Crop Rotation And Soil Sustainability Essay

2256 words - 9 pages

Crop Rotation and Soil Sustainability

Agriculture is responsible for providing food for an ever-growing population, and as it becomes clear that yields cannot continue to rise without limit, sustainability of agricultural practices becomes an increasingly important question. The soil is a precious resource in which all of agriculture has its base, and careful management of this complex system is essential. Crop rotation is one of the most important management practices in a sustainable agriculture system, both as a means of conserving soil and of maintaining its fertility. "A well-thought-out crop rotation is worth seventy-five percent of everything else that might be done, including fertilization, tillage, and pest control" according to The New Organic Grower (Coleman, 1989, p. 50). Crop rotation is by no means confined exclusively to organic farming, although much of what is considered in planning a rotation sequence encompasses the concerns of the organic farmer. The difference is primarily one of sustainability. "The organic farmer is essentially turning part of his potential income into renewal of the soil (by adding organic matter) in order to assure sustainability of future crop production. The conventional system maximizes present income and is not as concerned about viewing soil as a long-term investment" (Poincelot, 1986, p.23).

A varied sequence of crops provides benefits that a monoculture cannot. A monoculture is an unnatural system; the relationship between soil, plants, and climate is designed to be balanced by diversity. A carefully planned rotation that considers as many aspects of this relationship as possible is a significant step toward establishing sustainability. Although not all the effects of rotation appear to be directly related to the soil, soil is the medium in which plants grow and an investigation of rotational effects necessarily involves it. For instance, a rotational sequence decreases nematode and other insect pest problems by alternating host plants with nonhosts. It decreases disease occurrence due to bacteria, fungi, and viruses by varying the level of susceptibility from year to year. It decreases competition from weeds due to different cultivation and irrigation techniques for different crops that prevent the weeds from establishing a permanent population. And it almost certainly results in an increased yield due to a combination of these and many other factors (Loomis and Connor, 1992). The soil as a medium influences and is influenced by all of these processes.

The term crop rotation includes a variety of practices carried out on a given plot of land over a period of several years. Common rotations make use of a sequence of two or more cash crops with complementary qualities, such as corn and soybeans. Rotations may or may not include a cover crop designed to provide stability and erosion resistance over the winter, a green manure grown for its benefits to the soil and plowed under rather than...

Find Another Essay On Crop Rotation and Soil Sustainability

Cultural Control of Pathogenic Fusarium spp.

2090 words - 8 pages useful and in some cases inexpensive tool to control plant diseases especially when combined methods are used. The management of Fusarium spp. can be done with the right practices, but other non-cultural methods may be needed to ensure maximum yield each season since relying strictly on cultural controls produce varied results from year to year. Crop rotation, nutrition management, irrigation, soil solarization, and intercropping should all be

soils report

1301 words - 6 pages soybeans on the field. It has been on a corn and soybean rotation at least the past ten years. My management practice for this field would be the same as it has been previously but with possible tiling and soil sampling throughout the field to put down a variable rate dry fertilizer application. The tile would help to drain the two low wetland areas in the field and make them farmable. The variable rate fertilizer is an easy step up from your

Terrestrial Systems and Precision Agriculture

3901 words - 16 pages map-based because sensor-based systems are expensive, not accurate for required precision and are not highly available at the moment. Farmers can monitor and tune variabilities to increase crop production and do proper risk management. PA helps maintain proper nutrients in soil, moisture contents, monitor weeds patterns, cuts use of fertilizers, accurate crop rotation and saves work hours of farmers. As amount of input like fertilizers, nutrients

Farming in LEDC's and MEDC's Can Have a Negative Impact on Soils

1688 words - 7 pages . In the Netherlands they are converting species rich heathlands into species poor grasslands that can tolerate the nitrogen present. Organic farming has recently become the 'fashionable' thing to do but it has had a good impact on soil quality. It is a sustainable method of farming, using no chemicals and maintaining agricultural diversity. Organic farmers use crop rotation to help the soil structure and use

