Simple Definition: Don't grow the same crops in the same place each year - rotate crops of the same type to different fields!
Photo of Grain Place Foods, a farm located in Marquette, Nebraska with a 9-year crop rotation that includes corn, popcorn, soybean, barley, grasses, and legumes.
Growing a greater diversity of crops allows farmers to reap the environmental advantages of longer, more complex crop rotations. A common crop rotation in Nebraska is a 2-year rotation of corn and soybeans. However, to maintain productivity over the long-term and reduce use of synthetic chemicals, more complex rotations are needed. Research shows that diverse crop rotations (multi-year, multi-crop rotations) will:
- Manage pests and weeds with less dependence on chemical pesticides,
- Ehnance soil fertility with less need for synthetic fertilizers,
- Produce good yields for each crop in the rotation.
Diversity is an ecosystem's natural defense mechanism against pest and diseases. Diversity in genetics, micro-organisms, plant species, colors, insects, and all forms of life have multiple benefits.
SARE Crop Rotation Online Resource