like following crop rotation with cereals followed by cereals or pulse crops followed by pulse crops.
- Crop rotation fails when we grow the crops without planning and proper management of those crops. Improper implementation or an unwise plan is the major drawback in crop rotation.
Essentials of Crop rotation in Agrifarming
- Crop rotation must include a tiller crop that helps in the elimination of weeds.
- The crop selected must keep the organic matter of the soil without any deterioration.
- It must provide enough forage for the cattle.
- The crop selected for crop rotation must provide an area for cash crops to be carried further.
- The most profitable crop must be given the best place while crop rotation.
Planning of crop rotation
- Selection of the Crops for crop rotation.
- Determining the duration of crop duration like seasons and years.
- Crops selected are to be classified into Kharif and Rabi crops as well as leguminous and nonleguminous crops.
- Practicing the same crop sequence planned in the first year must be repeated in the successive years during crop rotation.
- Evaluation of the crop rotation to ensure proper time management for land preparation and good utilization of available resources in order to maintain crop productivity.
Example of crop rotation:
In 1st year, if we go for Cotton in Kharif season, maize in rabi season and forage in the summer season, we should also follow the same sequence of crop cultivation in 2nd and 3rd years. However, we can change the crops based on the type of crop like leguminous and leguminous, cereals and pulses and like so. In the 3rd year, the farmer will see 15 to 25% increase in the crop yields of those crops.
Principles of Crop rotation:
- Deep-rooted crops must be followed with the cultivation of shallow-rooted crops like cotton, pigeon pea, pigeon pea-potato or green gram etc.
- Monocot plants are to succeed with dicot crops such as whet – sugarcane, paddy – potato, etc.
- Vice versa of leguminous and non-leguminous crop cultivation is to be followed.
- Cultivate restorative crops like potato, sorghum, sugarcane, black gram, cowpea presided by exhaustive crops.
- Long duration crops are followed with short duration crops like sugarcane, Napier grass, cowpea – lucerne, black gram, groundnut, etc.
- Crops that are susceptible to soil inhabitant pathogens and parasitic weeds must be followed with tolerant crops. Example: Sugarcane – Marigold (for nematodes), Castor – Pearl millet( for Striga parasitic weed).
- Fodder or seed crops are succeeded with pasture crops. Example: Napiergrass – Maize or cowpea or oat.
- Crops cultivated with heavy irrigation and intensive manual labor are succeeded with minimum water use and less labor-intensive crops like Sugarcane and paddy with Mung bean and sesame.
Benefits of Crop Rotation
Balanced uptake of nutrients: Nutrient uptake of crops vary from crop to crop. In crop rotation, there will be a balanced uptake of nutrients of the crops during various seasons. A highly productive crop requires a high amount of nutrients. When we apply huge quantities of nutrients the crop takes the maximum amount and the remaining remains as residues in the soils. That remaining will be used for the pressing crop which requires less amount of nutrients as compared with the succeded crop. However, the succeeding crop must be selected in such a manner that it can utilize considerable amounts of nutrients and resources completely.
Soil fertility build up: Different crops have different rooting systems. Growing of crops having different root systems in alternate years leads to effective utilization of mineral nutrients in the soil. Alternative crop rotation with shallow and deep-rooted crop rotation is a good method of soil restoration. It helps in the nutrient uptake of plants from the lower layer of the oil to the upper layer of the soil. In addition, it also helps in improving soil aeration, soil pulverization and also hastens the soil decomposition process.
Reduction in Insect pest incidence: The incidence of the insect pests can be controlled to an extent with crop rotation. If we grow the susceptible crops for an insect pest in the breeding season, it leads to heavy damage of the crop due to insects. Therefore, go for crops that are tolerant or irrelevant to the insect pest that is observed earlier. However, partial control of the insect pest can only be achieved through crop rotation practices. In addition, it also results in increasing the predator and parasitoid population in the crop decreased reproductive colonization of insect pest in the crop and also prevents the movement of insect pests.
Weed control: Crop rotation highly helps in weed management. The microclimate of some crops is highly suitable for weed growth and development in the main crops. In such conditions, crop rotation with unrelated crops for weeds helps weed management. A crop that is selected as a succeeded crop for weed control must be in such a way that it should suppress the weeds. The rooting pattern of the main crop helps in weed control.
Disease management in crop rotation: The disease or pathogen infestation can be controlled to a high extent in crop rotation. The inoculum of the disease-causing pathogen can be reduced or eradicated. Maize and cowpea crop rotation can control the disease caused by the Aschochyta blight pathogen. Potato crop rotation decreases the incidence of wilt caused by Verticilliumsp.
Reducing the soil erosion: Effective crop rotation management practices reduces the soil erosion caused due to wind and water. Water erosion caused by the row crops can be controlled with crop rotation wit broadcast methods of sowing. Crop rotation also helps in protecting the soil by mulching.
Income generation: Cultivation of different crops in different seasons provides contingency in income generation. Suppose, if a loss is occurred by crop, it can be rectified with the succeeding crop.
Proper time management: Crops having various input requirements, application schedules and maturity time helps the farmer to manage the time to look after the different crops in an effective manner. The involvement of the family members in farm and domestic works can be used effectively in crop rotation.
Read: How To Grow Okra in Pots.