How crop rotation can increase farmers’ incomes

Crop rotation improves soil fertility and productivity besides controlling pests and diseases. This improves output, cuts down the cost of inputs and results in increased incomes for farmers

Team 30 Stades
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Crop rotation is a low-cost and effective way to improve crop yield and cut costs

Crop rotation is an ancient method of improving soil fertility and controlling pests naturally

Crop rotation is a sustainable agricultural practice of cultivating different crops in succession on the same piece of land. This method can help to improve soil health, increase its nutrient content, and control pests and weeds. For example, after maize, farmers can plant legumes in the same field as it can restore the soil’s nitrogen consumed by the previous crop.

What is the purpose of crop rotation? Growing the same crop repeatedly depletes the soil of nutrients. The ancient method of crop rotation can help avoid it because the nutrients extracted by different plants from the soil are not the same. So what is extracted by one crop is restored by the next crop. Improved soil fertility results in better yields and higher incomes. Moreover, pests and disease-causing organisms are deprived of a constant source of food, resulting in their natural control with crop rotation and extra costs don't have to be incurred to keep them in check. 

Advantages and disadvantages of crop rotation

The advantages of crop rotation are far more than its disadvantages. The benefits are related to soil health and crop protection, which leads to higher yields. By practising crop rotation, growers can enhance the quality of organic matter. Every crop adds microorganisms that interact with the soil and the leftover biomass from harvest also improves soil fertility. 

Planting crops with different root systems within a single season yields better results than having a monocultural field as it helps crops withstand extreme weather conditions like drought and heat waves.  

Natural disasters can strike unexpectedly, and farmers have no control over them. A disease outbreak can wipe out all the native crop species, affecting monocultural and crop rotation systems. 

However, crop rotation allows particular yields to thrive despite epidemic diseases. This method can help to conserve native plants and provide genetically resistant species. 

It also can help to balance the production and absorption of nutrients. Knowing the types of plants to grow each season and applying the correct crop rotation chart can bring many agricultural benefits.

Water or winds wash away the top layers of the soil causing erosion. But plants that cover the ground protect the top layer of the soil during heavy rains at any time of the year. For this purpose, farmers can grow peas and beans. These plants provide complete soil coverage and protect it from the harmful effects of the weather.

Also Read: Punjab: Farmer turns barren land into organic farm of wheat, fruits and vegetables

Crop rotation also has some drawbacks. It demands extensive skills and knowledge regarding each type of crop grown. It requires the operation of multiple machines, which can lead to higher initial costs. Moreover, every crop does not guarantee success, and yield loss may occur. So farmers must learn about the types of crops that can be grown in succession.

It is essential to implement crop rotation properly, as improper implementation can do more harm than good. If one lacks the technical know-how, experimenting is not recommended, as nutrient build-up can take longer to correct. Farmers should learn about different crop rotation possibilities to choose the plants most suitable and beneficial for their land.

Types of crop rotation

Knowing what crop rotation is, you can discover some examples of its various types here. Farmers can use crop rotation systems depending on their goals and needs. The crop selection and sequence may also differ accordingly.

Traditional crop rotation involves growing many crops in a set sequence over several years.

A three-field crop rotation involves dividing a field into three sections. Rotation of crops, such as legumes and grains, occurs between sections. 

Intercropping involves growing two or more different crops together in the same field. Row intercropping involves sowing the main crop and intermediate crops in the rows. Using rows simplifies weeding and harvesting compared to mixed cropping.

Crop rotation practices can be enhanced by using various types of manure for added benefits. Green manure can be combined with cover crop planting to improve soil health. Animal manure or compost can provide valuable nutrients as a natural fertilizer to maintain soil fertility.

A four-year crop rotation involves rotating crops in four different fields or sections of an area over four years. 

For example, farmers can alternately plant cereals, legumes, and then root crops. The fourth field is left uncultivated. This is used to improve soil fertility and control pests and diseases.

Satellite technology in crop rotation

Satellite imagery is becoming integral to precision crop rotation as it is an easy-to-use and cost-effective solution for farmers. Remote sensing makes it possible to obtain comprehensive information about the fields' state and the crop's development. It helps farmers make better data-driven decisions about when to start planting and how to rotate crops.

Using satellite imagery also saves growers time and money as it reduces the labour involved in scouting and other traditional crop inspection methods. In addition to providing accurate information, satellite images can save farmers time and money. Also, thanks to doubles from space, crop problems can be identified before damage is done, and losses can be minimized.

Satellite imagery is also helpful in monitoring changes in weather patterns, which can assist farmers in planning their crops.

Farmers can make more informed decisions regarding crop selection, rotation, and planting by keeping an eye on current and predicted weather conditions.

EOSDA Crop Monitoring, an online satellite technology-driven platform developed by EOS Data Analytics, performs a comprehensive set of field monitoring functions for optimal crop rotation planning and implementation. 

This precision farming tool enables tracking the planting and harvesting times in different fields. The data farmers receive on a single multifunctional platform gives a complete picture of the state of the land. It makes it possible to make effective decisions and develop a strategy for sustainable agriculture.

Also Read: How to make seed bombs for natural farming

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