Surely you have ever heard or read about crop rotation. These words enclose a traditional farming technique that has much to contribute to any plantation or orchard, regardless of its size.
Do you want to learn more about crop rotation? Keep reading. Here, we explain what crop rotation is, its types and benefits.
What is crop rotation?
In recent decades, many farmers have adopted the practice of monoculture, which consists of planting the same type of crop on the same land for several years. This, however, is shown to deplete the soil and alter the mineral balance of the soil, making the soil less suitable for harvest each year. And here is when we look back in search of crop rotation.
This technique, used since the origins of agriculture, consists of alternating each year the crops that are planted in the different plots of land. In this way, the most demanding plants in terms of nutrients are alternated with others that are not very demanding, and even with improved crops, which enrich the land.
The rotation of crops is fully compatible with organic farming and extensive agriculture , and helps improve the production of the land without having to resort to such frequent subscribers or treatments against pests. Even so, this very beneficial concept is not so easy to apply, and there are a lot of variables to take into account when designing how we are going to apply crop rotation to a terrain.
However, it is not just that their results are worthwhile, but rather that it is an almost necessary practice nowadays. Later we will focus on what are the concrete benefits of applying crop rotation, now let’s look at its main types.
Types of crop rotation
Actually, more than having different forms of crop rotation, there are different rules of crop rotation to follow when applying it. These rules can be hierarchized, so that we will apply them in a phased manner according to our possibilities and knowledge.
So that you do not complicate yourself much more to start, in your first contact with crop rotation keep in mind only your most important rule: do not repeat crops of the same family or species. The related crops consume the same nutrients and, therefore, it is convenient to let the soil rest and recover before repeating them.
If you already have the first point dominated, you can enter the second rule: order the rotation of your crops according to the nutrient requirement of the plants. If in a plot you cultivate this year a plant of high nutritional demand, such as potatoes, then cultivate a less demanding species, such as chard, followed by another little demanding, such as garlic, and finally the rotation ends with an improved crop, such as the rye.
Finally, most experts can optimize the technique by adding the last rule: use intercropping. This consists of placing next to each crop others that can be beneficial for them so that the use of the space and its resources is optimized.
Benefits of crop rotation
Its main benefits of crop rotation are the following:
Avoid soil depletion
By alternating crops of different nutritional needs, large imbalances in the structure of the land do not occur. This is very important because not only prevents the exhaustion of it, but it does not accumulate in the same abnormal concentrations of certain elements.
Help fight against pests
Since the same species are not found in the plots, their main pests and attackers also do not have time to settle in the terrain, and even if an attack is suffered, the pest will disappear when the crop is rotated when it runs out of the host. It is a natural way to fight against pests without chemicals.
Save in installments
By having a soil rich in nutrients naturally, you will see that you have to fertilize the soil of your crops much less since the land itself will already have a good part of everything the plant needs.