Study Reveals how Crop Rotations Improve Agriculture

Photo Credit: Ian Sane Photo Credit: Ian Sane

A recent study published in Nature's The ISME Journal reveals the profound effects crop rotation have on enriching soil with bacteria, fungi and protozoa. The study examined how alternating crop species can change the microbial content of soil, thus aiding plants in nutrient acquisition, growth regulation, and protection against pests and diseases. Continual planting of a single species in monoculture, however, can reduce soil biodiversity, leaving species at risk for pathogen attack and decreasing the number of beneficial organisms. Many conventional farms mitigate these problems with intensive use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizer, resulting in detrimental health and environmental effects. This study suggests that by rotating crops, growers may be able to control many plant problems without the use of synthetics.