Crop Rotation

Simple Definition: Don't grow the same crops in the same place each year - rotate crops of the same type to different fields!

Grain place foods

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:

  1. Manage pests and weeds with less dependence on chemical pesticides,
  2. Ehnance soil fertility with less need for synthetic fertilizers, 
  3. 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