Crop rotation is essential for maintaining nutrient levels in the soil. It also gives soil enough time to maintain structure. Corp rotation has also been used in controlling pests.
Here are the 4 types of crop rotation
- Annual crop rotation.
- Biennial crop rotation.
- Three-year crop rotation.
- Four-year crop rotation
Annual crop rotation
Annual crop rotation is also referred to as the one-year rotation. This rotation type is used for crops with a longer maturity time. It involves planting one crop type for the year’s first half. A new type of crop from a different family is planted after the harvest.
A good example is planting maize for the first half of the year. Then replacing the maize with mustard for the rest of the year.
Maize can be planted in another garden for the rest of the year. But it should not be close to the part where it was harvested for the first part of the year.
Biennial crop rotation
Biennial crop rotation is the two-year crop rotation plan. This is similar to a one-year crop rotation plan. The difference is that it engages a selection of more crops. It can also take two years to complete the rotation period.
A two-year crop rotation can engage up to four crops. The requirement is to ensure these crops are from a different family group. The concept is to introduce a plant that requires specific nutrient requirements that the previous crop did not need.
An example of a two-year crop rotation is planting maize and replacing it with potato. Then replacing potatoes with sugarcane. Peas can then be introduced in the final phase of the rotation. The rotation has to be done successively for maximum benefits.
Three-year crop rotation
A three-year rotation is more complex than one- and two-year rotations. This has to involve planting a series of crops. A successive replacement of each plant is needed. The decision has to consider the nutrient requirements of the succeeding crop.
A good example is planting rice and replacing it with wheat. Mung and mustard can be introduced in the following phases. Another example is planting sugarcane and successively introducing peas. Then, introduce maize and replace it with wheat.
The three-year rotation is extended to three years because the plants involved take a long to mature. The are also crops that are heavy consumers of nutrients. It is recommended to add manure in between the rotations.
Four-year crop rotation
A four-year crop rotation system requires dividing your garden into four sections. For each section, you plant a single crop each year. The rotation also has to consider the nutritional requirement of each plant.
In year one, you can plant the crops as follow:
- Plant legumes in section one
- Plant brassicas in section two:
- Plant potatoes in section three:
- Plant onions in section four
The second year has to involve the same crops but in different sections. This can be achieved as follows:
- Plant brassicas in section one
- Plant potatoes in section two:
- Plant onions in section three:
- Plant legumes in section four
The rotation has to continue in the third. This will use the same group of crops but in different sections. The rotation can be set as follows:
- Plant potatoes in section one
- Plant onions in section two:
- Plant legumes in section three:
- Plant brassicas in section four
Year four is the final period before allowing some rest time for the garden. The sections can be grouped as follows:
- Plant onions in section one
- Plant legumes in section two:
- Plant brassicas in section three:
- Plant potatoes in section four
Onion-type crops are considered more important in the four-year plan. They take up less space than potatoes and brassicas. But the need to rotate is inevitable for nutritional requirements.
The best crop rotation method
A big question that arises is the best method of crop rotation. There are pros and cons to using each method. These should be the guiding factor in determining which method to use. But a four-year crop rotation method is the most common.
A four-year rotation method is great because it involves a variety of crops. This method also takes a long time that allows the soil to replenish.
Gardeners are advised to add manure in between the rotation. There is enough time to improve the soil as the rotation progresses.
The four-year crop rotation method is also considered the most ideal for pest control. Different pests indeed attack a variety of crops. This is a problem solved when rotated. It is regarded as the perfect organic way of minimizing pests and diseases.
This is also an excellent method for areas with different weather. It is particularly preferred in the regions that experience winter. The gardener can rest the soil during the winter. The cycle can be repeated for many years with great success.
Other factors that determine the best crop rotation method
The available options for crop rotation give a gardener a choice to make. Some factors, including production circumstances, are also very critical in decision-making. Among these circumstances include the farm size. A big farm is ideal for a four-year crop rotation plan.
Other issues, including the soil type, also play a big part. A farmer has to understand the types of soil in the garden. This includes understanding the ability of this soil to replenish. It is also good to consider the water retention capacity of the soil.
The market has also been observed as a factor of consideration. Farmers have to evaluate the market dynamics in their decision-making. This is an excellent guide to knowing the right time for each plant.
Overall, the four types of crop rotation methods have been used by farmers. They have pros and cons that need to be considered in decision-making.
The four-year rotation method is the most popular. But learning more about the other methods is also critical. The overall goal is to increase crop production all year round.