Farmers Market Asia

Crop Rotation

Published on 25th September 2022

Crop rotation is the practice of growing different crops in succession on the same land chiefly to preserve the productive capacity of the soil.

For example, a farmer plants nitrogen consuming corn crops in the first crop cycle and post-harvest, he may plant beans or any other crop that returns nitrogen to the soil instead of corn or other nitrogen consuming crops. It is essential to choose the right crop that returns nitrogen to the earth and enhances the soil nutrients.

Single crop cultivation heavily damages soil quality and the unhealthy race to produce more rice in the country has significantly compromised the nation's soil quality. According to the Department of Agriculture Extension in 2018, pulses, oils and spices produced in the country could only meet a quarter of the demand and a large part of the crops are grown from imported seeds. They also claimed that crop production could be further increased by 20% by providing farmers with quality seeds.

Additional benefits of crop rotation include but are not limited to:

  • Improving the working capacity of the soil
  • Reduce Soil crusting, erosion and sedimentation.
  • Enhance crop Yields
  • Recycle plant nutrients in the soil and reduce financial risk by planting multiple crops versus single crops
  • Better distribution of labor by using different crops, planting dates and harvest period
  • Improves crop emergence, growth, and health
  • Improves air quality and reduces fertilizer and pesticides inputs

Prior to conducting crop rotation, the following factors needs to be taken into consideration:

  • Conducting soil tests every 1-3 years and following the expert recommendations to adjust PH and nutrient levels for optimum crop yields and quality along with determining soil nutrient requirements.
  • Accessing and changing the crop sequence based on the identified concerns and requirements.
  • Ensuring cleanliness of the field equipment while transitioning from one crop to another.

According to a study conducted by the National Resources Institute of Finland, farmers can get the best output from crop diversification in cereal production if particular attention is paid to the health and nutrition requirements of each plant species in the crop rotation. Before jumping into conclusion, it is therefore necessary to have sound and technical knowledge on the intricacies of crop rotation otherwise it may lead to undesirable outcomes.