Surely you have heard or read about crop rotation. These words encapsulate a traditional farming technique that has a lot to contribute to any plantation or garden, regardless of its size.
Do you want to learn more about crop rotation? Keep reading and join us in this article in which 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, has been shown to deplete the soil and alter its mineral balance, making the soil less suitable for harvesting each year. And this is when we look back at 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 other undemanding ones, and even with improver crops, which what they do is enrich the soil.
Crop rotation is fully compatible with organic farming and extensive farming , and helps improve land production without having to resort to frequent fertilizers or pest treatments. 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 just that its results are worth it, but rather that it is an almost necessary practice these days. Later we will focus on what are the specific benefits of applying crop rotation, now we will see its main types.
Types of crop rotation
Actually, rather than having different forms of crop rotation, what there are are different rules of crop rotation to follow when applying it. These rules can be hierarchical, so that we will apply them in a staggered way according to our possibilities and knowledge.
- So that you do not get too complicated as soon as you start, on 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 advisable to let the soil rest and recover before repeating them.
- If you have already mastered the first point, you can introduce the second rule: order the rotation of your crops according to the nutrient requirements of the plants. If on a plot you grow a plant with high nutritional demand this year, such as potatoes, then grow a less demanding species, such as chard, followed by an undemanding species such as garlic , and finally finish the rotation with an improver crop, such as rye.
- Finally, experts 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
Its main benefits of crop rotation are as follows:
Avoid soil depletion
By alternating crops of different nutritional needs, no major imbalances in the structure of the land are produced. This is very important because it not only prevents its depletion, but also prevents them from accumulating in the same abnormal concentrations of certain elements.
Helps fight pests
Since the same species are not always found in the plots, their main pests and attackers also do not have time to settle on the ground, and even if an attack is suffered, the pest will disappear when the crop is rotated when it is left without a host. It is a natural way to fight pests without chemicals.
Save on fertilizers
By having a soil rich in nutrients in a natural way, you will see that you have to fertilize the soil of your crops much less, since the earth itself will already have a good part of everything that the plant needs.