What are the most popular methods of crop rotation today?

Crop rotation is the practice of planting different crops sequentially on the same plot of land to improve soil health, optimize soil nutrients and. The most common method of crop rotation suggests that leafy crops, tubers, fruiting crops and legumes be planted together. This approach is based on the theory that each of these groups has the same soil needs. In addition to that not necessarily being true, soil nutrient needs are better managed by modifying the soil annually with compost, well-decomposed manure and organic fertilizers and through the use of cover crops.

Crop rotation is the practice of growing a number of different types of crops in the same area over a sequence of growing seasons. It reduces the dependence on a set of nutrients, the pressure of pests and weeds, and the likelihood of developing resistant pests and weeds. There are a number of common plant diseases where the best recommended control method is crop rotation. Under these circumstances, crop rotation can lead to a healthier and more resilient crop by reducing and preventing disease transmission.

However, there are some situations where crop rotation can exacerbate the plant disease cycle. The one that comes to mind is wheat after corn or sorghum. Maize or sorghum grown before wheat may cause an increase in the incidence of fusarium head blight (FHB) in wheat. FHB can be very harmful to both performance and quality.

This sequence of crops can also cause an increase in diseases of the roots and crown of wheat. Root and crown diseases can be difficult to identify until the end of the season. In any case, there is no cure and, depending on the situation, these diseases can substantially reduce wheat yields. Therefore, it is not recommended to follow corn or sorghum with wheat in a crop rotation.

Barley and oats are less of a problem, but sequencing these crops after corn or sorghum is not ideal. Broadleaf crops with large seeds such as peas, soybeans, sunflowers, etc.

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