Crop rotation refers to a procedure farmers adopt to grow different types of food crops on an agricultural land in different chronological seasons. This cultivation technique, which is more than a thousand years old, aids in improving the fertility of the soil and restores it with various nutrients. In addition to this, this agrarian practice is also effective in alleviating the accumulation of pests and various pathogens due to the continuous cultivation of a particular crop species. This significantly reduces the need to spray harmful chemical pesticides and fertilizers in order to enhance the productiveness of the land under cultivation.
Why is crop rotation important?
Geoffrey Morell, co–owner of P.A. Bowen Farmstead says modern farmers face many problems when they do not rotate different food crops on their land. With time, this can result in a decrease in the fertility of the soil in their fields if they do address these issues effectively. This is because continuously planting the same type of food crop in particular land under cultivation drains it of essential nutrients. In addition to this, certain categories of pests quickly adapt to making fields that only grow a particular variety of crops their home and feed on such plants. This makes the task of eradicating them very difficult especially when they accumulate in large numbers. Finally, the soil in such farming areas becomes more vulnerable to erosion when agrarian practitioners grow one variant of food crop for more than one consecutive season.
He goes on to say the main advantages of crop rotation that cultivators need to consider are as follows:
- Pest Control
Crop rotation is a very effective technique farmers can adopt to eradicate the menace of pests in the fields that they cultivate. This is because when they diversify the type of food crops that they intend to grow in their lands, it disrupts the lifecycle of various categories of insects and weeds. In addition to this, the soil under cultivation needs various types of nutrients to remain fertile. Changing the variants of crops that they grow on their fields help agriculturists accomplish this task.
- Effective measure against soil erosion
This farming technique is an effective means to prevent soil erosion because it stabilizes the land under cultivation. When farming the rotate the type of food crops they grow in their field between deep and shallow roots, they help to enhance the structure of the soil. This goes a long way in improving water infiltration and reduces surface runoff.
- Reduces emission of greenhouse gases
The effective implementation of crop rotation techniques by agriculturists reduces the need to rely on chemical fertilizers. This goes a long way in minimizing the emission of nitrous oxide, which is more dangerous to the environment than carbon dioxide.
- Effective means of reducing water pollution
With effective crop rotation techniques, farmers do not need to rely on synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides to ensure that their lands remain fertile. This acts as a catalyst in reducing water pollution because of excess nitrogen significantly.
Geoffrey Morell says crop rotation is beneficial to farmers for the above reasons in improving the fertility of their lands.