What is crop rotation?
Crop rotation is a technique of organic farming that, as we know, its main objective is to obtain agricultural products free of any synthetic chemical element.
Although its origin is very old and disappeared with the arrival of the battalion of chemical products for agriculture it has been recovered by biological cultivation.
Basically crop rotation is (in order to optimize the natural resources of the soil and plants) a change of the type of crop in the same terrain each new season (more or less)
In addition, for the greater efficiency of this technique, it should be done avoiding rotating with plants of the same vegetative type, although it is good that they belong to the same botanical family.
How we will see the advantages of crop rotation is an old method that helps the farmer to solve some problems, and we will also know the few disadvantages or disadvantages that this method has.
Objective of crop rotation
The objective of crop rotation is that the soil remains enriched or that, at least, it becomes impoverished as little as possible, preventing it from running out.
Advantages of crop rotation
The rotation of crops has very interesting advantages to avoid very delicate problems for the farmer, such as pests.
Let’s know the advantages of crop rotation:
- The advantage of crop rotation is that it minimizes soil wear, controls pests and considerably reduces the appearance of weeds , as the soil remains “occupied” 365 days a year.Although usually the different species need the same nutrients, not all should receive them in the same amounts. When we plant a demanding type of plant in care, we run the risk of exhausting the reserves of substrates present in the soil, which will end up overexploiting it.
However, changing the crops from time to time, for some less demanding ones, allows the soil to breathe and be able to recompose itself to receive another species. Resorting to this practice is an efficient way to reduce the use of fertilizers , which are contaminants for groundwater.
Another benefit is the increase in the humus reserve , useful organic fertilizer both for the retention and filtration of water, and for the consistency of the soil. Similarly, it provides nitrogen products, making the land more fertile.
- Another advantage of crop rotation is that the pests and diseases that attack each species do not extend over time, exterminating themselves. This means a saving in the use of pesticides, be they biological or chemical.
- Crop rotation also has other indirect advantages such as reduced use of fertilizers, which is a saving for organic farmers. Weeds are controlled more efficiently, which also means saving both economically and in the time of the farmer’s dedication.
- Another benefit is the increase in the humus reserve , useful organic fertilizer both for the retention and filtration of water, and for the consistency of the soil. Similarly, it provides nitrogen products, making the land more fertile.
Disadvantages of crop rotation
Crop rotation also has its drawbacks, although there are very few compared to its benefits:
- One disadvantage is that the pattern to follow is very limited and strict to optimize this technique to the maximum and a quarter of the land will be dedicated to one of the four plant families per year.
- Another drawback of crop rotation is that some types of plantations do not enter the operational cycle, as in the case of some perennial shrubs, asparagus or raspberries, for example.
It is convenient to plant a leguminous plant in rotation and change plants that need a large amount of organic matter, which also require little or no fermentation, such as squash, potatoes, etc. by other less demanding ones that require organic material that is quite decomposed, as is the case with onions, chard, peas, etc.
If you want to know more about organic farming and its techniques, we recommend you look at our “Organic Farming” section.