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What is crop rotation: types and benefits

What is crop rotation: types and benefits

Surely you have heard or read about crop rotation. These words contain a traditional agricultural 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 and join us in this EcologíaVerde article in which we explain what is crop rotation, 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 earth and alters its mineral balance, making the soil less suitable for harvesting each year. And this is when we look back in search of the crop rotation.

This technique, used since the origins of agriculture, consists of alternate crops each year 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 less demanding, and even with improved crops, which enrich the soil.

Crop rotation is fully compatible with the ecological agriculture and with the extensive agriculture, and helps to improve the production of the land without having to resort to frequent fertilization or treatments against pests. Even so, this very beneficial concept is not so easy to apply, and there are a large number of variables to take into account when designing how we are going to apply crop rotation to a field.

However, it is not only that its results are worthwhile, but rather that it is an almost necessary practice nowadays. Later we will focus on what are the specific benefits of applying crop rotation, now let’s see its main types.

What is crop rotation: types and benefits - What is crop rotation

Types of crop rotation

Actually, more than having different forms of crop rotation, what there are are different crop rotation rules to follow when applying it. These rules can be hierarchized, so that we will apply them in stages according to our possibilities and knowledge.

  • So that you do not get too complicated as soon as you start, in your first contact with crop rotation, keep in mind only its most important rule: do not repeat crops of the same family or species. Related crops consume the same nutrients and therefore it is best to let the soil rest and recover before repeating them.
  • If you already have the first point mastered, you can introduce the second rule: order the rotation of your crops depending on the nutrient requirement of the plants. If you grow a plant with high nutritional requirements in a plot this year, such as potatoes, then grow a less demanding species, such as Swiss chard, followed by another less demanding one, such as garlic, and finally finish the rotation with a better crop, such as the rye
  • Finally, the most experienced can optimize the technique by adding the last rule: use intercropping. This consists of placing next to each crop others that may be beneficial for them, in such a way that the use of space and its resources is optimized.

Benefits of crop rotation

Their main benefits of crop rotation are the following:

Prevent soil depletion

By alternating crops with different nutritional needs, large imbalances in the structure of the land do not occur. This is very important because it not only prevents its depletion, but also prevents certain elements from accumulating in the same abnormal concentrations.

Help fight pests

Since the same species are not always found in the plots, their main pests and attackers do not have time to settle in the field, and even if an attack is suffered, the pest will disappear by rotating the crop when it runs out of host. It is a natural way to fight pests without chemicals.

Here you can learn more about how to combat pests in organic farming.

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By having a naturally nutrient-rich soil, 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 that the plant needs. Anyway, if you need to use fertilizers, we recommend you learn how to prepare them naturally with this EcologíaVerde guide on How to make homemade fertilizer for plants.

What is crop rotation: types and benefits - Benefits of crop rotation

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