Crop rotation

Code: 
A03
Sector: 
Agriculture
The complete description of the NWRM: 
Summary: 

Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar/different types of crops in the same area in sequential seasons. Judiciously applied (i.e. selecting a suitable crop) crop rotation can improve soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants. In turn this can reduce erosion and increase infiltration capacity, thereby reducing downstream flood risk. It gives various benefits to the soil. A traditional element of crop rotation is the replenishment of nitrogen through the use of green manure in sequence with cereals and other crops. Crop rotation also mitigates the build-up of pathogens and pests that often occurs when one species is continuously cropped. However, as crop rotation has been traditionally practiced for agronomic reasons rather than to achieve environmental and water objectives, new practices may be required to ensure water retention benefits can be achieved. Some crops such as potatoes carry greater risks of erosion due to formation of ridges and the greater area of bare soil (see for example: http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/5925127770341376). Crop rotation can be used in combination with other measures when these are compatible with crop choice.

Illustration(s): 

Fields in crop rotation (USA)

Source: http://www.conewagoinitiative.net/practices/farm/1296-2

Possible benefits with level: 
Benefits Levelsort descending
BP9 - Intercept pollution pathways High
BP11 - Improve soils High
ES7 - Flood risk reduction Low
PO9 - Take adequate and co-ordinated measures to reduce flood risks Low
ES8 - Erosion/sediment control Low
BP10 - Reduce erosion and/or sediment delivery Low
PO4 - Improving chemical status and priority substances Low
ES4 - Biodiversity preservation Low
BP2 - Slow runoff Medium
BP6 - Increase infiltration and/or groundwater recharge Medium
BP7 - Increase soil water retention Medium
BP8 - Reduce pollutant sources Medium
BP17 - Absorb and/or retain CO2 Medium
ES6 - Groundwater/aquifer recharge Medium
ES11 - Aesthetic/cultural value Medium
PO2 - Improving status of physico-chemical quality elements Medium
PO7 - Prevent surface water status deterioration Medium
PO11 - Better protection for ecosystems and more use of Green Infrastructure Medium
PO12 - More sustainable agriculture and forestry Medium
ES9 - Filtration of pollutants Medium
Last updated: 08 Jun 2015 | Top