Organic Farming

1394 words - 6 pages renewable resources, recycles nutrients, uses the environment's own systems for controlling pests and diseases, sustains ecosystems, protects soil, reduces pollution, .......the use of natural foodstuffs, product diversity, avoidance of waste, etc" (Argilés, Joseph Ma; Brown, et al, 2010).Take for instance, the use of crop rotation; it helps renew the fertility of the soil for farming. Another example is the use of Mulch and organic matter

Biochemistry: Fertilizers

1150 words - 5 pages of crop and its position within the seasonal crop rotation. Different crops need certain different kind of nutrients. For example, barley needs a nice amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and potassium which gets form the soil. By contrast, cabbages demands fewer amounts of these minerals. Cereal crops only recover about one-third of the nitrogen applied to the soil. Root crops are slightly more efficient, recovering about half, and grass recovering

Sustainability of Agriculture

1321 words - 5 pages agriculture and its sustainability because it creates a complimentary variety of plants and other organisms that increase the potential of crop survival and longevity. For example, the nodules found at the end of legumes increase the nitrogen level in the soil that may produce a higher quality crop fit for consumption. It also makes the soil last longer resulting in high-yielding crops. For example, the following information is from an

Farm to Table

1295 words - 5 pages not just for growing food, but also for people and animals to thrive in. Natural tools and methods such as composting, crop rotation and cover cropping help to build up nutrients in the soil. Below in figure 1, a woman empties a compost bucket into a wheelbarrow. Composting is the use of decomposing plant material broken down into a soil-like material to fertilize soil. The compost is often stored in piles or buckets, and is regularly aerated or

Feeding The Third World

4101 words - 16 pages clover, contain symbiotic nitrogen fixing bacteria in their roots that increase the concentration of nitrate ions in the soil. These are often utilised in crop rotation systems, with the legume roots being left in the soil after harvesting, which in addition to the use of manure as a fertiliser increases the organic and mineral matter of the soil, improving its biodiversity and structure. * Protects plants with a

The Leaching Requirement During Irrigation

1811 words - 7 pages applied by irrigation water and the salt concentration in the soil solution. Di (irrigation water) = +/_ (moisture changes) [2] Thus, the amount of salt applied with the irrigation water will accumulate in the root zone an tend to increase the salt concentration in the soil solution (Gupta 1979). Unfortunately, this process is additive. The salts will continue to amass to a point where the crop will no longer to able to tolerate the soil’s

Alternative Farming

1123 words - 4 pages other necessaries. ( Beyadi, Alternative Farming Vital for Raising Incomes, Improving Health) The technique also benefits the soil as it allows more air to get through, helps improve drainage, reduce erosion, and give us better crop yield. Crop rotation is another kind of alternate farming which gain soil fertility and can discourage a build up of pest, diseases and weed in soil. As farmers plant plants continuously, in pattern of normal crops then

Similar Essays

Agro435 Midterm Exam Essay

931 words - 4 pages a no-brainer, and manure should be used as a fertilizer. Forages such grass waterways and buffer strips around crop fields can provide forage to animals. Consumption by animals is the only mechanism of getting production out of these areas and portions of the field. These conservation barriers reduce soil erosion, and promote a healthy ecosystem that leads to greater sustainability. Grazing crop residues is also another example of efficiency on


839 words - 4 pages : Prentice Hall, 1989. Print. "Crop Rotation - History." - Farmers, System, Soil, and Fallow. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2014. . "History of the Plow." Inventors. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2014. . "Jethro Tull." Jethro Tull. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2014. . "Threshing Machine." History By Zim. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2014. .

Conventional Vs. Organic Farming Essay

1576 words - 6 pages developing biological diversity in the field and the maintenance and replenishment of soil fertility. Organic farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. All kinds of agricultural goods are produced organically, including produce, grains, meat, dairy, eggs, and fibers such as cotton, flowers, and processed food products. As far as possible, organic farmers rely on crop rotation-the practice of growing a series of dissimilar

Food Production Essay

699 words - 3 pages techniques are used to combat erosion. Crop farmers are shifting toward reduced-tillage techniques to prepare their seedbeds. Many keep a mulch cover of residues to shield their soil from wind and water erosion. Crop rotation and cover crops are also being increasingly used to hold soil in place between plantings. Still, many small-seeded crops require a finely worked, pulverized seedbed, and soil erosion cannot be completely eliminated. Fertilizers