Crop rotation boosts yields, cuts environmental impact

By on June 9, 2014

New research from Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station shows that rotating corn, soybeans, wheat and cover crops could help farmers maintain or improve yields while reducing ecological impact, the Great Lakes Echo reported.

Researchers used 25 years of experiments to analyze three different farming strategies. They found that crop rotations involving cover crops such as oats, oilseed and radishes improve soil quality while reducing erosion.

Cover crops absorb leftover soil nutrients into their biomass and fertilize subsequent crops with their composted remains. This allows farmers to use less nitrogen fertilizers, reducing the risk of nitrate leaching and eutrophication in nearby waterways.

Image: Ohio cornfield (Credit: Graylight, Wikimedia Commons)

 

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