The practice of crop rotation goes back to ancient times, to the origins of agriculture, when after a harvest, improving crops were implemented to incorporate them into the soil before the next crop. Over the last few decades, the practice of monoculture, or the repetition of crops in the same place over the years, has spread. According to the Department of Agriculture of the Government of Catalonia, this practice generates imbalances in the mineral composition of the soil - due to the depletion or excess of macronutrients and trace elements - and leads to the appearance of specialised pests and diseases in certain families of plants.
For this reason, the practice of crop rotation is not only good advice, but is already a necessity. It is possible to preserve the environment and obtain acceptable yields if you have the right knowledge of how to act. This practice has become very widespread among organic farmers, but it is just as useful for those who do organic farming or integrated production as it is for those who do conventional farming.
What is crop rotation?
Crop rotation consists of alternating plants, but not in any way, but they must be plants from different families with different needs. Obviously practicing a crop rotation requires a deep study and knowledge of the plants' nutritional needs, so there should be no doubt that crop rotation is a very serious agricultural activity.
This practice is carried out to prevent the soil from becoming exhausted and the plants from suffering from pests and diseases that usually last for some time. According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), this form of crop rotation works as a biological engine. Moreover, a diversity of crops in rotation leads to a diverse flora and fauna in the soil; the roots excrete different organic substances that attract different types of bacteria and fungi which, in turn, play an important role in transforming these substances into nutrients available to the plants. Crop rotation also provides an important phytosanitary function as it prevents the transmission of pests and diseases specific to one crop to the next through the residues.
Crop rotation (e.g. with legumes) results in soils with a higher carbon sequestration potential than monocultures, and farmers have an increase in productivity, which can be seen in the following harvest.
Source: La Vanguardia and Fundación Global Nature