Long before science gave them synthetic options, farmers depended entirely on natural methods to get the best results from the various grains and vegetables they planted. They discovered that if they grew something different in the same patch of land each year, they could achieve higher yields and produce healthier plants. The process is known as crop rotation and offers a means for the farmer to sustain soil health naturally. While the process may limit the need for farming fertilizer, it does not eliminate it.
The primary objective of rotating crops in this fashion is nitrogen management, and the principle is surprisingly straightforward. For example, a farmer might begin a three-year cycle by planting a cash crop like broccoli or cabbage. A cover crop with differing nutritional needs, like maize or wheat, could be appropriate in year two. In the final year, legumes and other nitrogen-rich plants can be left to form green manure and thus revitalise the soil for the next cycle. Although few people doubt the value of organic farming, fertilizer products can still benefit crop rotation.
While the decomposing vegetation from that third cycle will restore the necessary nitrogen concentration in the soil, levels of the other primary macronutrients, phosphorus and potassium, and other essential elements will often remain low. Maintaining their content with a suitable manufactured product can help to ensure robust, healthy plants and further increase the yield. Even the additional nitrogen in the product results in increased uptake and the associated benefits. This effect underlines the value of adopting a suitable farming fertilizer to supplement the natural gains inherent in crop rotation.
The positive effects of rotating crops on soil structure and composition are undeniable and will improve both plant health and overall yield. However, while production levels may be sufficient to satisfy the demand from those who insist on organically-grown produce, they fall short of the vast volumes necessary to feed the many billions of less particular consumers. Growers can continue to observe sustainable practices yet still increase their output through the balanced use of crop rotation principles combined with farming fertilizers.
Choosing which crops to grow and in what order to rotate them requires some insight into market trends plus knowledge of plant biology. Before implementing such a scheme, it might be wise to seek advice from a plant nutrition expert. With more than one hundred years of experience, Kynoch is an acknowledged leader in all aspects of plant nutrition. Visit our products page or contact your nearest supplier to learn more about crop rotation and world-class Kynoch farming fertilizer products.